The Ecologist


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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...
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...
View south from the mine site to Narsaq below. Photo: Bill Williams.

Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top

Bill Williams

17th August 2018

A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams - just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project. more...
Tesla Powerwall battery keeping the solar lights on after sunset. Photo:

Battery revolution empowers consumers, unleashes renewables, imperils Big Energy

Emma Howard / Greenhpeace Energydesk

15th July 2016

Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities' business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it's going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. more...

Loud and proud: Beating the drum for renewables and why the UK's green credentials are worth shouting about

Louise Ward

4th July, 2016

Louise Ward, investor relations director at renewable energy investor Low Carbon, examines how Britain's renewable energy industry is starting to make other European countries green with envy. more...
Replace your halogen GU10 with an LED version like this one, and cut power demand from 50W to just 5W. Photo: Nicolas von Wilcke / KlaresLicht via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

The urgent case for an mass switch to LED lighting

Chris Goodall

7th June 2016

LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts. more...
Wind farms such as these in Palm Springs, California could be the answer to low-cost energy throughout the US. Photo: Prayitno Hadinata via flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Renewable Energy Closes ‘The Gap'

2nd June, 2016

The REN 21 Renewables Global Status Report

The Renewables 2016 Global Status Report just published by REN21 - The Renewables Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century - shows that renewables are now firmly established as competitive, mainstream sources of energy in many countries around the world, closing the gap between the energy haves- and have-nots more...
Wind farms such as these in Palm Springs, California could be the answer to low-cost energy throughout the US. Photo: Prayitno Hadinata via flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

'Renewable energy highways' offer quick fix for US emissions

Tim Radford

2nd February 2016

Scientists say interstate energy 'highways' offer a simple approach to delivering low-cost electricity to where it’s needed throughout the US, writes Tim Radford. The best part? It's using clean, renewable energy sources, and it can be achieved in the near future using only existing, mature technologies. more...
Where to get the money from to finance the transition to a low carbon economy? Simple: 'QE for climate' by the world's central banks. Photo: Pictures of Money via Flickr (CC BY).

'QE for climate' is the win-win solution for COP21

Dr. Matthias Kroll

25th November 2015

The governor of the Bank of England recently argued that the risk to the stability of the financial system from climate change is a responsibility of central banks, writes Matthias Kroll. They can begin by using QE - 'quantitative easing' - to finance the Green Climate Fund, and so stimulate the economy, rescue the climate, and save the global financial system. more...
Thanks to the sudden withdrawal of tax benefits for community energy projects, these waters at Abingdon Lock, Oxfordshire, will remain unharnessed for many years to come. Photo: Victor Bayon (CC BY-NC-SA).

George Osborne must back down on community energy tax

Georgina Matthews

11th November 2015

Surprise changes to the Finance Bill in its third reading have withdrawn tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy projects, writes Georgina Matthews. While some societies are rushing to complete their fund-raising by the end of the month, others have been forced to close. If these measures are not withdrawn, a small but flourishing sector will be at risk. more...
Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom taking questions from MPs last week on the cuts to renewable energy generation. Photo: still from Parliament TV.

Minister: 'solar companies back support cuts'

Joe Sandler Clarke & Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

25th October 2015

Just as the UK's entire renewable energy industry is up in arms against fierce cuts to support for the sector, energy Minister Andrea Leadsom suggested to MPs that the measures were supported by solar firms in her constituency. They beg to differ. more...
The Earthship at Stanmer Park, just outside Brighton, East Sussex, UK. Photo: Esa Ruoho via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Repowering renewables - a silver lining amid the gloom?

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2015

The Tories' decision to scrap the UK's renewable energy sector deserves condemnation, writes Oliver Tickell. But there is a silver lining: it creates the space in which to design better, cheaper, more cost effective support mechanisms to drive the clean energy revolution forward. more...

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Green is where the new. high quality, sustainable jobs are. But some governments just don't see it. Photo: Salvatore Barbera via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Green jobs: the potential is there, but where's the political will?

