Separating fact from fiction in newest U.S. federal ethanol study

corn ethanol SUV (photo Nyenyec)

The latest ethanol study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture mixes facts with fictions, writes John DeCicco of the University of Michigan. The study contains fundamental errors that undermine its claims that the use of corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions. … [Read more...]

EU energy package: What it means for coal, renewables and efficiency

Commissioners Anna-Kaisa Itkonen, Maroš Šefčovič, Miguel Arias Cañete present Winter Package (photo Europe by Satellite)

The literature on EU energy regulations got longer by about a thousand pages [on 30 November], as the European Commission put forward its vision for achieving a “clean energy transition”, writes Sophie Yeo for Carbon Brief. The vast collection of documents — including revisions to directives, impact assessments, enquiries and new regulations — will determine the future of energy in the EU up to 2030. It touches upon subjects including coal … [Read more...]

Biofuels turn out to be a climate mistake

Great Lakes BioEnergy Research Center in 2008 (photo Open University)

Biofuels are usually regarded as inherently carbon-neutral, but once all emissions associated with growing feedstock crops and manufacturing biofuel are factored in, they actually increase CO2 emissions rather than reducing them, writes John DeCicco of the University of Michigan. According to DeCicco, biofuels are actually more harmful to the climate than gasoline. Courtesy of The Conversation. … [Read more...]

Europe’s renewable transport targets need biofuels, they can’t be met with EVs alone

biofuels photo Robert Couse-Baker-slider

The decarbonisation of the transport sector presents a huge challenge for Europe, writes Paul Deane of the Environmental Research Institute in University College Cork, Ireland. Many people believe electric vehicles (EVs) are the answer, but according to Deane biofuels will need to deliver most of the targets for the time being. “EVs will have their day but it may be further down the road than we hoped.” … [Read more...]

IEA sees “major shift” – but not major enough

EP-News-Logo2 (1)-new

“A major shift in investment towards low-carbon sources of power generation is underway”, according to a first-ever detailed analysis of investment across the global energy system from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Yet, in non-OECD countries, “investment in conventional generation remains strong”, with over 75 GW of coal-fired power plants starting operation in 2015 in “developing Asia” – “as much as all renewable capacity additions in … [Read more...]

A reality check on renewable energy potential

Beijing (photo Asian Development Bank)

On a global level, the potential for renewable energy is more than sufficient, writes researcher Schalk Cloete. However, on a regional level, this is not the case, especially in developing Asia and Africa. Renewable energy technology forcing in these regions can have serious socio-economic consequences. … [Read more...]

Energy crops have been a major flop with farmers – here’s why

short rotation willow (photo SuSanA Secretariat)

In only a few years, biomass has become a major UK power source, supplying 3% of the total electricity supply. However, despite government incentives, UK farmers are largely unwilling to grow the feedstock for the biomass plants. Most of it has to be imported. Charles Warren, Senior Lecturer Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of St. Andrews, tried to find out why – and came to some very instructive conclusions. Courtesy The … [Read more...]