The Ecologist


Energy: 1/25 of 1104
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An Ecotricity wind turbine in Swaffham, Norfolk. Photo: Nick Ford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UK rigging power market against clean energy

Alex Kirby

7th October 2015

Ecotricity boss Dale Vince has accused the government of rigging the electricity market, writes Alex Kirby, by showering fossil fuels and nuclear power with huge subsidies, while taxing renewables and insisting they must 'stand on their own two feet'. more...
Opencast coal mine at Pont Neddfechan, Wales, UK. Photo: Ben Salter via Flickr (CC BY).

Global South campaigners tell UK planners: no new opencast coal mines!

Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades

7th October 2015

Campaign groups from Indonesia, Kenya and Peru have called on planners in the UK to turn down opencast coal mines in Co Durham and Derbyshire, write Anne Harris & Hal Rhoades. Not only do the mines damage local health and environment, say the activists. They also threaten global climate stability - and all countries must play their part in ending the world's coal addiction. more...
Meet the man Osborne just put in charge of the UK's energy policy: Lord Andrew Adonis. Photo: makeroadssafe via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's energy revolution - DECC's role usurped by new Infrastructure Commission

Oliver Tickell

7th October 2015

This week George Osborne took the entire energy policy brief out of the department for energy and climate change, and handed it to the new National Infrastructure Commission. It could mean a swift end to the Hinkley C nuclear plant and a new wave of renewables - but don't count on it. NIC chairman Lord Adonis is no green dreamer. But at least he takes energy seriously. more...
Aerial view of the Amazon rainforest, near Manaus, an area affected by fracking licences. Photo: Neil Palmer / CIAT for CIFOR on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brazil to auction Amazon fracking licences

The Ecologist

6th October 2015

Brazil is about to auction hundreds of fracking blocks across the country - extending deep into the Amazon forest including the territories of remote and vulnerable indigenous peoples. Registered bidders include BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. more...
When China General Nuclear Power Corporation (under its former name of China Guangdong Nuclear Power) built China's first nuclear power station at Daya Bay near Hong Kong, they left out reinforcement rods from the concrete base under the reactor. Photo: P

Serious issues for George Osborne on China's role in the UK's nuclear future

Jeffrey Henderson, University of Bristol

6th October 2015

George Osborne's silence over nuclear power in his conference speech yesterday speaks volumes, writes Jeffrey Henderson. Fresh from his trip to China to put together deals worth tens of billions with state-owned Chinese corporations to get Hinkley C and Bradwell nuclear plants built, he had nothing to say on the matter. Is it because too many serious questions remain unanswered? more...
EDF puts in place the reactor dome on the Flamville 3 EPR reactor in July 2013. But sadly it failed to make sure the reactor vessel that sits at its heart was up to scratch first. And it's not - it has serious metallurgical flaws that could end up sinking

Flamanville nuclear safety fail sounds death knell for Hinkley C

Oliver Tickell

2nd October 2015

Just as George Osborne is hoping to get China to invest billions in EDF's Hinkley C nuclear plant in Somerset, news from EDF's Flamanville nuclear site threatens to sink the project. French regulators are to demand another lengthy round of tests on its flawed reactor vessel. And if Flamanville isn't working by 2020, £17 billion of UK finance guarantees for Hinkley C will collapse. more...
Artists impression of the finished Hinkley C reactor. Image: EDF.

Hinkley C's claimed benefits evaporate under scrutiny

Paul Dorfman

6th October 2015

To explain their desperation to commit an estimated £76 billion of public money to the Hinkley C nuclear project, writes Paul Dorfman, the Treasury and its Chancellor, George Osborne, claim there are other benefits that justify this vast expenditure. So what exactly are they? And do the claims survive critical examination? more...
sHellNo! Flotilla Departure Blockade in Seattle's Elliott Bay, 15th June 2015. Photo: Jeff Dunnicliff / Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Shell's retreat from the Arctic - what tipped the scales?

Louise Rouse / Greenpeace Energydesk

30th September 2014

When Shell decided to quit its Arctic oil exploration it cited 'insufficient quantities' of oil and gas, writes Louise Rouse. But that was not the whole story: what tipped the balance was a combination of investor discontent, reputational damage and public opposition on an unprecedented scale. more...
Cooperative and renewable: the Westmill wind and solar farm in south Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Clean, affordable, secure, democratic: our green energy future

Lisa Nandy

30th September 2015

Britain has a huge role in effecting the global energy transition to renewables, new shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy told the Labour Party Conference. But that will mean a complete reversal of Tory policies to attack wind and solar, lock us into polluting fossil fuels and overpriced nuclear power, and maintain 'big six' profits at consumers' expense. more...
Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...
Yes we did! Shell no Kayak Flotilla climate stabilization demo in April 2015. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY).

Victory! Shell quits Arctic

Terry Macalister / the Guardian Environment

28th September 2015

Shell's US president says the oil giant's unpopular drilling operations in Alaska's Chukchi Sea will stop for the 'foreseeable future' as exploratory drilling finds little oil and gas to justify its $7 billion investment. more...
Sunset over Sellafield ... those nuclear liabilities will cost billions, and billions, for thousands of years. Photo: Dom Crayford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

When the party's over ... the financial spectre at the end of nuclear power

Dr Ian Fairlie

1st October 2015

There are two rules about the end costs of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie. It's far more than you ever knew. And whatever sum of money was ever set aside, it's nowhere near enough. Germany understands this. That's why it refused to let E.ON spin off its nuclear liabilities into a hands-off company. But the UK, it seems, has lost the ability to learn from its nuclear mistakes. more...

