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Meet the scientists who want to harness the power of the Sun

Alternative Energy

Fusion is the power source of the future, according to science fiction, but did you know that scientists have been working on this for decades, and are drawing ever closer to harnessing the power of the Sun? What is Fusion Power? When we look up into the sky, and see the Sun burning brightly during […]


How (Not) to Run a Modern Society on Solar and Wind Power Alone

Alternative Energy

While the potential of wind and solar energy is more than sufficient to supply the electricity demand of industrial societies, these resources are only available intermittently. To ensure that supply always meets demand, a renewable power grid needs an oversized power generation and transmission capacity of up to ten times the peak demand. It also […]


The New Economy of Excrement

The New Economy of Excrement thumbnail

Entrepreneurs are finding profits turning human waste into fertilizer, fuel and even food Sewage treatment plant. Credit: Peter Essick Getty Images On the outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda, septic trucks full of human excrement bump and slosh their way up orange dirt roads to their final destination: the Nduba landfill. Until recently, the trucks would spill their […]


Jeremy Leggett: The Test

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More than a billion of the world’s poorest people, having no electricity, are forced to waste $27 billion a year on kerosene and other unsustainable forms of lighting. If every one of their households could buy a single solar light, they would save at least $78 billion over three years, and spend it on basic […]


7 Big Changes to the Energy Industry Coming by 2040

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For the most part, the way we generate and use energy hasn’t changed a lot in the past 50 years. But that’s not likely to be the case in the decades to come. As renewable energy sources become cheaper and more reliable, and we develop technology that enables us to better store and distribute that […]


Nuclear Plants in Irma Path Spark Fukushima Fears

Nuclear Plants in Irma Path Spark Fukushima Fears thumbnail

Hurricane Irma threatens to impact two nuclear reactors when it hits Florida this weekend, sparking fears of a Fukushima-style catastrophe. Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants, Turkey Point and St. Lucie plant, are mulling shutting down the reactors in preparation for the massive storm. “If we anticipate there will be direct impacts on either […]


Renewables to produce 85% of global electricity needs by 2050

Alternative Energy

On Monday, Dutch quality assurance and risk management company DVL GL published its Energy Transition Outlook 2017 report and predicted that by 2050, 85 per cent of global electricity needs and 44 percent of total energy needs will be met by renewables. The report only considered energy produced by solar PVs, onshore and offshore wind […]


Subsidizing new nuclear power such as Vogtle reactors in nation’s interest

Subsidizing new nuclear power such as Vogtle reactors in nation’s interest thumbnail

Adding two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle is going to need some help from Congress and the federal government to work, according to Georgia Power’s request to continue. And it is in the national interest to subsidize new nuclear power the way the government is helping wind and solar power technologies, a nuclear engineer […]


The Beauty of Biomass

Alternative Energy

“You probably wouldn’t want to invest in beachfront property at the rate sea level rise and superstorms are accelerating” Hemp and Cob houses at Cloughjordan Ecovillage “The solution to our living arrangement problem is not going to be more cars of a different kind, it’s going to be returning to more towns and traditional neighborhoods. […]


Researchers Announce Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough

Alternative Energy

For years nuclear fusion was the stuff of sci-fi books and movies, but technology has brought it, like so many other things, closer to reality. So close, in fact, that there are plans to build the first nuclear fusion reactor by 2025 – a reactor that could yield a lot more energy than is fed […]


Here’s why oil’s future is grim

Alternative Energy

What do auto manufacturers, utilities and oil companies have in common with Kodak, Blockbuster and Macy’s? Their business models are rapidly vanishing under the pressure of technology innovation and societal norms. Five countries have already announced an end date for the sale of gasoline and diesel cars: Norway (2025), Germany and India (2030), and France […]


Electricity is a Rip-Off

Alternative Energy

British Gas has raised electricity prices by 12.5% and its rivals are likely to follow suit. Another round of inflation-busting increases has put calls for an energy price cap back on the agenda. When then Labour leader Ed Miliband first proposed a cap in 2013 it was dismissed by the Tories as coming from a […]


Peak Oil Demand: Time To Get Agile Or Get Left Behind In The Race To Low-Carbon Fuels

Alternative Energy

As low oil prices persist, global oil and gas companies are undertaking some serious self-examination. “Peak oil supply” concerns have been replaced by worries about “peak oil demand.” Increasingly, the board room anxiety is not about whether, but when per-capita oil consumption might plateau. Indeed, The World Energy Council’s earliest forecasts, in a report conducted […]


Eclipse Will Be “First Major Test” Of Solar Power’s Role In Energy Grid

Alternative Energy

The first total solar eclipse in 99 years will be an unprecedented test of an American power grid that has become rapidly reliant on solar energy, according to Bloomberg. Power grids, utilities and generators are bracing for more than 12,000 megawatts of solar power to go offline starting around 9 a.m. in Oregon as the […]


Sunlight and Seaweed

Alternative Energy

The marvelous Prof Tim Flannery was once described by the Financial Times as akin to a cross between Charles Darwin and Indiana Jones for his pioneering mammalogy and paleontology field work. But he gave up this adventurous life to focus on climate change writing and campaigning. Tim drops into the studio and we discuss why, […]


Fusion-fission hybrids: nuclear shortcut or pipe dream?

