The Ecologist


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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...
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...
Best of friends? President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India en-route to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC, 30th September 2014. Photo: Pete Souza / The White House via Wikimedia.

Crushed: the US and the WTO demolish India's solar energy ambitions

Charles Pierson

5th September 2015

President Obama and India's Prime Minister Modi are best of friends - aren't they? So how come the US took India to the WTO's trade court - and just won a resounding victory? And why isn't India challenging the US's own discriminatory solar subsidies? It's because of the money, writes Charles Pierson. And poor India has no choice but to play by Washington's rules. 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...
One way to use up China's surplus solar panels is with large domestic installations - like this one on the roofs of the Hongqiao Passenger Rail Terminal in Shanghai. Photo: Jiri Rezac / Climate Group via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

China's solar industry hits downturn

Kieran Cooke

16th August 2015

China is by far the world's biggest producer of solar panels, writes Kieran Cooke. But the industry is suffering from over-capacity, razor thin profits and a failure to innovate. more...
Labour must make green the new red. Wind Farm near Oxton, Scottish Borders. Photo: raghavvidya via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

For Labour to win, green must be the new red

Keith Barnham

13th August 2015

The success of the SNP and surveys carried out by DECC show that green energy is overwhelmingly popular, writes Keith Barnham. Labour's failure to support renewables and oppose nuclear power and fracking may have cost them the last election - but now, with the rise of Jeremy Corbyn there's a real chance for the party to put that right. more...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally 2015. Photo: Rwendland via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Jeremy Corbyn: the green Britain I want to build

Jeremy Corbyn MP

7th August 2015

We need a renewable energy revolution, an end to fracking, no new nuclear power, efficient homes, and the break up of our energy cartels, writes Jeremy Corbyn, All that, and strong protection for wildlife and oceans, no TTIP trade deal with the US, clean air to breathe, and massive investment in public transport. Is there anything not to like? more...
High-efficiency perovskite crystals produced at Los Alamos that approach silicon in conversion efficiency. Photo: Los Alamos National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

New solar tech slashes energy payback time to a few months

The Ecologist

5th August 2015

Solar panels made using perovskite technology pay back the energy used to make them ten times faster than those using silicon. In time, this could lead to similar falls in price. more...
Distributed energy in action at a local level. Image: Moixa.

Energy: the future is renewable and distributed

Chris Wright

24th August 2015

With centralised fossil-fuel and nuclear generation both undesirable and increasingly unviable, the answer is to make our energy local, distributed and renewable, writes Chris Wright. But to complete the picture we need battery systems for backup, stability and efficiency. And one could be coming your way soon ... more...

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Behind Juan Tabo Boulevard, Albuquerque, the promise of a solar future: Sandia's solar tower, its mirrors reflecting the New Mexico sunlight. Photo: Randy Montoya / Sandia Labs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The $7 trillion solar tsunami in our midst

Assaad W Razzouk

31st July 2015

Never mind government inaction (or worse) on climate change, writes Assaad W Razzouk. Solar power costs just keep on falling, and it's already providing the lowest cost electricity across much of the world. With $7 trillion of investment piling into the sector, the momentum is now unstoppable. more...
Somerton wind farm, Norfolk. Photo: Lordspudz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tories' attack on green energy threatens climate and prosperity

Noam Bergman, Lee Stapleton & Mari Martiskainen

5th August 2015

With the US, China, Germany and other countries firmly fixing their aim on a low carbon, renewable energy future, the UK government has chosen precisely the opposite track, write Noam Bergman, Lee Stapleton & Mari Martiskainen. Its mission to destroy wind and solar power, undercut energy efficiency and boost nuclear power and fracking threatens serious, lasting damage. more...
The Westmill solar and wind farm near Watchfield, Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Renewable energy sacrificed on the altar of corporate profit

Oliver Tickell

22nd July 2015

Perplexed by today's sharp cuts in solar power and other attacks on renewable energy in the UK? Don't be, writes Oliver Tickell. Really, it all makes perfect sense. You just have to understand their real purpose: to keep your energy bills high, along with power company profits. And never mind the 'green crap'! more...
Will all this come to an end now? Photo: Centre for Alternative Technology ( via Flickr (CC BY).

