Net Zero: EU proposes to label gas and nuclear power as green

Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.

The Lead

The European Union has plans to label some gas and nuclear power as green, a proposal that has been met with criticism from several member-states. The plans argue that both gas and nuclear are important to aiding the transition to cleaner power.

“It is necessary to recognize that the fossil gas and nuclear energy sectors can contribute to the decarbonization of the Union’s economy,” the proposal reads.

Under the plan, gas and nuclear power plants would need to maintain high environmental standards to be considered green. Nuclear plants would also have to implement strict waste disposal plans.

Despite these provisions, the proposal still received widespread criticism from environmental organizations. Many activists claim the Union attempted to bury the proposal by releasing the rules on its green investment guidebook on New Year’s Eve.

“The European Commission couldn’t have tried harder to bury this proposal,” said Harry Eviston, a World Wildlife Federation spokesperson on sustainable finance.

The proposal will become law in 2023, should a majority of EU members support the plan. BBC News has more details.


Over the holidays, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is ready to start exports, which should calm gas prices across Europe.

“This, for sure, will have an immediate impact on price on the market, on the spot. And all the countries, the consumers in those countries that consume the Russian gas, of course, will feel it themselves,” Putin said. Reuters has that story.

Still in Europe, Germany has shut down half of its six nuclear power plants that were still in operation. The country’s remaining three nuclear plants, located in Emsland, Isar and Neckarwestheim, will be powered down by the end of the year. The Associated Press has more.

Denmark’s government has announced its intention of eliminating the use of all fossil fuels in domestic flights by 2030. The same goal was announced earlier this year by the Swedish government. BBC News also has that story.

Meanwhile, at least 38 people died after a Sudanese gold mine collapsed last week. Al Jazeera has the details.

On Tuesday morning at 10:43 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$77.27 and Brent Crude was going for US$80.23.

In Canada

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said that she had received both an engagement report and a final report from the province’s independent coal policy committee, which provides recommendations regarding the future of coal mining in the Rocky Mountain foothills.

Savage said the provincial government will take time to review and analyze the report’s findings before releasing them to the public. The Canadian Press has the full story.

Still in Alberta, the Calgary-based TransAlta announced it had completed the transition from coal to natural gas in its Canadian power generation, nine years ahead of a government deadline.

The company said the conversion maintains the current power generation capacity, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by almost 50 per cent. More on that from the Canadian Press.

The Qulliq Energy Corporation announced that the construction of a new power plant in Arctic Bay, Nunavut, has been completed and the facility is now operational. Nunatsiaq News has the details.

Finally, the Toronto-based mining company Centerra Gold has outlined its expected terms to settle a dispute with the Kyrgyz Republic, after the country seized the company’s Kumtor mine last year, citing environmental and safety concerns. The Canadian Press also has that story.

Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$61.58 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$60.08 this morning at 10:43 a.m.


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