Guardian - Renewable Energy

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

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 16:24

The government has pledged to review its long-term climate targets. Renewable energy, housing and and transport are just some areas where new policies could cut emissions fast

More wind farms, solar power and electric cars: these are likely to be the future of the UK, under government plans announced this week to seek a zero-carbon economy in the next 30 years.

Some of the less obvious effects could be just as transformative, however, involving innovations such as smart houses and smart roads, widespread changes to the countryside wrought by new tree-planting and new farming practices designed to conserve soils.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Japan's renewable energy puzzle: solar push threatens environment

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 04:08

As the country rushes to cut carbon emissions by 26%, campaigners worry that forests and wildlife are being trampled

The tens of thousands of solar panels resting on the surface of the Yamakura dam reservoir have finally begun to earn their keep.

This floating solar farm in Chiba prefecture is the biggest of its kind in Japan – and one of the largest in the world – covering 180,000 square metres, or roughly equivalent to 25 Wembley stadium pitches.

Related: Is Fukushima doomed to become a dumping ground for toxic waste?

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Labor states 'won't compromise' on renewable targets as energy fight looms

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 18:00

Victoria’s energy minister warns Canberra ‘we’ve got thresholds’ ahead of meeting on proposed national energy guarantee
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The Labor states will seek a watertight undertaking that their renewable energy schemes and targets will remain undisturbed by the Turnbull government’s proposed national energy guarantee at a critical meeting on Friday.

The Victorian energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, told Guardian Australia she would work constructively towards achieving a national consensus on energy policy “but we’ve got thresholds – red line issues – that we are not going to compromise on”.

Related: Turnbull's national energy guarantee could have 'no meaningful emission reduction'

Related: National energy guarantee will 'lock in' poor climate outcomes, ACT says

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Clean energy projects stifled by Tory reforms, says Labour

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 14:14

‘Outrageous financial demands will have serious repercussions across the renewables sector’

Labour has accused the government of holding back clean energy projects in the UK by allowing energy networks to impose “outrageous” charges on renewables developers.

This week, two of the six companies that run the country’s local electricity grids began making green energy firms pay for an estimate of how much it will cost to connect their solar and windfarms.

Related: Warming climate to nearly double demand for cooling appliances

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Balkan dam projects could result in loss of one in 10 European fish species

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 13:07

Exclusive: Plans for a network of hydropower plants in three countries would cause ‘chain reaction’ for endangered species, report warns

Nearly one in 10 of Europe’s fish species will be pushed to the brink of extinction by a constellation of hydropower plants planned in the western Balkans, new research has found.

Eleven endemic species would be wiped out, seven more would be critically endangered, four types of sturgeon would be devastated and the number of endangered species would double to 24, according to the University of Graz report.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

'Lightweight PR and greenwash' – BP's low-carbon plan dismissed

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 13:20

Environmentalists call strategy ‘20th century response to a 21st century problem’

Environmental leaders have dismissed BP’s new low-carbon strategy as “greenwash” and a lightweight response to climate change and the energy market’s rapid switch to renewables.

In a strategy published on Monday, BP said there would be no increase in its carbon footprint over the next seven years because it will cut emissions from its oil and gas rigs, and offset the rest.

Related: BP plan to drill in Great Australian Bight risked 750km oil spill, documents show

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Categories: Sustainable Living

MPs to pressure government on backing for Swansea tidal lagoon project

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 12:35

Committees seek clarity on indecision over taxpayer support and price guarantees for flagship tidal clean energy scheme to harness tide power

MPs are to press ministers on why they have left investors hanging in limbo over taxpayer support for a pioneering £1.3bn tidal lagoon in Swansea.

