The renewable energy revolution is in full swing, writes Jeremy Leggett, with costs falling to new lows, deployment of wind and solar surging to unprecedented highs, and confidence ebbing away from fossil fuels. But global warming is also accelerating, with global temperature records broken every month for a year. Will the energy transition happen in time to avert catastrophe?
In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation's solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation - including its new 'Sunstation' - an integrated 'snap-on' solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs.
Critics of renewable energy sources like wind and solar claim that they are inefficient, unreliable and need to be backed up by coal and gas, writes David Elliott. But we have the technology to match green power supply and demand at affordable cost without fossil fuels - by deploying the 'smart grid', using 'green gas' made from surplus power, and raising energy efficiency.
The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe may have scared most of the world off nuclear power, write Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko. But mysteriously, not Ukraine, where the reactor meltdown actually took place. Thirty years on more than half of Ukraine's electricity is still nuclear, while the power sector is dominated by powerful oligarchs. So what are the chances of a post-nuclear Ukraine?
The main claim used to justify nuclear is that it's the only low carbon power source that can supply 'reliable, baseload electricity', writes Mark Diesendorf - unlike wind and solar. But not only can renewables supply baseload power, they can do something far more valuable: supply power flexibly according to demand. Now nuclear power really is redundant.
After ten massive renewable energy cuts that are leaving the UK falling well short of EU renewable energy targets, an eleventh! The axe is now falling on solar heating, writes Oliver Tickell - even though it's meant to be at the core of the government's renewable energy strategy.
State action on solar power can make a big difference, writes Aaron Viles. Driven by ambitious renewable energy targets and the need to generate local growth industries of the future, five states stand out for their trend-setting policies that are accelerating the US's clean energy transition.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has found India's huge solar initiative 'guilty' of breaking trade rules, write Dipti Bhatnagar & Sam Cossar-Gilbert, because it gives domestic manufacturers a small 10% quota for the supply of panels, leaving up to 90% for foreign competitors. It's a warning for perils of the entire WTO system, and of even harsher trade rules like those in TPP, TTIP and CETA.
The ever-falling cost of renewable energy could leave investors in coal, gas and oil seriously out of pocket as demand for fossil fuels falls away, writes Paul Brown. In the wake of the Paris Agreement and shrinking markets in major importing countries, the smart money is moving into renewables.
Scientists say interstate energy 'highways' offer a simple approach to delivering low-cost electricity to where it’s needed throughout the US, writes Tim Radford. The best part? It's using clean, renewable energy sources, and it can be achieved in the near future using only existing, mature technologies.
Less than a week ago Amber Rudd was basking in the glory of the Paris Agreement. Today, she's betraying all her high-flown rhetoric as she smashes up what's left of the UK solar industry with a deep cuts in incentives to solar generators and the imposition of 20% VAT.
The government's decision to cut support for domestic solar by 64% reflects antiquated thinking, writes Doug Parr. Just as the rest of Europe is shifting to ever-cheaper renewable, low carbon, decentralised, participatory, employment generating energy systems, the UK is stuck in a the dirty past of nuclear and fossil fuels.
The EU's decision to renew 'punitive' tariffs on imports of PV modules and cells from China will cost the EU's solar installers an extra £700 million, writes Oliver Tickell - just as the UK industry is reeling from 87% government cuts.
An 500-strong Indigenous community in Alberta, the heart of Canada's environmentally catastrophic tar sands industry, is fighting back against the pollution, writes Melina Laboucan-Massimo - by cutting themselves adrift from dependence on fossil fuels, and starting up their own solar power station: a vital first step towards building a just and sustainable society.
An analysis of power prices in the US state of Pennsylvania shows that if solar power increased from the 0.1% of electricity it supplies now, to 5%, then all customers would save $25 a year. Far from 'net metering' for solar being a 'burden' as utilities claim, it makes money for them, and their customers!
Just as the UK's entire renewable energy industry is up in arms against fierce cuts to support for the sector, energy Minister Andrea Leadsom suggested to MPs that the measures were supported by solar firms in her constituency. They beg to differ.
Massive government cuts in solar 'feed in tariffs' threaten to wipe out our highly successful solar industry, writes Sonia Dunlop - and all to save £1 year off our fuel bills. Yes, that's all it would cost to keep the sector in business, employing tens of thousands of expert solar installers all over the UK.
The effect of wind and solar generation in the UK is to push down wholesale power prices, writes Oliver Tickell, taking over £1.5 billion off our bills in 2014 - that's 58% of the subsidies paid to renewable generators. Keep it up and the benefit will rise to over 100% of cost.
A stones throw from where Cuadrilla lost its bid to develop a fracking operation in Lancashire, a solar farm has just won planning permission with widespread local support, writes Ben Lucas. However a 194-turbine offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight has been refused planning consent.
This week Chancellor George Osborne told Parliament that the power from the planned Hinkley C nuclear plant would be cheaper than onshore wind, writes Doug Parr. That could be true on Planet Zog - but here on Earth the reverse is the case. Exactly what are Osborne and his Treasury mandarins smoking?
How comes doing 'the right thing' comes with hidden costs? For state schools planning to go solar this year the business rate hike would reduce the lifetime return of the panels to zero or even negative, while those that have have already installed solar panels face an unexpected tax bill in excess of £800 a year.
President Obama and India's Prime Minister Modi are best of friends - aren't they? So how come the US took India to the WTO's trade court - and just won a resounding victory? And why isn't India challenging the US's own discriminatory solar subsidies? It's because of the money, writes Charles Pierson. And poor India has no choice but to play by Washington's rules.
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.
The Tories' decision to scrap the UK's renewable energy sector deserves condemnation, writes Oliver Tickell. But there is a silver lining: it creates the space in which to design better, cheaper, more cost effective support mechanisms to drive the clean energy revolution forward.