August 2017: Accelerating Transition to 100% Renewables, Coal & Nuclear Outcompeted, Peak Oil an Peak Gas
As prices for renewables keep falling, the global transition to 100% will happen faster than many think. To accelerate the process, we need innovative policy measures, writes EWG President Hans-Josef Fell. By 2022, global solar PV capacity is set to surpass nuclear for the first time. In the UK, prices for offshore wind energy dropped to a record low, outcompeting new gas and nuclear. The future outlook for fossil fuels looks grim. According to DNV GL analysts, peak oil and peak gas will be reached earlier than forecast, by 2020 and 2035 respectively. Prof. Mark Jacobson of the Stanford University published a groundbreaking study with roadmaps to 100% renewable energy for 139 countries. These news and the op-ed by Prof. Claudia Kemfert, calling Germany to reestablish its energy transition leadership in the run-up to the coming federal election can be found in our August newsletter.
July 2017: Bank, Governments Finance Fossil Fuels, Coal & Nuclear in Sharp Decline, Renewables Hit the Tipping Point
As banks and governments remain heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry despite the international climate committments, shareholders increasingly start to hold their banks and companies accountable. In Australia, in the first world’s case a couple has filed a lawsuit against its bank for not informing about climate change risks. Meanwhile, the global production of coal fell significantly in 2016, mainly due to a sharp decline in China. And the nuclear industry in the US and Europe is slowly but surely becoming obsolete.
The fall of coal and nuclear is mainly due to the success of renewable energy sources. Renewables have reached the tipping point in many countries in the world, according to Morgan Stanley’s latest report. This confirms forecasts of other financial analysts that predict renewables to become THE cheapest form of power generation by 2020. You will find this news and the latest studies on renewable energy in G20 countries as well as India and SAARC in our July newsletter.
June 2017: Solar Power to Kill Coal, Oil Majors to Lose Trillions, Nuclear Meltdown
Renewable energy capacity worldwide was boosted by a record amount in 2016, as costs of wind and solar PV kept dramatically falling, two latest major energy reports show. Especially solar PV is becoming so cheap that it will provide cheaper electricity than coal in China and India as soon as the early 2020s. Meanwhile, a third of the business-as-usual investment until 2025 by oil and gas majors is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement climate targets, according to another report. And many top multinational banks kept lending billions to extraction of fossil fuels in 2016 while claiming their green credentials. You will also find inspiring stories from around the world on 100% renewable energy, news from the global divestment movement and new studies on Kazakhstan and the Åland islands in our June newsletter.
May 2017: New Oil Low, Stress Test for Coal, Big Business Backs Decarbonization
“Renewables come one way or another. Over the past few years, they have become economically viable despite low oil prices,” says Energy Watch Group President Hans-Josef Fell in his recent Joule interview. “If you leave the process to itself, it may take another 30 years. That is too late for our planet. If we actively promote them, we will prevent stock exchange crashes, wars and natural disasters.”
Indeed, renewables have become unstoppable and disrupt entire industries, says FT in their very impressive dossier. Hopes of successfully combatting climate change are dramatically improving. There are a lot of good signs of that: new oil discoveries have reached another historic low in 2016, large investors increasingly recognize the financial risks of climate change, big business backs decarbonization. You will find this news as well as studies on 100% renewables and news from the global divestment movement in our May newsletter.
Apr. 2017: More Renewables for Less Money in 2016, Bye Bye Coal and Nuclear
The title “bye-bye coal” does not stem from us or from an environmental organization. It comes from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analysts. By 2030, it will be cheaper to build a wind farm than to keep an old coal generator running, and by 2036 it will be less expensive to build a solar farm, according to BNEF. Read about slow but sure steps towards the end of coal in Europe and in China as well as abut slow death of nuclear in Japan. Meanwhile, 2016 was another breakthrough year for renewables, according to a new UNEP and BNEF report. Despite declining global investment in renewables, the number of installations was on record high around the world. Read about success stories and new studies paving ways to 100% renewable energy globally in our April newsletter.
Mar. 2017: The true picture of Energiewende, Sins & Losses of Big Oil, China’s Peak Coal, Divestment Ticker
Germany is celebrated internationally as a role model for a successful energy transition. Its role has certainly be instrumental in enabling the worldwide breakthrough of renewables, but in the recent years many things have been going wrong. President of the Energy Watch Group elaborates on how to put the German Energiewende on track again in his op-ed. Meanwhile, the Lappeenranta University of Technology has published a series of impressive studies that prove that Ukraine, India, Iran, and Nigeria can switch to electricity supply fully based on renewables, which would be even cheaper than other energy options. Apart from that you will find news on peak coal in the emerging climate leader China and on the latest sins of the major oil companies. Last but not least, in this newsletter we are launching a live-ticker on global developments in the fossil fuel divestment movement. You will find these news and more in our March newsletter.
Feb. 2017: Technology to Transform the Energy Sector, 100% Renewables in East Asia & Europe, Ukraine as Role Model for Germany?