The business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee and Welsh affairs committee will call on government to explain why no decision has been forthcoming on the flagship scheme. The government has still not indicated whether it is minded to support the lagoon, 15 months since an independent review told ministers to back the clean energy project.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

'Cash-for-ash' inquiry: Arlene Foster says she regrets spiralling costs

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:45

DUP leader says she believes Sinn Féin protests over RHI costs were an excuse to bring down power-sharing executive

Northern Ireland’s former first minister Arlene Foster has told the inquiry into the green energy scheme that resulted in the collapse of the power-sharing government that she deeply regretted its spiralling costs.

The renewable heat incentive (RHI) programme was championed by Foster when she was the devolved enterprise minister but its costs ran into hundreds of millions of pounds.

Related: The Good Friday agreement is 20 – and Britain can’t afford to forget it | Martin Kettle

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Categories: Sustainable Living

States threaten to call off energy deal if renewables undermined

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:19

Queensland and Victoria hedge bets about national energy guarantee, saying they won’t compromise on keeping strong renewables targets

The Queensland and Victorian governments are hedging their bets about the Turnbull government’s national energy guarantee ahead of the circulation of key design details expected during the next 48 hours.

Queensland’s energy minister, Anthony Lynham, said on Thursday the state was still reviewing the stakeholder submissions to the Energy Security Board and “those submissions highlight that a lot of critical issues still need to be resolved”.

Related: Josh Frydenberg makes peace offering to ACT before D-day for energy deal

Related: What is it about coal that makes old white men so crazy? | First Dog on the Moon

We've seen governments try to subsidise wacky #coal projects like this in the #LatrobeValley before & they delivered zero jobs.

This is just switching one way of polluting for another — It's time for real sustainable solutions!https://t.co/gt3VlZp6yu

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Clean energy financier invests $150m in infrastructure fund to lower emissions

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 18:00

Move by CEFC designed to drive emissions reductions across Australia’s airports, ports and electricity infrastructure assets

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is investing $150m in Australia’s largest infrastructure fund to drive emissions reduction across some of Australia’s biggest airports, ports and electricity infrastructure assets.

It is the first time the CEFC has invested in an infrastructure fund, and it is using the investment to target emissions reduction at Melbourne and Brisbane airports, Sydney’s Port Botany, the Port of Brisbane and Ausgrid.

Related: Josh Frydenberg makes peace offering to ACT before D-day for energy deal

Related: We must fix the foundation of our energy policy to get out of the current mess | Frank Jotzo and others

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Our Green Star energy meter is anything but smart

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 06:00

We’ve been losing income from our solar panels since it was installed

We have a problem with our energy supplier, Green Star. In February it offered us the free installation of a smart meter, and it seemed like a good idea to go ahead. A young man changed both the electricity and gas meters. He was only here for a very short time, even though he initially expressed concern that it would be impossible to fit a new gas meter because of the lead piping attached to the old one.

A week later, on a sunny day, I noticed that our wireless “Sunny Boy” meter was recording no energy generated by our eight solar panels. Further investigation revealed that the inverter, that processes  the energy produced, had stopped working due to a “voltage error”. It happened at the exact time that the smart meter installation was going on, so I feel it is safe to assume that the two incidents are connected.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Abandoned collieries could hold key to heating UK homes

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 23:04
Geologists aim to tap reservoir in tunnels under Glasgow

Scientists are finalising plans to exploit the vast reservoir of warm water that fills a labyrinth of disused mines and porous rock layers underneath Glasgow. They believe this subterranean store of naturally heated water could be used to warm homes in the city. If the system proves successful, such water could then be exploited in other cities and towns across Britain, they say.

The £9m project will initially involve drilling narrow boreholes filled with instruments to survey temperature, seismic activity, water flow, acidity and other variables to establish the state of the water in the rocks below the city. The aim will be to establish whether this warm water can be extracted for long periods to heat Glaswegian homes.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Fight the power of the frackers by changing energy supplier | Letters

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 15:37
Howard Hardman suggests dumping the big six to stop the drilling; Austen Lynch says Lancashire’s fracking wells won’t provide much of an energy dividend; Neil Anderson on France’s tidal power station success

The news from Lancashire (Fracking firm Cuadrilla finishes drilling UK’s first horizontal well, 4 April) came as a disappointment, particularly in the wake of the Observer business leader that suggested fracking companies were running into difficulties in the UK (Fracking industry blows hot and cold amid fuel shortages and false starts, 11 March).

