The Ecologist


Renewables: 25/50 of 356
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Platinum Catalyst in Aqueous Solution: the oxygen atoms, in water, are red; the hydrogen molecules are white, and platinum atoms are blue-gray. High-level details of the structure can be seen in the reflections of each atom surface. Photo: Argonne Nationa

Hydrogen car price breakthrough: it's the platinum

The Ecologist

14th October 2015

Hydrogen cars - and the fuel cells that drive them - are about to get a whole lot cheaper thanks to a redesign of the platinum catalyst that makes them work, writes Oliver Tickell. By inserting atom-sized holes into the precious metal's surface, its activity can be trebled. more...
The UK nuclear-armed submarine HMS Vigilant returns to port. Photo: Defence Images (CC BY-NC).

Making sense of the UK's muddled energy policy - is it all about nuclear weapons?

Philip Johnstone & Andy Stirling

14th October 2015

On the face of it, the UK's policy to pursue nuclear power at all costs, while destroying the renewable energy sector, is totally illogical, write Philip Johnstone & Andy Stirling. But then it may make perfect sense - if only you accept that it's really all about maintaining the country's role as a nuclear weapons state for generations to come. And the 'deep state' has a way of getting its way. more...
Wind turbines at Rossendale, England. Photo: reway2007 via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Wind turbines and solar panels into nuclear weapons: the UK's new industrial strategy?

Dr Stuart Parkinson

15th October 2015

The UK government is punishing renewable energy for its success in generating 25% of the country's electricity, writes Stuart Parkinson. But there's no austerity when it comes to the bloated military-nuclear industrial sector, no matter how egregious its failures or extreme its cost overruns. Our future prosperity is being sacrificed - and its costing taxpayers billions. more...
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...
Look, no pollution! The 2016 Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicle. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Dieselgate - our wake-up call for new car technologies

Harry Hoster, Lancaster University

8th October 2015

The real lesson of Volkswagen's 'dieselgate' scandal is that we must ditch petroleum fuels, writes Harry Hoster. There's new, clean technologies just waiting to take off - and the most promising is fuel cells. They will also fit right into the new world of renewables, with surplus power from wind and solar making the hydrogen they burn. 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...
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...
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...
Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new solar installation in Little Buffalo, Alberta. Photo: Greenpeace Canada via Youtube.

Energy democracy: Lubicon Cree build a solar dream in a tar sands nightmare

Melina Laboucan-Massimo

15th November 2015

An 500-strong Indigenous community in Alberta, the heart of Canada's environmentally catastrophic tar sands industry, is fighting back against the pollution, writes Melina Laboucan-Massimo - by cutting themselves adrift from dependence on fossil fuels, and starting up their own solar power station: a vital first step towards building a just and sustainable society. more...
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...
Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design.

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...
Sweden's Red-Green coalition is determined to deliver the goods on climate, environment and social justice. Wild flowers at Kiruna, Sweden. Photo: Kathryn Waychoff / Dartmouth / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY).

They really mean it! Sweden's Green transition gathers pace

Dominic Hinde

24th September 2015

There could hardly be a bigger contrast to the UK, writes Dominic Hinde. Sweden is closing airports and nuclear plants, selling off coal mines, spending billions to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, increasing green spending in developing countries, and is determined to lead by example at COP21 in Paris. Will other nations follow the green trail they are blazing? more...

Renewables: 25/50 of 356
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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...
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...
Construction will soon begin at the Fylde solar farm in Lancashire. Toyota Solar Array under construction at Burnaston, UK. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Solar farm approved at rejected fracking site

Ben Lucas /

11th September 2015

A stones throw from where Cuadrilla lost its bid to develop a fracking operation in Lancashire, a solar farm has just won planning permission with widespread local support, writes Ben Lucas. However a 194-turbine offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight has been refused planning consent. more...
Maybe he has a better idea? Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide on a spacewalk, 5th September 2012. Photo: Fragile Oasis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Osborne's nuclear fantasies - can you hear me Major Tom?

Doug Parr

10th September 2015

This week Chancellor George Osborne told Parliament that the power from the planned Hinkley C nuclear plant would be cheaper than onshore wind, writes Doug Parr. That could be true on Planet Zog - but here on Earth the reverse is the case. Exactly what are Osborne and his Treasury mandarins smoking? more...
Scotland's Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil with Kimberley Stoddart, a tenant of West of Scotland Housing Association. Photo: Scottish Government via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Community Energy Fortnight - to participate is to resist!

Jonathon Porritt

11th September 2015

This year's Community Energy Fortnight is taking place at a strange time, writes Jonathon Porritt, with the entire renewable energy industry under government attack as never before. What can we do about it? For a start, by joining in some of the hundreds of events that are taking place across the UK! more...
TidalStream T36 at FORCE Berth, Bay of Fundy. Photo: still from Youtube video by Windmill John (see embed).

Floating turbines could harness the awesome power of the tides

Ross Jennings

18th September 2015

Tides in the UK's coastal waters could be generating 10GW of clean power, representing half of Europe's tidal resource, writes Ross Jennings. So far it's going unexploited, but a new generation of lightweight, low cast tidal turbines that float off the surface could soon get that electricity into our homes and businesses. more...
Solar deals are now being struck in Texas, USA, for under $60 / MWh. Duke Energy’s 14MW Blue Wing Solar Project in San Antonio, Texas with nearly 215,000 photovoltaic solar panels. Photo: Duke Energy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The solar age is upon us

Chris Goodall

1st September 2015

Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere. 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...
An end to the UK's solar industry? Solar panels on a house near the Northfield bypass, England. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY).

Government kills off UK solar industry

Oliver Tickell

27th August 2015

The UK government is to cut support for domestic rooftop solar to 13% of current levels, with similar cuts for bigger systems, and end all support for small scale renewables by 2019. The likely result, and surely the intention, is to kill off the UK's solar industry altogether. more...
The 'plonkable heliostats'. doing their job. Photo:

'Plonkable' mirrors promise cheaper solar energy

Jeffrey Barbee / Guardian Environment

26th August 2015

The 'other' solar technology, CSP, which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays, is about to get a lot cheaper, writes Jeffrey Barbee. A South African team has developed a low cost design suitable for mass production that can be 'plonked' on site straight from the factory. more...
The New York Steam Company commenced its piped heat distribution in the city in 1882. Steam venting from the street at 33rd and 5th Avenue, December 2007. Photo: Paul Churcher via Flickr (CC BY).

Time to tap in to an underused energy source: wasted heat

Rob Raine

10th September 2015

The single biggest energy service we all need is heat, writes Rob Raine - yet it's largely ignored in the energy policy discourse. By focusing on heat as well as power, we can accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources and - because heat stores are far cheaper than batteries - keep the costs down. more...


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