The Ecologist


UK renewables: 1/25 of 106
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HM Chancellor George Osborne gazing happily at his vision of the future, courtesy of Ealing Studios. Sadly, the device has a fault - and it's actually taking him back to the 1950s. Photo: PA / HM Treasury via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Osborne's systematic devastation of the UK's sustainable future

David Lowry & Oliver Tickell

26th November 2015

The 'Autumn Statement' delivered with such aplomb by the Chancellor is yet another attack on the UK's sustainable future, write David Lowry & Oliver Tickell - cutting energy efficiency funds just as tens of thousands are set to die of cold this winter, betting £250m on pointless nuclear research, and raiding the renewables budget to fund subsidies to nuclear power and fossil fuels. more...
The UK's pioneering community energy project, Westmill Solar Park and Wind Farm in Oxfordshire, England. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Osborne's community renewables tax 'unlawful'

The Ecologist

27th November 2015

The surprise removal of tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy schemes - effective from Monday - is unlawful and must be reversed, states a legal letter to the Treasury. But meanwhile, investments in the sector have hit record levels, with two days still to go. more...
Photo: Rachel Melton via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Lights out? Amber Rudd's disastrous absence of an energy strategy

Oliver Tickell

18th November 2015

Amber Rudd's speech today exposes her total failure to assemble a coherent energy strategy, writes Oliver Tickell. It reveals the increasingly certain failure to meet EU renewable energy targets, proposes a new tax on wind and solar generation, and leaves the country facing the real prospect of lights going out in the next decade. The one hard policy? To maximise oil and gas recovery. more...
'Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.' Prometheus Brings Fire by Heinrich Friedrich Füger.

Britain's race for the climate abyss - only we can stop it now!

Alan Simpson

13th November 2015

The government's policies on climate, energy and industry are not merely stupid, writes Alan Simpson. The repeated cuts to renewables and energy efficiency, combined with limitless largesse to fossil fuels, has reached the point of insanity in the face of the UK's legal obligations and the growing climate crisis. Only we, the people, can end the madness. more...
Thanks to the sudden withdrawal of tax benefits for community energy projects, these waters at Abingdon Lock, Oxfordshire, will remain unharnessed for many years to come. Photo: Victor Bayon (CC BY-NC-SA).

George Osborne must back down on community energy tax

Georgina Matthews

11th November 2015

Surprise changes to the Finance Bill in its third reading have withdrawn tax benefits for investors in community renewable energy projects, writes Georgina Matthews. While some societies are rushing to complete their fund-raising by the end of the month, others have been forced to close. If these measures are not withdrawn, a small but flourishing sector will be at risk. more...
Energy Secretary Amber Radd fielding questions in the Energy and Climate Change Committee today, 10th November 2015. Photo: still from

Facing legal action, strong support for solar and wind, Rudd refuses to reverse cuts

Oliver Tickell

10th November 2015

Despite strong public support for wind and solar power in an official survey published today, the UK's likely failure to meet its EU renewable energy target, and an impending legal challenge, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd today told MPs she would not be reversing recent cuts, writes Oliver Tickell. more...
DCNS and Nass&Wind designed this 'Winflo' floating wind turbine.

With floating platforms, offshore wind cost set to plunge

Paul Brown

11th November 2015

Floating wind turbines offer huge falls in the cost of offshore wind power, writes Paul Brown, and could be generating power in UK waters at well under the cost of new nuclear by 2020, provided adequate support. more...
Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photo: Association for Decentralised Energy via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Leaked letter: Rudd admits 25% green energy undershoot, misled Parliament

Oliver Tickell

9th November 2015

A letter from Energy Secretary Amber Rudd leaked to The Ecologist shows that she misled Parliament by promising the UK was 'on course' to deliver on its renewable energy targets - when in fact there is a delivery shortfall in 2020 of almost 25%. Her plan to fill the gap relies on more biofuels, buying in green power and 'credits' from abroad - everything but wind and solar. more...
A new dawn beckons for renewable energy. Photo: winter sun in Joppa, Massachusetts by Russ Seidel via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

A clean, green energy future beckons!

Dave Elliott

5th November 2015

The world could soon be generating all its electricity from renewable sources, writes Dave Elliott, by harnessing diverse technologies for generation, grid balancing and energy storage. Add to that the use of power surpluses to make fuels, and it could even be feasible to make all our energy - not just electricity - renewable. A clean green future beckons. more...
Solar panels, and the price we pay for them, have already fallen to earth. Coming up next, batteries. Photo: International Space Station, 2011, by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Batteries and renewables - believe the hype!

