The Ecologist


Energy: 1/25 of 1316
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Longleaf Pine Regeneration in South Carolina. Photo: Justin Meissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix

Nina Skorupska / Renewable Energy Association

27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal. more...

Biofuels from seaweed?

Laura Briggs

12th October, 2016

Seaweed is known for its culinary uses and has seen a renaissance in past years thanks to its health claims and a distinctive taste - but there are more ecological benefits to seaweed that currently remain untapped. more...

Feeding the Insatiable

7th October 2016

An international summit exploring real and imagined narratives of art, energy and consumption for a troubled planet, taking place at Schumacher College, Dartington, on 11th November 2016 more...
No place for oil drilling: lonely Mountain in the Sierra del Divisor national park, Peru. Photo: Diego Pérez / El Taller / Ministerio del Ambiente via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Peru: national park 'Master Plan' opens uncontacted tribe's land to oil drilling

Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd

7th October 2016

Full credit to Peru for creating the Sierra del Divisor national park in one of the most precious areas of the Amazon, write Lewis Evans & Sarina Kidd. But not for leaving it open to oil drilling, risking the future of uncontacted indigenous tribes that depend on their pristine rainforest environment to survive. more...
Much, much more of this to come? Anti-fracking campaigners at Cuadrilla drilling site at Balcombe, West Sussex. Photo: Sheila via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Cuadrilla fracking decision: shale industry's battle is beginning, not ending

Michael Bradshaw

7th October 2016

Sajid Javid's decision to allow shale gas wells to go ahead in Lancashire marks a new phase in the industry's development, writes Michael Bradshaw. But it will also trigger a new phase of organisation, protest and resistance among impacted communities. Cuadrilla, IGas and other companies may just find the 'social licence' they thought they didn't need is essential, after all. more...
Abandoned, and going nowhere: Japan's the Monju 'fast' nuclear reactor. Photo: Nuclear Fuel and Power Reactor Development Corporation (PNC) / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Japan abandons Monju fast reactor: the slow death of a nuclear dream

Dr Jim Green

6th October 2016

'Fast breeder' reactors are promoted by nuclear enthusiasts as the clean, green energy technology of the future, writes Jim Green. But all the evidence tells us they are a catastrophic failure: complex, expensive, unreliable and accident-prone. Is Japan's decision to abandon its Monju reactor the latest nail in the coffin of a dead technology? Or the final stake through its rotten heart? more...
Wall to wall solar panels on industrial buildings in Birmingham, UK, where the Aurora report was published this week. Photo: h080 via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Cheap as chips! 'Negligible' cost of integrating big solar into UK grid

Oliver Tickell

4th October 2016

A new study shows that the cost of 'integrating' the variable power output of large scale solar PV is surprisingly affordable, writes Oliver Tickell, at just a few pence per unit. Costs will fall further as more wind power, batteries and ever-cheaper solar drive the transition to a 100% renewable power system. more...
The Drax coal and biomass fired power station in North Yorkshire, one the UK's biggest point source emitters of greenhouse gases. Photo: Andrew Davidson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

#AxeDrax: campaigners unite for climate justice against coal and biofueled deforestation

Almuth Ernsting

18th October 2016

The Drax power station in North Yorkshire is among Britain's greatest greenhouse gas emitters, writes Almuth Ernsting. Not only is it burning some 6 million tonnes of coal every year, it is also burning its way through forests in the USA and other countries as it converts to biomass-fired units, rewarded by £1.3 million a day in subsidies. Join the #AxeDrax protest this weekend! more...
These yurts on Mongolia's 'sea of grass' are powered through a miniature solar microgrid that is both compact and lightweight for easy carriage on to the next site. Photo: Shutterstock.

Off-grid renewables: the sustainable route to 100% global electricity access

Adnan Z. Amin / IRENA

4th October 2016

Off-grid renewable energy is key to achieving the global goal of 100% electricity access by 2030, writes Adnan Z. Amin, and to achieving the emissions reductions enshrined in the Paris Agreement. Thankfully, a confluence of factors - including rapid cost declines and impressive technology innovations - are making this goal more achievable than ever, and investment in the sector is taking off. more...
Sadiq Khan speaking against Heathrow expansion at a protest at Parliament Square, London, 10th October 2015. Photo: Steve Eason via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

London's 'Greenest Mayor ever'? Sadiq Khan still has a lot to prove

Caroline Russell

30th September 2016

London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised electors that he would be the 'Greenest Mayor ever'. In spite of his apparent support for a new Thames road crossing in East London and an expanded London City Airport, he still has huge opportunities to make good his pledge. And Green Assembly Members will be working hard to make sure he does. more...
Among the 28 EDF nuclear power stations at risk: Sizewell B in Suffolk, England. Photo: Simon James via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sizewell B and 27 other EDF nuclear plants 'at risk of catastrophic failure'

Oliver Tickell

29th September 2016

A new report finds that 28 nuclear reactors, 18 of them EDF plants in France and one at Sizewell in the UK, are at risk of failure 'including core meltdown' due to flaws in safety-critical components in reactor vessels and steam generators, writes Oliver Tickell. The news comes as EDF credit is downgraded due to a growing cash flow crisis and its decision to press on with Hinkley C. more...
Aerial view of the completed Hinkley C project. Artists impression by EDF Energy.

