Energy hit everyone’s headlines in 2022. On 24 February, we pivoted to cover the cascading effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and parked all else. Bit by bit, those other stories came back however, to claim their space at the top of our homepage. Because the energy transition – Energy Monitor’s raison d’être – became more not less important with the Russian invasion.
With global fossil fuel markets in turmoil, energy security back in the spotlight and now inflation and a cost of living crisis to boot, these are the topics that are making headlines: energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear power, green hydrogen, energy storage, electric vehicles and critical minerals.
Energy Monitor‘s most-read stories of 2022 reflect a new urgency to understand and engage with the global energy transition to net zero. Our live EU electricity generation map remains your favourite page – this year and of all time – a place to see for yourself the recent uptick in coal-fired power generation as well as more wind and solar power.
Our second most-read story of 2022 is the first in a new “Top Ten” series we pioneered in September: The world’s top ten solar superpowers. Using exclusive data from our parent company GlobalData, this piece of data journalism tells you which countries have transitioned their power systems the most towards solar power. Who would have guessed that the Netherlands is number six?
Our third most popular story is another data journalism regular: a Weekly data piece that centres on a visualisation, in this case, How many birds are really killed by wind turbines in the US? Yes, we cite a specific number, yes, we contextualise it, and yes, we look at how that number might evolve with the predicted increase in wind power in the US out to 2050.
Next on the list is one of three stories in the top 10 most-read pieces that analyse directly the fall-out of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. What will be the impact of Western sanctions on Russia? How can the EU end its dependence on Russian gas? And What the Ukraine conflict means for Europe’s energy crisis. With one small precision: that last piece actually analysed the potential consequences of a Russian invasion of Ukraine before it happened (the piece was published on 8 February)!
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Our fifth most-read story in 2022 is about pumped hydropower’s comeback as a net-zero stalwart. This is the story that would have gone out on 24 February if Russia had not invaded Ukraine. It is testament to the renewed urgency of the energy transition that a story like this is one of our top 10 most-read articles, despite the delay to publication and no direct link to the conflict. Other renewables stories in the most-read list are about farmers profiting from solar power, thermal storage and the mystery of the UK’s untapped tidal power.
Nuclear power is also back on many lips as a potential alternative to fossil fuels to deliver both energy security and net zero. Little wonder that explorations of small modular reactors, nuclear fusion, China’s nuclear pipeline and Dutch plans to build new nuclear plants proved popular. Our journalists investigated why these are taking so long, whether they can realistically play a role in net zero, how big exactly that pipeline is and whether ambition can overcome cost and skills challenges, respectively.
Finally, the social dimension of the energy transition has gained fresh prominence as we find ourselves in a cost of living crisis on the back of fossil fuel-driven inflation. An explanation of the UK’s energy price cap towards the end of the year and a cautionary tale of Spain’s energy poverty at the start of it, have proven valuable resources.
Overall, Energy Monitor can look back on a productive year that saw us more than triple our number of users, double our unique page views, and increase the average time per page by over a third, compared with 2021. It is great to see our data journalism feature so prominently in our list of most-read stories. With the energy transition centre-stage as a way out of the climate crisis, energy security crisis and cost of living crisis, Energy Monitor will give you the data, analysis and comment you need to make a success of 2023.
Energy Monitor’s most-read stories of 2022
1. Live EU electricity generation map (10 December 2021; by Georges Corbineau, Nick Ferris and Josh Rayman)
2. The world’s top ten solar superpowers (22 September 2022; by Nick Ferris)
3. Weekly data: How many birds are really killed by wind turbines? (31 January 2022, by Nick Ferris)
4. What will be the impact of Western sanctions on Russia? (9 March 2022; by Oliver Gordon)
5. Pumped hydro resurfaces as a net-zero stalwart (11 April 22, by Oliver Gordon)
6. Small modular reactors: What is taking so long? (20 September 2022; by Oliver Gordon)
7. How can the EU end its dependence on Russian gas? (11 May 2022; by Isabeau van Halm)
8. Can nuclear fusion power the race to net zero? (31 January 2022; by Oliver Gordon)
9. What the Ukraine conflict means for Europe’s energy crisis (8 February 2022; by Oliver Gordon)
10. The UK energy price cap explained (30 August 2022; by Isabeau van Halm)
11. The farmers profiting from the solar power boom (1 February 2022; by Nick Ferris)
12. Why the LNG ‘gold rush’ could soon turn to dust (16 February 2022; by Nick Ferris)
13. Can thermal storage fire up the net-zero transition? (8 August 2022; by Oliver Gordon)
14. Booming EV sales challenge critical mineral supply chains (14 February 2022; by Isabeau van Halm)
15. Weekly data: China’s nuclear pipeline as big as the rest of the world’s combined (20 December 2021; by Nick Ferris)
16. Carbon trading the Chinese way (5 January 2022; by Renato Roldao)
17. Spain’s rising energy poverty: A cautionary tale for Europe (19 January 2022; by Anna Gumbau)
18. The mystery of the UK’s untapped tidal power (8 June 2022; by Nick Ferris)
19. The Dutch nitrogen crisis shows what happens when policymakers fail to step up (16 August 2022; by Isabeau van Halm)
20. The Netherlands opens the door to new nuclear with €5bn (27 January 2022; by Isabeau van Halm)