As global energy transition gathers pace, innovative technology can further disrupt and transform the energy sector much faster than the most of business-as-usual scenarios predict. Two major reports by Carbon Tracker and the McKinsey Global Institute come to this conclusion. Meanwhile, Ireland has as a first country in the world committed to fully divest from fossil fuels, as an increasing number of cities, Univerisities and businesses join the global divestment movement. As Ukraine has dramatically reduced its gas dependence on Russian energy supplies, Germany has become more dependent on them due to the political barriers to the energy transition in the country, argues EWG President. Read more about this news and new studies on 100% renewable energy in East Asia and Europe in our February newsletter.
Jan. 2017: The Irreversible Momentum of Renewables as Climate Action & Divestment Pressure Rise
The production of energy from renewable sources is breaking records all over the globe. In 2016, Costa Rica ran 250 days solely on renewable energy. Over Christmas, wind power generation surged in Scotland and Germany. Solar is set to beat coal as the cheapest energy source. 2017 seems to be firmly on track to become another record-breaking year for renewables.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of oil and gas companies go out of business and divestment pressure rises. This development is more than needed, considering that 2016 was the third consecutive hottest year on record and Chinese cities bog down in smog. Yet, the economic arguments become ever more compelling and the stakeholders taking action ever more influential. As the
outgoing U.S. President put it in his latest Science article, the climate action “momentum is irreversible”. Read more in our January newsletter.
Dec. 2016: IEA’s Remarkable Camouflage | Climate Action, Renewables & Divestment on the March Despite Trump
2016 has seen progress in new commitments across the world to act on climate change. But it has also reminded us that the world is becoming more complex. In Germany, “post-truth” was named word of the year: all too often lies, appealing to emotion, were more influential than facts. Therefore, providing objective information and finding effective ways of disseminating it becomes more important than ever.
We are glad to see that in 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) started considering more realistic energy scenarios. But the IEA still heavily underplays renewable energy, especially wind and solar, as our analysis of its latest flagship report shows. Election of Donald Trump as the next US President raised questions about the future of international and in particular American climate policy. In this newsletter, we compiled the arguments why the climate action and renewable energy momentum will not stall, as the global divestment movement keeps growing and as new roadmaps to stay below the 1.5°C threshold are emerging. Read more in our December newsletter.
Nov. 2016: Germany Falls Behind on Climate Targets | IEA Lowballs Renewables | Offshore Wind Booms
The Paris Climate Agreement came into force on November, 4 – three years earlier than planned. Now it is time to deliver and the Energy Watch Group has analysed for you the climate and energy policy of Germany. Our new study shows that the current German targets are too weak and inadequate in the light of the global 1,5 C target. To deliver on Paris targets, Germany needs to introduce a zero-carbon economy as soon as 2030. Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency (IEA) still heavily underestimates the growth potential of solar PV and wind energy, our analysis of the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2016 shows. The good news comes from scientists: The Lappeenranta University of Technology has launched the first of its kind model, which simulates the world fulfilling the Paris Agreement targets. Read more in our November newsletter.
Oct. 2016: IEA to lift its solar & wind projections | Blow on Coal | 100% Renewables in India & Ukraine
We have won! Following our extensive critique last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) will finally raise its projections for solar PV and wind in its forthcoming 2017 World Energy Outlook. In a series of our studies, we have proved that the IEA has consistently undermined the potential of renewables in the last decade. This reality-check has been long overdue in the global community’s quest for an energy transition. EWG is looking forward to the update and will analyse it for you.
The reviewed projections could lend a new momentum to the Paris Agreement, which surpassed its ratification threshold in a record short time and is set to enter into force on November, 4. While the speedy process is, in fact, a historic development, and rightly applauded by many, many warning voices have called for immediate action. The missing part is political will, as a 100% renewable energy system is not only feasible but more cost-effective than the existing system in many parts of the world. More on this, and our latest studies on India and Ukraine, in our October Newsletter.
Sept. 2016: “Hinkley Pointless”, World’s Dumbest Policy, 100% RE in Finland & Sub-Saharan Africa
The UK government has approved “Hinkley Pointless” (tribute to the Economist). By the time the nuclear plant is built, it will leave British taxpayers in “financial disaster” and produce outrageously expensive energy. Read more in a take by the EWG President. The good news is: Stuttgart, Sydney and the Queensland University of Technology have joint the ever growing fossil fuel divestment movement. Some journalists have done a good job too.
We approve of the FT, which said plainly that the financial consequences of climate change can no longer be ignored, and of Bloomberg, which finally called the world’s dumbest policy (fossil fuel subsidies) “the world’s dumbest policy”. Unfortunately, politicians (i.a. G20, the German government and the EU) are still doing poor homework. These news as well as new studies on 100% renewables in Finland and Sub-Saharan Africa in our latest newsletter.