Helle Abelvik-Lawson / Greenpeace Energydesk

5th November 2015

What's the new 'big thing' in energy? Of course, cheap, abundant solar power is very new and very big. But to make it work on a really large scale we need to be able to store its energy to use when we need it, not just when the sun is shining. Soon the batteries will be there to make that possible - at a price we can afford. And that will be a very big thing, indeed. more...
Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne map out their planned destruction of the UK renewable energy industry. Photo: Number 10 via Fliclr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Government cuts tax relief for community green energy

Aisha Gani / the Guardian Environment

30th October 2015

Another week, another renewable energy cut. This time George Osborne is swinging the axe at tax breaks for community renewable energy schemes, writes Aisha Gani - even though previous cuts have already made 90% of projects unviable. more...
The £1 plan garnered cross-party support from over 30 MPs from all parties yesterday at an action outside the House of Commons including Sir David Amess MP (Con), Mims Davies MP (Con), Kevin Hollinrake MP (Con), Caroline Flint MP (Lab), Caroline Lucas MP

Back our emergency £1 solar rescue plan

Sonia Dunlop / Solar Trade Association

22nd October 2015

Massive government cuts in solar 'feed in tariffs' threaten to wipe out our highly successful solar industry, writes Sonia Dunlop - and all to save £1 year off our fuel bills. Yes, that's all it would cost to keep the sector in business, employing tens of thousands of expert solar installers all over the UK. more...

UK renewables: 1/25 of 106
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Years late, billions over budget: construction of two AP1000 reactors at Vogtle, South Carolina, October 2011. Photo: Charles C Watson Jr / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

UK-China nuclear deal won't keep our lights on

Oliver Tickell

21st October 2015

The UK's plan to get China to build and finance new nuclear power stations is based on a wish and a prayer, writes Oliver Tickell. There is no reactor design, including new Chinese ones, that we can depend on to fill our impending power generation gap. This time, the last one out won't even have to turn out the lights. more...
It costs a lot less than we are told: erection of a wind turbine at Alltwalis Wind Farm in Wales, set in operation December 2009. Photo: Aslak Øverås / Statkraft via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Wind and solar's £1.5 billion electricity price cut

Oliver Tickell

19th October 2015

The effect of wind and solar generation in the UK is to push down wholesale power prices, writes Oliver Tickell, taking over £1.5 billion off our bills in 2014 - that's 58% of the subsidies paid to renewable generators. Keep it up and the benefit will rise to over 100% of cost. more...
An Ecotricity wind turbine in Swaffham, Norfolk. Photo: Nick Ford via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UK rigging power market against clean energy

Alex Kirby

7th October 2015

Ecotricity boss Dale Vince has accused the government of rigging the electricity market, writes Alex Kirby, by showering fossil fuels and nuclear power with huge subsidies, while taxing renewables and insisting they must 'stand on their own two feet'. more...
Meet the man Osborne just put in charge of the UK's energy policy: Lord Andrew Adonis. Photo: makeroadssafe via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK's energy revolution - DECC's role usurped by new Infrastructure Commission

Oliver Tickell

7th October 2015

This week George Osborne took the entire energy policy brief out of the department for energy and climate change, and handed it to the new National Infrastructure Commission. It could mean a swift end to the Hinkley C nuclear plant and a new wave of renewables - but don't count on it. NIC chairman Lord Adonis is no green dreamer. But at least he takes energy seriously. more...
Artists impression of the finished Hinkley C reactor. Image: EDF.

Hinkley C's claimed benefits evaporate under scrutiny

Paul Dorfman

6th October 2015

To explain their desperation to commit an estimated £76 billion of public money to the Hinkley C nuclear project, writes Paul Dorfman, the Treasury and its Chancellor, George Osborne, claim there are other benefits that justify this vast expenditure. So what exactly are they? And do the claims survive critical examination? more...
Cooperative and renewable: the Westmill wind and solar farm in south Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Clean, affordable, secure, democratic: our green energy future

Lisa Nandy

30th September 2015

Britain has a huge role in effecting the global energy transition to renewables, new shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy told the Labour Party Conference. But that will mean a complete reversal of Tory policies to attack wind and solar, lock us into polluting fossil fuels and overpriced nuclear power, and maintain 'big six' profits at consumers' expense. more...
Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design.

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...
To green the UK's electricity system, this is what we need a whole lot more of. Offshore wind turbine at Burbo Bank, Liverpool Bay, England. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Fliclr (CC BY-NC).

How the UK can get almost all its power from renewables - without new nuclear

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

21st September 2015

The government claims that we need nuclear 'baseload' power to keep the lights on, writes Damian Kahya. But a new study shows reliable, low carbon energy can be provided by combining diverse green technologies including efficiency, large scale renewables, 'smart grid', energy storage and rarely used fossil fuel backup. more...
He may not have such a pretty face as Amber Rudd, but George Osborne is the real energy secretary these days. However he's proving himself unable to put together a coherent energy policy. Photo: British High Commission, New Delhi (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear madness: £2 billion for Hinkley C. Why the Treasury must get its hands off energy

Oliver Tickell

21st September 2015

Today's announcement of a £2 billion government guarantee for Hinkley C confirms that Chancellor George Osborne and his Treasury cannot be trusted to run the UK's energy policy - which is precisely what they are doing. On top of decimating the renewables industry, now they're risking billions on a failed nuclear design owned by failing companies. It's time to stop the madness. more...
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...
TidalStream T36 at FORCE Berth, Bay of Fundy. Photo: still from Youtube video by Windmill John (see embed).

Floating turbines could harness the awesome power of the tides

Ross Jennings

18th September 2015

Tides in the UK's coastal waters could be generating 10GW of clean power, representing half of Europe's tidal resource, writes Ross Jennings. So far it's going unexploited, but a new generation of lightweight, low cast tidal turbines that float off the surface could soon get that electricity into our homes and businesses. 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...


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