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Another Chernobyl? The Centrale Nucléaire de Tihange in Belgium was closed down a year ago after the discovery of 16,000 cracks in its reactor vessel. Now the government wants to start it up again. Photo: grotevriendelijkereus via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Nuclear renaissance? Failing industry is running flat out to stand still

Dr Jim Green

30th January 2016

Despite the endless rhetoric about a 'nuclear renaissance', there are fewer power reactors today than there were a decade ago, writes Jim Green. The one country with a really big nuclear build program is China, but no one expects it to meet its targets. And with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put. more...
The future is clean, inexpensive and renewable - if only the government can get over its nuclear obsession. Westmill Solar Park, with wind turbines behind. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government's nuclear fixation could ruin us all

Caroline Lucas MP

28th January 2016

EDF's unfolding fiasco over the Hinkley C nuclear power station proves that nuclear power can come only at enormous financial cost to consumers and taxpayers, writes Caroline Lucas - and even then, investors are scared off by the risks. The government must get over its nuclear obsession and seize our renewable future. more...
Hinkley C as it would look, if ever built: 'like building a cathedral inside a cathedral', says one nuclear engineer. Artwork: EDF.

Unable to raise Hinkley C nuclear cash, EDF turns to French government

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

Just as EDF was due to make its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C, writes Oliver Tickell, another delay. In spite of incredibly generous subsidies, the company is unable to finance it. Its last hope is to persuade the French state to take a 10% stake in the doomed project. more...
Now many members of EDF's board and most employees are agreed with this protestor in wanting EDF to drop its doomed Hinkley C project. Site blockade in October 2012. Photo: GLOBAL 2000 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

EDF's Hinkley C decision 'on a knife edge' as problems crowd in

Oliver Tickell

26th January 2016

The EDF board is meeting tomorrow to reach its 'final investment decision' on Hinkley C. It was meant to be a rubber stamp but now it's anything but, as EDF's share price sinks to a new low, unions and employee directors harden their opposition to the project, and projects in France, Finland and China run way over time and cost with severe technical problems and safety concerns. more...
Woe betide any politician with a bad word to say about wind power in Iowa, where it's big, getting bigger, and everyone loves it. Photo: Andrew Huff via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Politicians take note: Iowa is the US's most wind-powered state - and everyone loves it!

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

30th January 2016

As presidential contenders gather in Iowa for the beginning of the party selection season, they may have noticed a lot of wind turbines, writes Zachary Davies Boren. And if they have any sense, they will find only nice things to say about them. Wind supplies 30% of the state's power, more than any other US state, and Iowans are all for it. Ted Cruz, mind your words! more...
Installation of solar photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the Hongqiao Passenger Rail Terminal in Shanghai, China. Photo: Jiri Rezac / The Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

China's renewables drive down CO2 emissions

Lauri Myllyvirta / Greenpeace Energydesk

21st January 2016

China's 2015 carbon emissions fell for the second year running, by an amount equal to all of Poland's, while total power consumption increased, writes Lauri Myllyvirta. Credit goes to the massive expansion in renewable energy, with a record-breaking 47GW of wind and solar capacity added. more...
Alice Hooker-Stroud, leader of the Wales Green Party, on a hill overlooking her home town of Machynlleth in West Mid-Wales. Photo: Alex Randall via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Communities at the heart of a Green Wales

Alice Hooker-Stroud

21st January 2016

This May the Greens are hoping to win their first seats in the Welsh Assembly, and become a strong force for social and ecological progress, writes Alice Hooker-Stroud, newly elected leader of the Wales Green Party. At the heart of the vision: sustainable, prosperous, empowered communities. more...
The aftermath of a tornado in Bridge Creek, Oklahoma, 7th May 2015. Photo: Dave Malkoff via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Mother Nature's 'invisible hand' strikes back against the carbon economy

JP Sottile / Truthout

20th January 2016

According to classical economics Adam Smith's 'invisible' hand' of free markets produces the greatest good for us all, writes JP Sottile. But what happens when rip-roaring 'external costs' are left out of the equations? Wars, repression, pollution, resource destruction and climate change. And because that invisible hand is connected to Mother Nature, it's coming back to strike us. more...
Chart 1: Electrical power by source, June 2015. Image: Grant Wilson / energy-charts.org.

