The Ecologist


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Coming to an end - renewables in the UK. Soon there will be no money to finance solar farms like this one at Haslingfield. Photo: BELECTRIC UK / Solar Trade Association via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Treasury to axe UK renewables, low carbon transition

David Toke & The Ecologist

6th July 2015

Britain's renewable energy surge will hit the buffers as funding dries up, writes David Toke - while cuts to the energy department's budget will wipe out its ability to guide the UK's low carbon energy transition. more...
The small scale solar sector is also taking off around the tropics, as at this shop for solar cell panels in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo: Wegmann via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Global emissions stay flat thanks to renewable energy surge

Alex Kirby

30th June 2015

The world economy and energy use both grew in 2014 - but carbon emissions did not, writes Alex Kirby. The reason? The worldwide surge in renewables, especially in China, has reduced demand for coal in power generation. 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...
Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm. Photo: Harald Pettersen / Statoil via Flickr / NHD-INFO (CC BY).

All at sea? Government's strong talk on offshore wind masks feeble ambition

Ian Broadbent & Peter Strachan

26th June 2015

Following premature cutbacks to onshore wind farms the UK's energy security will increasingly depend on large scale offshore wind power, write Ian Broadbent & Peter Strachan. But while energy secretary Amber Rudd talked the sector up in her speech yesterday, she revealed feeble ambition, and said nothing to overcome investors' fears of being left out in the cold. more...
Coming to the UK soon? A fracked landscape in Wyoming, USA. Photo: Simon Fraser University via Flickr (CC BY).

The Tories' energy obsessions will leave us all the poorer

Peter Strachan & Alex Russell

24th June 2015

The Government's reckless pursuit of fracking and nuclear power, combined with its irrational hatred of renewables, onshore wind in particular, is taking the UK down a dangerous energy cul-de-sac, write Peter Strachan & Alex Russell. A redical rethink is due, or we'll be stuck with soaring fuel bills for years to come. more...
Royd Moor wind farm in Yorkshire. Photo: steve p2008 via Flick (CC BY).

It's only government policies that make the UK's wind power expensive

Andrew ZP Smith, UCL

22nd June 2015

The UK has the best wind power resource in Europe, yet it costs far more than in less windy countries like Germany, writes Andrew ZP Smith. That's because of government policies that undermine investor confidence, and fail to recognise that wind power, despite 'subsidies', lower the price consumers pay for electricity. more...
How's that for a battery? Swimming pool at the Roosevelt, Hollywood, La, California. Photo: Bill Keaggy via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Could one million smart pool pumps 'store' renewable energy better than giant batteries?

Sean Meyn

28th July 2015

Batteries may have a big role in balancing future power grids, writes Sean Meyn, enabling more wind and solar generation. But until we go beyond 50% renewables, we don't need them. Instead we can adjust the demand of power hungry appliances to what's available every moment of the day. more...
The massive 5-reactor Hamaoka nuclear site, 200km SW of Tokyo, is built directly over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates. It was closed in 2011 to avoid a second Fukushima scale disaster. Photo: Cesar Ogasawara via Flickr (CC BY-

To stop using fossil fuels any time soon, Japan must follow Germany's lead

Peter Matanle, University of Sheffield

15th June 2015

Japan and Germany have much in common: both are major industrial countries that have gone nuclear-free, writes Peter Matanle - Germany by choice, Japan by necessity. But while Germany is actively pursuing its renewable energy revolution, or Energiewende, Japan, possessed of the richest renewable energy resources in East Asia, is stuck in a fossil fuel pit. more...
Friends of the Earth supporters protesting at the UNFCCC climate talks in Bonn today, denouncing the lack of progress. Photo: Friends of the Earth Europe via Flickr (All rights reserved).

Germany takes the heat as climate talks close with no progress

Oliver Tickell

11th June 2015

UN climate talks in Bonn ended today without the progress needed to secure agreement at the Paris COP in December - shortly after the G7 issued aspirational climate promises devoid of action, and heedless of warnings that Germany is already suffering the impacts of climate change. more...
The planned Hinckley C nuclear EPR plant may never be built. But tthe Government wants to press ahead with other reactor designs at other sites - like Wylfa on Anglesey, Wales. Photo: Joe Dunckley via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Friends of the Earth must come out fighting on nuclear!

