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Glamorous? More than you think. Hot water heaters that respond to grid signals could be the key to stabilising the grid and using up surplus energy from peaking renewables. Photo: marlb0r0 man via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Water heaters as batteries: as sexy as a Tesla?

Margaret McAll / RMI

6th April 2016

Tesla's Powerwall battery may be the poster-boy of the forthcoming dynamic power grid, writes Margaret McAll. But a far more accessible, low cost solution beckons: grid-interactive water heaters can soak up excess power from peaking renewables, reduce expensive peak demand, and cut power companies' need to invest in generation and distribution. more...
Turbine at EDF Renewable Energy's Bobcat Bluff Wind Project, spanning approximately 14,000 contiguous acres, in Archer County, Texas. Photo: EDF Renewable Energy.

EDF shows that wind makes better sense than nuclear

Chris Goodall

1st April 2016

EDF in the UK may be propelled by its disastrous nuclear ambitions, writes Chris Goodall. But across the Atlantic it's another story: the company is the US's biggest wind developer, and selling its power, profitably, for under 40% of the price it has been promised for Hinkley C, including federal tax credits. more...
Global emissions trajectory 1975-2015, showing standstill in 2014 and 2015. Image: IEA.

Global emissions stand still as temperatures soar

Alex Kirby

18th March 2016

For the second year running CO2 emissions flatlined even as the global economy was growing at around 3%, writes Alex Kirby. But sharply rising temperatures show the need for further massive renewable energy deployment to actually bring emissions down. more...
This wind farm in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern allows the entire state to run on 100% renewable energy. Photo: Clemens v. Vogelsang via Flickr (CC BY).

Dispelling the nuclear 'baseload' myth: nothing renewables can't do better!

Mark Diesendorf

10th March 2016

The main claim used to justify nuclear is that it's the only low carbon power source that can supply 'reliable, baseload electricity', writes Mark Diesendorf - unlike wind and solar. But not only can renewables supply baseload power, they can do something far more valuable: supply power flexibly according to demand. Now nuclear power really is redundant. more...
Wind turbines in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: CGP Grey via Flickr (CC BY).

Denmark reaching its goal to be fossil fuel free through renewable energy

Laurie Guevara-Stone / RMI

5th March 2016

The small country of Denmark is making a big commitment to renewables, aiming to be fossil-fuel free by 2050, writes Laurie Guevara-Stone. A large expansion of mainly offshore wind power features large, along with moves to a 'smart grid', high vehicle taxes and energy conservation initiatives. Denmark is well on its way to becoming the energy leader of the EU. more...
For some decades to come, old and new energy systems will have to maintain an uneasy coexistence - as at Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, California. Photo: Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

The transition to 100% renewable energy: because we have no choice

Richard Heinberg

18th March 2016

It will take decades to completely leave fossil fuels, writes Richard Heinberg. But we can do it, starting with the easy stuff: going big time for wind and solar, raising energy efficiency, replacing oil-fuelled vehicles, and moving to organic farming. But deeper changes will follow as we transition to a more enduring sustainability - consuming better, and much less. more...
Solar heating evacuated tubes being installed on a roof in Thorton Heath, England. Photo: szczel via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Would you believe it? Yet another UK solar energy cut!

Oliver Tickell

7th March 2016

After ten massive renewable energy cuts that are leaving the UK falling well short of EU renewable energy targets, an eleventh! The axe is now falling on solar heating, writes Oliver Tickell - even though it's meant to be at the core of the government's renewable energy strategy. more...
The technology is neat - but can it ever be industrialised? JBEI researcher using synthetic biology to engineer microbes to ferment complex sugars into advanced biofuels. Photo: Roy Kaltschmidt / Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

Oil: $30-35 per barrel. Synthetic biology diesel: $3,180 to $7,949 per barrel. Game over?

Almuth Ernsting

29th February 2016

A synthetic biology plant producing the anti-malarial drug artemisinin has just shut down as it's much cheaper to use wormwood grown by African farmers, writes Almuth Ernsting. The technology is even further from making affordable diesel, with a production cost of $20-50 per litre. No wonder investors are losing patience - and confidence - in loss-making synbio companies. more...
Wind turbines in Iowa, USA, one of the states that's leading the way on wind energy. Photo: Don Graham via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Supreme Court can't hold back the renewable energy revolution!