2015: Renewable power breaks British records

Grant Wilson, University of Sheffield

18th January 2016

Wind, solar and hydro together generated 14.6% of Britain's electrical energy in 2015, the highest ever, writes Grant Wilson. They also peaked at 22% of electricity over the week of Christmas - another British record. more...
A schematic of how hydrogenase catalyst can be used reversibly to produce hydrogen, and 'burn' it in a fuel cell. Image: Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biology, Humboldt University, Berlin.

'Green platinum' catalyst promises cheap fuel cells, emission-free fuels

Tim Radford

11th February 2016

Advanced new catalysts are poised to stimulate a clean energy revolution, writes Tim Radford. An organic replacement for the precious metal platinum would allow surplus electricity to be cheaply converted into hydrogen fuel, then burnt in low cost fuel cells to propel 'green' vehicles and generate power on demand. more...
A survivor of Typhoon Haiyan, Leyte, Philippines, 10th November 2013. Photo: Arlynn Aquino / EU ECHO via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Are fossil fuel giants violating human rights? The Philippines will decide

Ellen Baker / ClientEarth

13th January 2016

The Philippines is taking a huge leap forward in the climate wars, writes Ellen Baker, with the world's 'top 50' energy giants standing accused of violating international human rights law as a result of their fossil fuel production. This is the first such investigation ever to take place anywhere in the world - and it just opened up a whole new front of corporate vulnerability. more...
D12: on Saturday 12th December thousands of protestors marched from the Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower for climate action and climate justice. Photo: Takver via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

After Paris, the year of Climate Insurgency

Jeremy Brecher

13th January 2016

The Paris Agreement provides a clear mandate to limit global warming, writes Jeremy Brecher. And with governments doing nowhere near enough, it's up to ordinary citizens - through civil disobedience if needs be - to make sure the world breaks free from fossil fuels. Let's make 2016 the year of 'Climate Insurgency'! more...

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The Trident missile bearing nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard 'vents off' as she leaves HMNB Clyde in Scotland. Photo: Defence Images via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Trident, nuclear submarines and the UK's nuclear power imperative

Andy Stirling & Phil Johnstone

15th January 2016

The UK's nuclear power programme is driven by military demands, write Andy Stirling & Phil Johnstone - but not in the way you might think. The most essential need is not for plutonium or tritium, but for a nuclear industrial sector to design, build and maintain the reactors that power nuclear submarines. Without them, the Trident missile system would have no military credibility. more...
'I shall show you Life in a handful of jewels'. A cut gemstone of Blue Apatite. Photo: Captain Tenneal via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

What Life is

Christopher Busby

29th January 2016

The origin of life has long been the deepest of mysteries, writes Chris Busby. But in fact, the spontaneous arising of life from molecules in Darwin's 'warm little pond' is the inevitable result of their selective energisation by quantized infra-red radiation. Now, some four billion years after life first developed, precisely the same processes continue to drive the operation of all living systems at a cellular level. more...
Photovoltaic power station Kosh-Agachsky District, Russia. Photo: Darya Ashanina via Wikimedia (CC-BY-SA).

Asia's low-cost path to 100% renewable power in 15 years

Paul Brown

11th January 2016

Renewable energy could supply Russia and Central Asian countries with 100% of their electricity needs by 2030, writes Paul Brown - and cut costs significantly compared to nuclear power and CO2-abated fossil fuels. more...
EPR nuclear plant under construction at Olkiluoto in Finland in 2009 - the year it was due for completion. It may finally be ready in 2018 - or then, it may not. Photo: kallerna via Wkimedia (Public Domain).

EDF may sell €3bn stake in UK nuclear to fund Hinkley C

Terry Macalister / the Guardian & Oliver Tickell

8th January 2016

The cash-strapped French energy giant EDF may sell off profitable stakes in its in its eight existing UK nuclear reactors to raise money for the Hinkley Point C project. But with no example of the EPR design planned for Hinkley even near completion, it may all prove a risk too far. more...
Choices choices.. Photo by Sabotrax (CC-BY)

The great bathroom debate: paper towel or hand dryer?

