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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.
People are unlikely to experience ill-health further than 500 metres from wind turbines. David Clarke/Flickr

No evidence wind farms directly impact health: NHMRC

There is no direct evidence that wind turbines affect physical or mental health, according to a review of the evidence by…
Not coming to a motorway near you. rawhead

Scalextric is fun, but it doesn’t make sense for the M1

It sounds like something from the pages of books from the 1960s looking to the future: electric cars powered by current drawn from electrified rails beneath the road. However possible such ideas seemed…
Blowhards? The debate over wind turbines is heated, so it’s best to rely on solid science. Fir0002/Flagstaffotos/Wikimedia Commons

Wind turbine studies: how to sort the good, the bad, and the ugly

Yesterday, The Australian ran a front-page article about what it called a “groundbreaking” new study on wind turbines and their associated health impacts. The study supposedly found a trend between participants…
To find out if the carbon price worked, you have to look at the electricity sector. Paul Hocksenar/Flickr

FactCheck: did carbon emissions fall faster before the carbon price?

Emissions fell by six times the rate in the five years before the carbon tax than they did under the carbon tax. – Environment minister Greg Hunt, The Guardian, January 17, 2015. Australia’s total greenhouse…
The Western Treatment Plant in Werribee, Victoria, largely powers itself using biogas – a by-product of sewage treatment. Jason Patrick Ross/Shutterstock

Biogas: smells like a solution to our energy and waste problems

Could what we flush down the toilet be used to power our homes? Thanks to biogas technology, Australia’s relationship with organic waste – human and animal excreta, plant scraps and food-processing waste…
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…
Energy supply including nuclear is the best way to fight climate change and conserve wildlife and ecosystems. James Marvin Phelps/Flickr

It’s time for environmentalists to give nuclear a fair go

Should nuclear energy be part of Australia’s (and many other countries') future energy mix? We think so, particularly as part of a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous climate…
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…
Oil prices have dropped to levels not seen in years. It’s not all good news. Reuters

Oil price drop offers short-term gains but long-term pains

The recent drop in crude oil and gasoline prices in the United States is a nice stocking stuffer for consumers this holiday season, but it could turn into a lump of coal. A global oil glut has caused the…
Wind farms like this one probably wouldn’t exist if the government didn’t provide a hefty subsidy. Shutterstock

Congress shouldn’t revive the failed policy of subsidizing wind farms

Congress passed the wind production tax credit (PTC) more than two decades ago to spur development in an industry still in its infancy. The wind sector has since matured into adulthood, prompting thousands…
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…
One of the hottest topics for the upcoming election is a new forest national park to protect the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum, Victoria’s faunal emblem. Greens MPs/Flickr

Victorians short-changed on environmental policy

Less than a week out from Victoria’s state election, both major parties have been largely silent on environmental policy. Neither the Coalition nor Labor has released comprehensive documents. It also seems…
The renewable energy sector is looking a little gloomy thanks to record low investment. Is RET uncertainty to blame? Stephan Mosel

Why has investment in renewable energy projects stalled?

You may have seen recent reports that Australia’s renewable energy sector is suffering. According to a Bloomberg analysis, investment in the sector in the year to September 2014 was down 70% on investment…
Republican senator Mitch McConnell says the new climate deal will let China “do nothing” until 2030. Far from it. EPA/MICHAEL REYNOLDS/AAP

FactCheck: does the new climate deal let China do nothing for 16 years?

“As I read the agreement it requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years while these carbon emissions regulations are creating havoc in my state and around the country.” – US Republican Senate…
Protesters say the government’s planned cuts to the Renewable Energy Target will endanger Australian jobs in the sector. AAP Image/NewZulu/Josephine Lim

Why fixate on 20% renewables? It’s never been the actual target

Labor has walked away from negotiations with the government over changes to the Renewable Energy Target, saying the proposed cuts of almost 40% are too deep. Industry minister Ian Macfarlane says he is…

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