Jean Lambert MEP

11th August 2015

There is huge untapped potential in the green economy to create millions of decent jobs, writes Jean Lambert - but only if lessons are learned from the Government's flawed, now scrapped, Green Deal. Lesson one: we desperately need a well-funded, ambitious replacement. more...
Canunda wind farm, near Millicent, south-eastern South Australia. A composite of three photos, combined using Photomatix Pro. Early morning. Photo: David Clarke via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal closures give South Australia the chance to go 100% renewable

Mark Diesendorf

18th July 2015

Moving to 100% clean, renewable energy is a win-win option for South Australia, writes Mark Diesendorf. First of all it's highly doable over a 25-year transition period. It will also bring lower power prices, more employment, better health and a cleaner environment. What's not to like? more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
Destruction driven by the 20% VAT penalty on property refurbishment? Demolition of Wychwood House on the Woodberry Down Estate, London in June 2007. Photo:  Sarflondondunc via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Use VAT to reward 'green' refurbishment - not demolition

Duncan Baker-Brown

19th March 2015

Another budget, another missed opportunity: the VAT system charges the full 20% on home upgrades, but 'zero-rates' developers who demolish and rebuild, writes Duncan Baker-Brown. Instead we should target VAT to reward those who meet 'green' criteria for energy efficiency and sustainability. Chancellors in waiting, listen up! more...
The Westmill renewable energy cooperative in Oxfordshire - a new model for the UK's energy future? Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

With corporate energy, we're stuck in the dark ages - let's switch to public ownership

Calum McGregor

23rd March 2015

Britain's corporate energy oligarchy has failed us, writes Calum McGregor. It's given us widespread fuel poverty, unfair tariffs, constant price hikes, billions siphoned off to shareholders, and chronic under-investment in renewables. Now is the time for a new model: public and co-operative ownership of energy infrastructure under participative democratic control. more...
Westmill Solar Park, Oxfordshire, is the world's largest community owned solar installation. Rated at 5MW, it covers 30 acres. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr.

Green energy co-ops blocked by UK financial regulator

Adam Vaughan / Guardian Environment

15th August 2014

The FCA is accused of undermining official policy by refusing new applications for community energy projects with a co-operative structure, writes Adam Vaughan. The key question: what is a bona fide co-op? Is investment alone a valid form of participation? more...
With batteries and a local microgrid, this PV-powered house near Boston, Massachusetts, could eliminate its dependence on grid-supplied power. Photo: Gray Watson ( / Wikimedia Commons.

For the next energy revolution, we must deregulate power grids

Bill Watkins

14th August 2014

How do we spur more microgrids powered by renewable energy? Deregulate, writes Bill Watkins, ending the monopolies enjoyed by centralized energy companies. The alternative is to keep consumers and micro-generators stuck with the energy equivalent of the 'Princess' phone. more...
A solar-powered thatch hut. Photo: Ashden.

Reaping the benefits of community energy

Emily Haves

31st July 2014

Donors, NGOs and investors want to help grassroots sustainable energy enterprises grow, so they can bring the myriad benefits of clean and affordable energy to many more people, writes Emily Haves. But just what kind of support is needed? more...
Westmill Solar Park, Oxfordshire, is the world's largest community owned solar installation. Rated at 5MW, it covers 30 acres. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr.

Will the carbon bubble burst your pension?

Rebecca O'Connor

8th August 2014

What's the biggest threat to your life savings you've never heard of? Rebecca O'Connor shows how the world's exposure to unburnable carbon assets, and competition from clean energy technologies, could hammer your savings, pensions and investments. more...
From derelict fishing gear to carpet. Photo: USFWS Puget Sound Coastal Program / Joan Drinkwin via Flickr.

Carpet giant Interface goes for 'sustainability gold'

Sophie Morlin-Yron

27th May 2014

Interface's sustainability model shows how large industrial companies can slash their carbon emissions and other environmental impacts without compromising profitability, reports Sophie Morlin-Yron. The key is to aim high! more...
Hinkley Point nuclear plant, viewed across the reedbeds from Steart. Quantock Hills in the background. Photo: Mark Robinson via

Hinkley C - a nuclear subsidy too far

Paul Dorfman

8th April 2014

As the European Commission considers the £100 billion subsidy package the UK has offered EDF to build and operate Hinkley C nuclear power station, Paul Dorfman explains why the 'deal' is illegal, anti-renewables, and ruinous to energy users and tax payers. more...
Two thirds of the energy companies coal, oil and gas resources will have to stay in the ground to protect the climate. Photo: eastcolfax via

Financial markets should get serious on climate policy

Sam Fankhauser

22 March 2014

Climate policy could bite on fossil fuel resource values much faster than financial markets anticipate, writes Sam Fankhauser. It's time investors wised up to the hazards of investing in fossil fuels, when two thirds of them may have to remain unexploited. more...
John Sinfield

Mr Cameron: will it be heating or eating this winter?

John Sinfield

12th November 2013

The MD of Britain's largest insulation company demands: back warm, efficient homes now, or condemn millions to cold, damp and sky-rocketting fuel bills. more...


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