Simon Lockrey

6th January 2016

Which of hand dryers or paper towels have the greatest impact on the environment? asks Simon Lockrey. Are your paper towels recycled or tree-pulped, your dryers power-hungry and long-blowing or short-blast and power-saving. Only full Life-Cycle Analysis can reveal the true punches these seemingly harmless items can deliver to our environment. more...
Giant poster announcing the construction of the Yangjiang nuclear complex in China. Photo: panoramio via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Nuclear power too slow for China's low carbon switch

Zhang Chun / China Dialogue

5th January 2015

Nuclear advocates take hope from China's plan for 58GW of new nuclear capacity, writes Zhang Chun. But nuclear's share of China's power supply is in long term decline, and the target is likely to be missed as faster, cheaper, nimbler renewables surge ahead. more...
Coal mine in Datong, Shanxi province, one of China's main  coal mining provinces. Photo: Michael Chu via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

China clamps down on coal mining

Kieran Cooke

4th January 2015

Beijing has called a halt to new coal mines and will close hundreds of existing operations, writes Kieran Cooke. The move reflects the slowing economy, falling energy demand, concerns over air pollution and climate change, and the massive rollout of renewables. more...
From small beginnings ... local barefoot solar engineer cleaning PV panels in village outside Ajmer, Rajasthan, India, in December 2008. Photo: Knut-Erik Helle via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

India: solar head to head with coal, says KPMG, and getting cheaper all the time

Chris Goodall

3rd January 2015

A KPMG study shows that the cost of solar power in India, revealed by public auctions, is barely half a cent above that of cheap local coal , writes Chris Goodall, with generators bids falling well below 5p (UK) / 7¢ (US) per kWh. The idea put about at COP21 that India and other poor but sunny countries need coal to develop their economies is fast running out of steam. more...
The Uentrop nuclear plant in Germany cost €2 billion to build, but was closed in 1989 after just 423 days of operation following irreparable technical failures. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

After 60 years of nuclear power, the industry survives only on stupendous subsidies

Pete Dolack

4th January 2016

Almost 60 years since the world's first commercial nuclear power station began to deliver power to the UK's grid, the industry remains as far from being able to cover its costs as ever, writes Pete Dolack. But while unfunded liabilities increase year by year, governments are still willing to commit their taxpayers' billions to new nuclear plants with no hope of ever being viable. more...
Reactor at Qinshan: many experts doubt nuclear power can make a significant contribution to China's future electricity needs. Photo: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited via Wikimedia Commons.

COP21 leaves nuclear dream adrift

Paul Brown

1st January 2015

Charlatans, or planetary saviours? Post-Paris views on the nuclear industry suggest few experts believe it will bring closer a world rid of fossil fuels, writes Paul Brown. Despite the best efforts of nuclear lobbyists, no revival is due any time soon. more...
Salar de Uyuni: lithium-rich salt piled up by miners for sale. Photo: Hank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bolivia's coming 'lithium boom': economic miracle or environmental nightmare?

Rafael Sagárnaga López

1st January 2016

Lithium is a key global resource for the global energy transition thanks to its role in the lightweight, efficient batteries that will power cars and balance power grids, writes Rafael Sagárnaga López. But the booming demand threatens to contaminate one of the world's great wonders, the Salar de Uyuni, 12,000 feet high in the Bolivia's Andes, which holds 70% of the world's lithium reserves. more...
No Fracking protest in London outside Parliament, 26th January 2015. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking plans are driving an even more damaging ideological agenda

Paul Mobbs

21st December 2015

The UK's insistence on opening up the UK to fracking is symptomatic of a deeper malaise, writes Paul Mobbs. Of course we need a change of government, but more than that, we need a deeper, enduring change of the nation's governance if we are ever to effect the transition to sustainable policies on energy and environment. It's time for the UK to become truly democratic. more...
It's not just the climate: the Belyando River, which drains much of the Galilee Basin, will never be the same again if the water-guzzling coal mining goes ahead. Photo: Lock the Gate Alliance via Flickr (CC BY).

After COP21, Australia's moment in history: will it ban the Carmichael coal mine?

Justine Bell, The University of Queensland

18th December 2015

The Paris Agreement is facing its first big test in Queensland, Australia, writes Justine Bell. After a long process beset by legal challenges, the massive Carmichael coal mine is inching closer to approval - which would open up the entire 250,000 sq.km Galilee basin and its 28 billion tonnes of coal to exploitation. Both state and federal governments have the power to ban it. But will they? more...

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