Senseless and damaging: UK's solar cuts

The Ecologist

22nd July 2015

The UK government has announced massive cuts in support for solar roofs and farms that appear designed to undermine investor confidence just as the technology is on track to be subsidy-free by 2020. more...
A lignite-burning power station in Greece. Photo: Greenpeace-Greece.

Greece’s anti-solar, coal-based energy policies underlie its economic collapse

Takis Grigoriou / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

3rd July 2015

As Greece prepares for its referendum, Takis Grigoriou takes Greece to task for its highly polluting lignite power sector, its ditching of a successful solar program in favour of more coal, the minimal insulation in its buildings that locks in high fuel bills, and Syriza's failure to tackle these issues. The good news? Greece's latest €1.4bn coal project looks like going unfunded. more...
Just don't bring a nuclear power plant! Mission to Mars as envisioned by Pat Rawlings in 1985 for NASA. Image: Pat Rawlings / NASA.

NASA's warning - SpaceX crash highlights dangers of nuclear power in space

Karl Grossman

2nd July 2015

Sunday's SpaceX crash sends a powerful warning of the dangers of nuclear power on spacecraft, writes Karl Grossman. But will NASA listen? Despite the success of solar-powered missions, it's planning to use plutonium to power future missions and a new report asserts a continuing need for the technology - even as Russia ditches the idea. more...
Make up of UK power generation from 9am to 9pm, 6th June 2015. The left hand axis is Megawatts (MW). 1 GW is 1,000 MW. Image: Chris Goodall.

43%! New record for UK renewable power

Chris Goodall

8th June 2015

Thanks to the windy, sunny weather conditions on Saturday, the UK's output of renewable power reached an all-time record level of 43%, writes Chris Goodall. At the same time power from coal reached a low of just 7%, it what may be a record low contribution. more...
Women in India preparing to dry their farm produce using Sunbest equipment. Photo: Ashden.

Solar heat - transforming rural enterprises around the tropics

Anne Wheldon

4th June 2015

Solar energy is not just about electricity, writes Anne Wheldon. It's also about heat - and three innovative projects highlighted by the Ashden Awards are showing how solar heat can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of food processing and farming, while helping agricultural businesses increase profits. more...
The Fakaofo solar array on Tokelau, which provides all the island's electricity. Photo: Chính Đặng-Vũ via Flickr (All rights reserved).

Pacific Islands heading for 100% renewable energy

Maxine Newlands

28th May 2015

A host of Pacific nations are turning to renewable technologies to satisfy 100% of their energy, writes Maxine Newlands. Samoa is aiming to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2017, while Tokelau has already reached 94% including 100% of its electricity. more...
Photo: New Era Colorado Foundation.

American revolution: cities seize control of essential local services

Max Holleran

9th May 2015

Fed up with being gouged by profit-driven corporations, let down by state neglect and under-investment, urban communities across the US are taking control of local services like public transport, energy, water, internet and telecoms, writes Max Holleran - bringing better service, lower prices and clean energy. more...
With low cost batteries returns to home owners from solar systems like these will soon get a whole lot better. Photo: Edmund Tse via Flickr.

Mayday, Mayday - Tesla's battery just killed fossil and nuclear power

Oliver Tickell

1st May 2015

Tesla Energy's new mains power battery has just transformed the energy market - giving a huge boost to small scale renewable energy and killing off both fossil fuelled and nuclear power in the process. more...
What lies over the rainbow is not a 100 billion barrels of oil, but a green and prosperous future of decentralised renewable energy. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr (CC BY).

The mirage of fossil fuel wealth - our energy future is green, renewable, decentralised

Vicente López-Ibor Mayor

20th April 2015

Hopes of strengthening Britain’s energy security are often pinned on the fossil fuel industry says Vicente López-Ibor Mayor, as exemplified by the hysteria over the claimed 'discovery' of 100 billion barrels of oil beneath Gatwick airport. But the real long-term solution lies with abundant and ever cheaper decentralised renewables. more...
6,000 of California are suitable for this 'concentrating solar power' approach shown here at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) in California’s Mojave Desert. Photo: Jan Maguire via Flickr.

Investors pile in as renewables rise to record level

Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell

16th April 2015

The world's smart money is piling into renewable energy, solar power in particular, write Tim Radford & Oliver Tickell, as renewables pull away from fossil fuels in terms of both investment and new generation capacity added each year. more...


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