The Ecologist

 

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In August 2014 climate activists blocked a digger in one of the Rhineland open-pit coal mines. Protests will resume in August 2015. Photo: 350.org via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Power struggle: after Germany's renewables surge, can it keep its coal in the ground?

Melanie Mattauch

22nd May 2015

Germany's 'Energiewende' has made the country a global renewable energy powerhouse. So why have its carbon emissions gone up? Not because of nuclear closures, writes Melanie Mattauch, but because powerful fossil fuel companies have blocked effective climate action. Now the fight is on as public calls to keep the coal in the ground get too loud to ignore. more...
Dark clouds gather over the Central nuclear de Trillo, Spain. Photo: Tonymadrid Photography™ via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Accidents, waste and weapons: nuclear power isn't worth the risks

Mark Diesendorf

19th May 2015

Nuclear advocates must be admired for their optimism if nothing else, writes Mark Diesendorf. Disregarding over half a century of evidence that nuclear power is dangerous, expensive, enables the spread of nuclear weapons, and produces wastes we still don't know what to do with, still they cling to the 1950's dream of 'electricity to cheap to meter'. more...
Despite constant reports of China's soaring coal burn, the country's carbon emissions are falling. Photo: coal power plant near one of Beijing's 'Ring Roads' by Bret Arnett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Is China's emissions slump real - or are they making it up?

David Toke

17th May 2015

Cynical western media are pouring cold water on reports of China's declining carbon emissions, writes David Toke. The trouble is, the cross-sectoral statistics that demonstrate the reductions are actually rather convincing. Maybe journalists should be asking different questions - like just how well is the US performing? more...
The lights may be green - but what about the energy? Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Coal-heavy utilities stand in the way of a green internet

The Ecologist

12th May 2015

Powered by 100% renewable energy, Apple is maintaining its lead as the internet's greenest company, But others are lagging behind: Google has yet to reach 50% and relies heavily on coal, while Amazon's AWS, the massive 'dark cloud' of the web, won't even answer questions. more...
The Middelgrunden marine wind farm near Copenhagen is a wonder of 'green' energy technology. But even this has its toxic footprint, in the mines that produce the neodymium that's indispensable to their operation. Photo: Andreas Klinke Johannsen via Flickr

Renewable energy alone cannot reverse global warming or make a sustainable world

Pete Dolack

25th May 2015

The renewable power boom is excellent news for people and planet, writes Pete Dolack. But let's not get carried away: much energy that claims to be 'renewable; like biomass and big hydro, is no such thing. And greening our energy is just one of many steps to a sustainable world. The greatest challenges - like tackling the monster of infinite 'growth' - all lie ahead. more...
The sacred water of Gosainkunda Lake at the headwaters of the Trishuli River, soon to be changed forever by the construction fo a succession of high dams. Photo: Yosarian via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

In Nepal's next big quake, hydropower dams threaten catastrophe

Michael Buckley

4th May 2015

A spate of hydroelectric dam building in Nepal means that future earthquakes could send inland tsunamis flooding down the steep mountain valleys, writes Michael Buckley. Disaster was averted in last month's quake - a badly damaged dam was not yet filled. But despite the risks and the damage to river ecology, tourism and rural livelihoods, there's no sign of any policy shift. 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...
It's only a matter of time before solar energy will make all this petroleum infrastructure worthless. But until then, there's money to be made! Dusk view of the Valero Energy Corporation's refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith via Flic

Saudi Arabia's oil price manipulation - let's get rich while we still can!

Karl Grossman

2nd May 2015

The oil industry and oil producers have a long history of market manipulation, writes Karl Grossman, and we see it going on right now with the low oil price that's squeezing fracking and getting America back onto gas-guzzling SUV's. But longer term, solar power is going to win out, and even Saudi Arabia knows it. Its game? To make out big, while the going's good. more...
Blue skies shining on renewable energy ... Bangui Windmills, located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. Photo: Paolo Dala via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The renewable revolution is upon us

Michael Klare

7th May 2015

Mainstream energy analysts cling firmly to the belief that fossil fuels will attract the lion's share of world energy investment for a long time to come, writes Michael Klare. But there are four compelling reasons why they are wrong. The renewable revolution is under way, and has already gathered an unstoppable momentum. more...
A truck pulls into the Enviva Ahoskie wood pellet plant that supplies Drax power station, loaded with whole trees. Photo: Dogwood Alliance.

End support for Drax: stop subsidies for biomass power and phase out coal!

The Undersigned

22nd April 2015

Hundreds of millions of pounds meant to be spent on green energy will soon be lavished on Britain's biggest coal fired power station to reward it for burning 7 million tonnes of wood pellets a year - meant to be 'renewable' but actually driving biodiversity loss and even worse for climate change than coal. DECC must stop this madness! more...
Arctic aurora at Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Photo: Kyle Marquardt via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Our year of opportunity for a green, just and sustainable future

The Earth League

22nd April 2015

We are alive in a pivotal year, writes the Earth League. 2015 offers the opportunity to build a sustainable and prosperous future for people and planet. But if we fail to act on climate change, safeguard crucial ecosystems and biodiversity, and secure a just and equitable world order for all, grave and irreversible perils await Earth and all who dwell on her. more...
Aluminum - the metal these cans are made of - could soon be powering our batteries, and propelling the renewable energy revolution forward. Photo:Ishikawa Ken via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The new battery that could power the renewable revolution

Mark Shwartz & The Ecologist

26th April 2015

A new high-performance 'aluminum-ion' battery could be the technical breakthrough needed to boost the renewable energy takeover. It's safe, uses abundant low-cost materials, recharges in one minute and withstands many thousands of recharge cycles. more...

renewables: 1/25 of 256
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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 sq.km 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...
A gigantic dam under construction on the Upper Mekong River.