Energy: 1/25 of 1104
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Parabolic Trough Collectors in New Mexico, USA. They work by concentrating the sun's rays on an oil-filled tube running along the focal line of the trough. Photo: Randy Montoya / Sandia Labs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tory Conference: pledge the UK to the Global Apollo Program

Lord Richard Layard

5th October 2015

The government has an opportunity to show real leadership on energy and climate change this week, writes Richard Layard - by making the UK the first country to sign up to a global research effort to replace fossil fuels with renewables as the world's primary power source. more...
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee questions George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Hinkley C and other issues, 8th September 2015. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Shame upon them! The government's nuclear lies exposed

Oliver Tickell

23rd September 2015

The UK government and its Chancellor George Osborne are grossly misleading the public over the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, writes Oliver Tickell. Osborne's claim that nuclear is the 'cheapest low carbon technology' is the very reverse of the truth. He and his nuclear plans must be stopped. more...
The city of Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port, is among those to join the divestment movement. Port Waratah Coal Loader and freight train carrying steel. Photo: OZinOH via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Divestment pledges rise 50-fold to $2.6 trillion

The Ecologist

22nd September 2015

Pledges by investors to divest from fossil fuels have soared to $2.6 trillion - 50 times more than a year ago. 'Now is the time to divest', says Leonardo di Caprio, one of the latest to join the movement, which even includes Newcastle, Australia, home to the world's biggest coal port. more...
A new Chinese built and financed nuclear reactor for Bradwell, Essex? Believe it when you see it. Photo: Dan Davison via Flickr (CC BY).

Astonishing and awful: Osborne's nuclear deal with China

David Toke

22nd September 2015

The UK's decision to 'green light' £2 billion in guarantees for the Hinkley C nuclear power station indicates the government's increasing desperation, writes David Toke. Bar the shouting, has anything actually happened? The guarantees have not been issued, and the announcement of Chinese participation in a new reactor at at Bradwell remains ... an announcement. more...
At the New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos scientists are using genetic engineering to improve algae strains for increased biomass yield and carbon capture efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Re-engineering life? The dangers of 'next generation' biofuels

Almuth Ernsting

30th September 2015

The biofuels of the future will depend on microbes, writes Almuth Ernsting: algae to produce the biomass, and fungi or bacteria to break cellulose down into useful molecules. Just one problem: wild strains aren't up to the job. So scientists are trying to genetically engineer supercharged 'synthetic biology' variants - which will inevitably enter the environment. What could possibly go wrong? more...
To green the UK's electricity system, this is what we need a whole lot more of. Offshore wind turbine at Burbo Bank, Liverpool Bay, England. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Fliclr (CC BY-NC).

How the UK can get almost all its power from renewables - without new nuclear

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

21st September 2015

The government claims that we need nuclear 'baseload' power to keep the lights on, writes Damian Kahya. But a new study shows reliable, low carbon energy can be provided by combining diverse green technologies including efficiency, large scale renewables, 'smart grid', energy storage and rarely used fossil fuel backup. more...
He may not have such a pretty face as Amber Rudd, but George Osborne is the real energy secretary these days. However he's proving himself unable to put together a coherent energy policy. Photo: British High Commission, New Delhi (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear madness: £2 billion for Hinkley C. Why the Treasury must get its hands off energy

Oliver Tickell

21st September 2015

Today's announcement of a £2 billion government guarantee for Hinkley C confirms that Chancellor George Osborne and his Treasury cannot be trusted to run the UK's energy policy - which is precisely what they are doing. On top of decimating the renewables industry, now they're risking billions on a failed nuclear design owned by failing companies. It's time to stop the madness. more...
Radioactive emissions from the Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford, CT are associated with elevated breast cancer incidence in the Long Island Sound Counties. Photo: Dominion Energy vua NRC / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear power kills! The real reason the NRC cancelled its nuclear site cancer study

Chris Busby

19th September 2015

The US's Nuclear Regulatory Commission just cancelled its study into cancer near nuclear plants citing the 'excessive cost' of $8 million, writes Chris Busby. Of course that's rubbish - similar studies in the UK have been carried out for as little as £600 per site, and in any case $8 million is small change for the NRC. The real reason is to suppress the unavoidable conclusion: nuclear power kills. more...
Salisbury Cathedral took 46 years to build. Would Hinkley C be any quicker? Photo: Photo Phiend via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Hinkley Point must be stopped - even if you believe in nuclear

Chris Goodall

19th September 2015

UK support for low-carbon energy technologies is running at £250 million a year, writes Chris Goodall. Yet the government wants to throw four times more, every year for 35 years, at the Hinkley C nuclear power station, that could take almost as long to build as Salisbury Cathedral. more...
The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe.

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...
Beautiful but deadly: a golden sunset over the Pacific at Naraha, Fukushima, Japan. 'Scenery of Tears' Photo: Mirai Takahashi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population

Tim Deere-Jones

28th September 2015

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data. more...
Scout Moor Wind Farm is the second largest onshore wind farm in England. But under current government policies, there won't be many more of these. Photo: Gidzy via Flickr (CC BY).

UK drops out of top 10 countries for renewable energy

Emma Howard / the Guardian Environment

16th September 2015

A new report by accountancy giant EY says the UK's Conservative government has sentenced renewable energy sector to 'death by a thousand cuts', writes Emma Howard, and left investors puzzled at inexplicable policy changes. more...
All hail our fracking future! Prime Minister David Cameron on a visit to an IGas site in Gainsborough on 13th January 2014, flanked by company officials. Photo: Number 10 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking will only dig our fossil fuel addiction deeper

Oliver Tickell

16th September 2015

A new report on fracking and climate change from the Task Force on Shale gas presents a rosy picture of the fuel's role as a climate-friendly 'bridge' to a renewable energy future, writes Oliver Tickell. But the truth is the precise opposite - it's a climate disaster that will only delay the arrival of clean energy. more...


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