Linda Pentz Gunter

19th February 2016

The attempt by the US Supreme Court to stall the White House Clean Power Plan is being thwarted on the ground, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. The numbers show that new renewable energy installation around the US is outpacing even natural gas - leaving coal in the dust, and new nuclear at a big round zero. more...
More wind farms like this, combined with 'wind to gas' plants, gas storage and CCGT power stations, and you could have the same electricity production profile as the Hinkley C nuclear power station - more quickly and at lower cost and with lower financial

Wind power with 'windgas' is cheaper and greener than Hinkley Point C nuclear plant

Energy Brainpool

17th February 2016

If the UK really wants 3.2GW of 'baseload' power in Somerset, then the Hinkley C nuclear power station is not the only way, write Marie-Louise Heddrich, Thorsten Lenck and Carlos Perez Linkenheil. Wind power with 'wind to gas' plant and CCGT gas power stations could do the same - faster, cheaper, more flexibily, and at much lower technical and financial risk. more...
Look, no smoke! London's Battersea power station was closed in 1983 and survives only as an architectural icon. Will all coal power stations end up like this? Photo: Mark Colliton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

Fossil fuels a bad bet due to market changes, investors warned

Paul Brown

16th February 2016

The ever-falling cost of renewable energy could leave investors in coal, gas and oil seriously out of pocket as demand for fossil fuels falls away, writes Paul Brown. In the wake of the Paris Agreement and shrinking markets in major importing countries, the smart money is moving into renewables. more...
How long before all filling stations go this way? Photo: Wayne Stadler vis Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The new 'peak oil'? A dollar invested in solar yields more energy than a dollar invested in oil

Chris Goodall

13th February 2016

According to oil company executives, oil is going to be a major energy source to 2100 and beyond. So after hearing an oil man make his case, Chris Goodall went home and crunched some numbers. Money invested in solar power already produces more energy than if it's put into oil exploration and production, and the gap is only going to widen from here. Is this the new 'peak oil'? more...

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A solar-paneled shoebox on West 123rd Street, Central Harlem, Manhattan Island. Photo: Matt Green via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Five US states are leading the way in solar power initiatives

Aaron Viles / DeSmogBlog

3rd March 2016

State action on solar power can make a big difference, writes Aaron Viles. Driven by ambitious renewable energy targets and the need to generate local growth industries of the future, five states stand out for their trend-setting policies that are accelerating the US's clean energy transition. more...
Artist's impression of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which would, if built, generate almost 500 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. Image: preconstruct.com.

A green Wales is taking off - in spite of UK government policies

David Clubb

16th February 2016

Despite Cameron's promise to lead the 'greenest Government ever', the environment has taken a heavy bashing since the 2015 election, writes David Clubb - whether on oil, fracking, renewable energy or planning policy. But Wales is doing its best to follow a sustainable path, and demonstrating badly needed environmental leadership that the whole UK would do well to follow. more...
Earth and Moon. Photo: NASA ESA via Wikimedia (Public Domain).

A sustainable UK needs a 'one planet' Budget

Alan Simpson

5th February 2016

When Chancellor George Osborne delivers his Budget next month, we can be sure that climate and environment won't take a high priority, writes Alan Simpson. All the more reason for the Labour leadership to develop a new 'one planet' economics for the 21st century that delivers social justice and respects ecological limits. 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...
Which can you trust to tackle America's toxic legacy of crumbling nuclear plants? Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Artwork: DonkeyHotey via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Bernie and Hillary - speak out on America's dying nuclear reactors!

Harvey Wasserman

8th February 2016

America's crumbling nuclear power plants, dozens of them built to the design that spectacularly failed at Fukushima, must be closed down to prevent catastrophe, writes Harvey Wasserman. So let's hear Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton speak out on the topic and make it a core issue in the Presidential race! more...
Photo: K.H.Reichert via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The cheapest way to scale up wind and solar? A US-wide high-tech power network

Christopher Clack / NOAA

16th February 2016

Not only can the US save money on its electricity by moving to a 48-state power network based on high voltage DC power lines, writes Christopher Clack. It's also the key to increasing the penetration of renewables as the lowest cost energy source, with wind and solar delivering 55% of the nation's electricity demand - and a 78% reduction in carbon emissions. 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...
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...
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...
The Aliso Canyon methane cloud seen in infra-red as a dark, menacing plume erupting from the breached gas well. Photo: from video (see embed) by Pete Dronkers / Environmental Defense Fund.

Aliso Canyon methane catastrophe is telling us: go renewable, now!

Pete Dronkers

14th January 2016

The massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon in California tell sus everything that's wrong with fossil fuels, writes Pete Dronkers: toxic, under-regulated, unsafe, and climate destroying. But the catastrophe also brings us a timely message: this is the time for the California, the US, and the world, to begin a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and into our clean, green, renewable future. 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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