Denmark plans to run its entire energy system on renewable energy by 2050, with wind as its main power source. But how will it cope with issues such as energy distribution and storage, wind fluctuation and the unavoidable energy price hikes associated with long-term investment? Elisabeth Fischer speaks to the Danish Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard and the country’s leading industry experts to find out how they plan to tackle these challenges.
How effective is Europe’s new Energy Efficiency Directive in the context of the European sovereign-debt crisis? Elisabeth Fischer spoke to industry experts and European policy specialists to find out whether a new energy directive for Europe could provide a ray of sunshine amid the gathering clouds of financial uncertainty.
Due to lower costs and a smaller environmental impact, batteries are often the only viable option to store wind power. Elisabeth Fischer compares the new battery system at the Kodiak Electric Association’s utility in Alaska with other storage technologies, such as freewheelers, compressed air systems and cryogenic energy storage, to find out which technology is the best.
More than 150 indigenous tribes people are occupying one of the building sites for the $11.2bn Belo Monte dam across the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon, further delaying construction of the biggest hydroelectric power plant ever built.
Post-Fukushima, the debate on whether thorium is a better nuclear fuel than uranium has reached a new high. Looking across thorium-based nuclear developments in Japan, China, India, the UK and the US, we find out if thorium is as clean, green and safe as its supporters claim it to be.
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Stress tests conducted at European nuclear plants have found little wrong, but has enough been done post-Fukushima? Criticised for being unstructured, conducted too quickly and watered down, it is questionable whether regulators, operators and the public can draw an authentic picture of the status of safety at European nuclear power plants from them.
Fairly unscathed by the disaster in Fukushima, China still has the world’s most hard-line nuclear programme. Aiming to have more than 100 reactors in operation by 2020, the country is on its way of becoming a self-sufficient and sustainable nuclear player, but challenges such as security and safety issues and a lack of skilled professionals still stand in the way of China’s successful nuclear expansion.
Unable to produce power at night or during cloudy patches, solar is still fighting profitability issues. A new generation of concentrated solar power plants and nano-antennas, which capture residual heat, are set to tackle the issue and could revolutionise the industry in the near future. Elisabeth Fischer reports.
Latin America’s small hydro sector still faces great political and financial barriers, despite its huge potential. Elisabeth Fischer speaks to Ana Terroba Estrada, project implementation manager at South Pole Carbon Asset Management, about the hurdles hampering the grand potential of small-scale power generation.
To double its nuclear hold by 2030, Russia will have to become a driving force in an industry struck by crisis. But can technological progress and increased international collaboration disperse the concerns about the country’s ageing power plants and safety standards? Elisabeth Fischer reports.