June 2016: Brexit and EU Nuclear Energy, Divestment Newcomers, 100% Renewables in MENA
With the dust settling down after the shock UK vote on the EU membership, dozens of tough questions arise over climate and energy prospects on the continent. The good news is: Brexit offers a chance to put an end to the EURATOM treaty, writes EWG President Hans-Josef Fell. Meanwhile, major cities Berlin and Stockholm join the global divestment movement, as the biggest western banks invested $ billions in climate damaging sectors in the last two years. This, as well as new studies on 100% renewables in MENA and an assessment of the German Energiewende in the context of the Paris Agreement in our latest newsletter.
May 2016: Renewables Hit Record High, Twilight of Big Oil, G7 Invests Billions in Coal
More investment, more installed capacity, more jobs – 2015 was a record year for renewables, according to the latest REN21 and IRENA reports. Europe has lost its position as renewable energy leader, as most of the investment came from the emerging and developing countries. Meanwhile, major oil companies are having big troubles as shareholders are increasingly pushing for a reassessment of their business models against the Paris climate targets and as new evidence on stranded assets is piling up. Despite latest commitments, G7 countries keep investing billions in coal facilities abroad. This news and a new study on 100% renewable energy in Iran in our latest newsletter.
April 2016: Climate Risk Hits Investors, Oil Giants Need To Downsize, EU Climate Ambition
It has been a grim decade for oil investors, writes the Economist. The first-quater results released by the major oil companies prove the industry is in the “worst peacetime crisis”. Two new reports strongly warn the fossil fuel companies to downsize their production or face a rapid collapse. On the positive side, a recent study of the world’s top 500 investors has shown almost half of them started considering climate risk in their strategies. Meanwhile, the EWG President has urged the EU to raise its climate ambition in line with the new Paris Agreement commitments. On May, 12 the EWG will present a new comprehensive book on highly controversial fracking. This news and a new study on energy storage in our newsletter.
March 2016: New Records in Renewables, The Fall of Coal,
Post-Oil Era in Saudi Arabia
2015 was a record year for renewables as worldwide investments in clean energy outpaced gas and coal by 2:1. For the first time, developing and emerging countries, most notably China, invested more than developed ones. Meanwhile, the world’s largest private coal miner Peabody has filed for bankruptcy, China’s Five Year Plan leaves no big hopes for coal and Saudi Arabia announces its plans for a post-oil era. A new film about the global energy transformation is out in the German cinemas. This news and a new study on a 100% renewable energy system in Brazil in our newsletter.
February 2016: New Findings on Fracking, Germany’s Climate Action, Coal Peak in China?
2016 may become the peak coal year in China as the world’s largest coal consumer is closing down some 1,000 coal mines this year, analysts say. Germany has to accelerate its efforts on climate protection to meet the Paris Agreement targets, a new Greenpeace study finds. Another analysis warns that a late and abrupt transition to low-carbon economy would be damaging for GDP and for investors and governments. This news and a new comprehensive analysis of a controversial fracking technology in our newsletter.
January 2016: Nuclear Industry Struggles with Costs, Coal Among Riskiest Investments, Renewables Boost Global GDP
The latest economic trends in the oil, coil and nuclear industries increasingly warn investors to rethink their assets. A report by Oxford University found that Australian coalmines as well as US and Chinese coal power plants are among riskiest investments. Nuclear industry in Europe is facing high costs, a leaked report of the European Commission shows. Meanwhile, as prices for renewables are falling, they are set to outcompete costly LNG projects, financial analysts say. And the latest IRENA report showcases positive macroeconomic effects of a global energy transition. These news and more in our newsletter.
December 2015: Historical COP21 Signal, Record 2015 Investment in Renewables Despite Low Oil and Coal Price
Energy Watch Group wishes you a happy, healthy and energizing New Year!
As oil investors have struggled with sinking oil prices in 2015, renewable energy attracted record global investment worldwide. A new study proves that renewables can supply all of India’s and its neighbours’ electricity. Meanwhile, the Indian government has launched a breakthrough International Solar Alliance at the climate conference in Paris. These news and a snapshot of our main studies and activities in 2015 in our newsletter.
November 2015: IEA under Pressure, 100% Renewables Feasible in 139 Countries, Emerging Markets’ Record Investments in Renewables
In November, Energy Watch Group has released two comprehensive analyses of the International Energy Agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report. The IEA keeps massively underestimating the potential of renewables while overrating conventional energy. Meanwhile, 100% renewable power is feasible in 139 countries, according to a new scientific study. And in 2015, emerging markets have for the first time invested more in renewables than industrial countries. These news and more in our EWG newsletter.
September 2015: IEA Undermines Renewables, Coal and Gas in Decline, Fossil Fuel Divestment on Rise
Surprisingly for many, global coal demand and shale gas production in the US have been in decline in the last months. Meanwhile, divestments from fossil fuel worldwide have increased fivefold since September 2014. The International Energy Agency keeps underestimating the potential of renewable energy, despite its exponential growth in the last decade. These news and more in our EWG newsletter.