Guardian - Renewable Energy

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Energy minister faces questions as Swansea tidal lagoon plan left in limbo

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 10:05

Tidal Lagoon Power has to cut headcount after delays over decision on £1.3bn project

Britain’s energy minister will have to explain to MPs why no decision has been made on whether to support a tidal lagoon in Swansea – nearly 18 months after an independent government review backed the plan.

Claire Perry will face the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee on Monday afternoon to answer questions on the £1.3bn clean energy project, which has been left in limbo.

Related: Green energy feels the heat as subsidies go to fossil fuels

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Green energy feels the heat as subsidies go to fossil fuels

Sat, 06/23/2018 - 11:34
Community projects can slash household bills but the sector has ground to a halt in Britain – in contrast with schemes in Europe

The number of people generating their own power has almost flatlined, with only one new group formed in the UK last year, according to the body representing grassroots energy organisations.

Cuts to subsidies for homeowners to install solar panels and a “hostile planning approach” that has in effect banned new wind turbines are behind the “wholesale decline”, Community Energy England (CEE) said in its 2018 State of the Sector report.

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Tesla downsizing residential solar business bought for $2.6bn

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 14:35

Company to close facilities and end Home Depot partnership after buying company founded by Elon Musk’s cousins

The electric car maker Tesla is sharply downsizing the residential solar business it bought two years ago in a controversial $2.6bn deal, according to three internal company documents and seven current and former Tesla solar employees.

The latest cuts to the division that was once SolarCity – a sales and installation company founded by two cousins of Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk – include closing about a dozen installation facilities, according to internal company documents, and ending a retail partnership with Home Depot that the current and former employees said generated about half of its sales.

Related: Tesla whistleblower claims company is 'doing everything it can to silence me'

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Some rare good climate news: the fossil fuel industry is weaker than ever | Bill McKibben

Thu, 06/21/2018 - 10:00

From Wall Street to the pope, many increasingly see fossil fuels as anything but a sure bet. That gives us reason to hope

If you’re looking for good news on the climate front, don’t look to the Antarctic. Last week’s spate of studies documenting that its melt rates had tripled is precisely the kind of data that underscores the almost impossible urgency of the moment.

And don’t look to Washington DC, where the unlikely survival of the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, continues to prove the political power of the fossil fuel industry. It’s as if he’s on a reality show where the premise is to see how much petty corruption one man can get away with.

And the third problem for the fossil fuel industry? That would be the climate movement

Related: The pipeline is surely in some people's best interest. But it's not what's best for Canada | David Suzuki

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Categories: Sustainable Living

UK solar power growth halves for second year running

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 11:47

Labour says figures show government’s commitment to green energy is ‘nothing but an empty PR move’

New solar power installations halved in the UK last year for the second year in a row, as the fallout of government subsidy cuts continued to shake the sector.

Labour said the figures showed the government’s commitment to green energy was “nothing but an empty PR move”.

Related: What steps can the UK take to reach net zero emissions by 2050?

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‘Huge mistake’: Britain throwing away lead in tidal energy, say developers

Tue, 06/19/2018 - 06:00

Nation is a leader in capturing tidal and wave energy, but companies are starting to leave due to lack of government support

Britain is throwing away its opportunity to rule the global wave and tidal energy sector due to lack of government support, a series of leading developers have told the Guardian.

The nation is currently seen as a world leader in capturing renewable energy from the oceans but some companies are already heading for new shores. This is putting other countries, such as France and Canada, in prime position to capitalise on the jobs being created by the emerging industry, the companies say.

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Siemens pilots the use of ammonia for green energy storage

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 13:01

Firm hopes to better conventional batteries to store renewably generated power

A chemical compound commonly used to boost crop yields could be the answer to helping the world increase its consumption of renewable energy.

In a world first, Siemens is opening a £1.5m pilot project in Oxfordshire employing ammonia as a new form of energy storage.

Related: What if Canada had spent $200bn on wind energy instead of oil?

Related: Rise in global carbon emissions a 'big step backwards', says BP

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Leaked UN draft report warns of urgent need to cut global warming

Fri, 06/15/2018 - 03:39

IPCC says ‘rapid and far-reaching’ measures required to combat climate change

The world is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming unless countries rapidly implement “far-reaching” actions to reduce carbon emissions, according to a draft UN report leaked to Reuters.

The final draft report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) was due for publication in October. It is the guiding scientific document for what countries must do to combat climate change.

Related: Climate change an 'existential security risk' to Australia, Senate inquiry says

Related: Climate change 'will make rice less nutritious'

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Electricity comparison websites may inflate prices, energy adviser says

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 18:00

New report finds sites help consumers switch energy plans, but compare few retailers and offers

The chief energy policy adviser to state and federal governments has sounded the alarm over comparator websites offering consumers advice about their electricity plans, saying the sites lack transparency, and possibly inflate power prices.

The Australian Energy Market Commission’s annual review of the state of retail competition in the energy market says commercial comparator sites like iSelect, Compare the Market and Electricity Wizard are being used more frequently by consumers to chase discounts given power prices have been high.

Related: Frydenberg and Abbott bump heads over energy policy

Related: Ceasefire urged in Coalition's climate and energy wars

Related: States threaten to call off energy deal if renewables undermined

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Categories: Sustainable Living

EU raises renewable energy targets to 32% by 2030

Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:31

UK called for 30% as green groups say increase does not go far enough

The EU is raising its target for the amount of energy it consumes from renewable sources, in a deal lauded by the bloc’s climate chief as a hard-won victory for the switch to clean energy.

Energy ministers agreed a binding renewable energy target of 32% by 2030, up from the previous goal of 27%, but fell short of the hopes of some countries and green groups for a more ambitious share.

