New technologies are coming on stream that can turn sunlight and wind into liquid fuels for vehicles, homes or power plants, writes Chris Goodall. And by powering the process using 'free' renewable energy on sunny or windy days, the fuel will be as green as can be, and cost less than petroleum.
French energy giant EDF will today give the formal go-ahead for the Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, writes Chris Goodall. But that's no reason for the UK to sign up to a disastrous deal that will cost us over £1 billion per year for 35 years - money that should be used to support the green technologies of the future.
Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall - its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all.
Last week a massive 350 hectare open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay took an important step towards winning panning permission. This got Chris Goodall wondering: what if the land was turned into a solar farm instead? His surprise discovery: solar power on England's south coast already costs no more than coal - and it's only getting cheaper.
The economic impacts of the Brexit vote will very soon make themselves felt to British consumers, writes Chris Goodall - kicking off with higher fuel bills and pump prices. The good news is that nuclear power is now looking increasingly unaffordable. But renewables and green energy research are also likely to suffer, especially if under a right-wing Brexit government.
LED light bulbs are cheap and energy efficient, writes Chris Goodall. A crash programme to replace all the lights in the UK with LEDs would cut electricity bills, reduce carbon emissions and other pollution from coal and diesel generation, and reduce the risk of blackouts.
Government plans to pay coal and diesel generators to stay open the winter after next to 'keep the lights on' betray dangerously old-fashioned thinking, writes Chris Goodall. Not only would it subsidise our dirtiest electricity - it's also incredibly costly. Why not just pay people to reduce their demand when power supplies are stretched?
EDF in the UK may be propelled by its disastrous nuclear ambitions, writes Chris Goodall. But across the Atlantic it's another story: the company is the US's biggest wind developer, and selling its power, profitably, for under 40% of the price it has been promised for Hinkley C, including federal tax credits.
According to oil company executives, oil is going to be a major energy source to 2100 and beyond. So after hearing an oil man make his case, Chris Goodall went home and crunched some numbers. Money invested in solar power already produces more energy than if it's put into oil exploration and production, and the gap is only going to widen from here. Is this the new 'peak oil'?
VW's pollution cheating has caused thousands of premature deaths, write Mike Berners-Lee & Chris Goodall, creating costs that could destroy the company's entire shareholder equity. But this is no 'Black Swan' event. It is an early example of the existential threat to the fossil fuel economy.
UK support for low-carbon energy technologies is running at £250 million a year, writes Chris Goodall. Yet the government wants to throw four times more, every year for 35 years, at the Hinkley C nuclear power station, that could take almost as long to build as Salisbury Cathedral.
Solar PV costs have fallen by 75% over five years ago, writes Chris Goodall, making it the cheapest new power source for around half of the world's population. Now it's essential to keep incentives to drive demand for a few more years, and make it cheaper than fossil fuels everywhere.
As nuclear projects using the EPR design run into long delays and huge costs overruns, industry hopes are pinned on the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, writes Chris Goodall. But with eight AP1000 projects around the world going the way of the EPR, is it really a wise choice for the UK's Moorside nuclear site?
With the UK's business air travel falling, the Airport Commission says we need a new London runway to make us happy! But all their data really shows is that people who go on holiday lead happier lives than those who don't, writes Chris Goodall, and that people enjoy holidays: a flimsy basis on which to expand airport capacity, and blow the UK's emissions targets out of the water.
Thanks to the windy, sunny weather conditions on Saturday, the UK's output of renewable power reached an all-time record level of 43%, writes Chris Goodall. At the same time power from coal reached a low of just 7%, it what may be a record low contribution.
As the UK's nuclear dream fades, writes Chris Goodall, investors are turning to the possibilities of 'Concentrating Solar Power' in the Sahara connected to Europe by HVDC power lines. The cost would be much lower than nuclear or offshore wind, and provide reliable baseload capacity. With the UK government's say so, Tunisian sunshine could soon be powering our grid.
78 records didn't come to an end because the world ran out of shellac, writes Chris Goodall. And today's cars won't be made obsolete by a shortage of oil, or even climate change. The transition will be driven by falling prices, long range, clean air laws, and the superb style, performance and driving experience they offer.
CSP, the 'other' solar power technology, has been largely forgotten as solar PV price falls have transformed energy markets, writes Chris Goodall. But it's set to take a big role in the future energy mix, and huge price falls are coming. Just one question - how to reduce CSP's thirst for water?
Launched at Davos this week, a WEF report on electricity generation predicts that solar power will cost twice as much in 2030, as the lowest cost sources today, writes Chris Goodall. It's sources? WEF isn't telling. But if 'facts' like these are driving the decisions of big energy CEOs, heaven help their companies in years to come.
A KPMG study shows that the cost of solar power in India, revealed by public auctions, is barely half a cent above that of cheap local coal , writes Chris Goodall, with generators bids falling well below 5p (UK) / 7¢ (US) per kWh. The idea put about at COP21 that India and other poor but sunny countries need coal to develop their economies is fast running out of steam.
The National Grid's forecast for UK power supply this winter relies on overstating the availability of increasingly unreliable nuclear power stations, writes Chris Goodall. Realistic estimates of nuclear, gas and coal power station availability shrink the 'safety margin' to zero.
Opponents of nuclear power hold up the planned Hinkley C as an examplar of waste and idiocy that could cost the UK over £30 billion in subsidies. Chris Goodall agrees - and fears that an impending fiasco with the 'unconstructable' and commercially disastrous EPR design may kill off the UK's nuclear aspirations for a generation.
There's a simple thing we can do to cut everybody's electricity bills, reduce pollution and 'keep the lights on' when demand peaks on dark winter evenings, writes Chris Goodall - phase out power-guzzling halogen bulbs and replace them with LEDs that use a fraction of the power. So let's do it!
Feed-in tariffs are a great way to kick start renewable technologies, writes Chris Goodall. But they suffer from a law of exponentially diminishing returns. It's time for governments to move to direct R&D funding to achieve the transformational changes the world needs.