Jonathon Porritt

9th June 2015

Friends of the Earth opposes new nuclear power stations in the UK. And that's great, writes Jonathon Porritt, except for their complete failure to campaign about it - even though the government's nuclear obsession is a huge obstruction to the renewable energy future FoE says it wants. Please can we have some action now? 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...
Victory! Months after demonstrators in Oslo, Norway, demanded that the country's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund divest from fossil fuels, they got their way (or at least a big part of it). Photo: Attila Dinnyes / via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Norway's $1 trillion wealth fund to divest from coal

The Ecologist

5th June 2015

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, worth over $900 billion, has today announced that it will divest from coal, a move expected to force the sale of investments worth $13.3 billion. Campaigners say that other funds have now 'run out of excuses' not to follow suit. more...

renewables: 50/75 of 327
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All about using herbs. Photo: ICPPC.

Building the Ark - small scale farming in Poland for a green future

Julian Rose

20th June 2015

Poland is the front line for Europe's small scale family farming, writes Julian Rose, under assault from the EU regulations, corporate agribusiness, and a hostile government. A popular campaign is fighting back from its base deep in the Polish countryside, a small organic farm that's developing new green technologies to enhance the sustainability of small farms everywhere. more...
A nursery of loblolly pine – approx. 500,000 in view, all waiting to be dispatched and planted (c. 1,000 acres). Photo: Drax Group.

Biomass for energy is the common sense option

Matthew Rivers

5th June 2015

Today UK campaigners against burning biomass for power will deliver a 110,000 signature petition to DECC to protest at government subsidies for the practice. But in this 'Right of Reply' article Matthew Rivers, chairman of Drax Biomass, argues that biomass combustion is sustainable, benign, and helps to conserve forests worldwide. more...
Sending men to the moon was easy compared to building a green energy future - they hadn't got the world's most powerful and heavily subsidised industry against them. Photo: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

'Global Apollo' programme for renewables cannot take off without political power

James Dyke

4th June 2015

The Apollo Programme proposed this week to make renewable energy cheaper than coal through technological advances is welcome, writes James Dyke. But the real problems are political, not technological. Unless we back the Apollo vision by challenging the power of fossil fuel companies, it can never succeed. more...
The Tesla Roadster - pictured here in Ventura, California - is a great car. But even though it creates no pollution when you drive it, its manufacture leaves a heavy toxic footprint. Photo: Wendell via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The green energy revolution is exciting - but don't forget the pollution!

Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme

3rd June 2015

Boading, dubbed China's 'greenest city', is the world's biggest maker of solar panels and wind turbines, write Caleb Goods & Carla Lipsig-Mumme. But it's also has the country's worst pollution. Green energy, electric cars and the batteries that power them are great, but with the heavy toxic footprint they carry from mine to factory, we must not delude ourselves that they are 'sustainable'. 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 future is solar! Ivanpah Solar Power Plant in California's Mojave desert. Photo: Gregg Tavares via Flickr (CC BY).

'Apollo' plan for cheap renewable energy in 10 years

Oliver Tickell

2nd June 2015

An ambitious plan to make a wholly renewable energy system cheaper than fossil fuels within a decade has been launched today and is set to receive its first hearing at the G7 Summit in Germany next week. 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...
Unit 3 of the Boundary Dam Power Station in Estevan, Saskatchewan, has been converted for post-combustion CCS, producing over 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year - pipelined to oil fields in the south of the province to increase recovery. Photo: SaskPower vi

False promise of 'carbon capture' exposed

The Ecologist

26th May 2015

The widely touted 'carbon capture and storage' technology is much more expensive than wind and solar, says a Greenpeace report. It also represents a perverse subsidy to the fossil fuel sector that will only boost coal and oil, and delay the transition to a renewable energy system. more...
Sellafield, where the Nugen consortium wants to build three AP1000 nuclear reactors on the adjacent 'Moorside' site. Photo: Pharma Mike via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Lies, damned lies, and energy statistics - why nuclear is so much less than it claims to be

Neil Crumpton

26th May 2015

It's odd how often the contribution of nuclear energy is overstated, writes Neil Crumpton, by mixing up 'energy' and 'electricity', while a similar trick to understates the importance of renewables like wind and solar. Even odder is how the mistake always seems to go the same way, to make nuclear look bigger than it really is, and renewables smaller. Welcome to the nuclear 'X factor'! more...
In August 2014 climate activists blocked a digger in one of the Rhineland open-pit coal mines. Protests will resume in August 2015. Photo: 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...


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