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Use your solar photovoltaic panels to heat your water too, and you could cut the amount of excess electricity you give away cheaply to the grid. zstock/Shutterstock.com

Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery

Most solar power households feed excess electricity back into the grid, for very little financial reward. A hot water heat pump could put that power to better use, by heating water for evening use.
Renewables or oil? The former means betting each-way on energy storage. The latter means hoping to pull off a trifecta on carbon storage. Hans Engbers/Shutterstock.com

Only a mug punter would bet on carbon storage over renewables

The question of whether the future will be powered by coal and oil or by renewable energy is crucially important, both to the medium-term future of the Australian economy and to the long-term future of…
Increasing Chinese investment in renewables is driving costs down. The Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien/Flickr

Chile’s mines set hot pace on renewables — Australia take note

Mining is the fourth-largest energy consumer in Australia, using roughly 10% of Australia’s total. Some of this comes from the electricity grid — but much is supplied offgrid in the form of diesel and…
It’ll come down to politics in the end. jeedlove

Here comes the sun: explosion in solar power beckons

Is solar power the technology of the future? It is certainly the fastest-growing energy generation technology in the UK. By the early 2020s, according to a new report, it will be cost-competitive with…
Roof-top solar panels are just one part of the micropower revolution. Presidency Maldives

Move over big power – the micropower revolution is here

There is no shortage of shouting and dire warnings about the state of the climate and our need to phase out fossil fuels. But there is a more silent revolution happening too — in micropower. Small-scale…
Plants use photosynthesis to build molecules and energy they can use. By copying plants, humans can make cleaner fuels. Ranjit Bhatnagar/Flickr

To shift away from fossil fuels, we need to copy plants

Most of the energy that fuels our lives comes from plants. Whether it is a fossil fuel that was formed hundreds of millions of years ago or the food we eat, all carbon-borne energy has its ultimate origins…
A cloud is hanging over Australia’s renewable energy industry after the government’s review recommended that the Renewable Energy Target be scaled back. Leon Brooks/Wikimedia Commons

Renewable Energy Target review – experts respond

The review of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has recommended deep cuts to the scheme. If implemented by the government, the changes could mean closing off the scheme to new large-scale wind…
Clouding the issue: the latest analysis of the impact of the Renewable Energy Target contradicts previous reports. Bo-deh/Wikimedia Commons

How does the Renewable Energy Target affect your power bills?

The review of the Renewable Energy Target is due to be handed to the federal government any day now, yet amazingly there are still conflicts over whether the policy makes electricity more or less expensive…
Layers of cool: a thin layer of glass added to solar cells could help them work better for longer. Minoru Karamatsu/Flickr

More efficient, durable solar cells are possible thanks to glass

Self-cooling, longer lasting and more efficient solar cells are within reach simply by adding a thin layer of glass. A paper…
Battery costs can make up a quarter of the cost of an electric car such as this Tesla Model S. Shal Farley/Flickr

Affordable batteries for green energy are closer than we think

At the heart of the current debate around energy is the question of storage. In cars, how to build batteries that run for hundreds of kilometres; in electricity, storing energy from solar panels for when…
Water storage is used to smooth the output from hydroelectric power - but it can be used with other renewables too. Martin Kraft/Wikimedia Commons

How pushing water uphill can solve our renewable energy issues

More and more renewable energy sources are being plugged into Australia’s electricity grids. South Australia, for example, will get 40% of its electricity from wind and solar once the Snowtown wind farm…
While Australians love Michael Leunig’s whimsical ducks, there’s another ‘duck’ pushing your power bills higher. Used with permission from Michael Leunig

Slash Australians’ power bills by beheading a duck at night

Rooftop solar power has slashed Australians' demand for electricity during the day, but left evening peak power demand largely unchanged. That’s why, as strange as it may sound, we now need to behead a…
The new budget has served up a big hit to Australia’s environment. Anton Balazh/Shutterstock

Litany of deep cuts for environmental programs

Budgets are often framed as give and take. But in the case of the environment, the government is taking large amounts of money in cuts, while giving little back beyond funding the Direct Action climate…

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