Perhaps the easiest method of thwarting them would be for millions of energy customers to switch their accounts away from the big six and other suppliers of shale gas, and towards the smaller, often local energy companies who only supply gas from renewable sources and unfracked gas.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

IEA accused of undermining global shift from fossil fuels

Thu, 04/05/2018 - 09:43

Highly critical study warns projections used by the organisation tasked with leading the switch to clean energy remain skewed towards oil and gas and may break climate targets of Paris agreement

The global shift from fossil fuels to renewables is being undermined by the very organisation that ought to be leading the charge, according to a scathing new critique of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Governments across the world rely on IEA projections to set energy policies, but the agency’s figures – which are influenced by the oil industry – are pushing them off track to reach the targets of the Paris climate agreement, says the report.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Terrawatch: scientists turn to drones to find raw materials

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 20:30

In Germany, scientists are using drones equipped with sensors to locate metals needed for wind turbines and solar panels

We know that renewable energy can help the world to wean itself off fossil fuels, but keeping up with green-energy demand is creating another problem. Countries such as Germany, which has committed itself to a low-carbon future, are finding themselves short of the raw materials required to manufacture wind turbines and solar panels. In particular, metals such as copper, cobalt, platinum-group metals and rare-earth elements such as indium and germanium are in short supply.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Swansea tidal lagoon project faces job cuts and downsizing

Mon, 04/02/2018 - 12:10

Government funding delay for £1.3bn scheme may force firm to lay off staff within weeks

The £1.3bn Swansea tidal lagoon faces a major blow as the company behind the scheme braces for significant job cuts if UK and Welsh government talks on the project fail to yield a breakthrough.

Tidal Lagoon Power has waited for 15 months since an independent review backed the scheme as a “no regrets” source of clean and reliable energy.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Wind and solar make more electricity than nuclear for first time in UK

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 14:36

In 2017 Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also fell 3% as coal use dropped and renewables climbed

Windfarms and solar panels produced more electricity than the UK’s eight nuclear power stations for the first time at the end of last year, official figures show.

Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions also continued to fall, dropping 3% in 2017, as coal use fell and the use of renewables climbed.

Related: Subsidy-free renewable energy projects set to soar in UK, analysts say

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Hydrogen-powered transport key to climate targets, says Shell

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 17:39

Oil firm says gas could account for 10% of global energy consumption by end of century

Planes and trucks powered by hydrogen will be a crucial part of efforts to cut carbon emissions to safe levels, according to oil giant Shell.

For the first time, the Anglo Dutch firm, which is facing calls by activist shareholders to take stronger action on global warming, has mapped out how the world could hit the Paris climate deal’s target of keeping temperature rises below 2C.

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Renewables generated more electricity than brown coal over summer, report finds

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 17:00

Renewable energy also produced 40% more than gas and was exceeded only by black coal

Renewable energy generated more electricity than brown coal during Australia’s summer for the first time in 2017-18, according to a new report by Green Energy Markets.

Related: Coal in decline: an energy industry on life support

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Categories: Sustainable Living

Study: wind and solar can power most of the United States | John Abraham

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 10:00

Wind, solar, and storage could meet 90–100% of America’s electricity needs

In order to combat climate change, we need to rapidly move from fossil fuel energy to clean, renewable energy. The two energy sources I am most interested in are wind and solar power; however, there are other sources that have great potential.

Some people doubt how much wind and solar can supply to a country’s electricity grid. This is a particularly challenging question to answer in part because both solar power and wind power fluctuate in both space and time. We all know solar panels work well during the day, when the sun shines – they don’t work so well at night. And wind turbines only send electrons when the wind is blowing.

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Categories: Sustainable Living