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Energy

Fracking’s fundamental flaw

Fracking trucks

The arguments for and against fracking have been so rehearsed as to be clichéd.  For its proponents, fracking is an energy miracle that will simultaneously cut energy prices and save us all from climate change.  To its opponents it is an environmentally dangerous practice that will result in pollution, earthquakes …

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We need a national energy company

Energy company

The problem with the fast-crumbling ideology introduced by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher is that, like ideologies in general, it is very all-or-nothing.  Just as communists see absolutely no place for private ownership in their version of utopia, so the neoliberal dream was of a society consisting solely of marketplaces.  …

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Swansea tidal power: not so cheap or green

Tidal Power

Tidal power is one of the great untapped sources of renewable energy.  This is why a proposal to construct a tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay has attracted so much positive publicity.  If successful, the project would merely be the first part of a much larger system of tidal power at …

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UN urges caution on fracking

UN Fracking report

A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report released last month has urged countries outside the USA to be cautious about fracking. In addition to warning about the excessive water consumption and potential for earthquakes, the report highlights the many commercial advantages the US frackers enjoyed that are …

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The shape of things to come

Out of fuel

When the trucks stop running, the economy crashes… and it does so rapidly.  That is a lesson that Brazil has reminded us of this week.  But it is a lesson that more developed states like the UK ignore at their peril. Problems began, as is often the case, with a …

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Riding the bumpy road down

Bumpy Road

The long period of anaemic GDP growth is about to stall.  The reason why?  Because global oil prices have just broken out of their Goldilocks band – the price range in which oil companies can stay in businesses without triggering a global recession. Last week the Brent Crude oil price …

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Centrica may not care

Centrica may not care

Sometimes a story is repeated so often that its veracity is never challenged.  One such is the myth that British households are in thrall to a wicked energy cartel that puts excessive profits above common decency.  So much so, indeed, that the government and the opposition parties have all signed …

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Not so renewables

Dead Wind Turbine

For all practical purposes, solar energy (along with the wind, waves and tides that it drives) is unending.  Or, to put it more starkly, the odds of human beings being around to witness the day when solar energy no longer exists are staggeringly low.  The same, of course, cannot be …

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A question too obvious…

Renewable electricity prices

Every now and again someone poses a question so obvious that you wonder why nobody asked it before.  When that happens, it is usually because it reveals an unconscious narrative that you have been following.  It is precisely because it jars with what you thought you knew that it is …

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Japan tests the MacKay limit

MacKay limit

Even though humanity has barely scratched the surface of its dependency on fossil fuels, it is already hitting hard limits.  The most obvious of these is the storage/back-up problem, which limits renewables like wind and solar to a maximum of some 25 percent of electricity production before it begins to …

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