Damming Tibet: China's destruction of Tibet's rivers, environment and people

Michael Buckley

13th April 2015

When Michael Buckley took a white water rafting trip in Tibet in 2005, he had no idea of the adventure he was embarking on - a ten-year investigation of China ruthless exploitation of Tibet's mineral and hydroelectric resources, and its systematic attack on indigenous Tibetans, their culture and their survival on the land. more...
A wondrous new wave power device? Sadly no: a lot of useful energy going to waste on the sea defences of Brighton Marina. Photo: Barry Goble via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Ocean energy plus cybernetics can supply a quarter of the US's power

Shalinee Kishore

14th April 2015

Wave power has a huge part to play in supplying the US with clean, renewable electricity, writes Shalinee Kishore. But to achieve its full potential, we must harness not just the energy of waves, but their predictability - and so so ensure the smooth integration of wave power into the electricity grid. more...
Sunrise on the Balbina hydroelectric dam in Brazil’s Amazon region. Image: Seabirds via Wikimedia Commons.

Deepening drought forces Brazil to embrace solar power

Jan Rocha

6th April 2015

Without water to feed its hydroelectric dams, drought-hit Brazil is turning to solar power - dubbed 'a fantasy' by the country's president just a few years ago, writes Jan Rocha. Now thousands of megawatts of floating solar panel 'islands' are to be installed on dam reservoirs. more...
A reclusive Irawaddy dolphin on the Mekong river at Kampie, Cambodia. Photo: Jim Davidson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Death by strangulation? Hydropower threatens to kill the mighty Mekong

Tom Fawthrop

27th March 2015

Over 18 million people live off the natural bounty of the The Mekong Delta, writes Tom Fawthrop - the source of huge annual harvests of fish, rice, fruit, and one of the world's most productive ecosystems. But now huge dams threaten to strangle the Mekong river and the abundant life it supports, while the world sits idly by. more...
Wind farm at Palm Springs, CA. Photo: Bonita de Boer via Flickr (CC-BY 2.0).

Wind turbines generating 4.5% of US electricity

Kieran Cooke

20th March 2015

Wind generates almost a twentieth of America's power, writes Kieran Cooke - and that's set to double in five years, despite the phase-out of tax credits. Now the main constraint to future expansion is power line capacity. more...
Doggerland - the perfect place for the world's biggest offshore wind farm? Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Why a submerged island is the perfect spot for the world's biggest wind farm

Xavier Lemaire

27th March 2015

Way out in the turbulent North Sea, the Dogger Bank may seem like an unlikely place to site a large part of Britain's energy infrastructure. But given the stable sea floor, consistent winds, and distance from sensitive neighbours, it could be the perfect place. Even the fish could come to like it! more...
Greenpeace Energy, Germany's largest energy co-op, installing 21,132 photovoltaic modules with a peak power output of 3,800 kW on the 80,000 square roof of Stuttgart Exhibition Planet Energy. Photo: © Dirk Wilhelmy / Greenpeace Energy eG.

Green power! Civic energy could provide half our electricity by 2050

Stephen Hall

6th March 2015

With the Green Party's spring conference kicking off today, Stephen Hall presents a vision of a future energy system for the UK that embodies 'green' in its technology, politics and economics: low-carbon, networked, locally accountable and cooperative. Big Six, move over! more...
M&S's brand new 6MW solar array at its Castle Donington distribution centre is the largest roof-mounted system in the UK.

After UK's record solar year, government tries to kill the sector

Oliver Tickell

3rd March 2015

The UK will soon complete a record year for solar installations, almost doubling the nation's solar capacity. But drastic and overtly discriminatory changes to support for renewables may see solar installations collapse to 1% of current levels. more...
The rate of growth in China's emissions from fossil fuels has been declining for a decade - but in 2014 it switched into reverse.

China's fossil fuel emissions fell 3% in 2014

Lauri Myllyvirta / Greenpeace EnergyDesk

27th February 2015

China has just recorded its first fall in emissions from burning fossil fuels in 15 years, writes Lauri Myllyvirta. The sharp decline has surprised analysts, and reflects the fast growing proportion of renewables in the country's power supply. more...
New technological advances could make the power of Atlantic waves into a competitive source of renewable energy. Photo: Albert Bridge via Wikimedia Commons.

New technologies promise cheap wave power

Paul Brown

23rd February 2015

Scandinavian inventors are hoping that efficient new waves power technologies will for the first time make the sector competitive with other renewable energy sources, writes Paul Brown - opening up a massive new clean energy resource around the world. more...
One of three solar towers at the Ivanpah CSP plant on the Nevada-California border.

Forget nuclear - Saharan sunshine for UK baseload power!

Chris Goodall

25th February 2015

As the UK's nuclear dream fades, writes Chris Goodall, investors are turning to the possibilities of 'Concentrating Solar Power' in the Sahara connected to Europe by HVDC power lines. The cost would be much lower than nuclear or offshore wind, and provide reliable baseload capacity. With the UK government's say so, Tunisian sunshine could soon be powering our grid. more...

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