Fusion-fission hybrids: nuclear shortcut or pipe dream? thumbnail

While nuclear fusion’s key milestones remain elusive, could fusion-fission hybrid reactors represent the best of both worlds? Start-up Apollo Fusion aims to make this complex concept a commercial reality, but formidable obstacles remain. With waste and safety concerns holding back global nuclear uptake, there is increased attention being paid to a longer-term nuclear goal: fusion. […]


Externalized Costs of Hydro and Mature Energy Storage

Alternative Energy

What is meant by “externalized costs”? Externalized costs are real costs that are not quantified within the levelized cost calculations presented in the internalized cost articles. These costs are directly or indirectly paid by various sectors of the economy in forms such as pollution-related health costs, grid integration costs of intermittent renewables, and a reduction in the free […]


How clean is ‘clean energy’? Renewables cannot solve the global crisis

Alternative Energy

In this second contribution to our symposium, ‘Pathways to the Post-Carbon Economy’, ecosocialist scholar Saral Sarkar dissects the challenges posed by renewable energy in the context of the environmental crisis of capitalism. How ‘renewable’, really, are renewable energies? While we model their feasibility in different ways through scientific studies, do these studies account for the […]


What Is the ROI (and EROEI) on Subsidized Renewable Energy?

Alternative Energy

Subsidized renewable energy has a low Energy Return on Energy Invested, which makes it completely irrational as a matter of economics and public policy.  Anyone who has any business acumen will understand the law of ROI (Return on Investment). You need to know if money is well spent and if that opportunity to invest is […]


Researchers Have Been Underestimating the Cost of Wind and Solar

Alternative Energy

How should electricity from wind turbines and solar panels be evaluated? Should it be evaluated as if these devices are stand-alone devices? Or do these devices provide electricity that is of such low quality, because of its intermittency and other factors, that we should recognize the need for supporting services associated with actually putting the […]


Richard Heinberg: Controversy Explodes over Renewable Energy

Alternative Energy

A heated debate in the pages of one of the country’s most renowned scientific journals has gained national attention. The debate is over whether a combination of wind, solar, and hydroelectricity could fully power the U.S. But both sides of the debate are completely missing half of the equation. In a series of papers published […]


Richard Heinberg: Talking Energy Transition

Alternative Energy

This is the second and final part of a recent conversation with Richard Heinberg by Greening the Apocalypse. Greening the Apocalypse is a weekly show on Melbourne’s Triple R 102.7FM. Listen to the first part here.


Coal and Nuclear are Uneconomic — More Bombshells from Perry’s Draft Grid Study

Alternative Energy

On Saturday, we reported that a leaked draft of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s grid study obtained by Bloomberg debunks his attack on renewable energy. ThinkProgress has now obtained a copy of that draft, and it has many more surprises — or, rather, findings that are fairly well known to energy experts but may come as an unpleasant surprise to Perry and […]


NASA Plans to Use Nuclear Reactors on MARS

Alternative Energy

KiloPower Design – Image Source: Dasari V. Rao, Patrick McClure, Los Alamos National Laboratory as published in R&D Magazine 02/14/17 The reactors would use highly enriched uranium as a fuel to power fission processes. The development of the technology would also require completion of the design and flight qualification of the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator. (ASRG) […]


Fusion energy pushed back beyond 2050

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We will have to wait until the second half of the century for fusion reactors to start generating electricity, experts have announced. A new version of a European “road map” lays out the technological hurdles to be overcome if the processes powering the Sun are to be harnessed on Earth. The road map has been […]


Remunicipalisation of Energy Systems

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Image: Advertisement for the municipal electricity utility in Hamburg (round 1900) In Germany, there is a strong movement to claim the gas, electricity and heating networks back from private corporations. Initiated by civil organisations, they are pushing the political arena to take action towards a remunicipalisation of the energy system. This is a very interesting […]


China’s ‘artificial sun’ sets world record with 100 second steady-state high performance plasma

Alternative Energy

Basic parameters of the world’s longest 101.2 s high confinement discharge achieved on EAST (Bt=2.5T, PRF=3.0MW, ne/neGW=0.55, Te=4.0KeV, H98y2=1.1, Upper single null configuration) Credit: EAST Team China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) made an important advance by achieving a stable 101.2-second steady-state high confinement plasma, setting a world record in long-pulse H-mode operation on the […]


Scientists race to create fusion power’s ‘perfect energy’

Scientists race to create fusion power’s ‘perfect energy’ thumbnail

AS THE world tries to ween itself off fossil fuels, scientists are racing towards one of the biggest breakthroughs in history that could provide virtually unlimited energy. Theoretical physicist Professor Steven Cowley spruiked the immense potential of fusion, which he described as a “perfect energy source”, in a “deliberately provocative” talk at Syndey University on […]


Energy Mixes Shift But Fossils Remain King

Energy Mixes Shift But Fossils Remain King thumbnail

By Evan Lund The world’s most valuable company is not Apple, Google, or Amazon. It’s an oil company, and it’s about to go public. Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian state energy goliath, is preparing for an initial public offering in 2018. Depending on who you ask, its valuation will be somewhere between $250 billion and […]


Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range

Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range thumbnail

A Dutch startup is planning to bring a completely solar-powered electric car to market, which could theoretically let some drivers go for months without plugging it in. The ne plus ultra of electric cars might be in the works, thanks to a team of alumni from Solar Team Eindhoven, which has been developing prototypes of […]


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