Related: Deterring onshore windfarms means higher energy bills – Lord Deben

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Let’s go with the grain of tidal power | Brief letters

Wed, 06/13/2018 - 16:43
Fictional Leros | Tidal power in the 18th century | Feast | AA salute | Interpreters v translators

Further to your travel feature on the Greek island of Leros (9 June), may I recommend to your readers Four’s Destiny: A Wartime Greek Tragedy by Michael Powell, a fictionalised account centring on Leros. Powell weaves a clever, powerful story around some fascinating wartime history. We follow four young men, one each from England, Germany, Italy and Greece, as the second world war changes their lives and destinies.
Ruth Samuels
Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire

• Re the proposed Swansea Bay tidal power lagoon (Letters, 11 June), the tidal-powered grain mill on the River Lea at Bromley-by-Bow in London was economic from the 1700s to the 1930s – and without the super-efficient bearings common in today’s machinery. Such small-scale hydro-powered generators (tidal and river) should be all over the country – they’d provide work and be far less expensive than nuclear. But some city slickers won’t be so able to extract their rent from localised generation so it won’t be approved by UK’s present government.
Robin Le Mare
Allithwaite, Cumbria

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Ben & Jerry's joins the campaign to support onshore windfarms

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:17

With names like Strawberry Breezecake and Cherry Gale-cia, ice-cream maker pushes for government re-think

Tubs of Strawberry Breeze-cake, Cherry Gale-cia and other wind-themed ice-creams will feature in a campaign by Ben & Jerry’s to persuade the government to rethink its opposition to onshore windfarms.

The renamed flavours will be sold at half price on “windy Wednesdays” to support a pro-renewables push by the Unilever-owned firm, which has a history of campaigning on climate change and environmental issues.

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Windfarm experts publish no research and had no face-to-face meetings last year

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 05:17

Committee was set up by former prime minister Tony Abbott to handle complaints about wind turbine noise

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An independent scientific committee on wind turbines established by the Coalition in 2015 failed to hold one face-to-face meeting last year and failed to have its research accepted by peer-reviewed journals.

The independent scientific committee on wind turbines was created to advise on the science of potential impacts of wind turbines on people’s health.

Related: It's Hooray for Climate Scientists Day (formerly Hug a Climate Scientist Day) | First Dog on the Moon

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Categories: Sustainable Living

The Swansea Bay tidal power lagoon would bring many benefits | Letters

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 16:45
Countries around the world are closely following the UK’s decision on tidal power, writes Nicholas Stern

You reported that the government is planning to reject the Swansea Bay tidal power lagoon because it is considered too expensive (UK taxpayers to help fund new nuclear plant, 5 June).

The government has not yet announced its decision but it should, in any case, first publish its internal economic analysis of the proposed scheme so that its rigour and robustness can be checked. I have offered, as a former chief economist of the World Bank and head of the UK Government Economic Service, to have a constructive look at the analytical work. That offer stands; the analysis should be in the public domain and subject to scrutiny before a decision is taken.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Deterring onshore windfarms means higher energy bills – Lord Deben

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 12:31

Ministers told there is no logical argument against turbines in areas that want them

Ministers must come clean to households about the higher energy bills they face if the UK continues to deter new onshore windfarms, the government’s top climate change adviser has said.

Lord Deben, the chair of the committee on climate change (CCC), said there was no logical argument against onshore wind turbines in the parts of the UK that want them.

Related: Pioneering 'liquid air' project can help store excess electricity

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Move over Elon: global energy prize goes to Australia's solar guru

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 22:18

UNSW professor Martin Green, who revolutionised photovoltaics, says sun’s power is ‘the best option out there’

The “father of PV” – University of New South Wales professor Martin Green – has become the first Australian to win the global energy prize from a shortlist that included Tesla’s Elon Musk.

UNSW said Green had been selected from 44 contenders from 14 countries by a committee of leading scientists to share the $820,000 prize with Russian scientist Sergey Alekseenko, an expert in thermal power engineering.

There’s a growing consensus that we’re going to get most of our energy out of solar down the track

Related: South Australia rides renewables boom to become electricity exporter | Giles Parkinson

Related: Move to renewables a 'good thing', Nationals' David Littleproud says

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Power from the sun for maritime warning lights - archive, 8 June 1961

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 04:30

8 June 1961: A light-buoy, or beacon, which derives its power from the sun is being developed with some success

A striking mark of faith in the British climate has been made by the engineers of Trinity House, who are developing with success a form of light-buoy or beacon which derives its power from the sun.

Related: After the 'sunrush': what comes next for solar power?

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Move to renewables a 'good thing', Nationals' David Littleproud says

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 18:00

Agriculture minister says climate is changing and Australia must ‘use the best science available’

The agriculture minister, David Littleproud, says the climate is changing and the transition in the energy market – with renewables displacing traditional power generation sources – is “exciting, not only for the environment but for the hip pocket”.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, the Queensland National said the climate had been changing “since we first tilled the soil in Australia” and he does not care whether the change is due to human activity or not.

Related: Land-clearing wipes out $1bn taxpayer-funded emissions gains

I think we are already reducing emissions

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Pumped hydro projects unveiled as Tasmania bids to be 'battery of the nation'

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 22:22

State and federal governments to confirm that 14 lake sites have been earmarked

Pumped hydro projects generating energy at twice the scale of the much-vaunted Snowy 2.0 scheme will be identified across Tasmania on Wednesday, with modelling suggesting the proposal could deliver thousands of jobs between now and 2028.

The Turnbull and Hodgman governments will confirm that 14 pumped hydro sites have been earmarked across the state with a combined potential generation capacity of up to 4,800 megawatts.

Related: Australia's largest windfarm wins planning approval

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Categories: Sustainable Living