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The latest renewable energy news from The Guardian
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Fall in energy use combined with bright, breezy weather leads to lowest electricity prices in 10 years

Thousands of British homes will be paid to use electricity during the day for the first time, as wind and solar projects produce a surge in clean energy during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Sunday morning, windfarms contributed almost 40% of the UK’s electricity, while solar power made up almost a fifth of the power system. Fossil fuels made up less than 15% of electricity, of which only 1.1% came from coal plants.

Income subsidies

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Posted: April 5, 2020, 1:33 pm

Lisa Nandy, Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey answer 17 questions put by the Guardian

These questions were put to the candidates before the coronavirus crisis

1. Is the climate crisis the biggest issue the UK faces as a nation and will you commit to making it Labour’s priority for the duration of this parliament?

The European Green Deal is the EU’s answer to what the European commission’s new president, Ursula von der Leyen, called the “existential issue” of the climate emergency. Most EU countries have signed up to goal of a climate neutral EU by 2050, a goal demanding dramatic change in energy use, farming, housing, transport, trade and diplomacy.

Labour's 'green new deal' - or 'green industrial revolution' - proposes a massive programme of state investment to rapidly decarbonise the economy, creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs, and transforming the way people live - from upgrading the housing stock to revitalising public transport, tackling the UK’s air pollution crisis to moving towards a more sustainable agricultural model.

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Posted: April 1, 2020, 6:00 am

Group calls for independent review of project it says would permanently damage Kosciuszko national park

Engineers, economists, energy specialists and environmentalists are calling for a final decision on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project to be delayed to allow an independent review, claiming it will cost far more and deliver far less than has been promised.

The group of 30 said the 2,000-megawatt pumped hydro storage project in the Snowy Mountains would permanently damage the Kosciuszko national park.

Related: Wind and solar plants will soon be cheaper than coal in all big markets around world, analysis finds

About 40% of the energy generated is lost before it reaches consumers, more than other pumped storage schemes due to the distance between reservoirs being far longer, and more than other storage options.

It was likely to cost at least $10bn, compared with Turnbull and Snowy Hydro’s initial estimate of $2bn. A $5.1bn contract has been signed as part of the project, with further costs to be added. They say this will be more than the Snowy Hydro’s estimate of the market benefit of between $4.4bn and $6.8bn.

It would require substantial transmission works to connect to the grid, costing billions more.

It will lead to more than 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions during construction and the first 10 years of operation.

It will convert extensive areas of national park into a construction site, with permanent damage over thousands of hectares and the destruction of habitat used by 14 threatened species.

Related: Australia’s electricity market must be 100% renewables by 2035 to achieve net zero by 2050 - study

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Posted: March 27, 2020, 7:00 pm

‘Vertical forest’ tower will have 10,000 plants on its facade in bid to reinvigorate biodiversity

Every roof in the city district of Utrecht is to be “greened” with plants and mosses or have solar panels installed under plans driven by the success of a similar scheme for the municipality’s bus stops.

The “no roofs unused” policy is part of an attempt to reinvigorate biodiversity in the city and create a less stressful and happier environment, of which the construction of a so-called “vertical forest tower with 10,000 plants on its facade is set to become a leading example.

Related: 'Forest cities': the radical plan to save China from air pollution

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Posted: March 27, 2020, 2:02 pm

More than a third of British electricity was generated by renewables in 2019

The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell for a seventh consecutive year in 2019 after a record year for renewable energy, according to government figures.

The provisional data, published by the government on Thursday, revealed a 3.6% fall in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 2018 and almost 28% from 2010.

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Posted: March 26, 2020, 1:45 pm