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Landscape with hundreds of wind turbines close to the North Sea in Ostfriesland, Germany.

Germany's green power surges ahead - at a price that's finally falling

Gert Brunekreeft

22nd October 2014

Germany's transition to a renewable power system is on track, writes Gert Brunekreeft. But it's costing households €218 a year in surcharges, causing voter enthusiasm to wane. That may be about to change though. The surcharge is about to fall, while targets stay the same - a sign that renewable energy costs may be falling faster than expected. more...
An artist's impression of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Image: EDF Energy media library.

NAO investigates Hinkley C nuclear subsidies

Terry Macalister / The Guardian

17th October 2014

Hinkley C's subsidy package may have won European Commission approval - but now it faces a National Audit Office 'value for money' investigation, following a demand from a powerful Parliamentary committee. more...
Infrastructure for shale gas in Scio, Ohio, Photo: Bilfinger SE via Flickr.

Global fracking boom could mean 12% higher emissions

Erik Bichard

17th October 2014

A full-scale rush for shale gas would increase emissions, writes Erik Bichard, giving the lie to politicians' claims that fracking is 'climate friendly'. A new study in Nature shows that abundant shale gas would cause CO2 emissions to rise by a median 4.5%. When 'fugitive' methane is included the figure rises to 9.5%. more...
Owen Paterson meets Hillary Clinton. Photo: from owenpaterson.org.

Keeping the lights on

Owen Paterson

16th October 2014

Last night's speech on Britain's energy choices by former environment secretary Owen Paterson's caused widespread outrage long before it was delivered. But what exactly did he say on the night? Read on, and be surprised to discover that it makes excellent sense - in parts. more...
Greenpeace demonstration in Olkiluoto, Finland. Photo: Greenpeace Finland via Flickr.

Hinkley C will cost Britain dear - if it's ever built

Keith Barnham

15th October 2014

The UK Government promises that the Hinkley C 'EPR' nuclear reactor will lower electricity bills, but Keith Barnham shows that this is the very reverse of the truth. Our best hope is that it will never be built. Legal challenges aside, no sane investor will commit until one of the two EPR prototypes is working, which will be in 2016 at the earliest. more...
Keeping it clean: a hydropower site at Holbuvatnet in the highlands of eastern Norway. Photo: Ximonic / Simo Räsänen via Wikimedia Commons.

Renewables can supply 100% of world's power by 2050

Tim Radford

15th October 2014

The first ever global life-cycle assessment of clean energy sources shows that a renewable system could supply the world's entire electricity needs by mid-century, writes Tim Radford. more...
The Prostitute State

Nuclear power trumps democracy

Donnachadh McCarthy

9th October 2014

The UK's political mainstream has performed a complete U-Turn in policy on nuclear power, culminating yesterday in the European Commission's approval of a £15-20 billion subsidy package for the Hinckley C project. Donnachadh McCarthy delves into the nuclear industry's deep and far-reaching political links. more...
Hinkley Point B. Photo: Ken Grainger / geograph.org.uk via Wikimedia Commons.

Hinkley C gets the go-ahead - but will it prove a dodgy nuclear deal too far?

Paul Dorfman

8th October 2014

The outgoing European Commission has just given the UK's controversial Hinkley C nuclear project the go-ahead, writes Paul Dorfman - approving a deal that will cost the UK public tens of billions of pounds. But now the deal faces a legal challenge in the European Court of Justice. more...
Hi-power halogen spotlights at the dumpling deli. Photo: Kay via Flickr.

Ban halogen bulbs to cut costs, pollution, and 'keep the lights on'

Chris Goodall

7th October 2014

There's a simple thing we can do to cut everybody's electricity bills, reduce pollution and 'keep the lights on' when demand peaks on dark winter evenings, writes Chris Goodall - phase out power-guzzling halogen bulbs and replace them with LEDs that use a fraction of the power. So let's do it! more...
The Solucar PS10 solar tower near Seville in southern Spain. Photo: Alejandro Flores via Flickr.

IEA: Solar could be world's biggest power source by 2050

Mike G / DeSmogBlog

10th October 2014

Solar power could be producing over a quarter of the world's electricity within 35 years, according to the International Energy Agency. But in the US, Congress's failure to extend solar tax credits is causing projects to be withdrawn.
more...
This 62.5 MW Experimental Breeder Reactor (EBR-II) at the Argonne National Laboratory (USA) was built in 1965 and closed in 1994 due to its abysmal economics and proliferation concerns. The design is the basis of the PRISM and Integral Fast Reactors being

'New' reactor types are all nuclear pie in the sky

Jim Green

2nd October 2014

There's an Alice in Wonderland flavour to the nuclear power debate, writes Jim Green. Lobbyists are promoting all sorts of new reactor types - an implicit admission that existing reactors aren't up to the job. But the designs they are promoting have two severe problems. They don't exist. And they have no customers. more...
Green and pleasant - GPT head office, Sydney. Photo: Woods Bagot.

Putting people at the heart of climate-friendly buildings

John Alker

24th September 2014

Energy efficiency in office buildings struggles to gain the attention of top management, writes John Alker - because energy is too cheap to really matter. But with 90% of operating costs spent on staff, show that green building design makes employees happier and more productive, and you're really onto something ... more...

energy: 1/25 of 870
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The Abengoa solar tower, Spain. Photo: Alex Lang via Flickr.

