Energy Transition

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From renewable energy to nanotechnology to industrial heritage tourism- this short video highlights how some former coal regions have transformed themselves in preparation for life after coal. 

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While utilities in Ohio and elsewhere have sought “around market” charges after affiliated coal and nuclear plants became less competitive, Germany’s large utilities are charting new paths forward.

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A new law that took effect in Poland earlier this month could kill growing competition from land-based wind farms by expanding setback requirements tenfold and increasing tax burdens.

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Despite an ongoing freeze on state policies to boost clean energy in Ohio, efforts to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy are underway in Cleveland and the rest of Cuyahoga County.

Centre for Alternative Technology working out the next step on a rooftop PV installation
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In relation to the rest of Europe, the UK’s role as market, nuclear, and shale gas champion has brought its policies into sharp relief in contrast to countries such as Germany and Austria.

View of the Schlegeisspeicher (a reservoir lake for a hydroelectric power plant) in the Zillertaler Alps, across from the Große Greiner
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At first glance, the Austrian performance in the energy sector looks quite bright: In the year 2014, about 33% of the gross final energy consumption was provided by renewable energy sources.

The cooling towers of the Temelin Nuclear Power Plant in the Czech Republic
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In 2015, a new State Energy Policy came into effect in the Czech Republic. While government plans still rely heavily on new nuclear reactors, new government strategies on renewables raise hopes.

Protester holding sign stating "Katowice choked by smog", protesting the notoriously high smog levels in Poland
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2015 saw Polish PV increase by 240% and wind power generation by 40%. Despite these impressive numbers, Poland still remains the kingdom of coal.

 

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As it is in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States, the coal industry in Poland is declining amid economic and environmental pressures. And the industry’s political and cultural importance is prompting calls for government action to save it.

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China set world records, again, in 2015 with its rapid renewable energy development, but China's continued overreliance on coal suggests a long road ahead towards a true clean energy transition.

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