Nuclear and fracking: the economic and moral bankruptcy of UK energy policy

Peter Strachan & Alex Russell

27th September 2016

With its choice of Hinkley Point C - a £100 billion nuclear boondoggle - its enthusiastic support for expensive and environmentally harmful fracking, and its relentless attack on renewable energy, the UK government's energy policy is both morally and economically bankrupt, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. It must urgently reconsider this folly and embrace the renewable energy transition. more...

Energy: 1/25 of 1316
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During April 14 - 23, 2014, WIPP recovery teams made multiple trips into the WIPP underground, eventually reaching Panel 7, Room 7 - the suspected location of the radiological event. Photo: WIPP.

WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion

Dr Jim Green

20th September 2016

The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world's only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green - and full operations won't resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix. more...
Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley C nuclear go-ahead: May caves in to pressure from France and China

Oliver Tickell

15th September 2016

The French and the Chinese may be celebrating the UK's decision to press ahead with the Hinkley C 'nuclear white elephant', writes Oliver Tickell. But the deal is a disaster for the UK, committing us to overpriced power for decades to come, and to a dirty, dangerous, insecure dead end technology. Just one silver lining: major economic, legal and technical hurdles mean it still may never be built. more...
Wind farm in India. Photo: Sundaram + Annam via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Renewables have the economic advantage over fossil fuels

Alex Kirby

15th September 2016

A new energy market analysis shows the average cost of electricity from renewables is already lower than from fossil fuels, writes Alex Kirby. And as renewables eat deeper into the 'market share' of coal and gas power plants, so the entire economics of fossil fuel power generation will unravel. more...
The pipelines that make up the 3,500km Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea to Italy’s Adriatic coast. Image: Bankwatch Network.

Azerbaijan-Italy gas pipeline defeats EU energy policy

Terry Macalister

14th September 2016

The European Investment Bank is set to offer €3 billion to build the 3,500 km Southern Gas Corridor pipeline from the South Caucasus to the EU, writes Terry Macalister - even though it would undermine EU climate change targets and exacerbate serious human rights abuses. more...
Jeremy Corbyn addressing a leadership rally, 8th August 2016. Photo: Paul Newport via Flickr (CC BY).

Jeremy Corbyn: my plan for Britain's green industrial revolution

Jeremy Corbyn

8th September 2016

Under my leadership Britain will act to protect the future of our planet, with social justice at the heart of our environment policies, writes Jeremy Corbyn. Meeting our Paris climate targets will be the starting point for a green industrial revolution that will deliver clean, affordable energy to all, create millions of new jobs, and establish the export industries of the future. more...
All adrift: Hinkley Point on a sea of mist. Photo: Mark Robinson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Dear Theresa: Let it go! Six powerful reasons to dump Hinkley C

Scientists for Global Responsibility

7th September 2016

Theresa May's first big decision as PM was to duck out of a signing ceremony and review the Hinkley C nuclear project. But she will soon have to reach her decision. In this open letter Scientists for Global Responsibility set out six compelling reasons for her to let the whole monstrous white elephant go. more...
Solar panels and wind turbine at Westmill Farm, Oxfordshire, which hosts several community financed renewable energy cooperatives. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Massive support for community renewable energy

Oliver Tickell

6th September 2016

A new opinion poll of 2,000 adults reveals more than two thirds of the public support renewable energy schemes where projects are undertaken at a community level and local people receive financial benefit. The support even extends to wind and solar farms close to people's homes. more...
The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie

6th September 2016

Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations. more...
How to green your photocopier? Easy - just change the default from single to double-sided copies, and most people will go along with it. Result? Save thousands of trees. Photo: Bruce Bortin via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Green by default - how a nudge and wink can save the planet

Cass R. Sunstein

27th September 2016

There's a simple way to induce us to make good environmental choices, writes Cass R. Sunstein: make them the default setting. Whether it's selecting double sided photocopies or renewable electricity tariffs, defining easily-overridden 'green defaults' is by far the most efficacious means to influence consumer choices for the environment and the planet. more...

Back to school? Schools that have installed solar panels threatened with an unfair tax bill

Ecologist reporter

5th September, 2015

How comes doing 'the right thing' comes with hidden costs? For state schools planning to go solar this year the business rate hike would reduce the lifetime return of the panels to zero or even negative, while those that have have already installed solar panels face an unexpected tax bill in excess of £800 a year. more...
Friends of the Earth South Korea is working with the students and teachers to build 'Solar Cooperatives' on the roofs of class rooms, with the electricity generated used to power these new 'solar schools'. Photo: FOEI.

G20: Dodged taxes could finance renewable power for world's poorest 50%

Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert

2nd September 2016

As the G20 meet in China this weekend, it's time for governments to finally get tough on the world's tax dodgers, write Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert. The missing tax revenues would be able to finance a 100% renewable electricity system covering half the planet by 2030 - a major step in raising living standards and tackling climate change. more...
If the unions were so bothered about jobs, they should be supporting renewables, not nuclear. But could it be that those are the 'wrong kind of jobs' - not unionised ones? Photo: Centre for Alternative Technology ( via Flickr (CC BY).

If it's jobs they want, Labour and the unions must back renewables, not Hinkley C!

Ian Fairlie

30th August 2016

Four of Britain's major unions are big supporters of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie - all because of the jobs. Now Labour's shadow energy minister has joined them in backing Hinkley C - even though renewable energy is a far better job-creator than nuclear, and already employs three times more people. more...

New study suggests pro-nuclear countries are making much slower progress on climate targets

James Hakner

24th August, 2016

With the UK's Hinkley Point deal hanging in the balance, a new study casts fresh doubts over future of nuclear energy in Europe, writes JAMES HAKNER more...


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