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When fossil fuel subsidies are anything but

Wind with coal back-up

Renewable energy campaigners were quick to welcome a European Court decision to ban the UK’s electricity capacity auctions last week.  The court ruled that the auctions – which are designed to ensure that additional capacity is available at times of high demand (such as during the “Beast from the East” …

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Fracked promises


There is an irony to Cuadrilla restarting its fracking activities in the UK in the same week that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its dire warning that we have just 12 years to transition to a zero-carbon economy if we are to stay below the 1.5oC above pre-industrial …

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UK at greatest risk from oil’s twin peaks

Oil price crisis UK

Among the biggest “green” myths of recent times was the wildly outlandish claim that we had reached “peak oil demand.”  The economists promised us that as increasing numbers switched to renewable energy, electric cars and digital working, so an ever larger part of the world’s remaining oil would be left …

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Solar road block

Solar road damage

To a general public that is clueless about net energy issues; solar roadways appeared to be a good way to wean ourselves off fossil fuels.  As the hype had it, there is abundant sunlight and more than enough road space on which to collect it.  So it was that Solar …

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Solving secondary problems first

Hydrogen vehicle

Can you run a self-driving car on a desert island? Of course not: There are no roads; and there is no fuel for the car. Why do I mention this?  Because the received narrative around climate change and so-called “peak oil demand” is that new technologies like electric self-driving cars …

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Britain’s final energy gamble

Nuclear power

These days, the UK government’s Business Secretary, Greg Clarke has the appearance of a man who has stared into the Abyss and seen the impermanence and futility of existence.  Just two years ago, when he was given a business brief that included the old department for energy and climate change, …

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The renewable road to extinction

Renewable road to extinction

When contemporary economists, politicians and journalists proclaimed the imminent arrival of “peak oil demand,” they were hardly espousing a new idea.  In fact, they were merely repeating an idea that was doing the rounds in the 1850s – an idea that was thoroughly debunked. In those days, it was coal …

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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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