'Political will is only barrier to 100% renewables'

Paul Brown

22nd September 2014

A report published ahead of tomorrow's UN Climate Summit shows that we can meet all our energy needs from renewables, writes Paul Brown - poor nations and prosperous, tiny islands and great cities, in any part of the globe. And some are doing it already .... more...
Scheduled for completion in 2009, the Olkiluoto-3 nuclear plant is still under construction, and Areva is no longer projecting a completion date. Costs are running at roughly triple initial estimates. Photo: BBC World Service via Flickr.

Three in every four nuclear power builds worldwide are running late

Oliver Tickell

19th September 2014

A review of the 66 nuclear reactors 'under construction' worldwide shows that 49 are running behind schedule, including all five in the US and most in China. The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change. more...
After a history of accidents at the site, the three ageing reactors at Mihama, Japan, are among those likely never to restart. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co via IAEA Imagebank / Flickr.

Rocky road ahead for Japan's nuclear restart

Jim Green and Peer de Rijk / Nuclear Monitor

26th September 2014

Japan's government is trying to get its failing nuclear power industry up and running, write Jim Green and Peer de Rijk. But in the post-Fukushima world, it faces formidable obstacles. Experts believe most reactors will never restart - and Japan's stricken utilities may have to find $30 billion or more to finance their decommissioning. more...
Has the BBC forgotten its commitment to impartial journalism? Photo: BBC handbook 1963, by Gordon Joly via Flickr.

The BBC, Friends of the Earth and nuclear power

Neil Crumpton

16th September 2014

At first it looked like a journalistic coup, writes Neil Crumpton - the BBC's 'scoop' that FOE was no longer opposed to nuclear power. Except that FOE remains firmly anti-nuclear as it has been for decades. The spotlight must now be turned on the BBC itself, and its little-known but shocking links to the nuclear industry more...
Jean-Claude Juncker in a moment of satisfaction following his election by the European Parliament as President of the Commission. But now, will his Commissioners implement his vision? Photo: European Parliament.

How will the new EU team line up on GMOs, TTIP and energy?

Lawrence Woodward

11th September 2014

We have a new European Commission - so what does it mean for the environment, GMOs and trade negotiations? Lawrence Woodward can't help feeling that the best part of the package is Commission President Juncker himself. Now, will his 'team' pull together and work to deliver his vision? We can't quite count on it. more...
San Onofre Beach State Park, California. In the background, a nuclear power station. Two of the three generating units are now closed. Photo: Luke Jones via Flickr.

Nuclear power - insanity at taxpayers' and consumers' expense

Ralph Nader

12th September 2014

Nuclear power exists for one reason only, writes Ralph Nader - government support. Without the taxpayer subsidies, accident liability waivers and exploited consumers, nuclear power wouldn't exist. And even with all the above, it can barely hold on. It's time to end the nuclear boondoggle for once and for all. more...
A coal-fired power station at Yangzhou in China’s central Jiangsu province. Photo: Vmenkov via Wikimedia Commons.

China - is it kicking its coal habit?

Kieran Cooke

12th September 2014

There are hopeful signs that China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is becoming less reliant on the polluting coal that powered its rapid economic rise, writes Kieran Cooke. Great news for China, and the planet - but worrying for coal exporters! more...

A Solar Revolution

Jonathon Porritt

5 September 2014

The advance of solar power around the world is bringing instant, dramatic improvements to people's lives, so why aren’t more governments overhauling their dysfunctional energy policies? more...
Male, Maldives, October 2010: President Nasheed installs solar panels on the Presidential Residence in 2010 - 18 months before the coup which brought his term of office to an end.

Only connect - a renewable energy future for small island states

Zaheer Allam

5th September 2014

The future of small island states has to be renewable, says Zaheer Allam. But that's only the first of many choices. It's just as important to develop energy networks that are diverse, resilient, adaptive and flexible - and avoid the centralised, unimodal models that investors and bureaucrats prefer to impose, often at huge long term cost. more...
From tiny acorns ... a pair of solar panels powering a desalination unit in the West Bank, installed in May 2013 with USAID finance. Photo: USAID via Flickr.

Gaza - renewable energy for a just a durable peace

Keith Barnham

4th September 2014

The war in Gaza is over - but with the territory in ruins, it's essential to build a just and durable peace, and restore essential public services: health, water, sewerage and above all electric power. Keith Barnham presents his plan for Gaza, based on a massive deployment of solar and wind power generation. more...
The world's first offshore deployment of two-bladed wind turbines, and Britain's first tidal power array, are both moving forward in Scotland's seas. Images: Crown Estate.

Scotland's double first: tidal array and twin-bladed offshore wind turbines

The Ecologist

29th August 2014

Two innovative renewable energy projects are moving forward in Scotland: Britain's first tidal power array, and the world's first deployment of two-bladed wind offshore turbines. The experimental technologies are hoped to achieve significant cost savings and unlock a huge offshore energy resource. more...
Drought - what drought? Fountains in Sao Paulo disguise the reality that power and water will soon be running catastrophically low. Photo: collectmoments via Flickr.

Drought hits São Paulo - what drought?

Jan Rocha

29th August 2014

São Paulo, South America's biggest city, is suffering its worst drought in over a century, writes Jan Rocha, with rivers and reservoirs running dry. But the state's politicians are seeking re-election. And for them, it's as if nothing is happening - never mind that water and power cuts affecting millions are looking inevitable. 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.

While governments back fossil fuels and nuclear, popular renewables boom

Paul Brown

6th September 2014

Consumers around the world want their electricity to come from renewable sources, writes Paul Brown. Yet governments from the UK to Australia are defying the popular will as they push for fossil fuels and nuclear power. The good news? Renewable energy is surging ahead regardless. more...

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