The Ecologist


Energy: 25/50 of 1316
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Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is already finding a market as a 'green' fuel for cars. But its future potential goes way beyond that, as a vital storage mechanism for surplus wind / solar electricity on the grid, to provide power on demand. Photo

The hydrogen economy is much nearer than we think

David Thorpe

26th August 2016

Hydrogen made from renewable electricity is already fuelling vehicles at affordable prices, writes DAVID THORPE. But now the 'green' fuel is set to go from niche to mainstream - powering not just cars, trucks and buses, but storing surplus renewable energy on sunny and windy days, then to be burnt in gas turbines or fuel cells to supply the grid with reliable power on demand. more...
Dry casks for storing irradiated nuclear fuel at the Diablo Canyon plant in Avila, California. The plant is scheduled to close within a decade, but taxpayers will pay to keep spent fuel stored on-site until a federal repository is ready to take it. Photo:

No more taxpayer subsidies for our failing nuclear reactors!

Peter Bradford, Vermont Law School

25th August 2016

New York state recently set a terrible example by approving a $7.6 billion bailout of failing nuclear power plants, writes PETER BRADFORD. But other states aren't following. including California and Nebraska, where a host of highly competitive clean energy technologies are filling in the power shortfall left by nuclear closures, at much lower cost. It's time to let old nuclear reactors die. more...
Before and after: natural wetland forest dominated by Swamp cypress, and an industrial plantation of Lolbolly pine. Both photos via Wikimedia Commons (see details on individual photos); amalgamation by The Ecologist (no rights claimed).

Are the UK 'biomass sustainability standards' legitimising forest destruction?

Almuth Ernsting / Biofuelwatch

18th August 2016

This month wood pellet mills in the southern US that supply the UK's Drax power station were awarded 'sustainability' certificates under a voluntary scheme governed entirely by energy companies. The certificates provide no credible guarantee that the fuel does not come from ecologically valuable natural forests and wetlands, clear-cut and replaced by industrial plantations. more...
Soon the world will be producing its liquid fuels for vehicles from the sun - at a lower cost than mineral petrol / gasoline. Photo: Nick Blackmer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Artificial photosynthesis - how renewable fuels will make oil obsolete

Chris Goodall

22nd August 2016

New technologies are coming on stream that can turn sunlight and wind into liquid fuels for vehicles, homes or power plants, writes Chris Goodall. And by powering the process using 'free' renewable energy on sunny or windy days, the fuel will be as green as can be, and cost less than petroleum. 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...
EDF's corporate HQ in La Defense, Paris, France. Photo: Olivier Durand via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Hinkley C: government's 'revolving door' to EDF execs

Joe Sandler Clarke

12th August 2016

Ten advisers and civil servants working in DECC, the former UK energy department, were seconded from EDF or had other links to the company, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. This may help to explain the 'preferential treatment' EDF has received over the 3.2GW nuclear power station it wants to build at Hinkley Point in Somerset. more...
A new 3MW Siemens offshore wind turbine undergoing installation. Image: artist's impression by Siemens.

Global climate is spinning out of control - but now, we have the technology!

Paul Rogers

16th August 2016

As global temperatures reach new monthly highs and the Middle East is hit by record heatwaves, we might be forgiven for sliding into hopelessness, writes PAUL ROGERS. But a host of innovations in energy technology means that a carbon-free energy future is not just possible, but affordable. The first of the three paradigm shifts required to transform the climate change outlook is in place. more...
Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley Point, Greg Clark and the fate of Britain's energy future


9th August, 2016

The government's surprise delay in signing the contract with EDF to build the Hinkley C nuclear power station has opened up a the space for a forward-looking UK energy policy, writes Jonathon Porritt - one that moves us into the world of low cost renewables, and smart new technologies vital to the global clean energy transition. But is Business & Energy Greg Clark for real? Don't rule it out! more...

Uranium from Russia, with love

Nick Meynen

4th August, 2016

Uranium mining is a dirty business that we didn't clean up but sourced out to less demanding countries, so why isn't this being discussed in any debate about nuclear energy asks NICK MEYNEN more...
R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Ontario, NY - one of those to get the Governor Cuomo 'clean energy' subsidy. Photo courtesy of ©Exelon Nuclear via Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

$7.6 billion 'clean energy' bailout for New York nuclear plants

Karl Grossman

3rd August 2016

New York has approved a massive $7.6 billion subsidy to keep four ageing upstate plants open on the false promise that they provide 'clean and renewable energy', writes Karl Grossman. Campaigners for genuine clean energy fear that other pro-nuclear states may follow NY Governor Cuomo's dubious lead. more...
The three-unit Ikata nuclear power plant in the south of Japan.Its 890MW unit 3 is the only reactor in Japan that has a chance of restarting in 2016. Photo: ja:User:Newsliner via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Japan's big 'nuclear restart' overtaken by conservation and renewables

Jim Green

12th August 2016

For all Japan's talk of 43 'operable' nuclear reactors, only two are actually running, writes Jim Green, as renewables and a 12% fall in demand eat into the power market. And while Japan's 'nuclear village' defends safety standards, the IAEA, tasked with promoting nuclear power worldwide, has expressed deep concerns over the country's weak and 'fragmented' safety regulation. more...

The Nuclear Sieve: why Hinkley C is on hold (yet again)

Dr David Lowry

29th July, 2016

The huge marquee for VIP nuclear guests was already erected at the Hinkley site; champagne was already on ice; VIPs were en route to Somerset to party at the final breakthrough, when hundreds of thousands of contractual pages were due to be authorised with co-signatures of the contracting parties. Suddenly, everything was off. So what really happened asks DAVID LOWRY more...

Energy: 25/50 of 1316
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Australian Climate Sceptics Challenge Clean Energy Plan

Maxine Newlands

28th July, 2016

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has handed the environment portfolio to the energy minister in an attempt to calm climate sceptics. But will it work? Ecologist writer Maxine Newlands reports. more...
The first steam generator being delivered to the Flamanville EPR, 15th March 2014. With the discovery of steel defects in the reactor vessel, it is now possible that the entire project will be abandoned. Photo: Greenpeace Cherbourg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA

Dump Hinkley! And invest in the UK's real energy future

Chris Goodall

28th July 2016

French energy giant EDF will today give the formal go-ahead for the Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, writes Chris Goodall. But that's no reason for the UK to sign up to a disastrous deal that will cost us over £1 billion per year for 35 years - money that should be used to support the green technologies of the future. more...
Munduruku indigenous people set up a sign to demarcate their land. Photo: Greenpeace.

Brazil's indigenous peoples fight Amazon dams threat

Helle Abelvik-Lawson

1st August 2016

Brazil's new neoliberal government is intent on building a massive new dam deep in the Amazon rainforest on the on the Tapajós river, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson, obliterating the indigenous territory of the Munduruku people in defiance of their constitutional rights. more...
North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs

David Lowry

26th July 2016

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea's nuclear dream come true. more...
Will it all come to nothing? Artist's impression of the planned Hinkley C nuclear power station. Image: EDF Energy.

EDF to postpone Hinkley C start until 2019 or beyond

David Toke

22nd July 2016

EDF's 'final investment decision' on the Hinkley C nuclear power station next week will be pure theatre, writes David Toke. The truth is that no concrete is to be poured until 2019 at the earliest. Meanwhile post-Brexit UK is running out of money to pay for it, and EDF is under investigation by the Financial Markets Authority for concealing information on Hinkley from investors. more...
10 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, where solar is already the lowest cost form of electricity generation. Photo: Masdar Official via Flockr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The Switch: soon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere

Chris Goodall

22nd July 2016

Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall - its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all. more...
New 'solar leaves' will be able to produce ethanol directly from sunlight - the perfect liquid fuel for automotive use - with just enough methanol to stop you drinking it. Photo: Eric Roy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Goodbye gasoline: we can Get It From The Sun

Keith Barnham

21st July 2016

Traveling in the US by boat and train visiting solar laboratories and environmental groups, Keith Barnham found many successful community initiatives in renewable electricity, and brings news of progress towards the ultimate renewable challenge: a solar fuel that could eventually replace gasoline in cars, trucks, buses, trains and aircraft. more...
A bottomland hardwood clearcut that Dogwood Alliance have linked to Enviva, the company that runs the Ahoskie pellet mill, which supplies the UK's Drax power station. Photo: Matt Adam Williams.

Dirtier than coal: burning forests for 'green' energy

Matt Williams

19th July 2016

The UK imports millions of tons of American wood pellets every year to be burned in power stations for 'climate friendly' electricity, writes Matt Williams. But his recent visit to the southern US showed him that this practice is devastating beautiful, natural forests rich in wildlife - while the UK government's own research shows that it's worse for the climate than the coal it replaces. more...
Offshore wind turbine under construction at Burbo Bank, North Sea. Photo: The Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Offshore wind powers ahead as prices drop 30% below nuclear

Kieran Cooke

19th July 2016

The cost of offshore wind power in the North Sea is 30% lower than that of new nuclear, writes Kieran Cooke - helped along by low oil and steel prices, reduced maintenance and mass production. By 2030 the sector is expected to supply 7% of Europe's electricity. more...
Behind the beach and dunes of Druridge Bay, planning permission for a 350 hectare opencast coal mine has been granted. But if turned into a solar power farm, the same land would produce as much electricity as the coal after 70 years. Photo: Doug Belshaw v

Solar on the best UK sites is competitive with cheap coal

Chris Goodall

15th July 2016

Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper. 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...
New Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom visiting Wytch Farm in Dorset; the largest conventional onshore oilfield in Western Europe, with Brian James, General Manager at Perenco UK, 11th November 2015. Photo: DECC via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Dis-May-ed! DECC scrapped, Leadsom to run Environment

Oliver Tickell

14th July 2016

Campaigners fear that the abolition of DECC, the department of energy and climate change, indicates that climate will take a low priority in Theresa May's policy agenda. Meanwhile the pro-fracking, pro-nuclear Andrea Leadsom is in charge of environment department Defra. more...
Muskrat Falls on 23rd October 2011, before dam construction commenced. Photo: innovationtrail via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Controversial dam robs, poisons Canada's indigenous Innu people

Colin Samson, University of Essex

14th July 2016

A new dam on indigenous lands at Muskrat Falls will join a network of other hydroelectric projects spanning Innu territories across the Labrador-Quebec peninsula, writes Colin Samson. The continual violation of Innu rights imperils their ability to enjoy healthy and sustainable lifestyles - and follows in a long tradition of indigenous land theft in North America. more...


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