Archives for August, 2012

In the same week that the Obama administration announced its new fuel economy standard, U.S. automaker General Motors announced it would halt production of the Chevrolet Volt electric car for four weeks, citing the car’s failure to meet targeted sales projections, according to Bloomberg news. (Related Photos: Rare Look Inside Automakers’ Drive for 55 MPG)…

A new fuel economy rule that will nearly double the efficiency of the nation’s cars and trucks to a fleet-wide average of 54.5 miles per gallon over the next 13 years was finalized by the Obama administration this week. The requirements of the rule will be phased in gradually between now and then, and automakers could face fines for non-compliance. (Related…

Oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, efficiency. Which are the Republican hopefuls’ priorities? This week, it’s convention time for the Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees. Last week, the Romney-Ryan team rolled out its energy policy [pdf] for the nation. Entitled “The Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class: ENERGY INDEPENDENCE,” the new plan, running…

Most news coverage of energy and the environment is in love with the new: cool new technologies, new research, and all the impressive creative energy that’s being poured into these fields. Yet one of the most significant factors shaping the energy field is the power of old decisions. Take, for example, the power plants that…

The breezy ridges that are so attractive to wind-power developers are also, quite often, prime raptor nesting territory. That’s the case on Kevin Rim, sandstone cliffs in north central Montana where NaturEner is building a 189-megawatt wind farm that will generate power for San Diego Gas and Electric. If this sounds like a situation that could…

As the London Olympics have concluded, the world’s attention turns to Rio. The XXXI Games in 2016 will mark the first Olympics for the South American continent; the Olympic flag was officially handed off at this summer’s closing ceremony. And as the world follows the day-by-day progress as Rio moves toward the next installment in 2016, all that green scrutiny directed at this summer’s…

I’ve begun thinking that one of the defining questions for clean energy is, “What’s the plan?” Not a company plan, but a country plan — one that realistically maps us to an economy that gets the vast majority of its energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and that has us drastically minimizing waste. Amory Lovins has taken a…

It didn’t go 1,170 miles (1,886 kilometers) in 24 hours without stopping, but for an electric car, it’s still a mighty impressive distance — the equivalent of a mad dash from Seattle to Orange County, Calif. The Aussie consortium that pulled it off saw this unofficial EV world record as confirmation of their homegrown vehicle’s capabilities.…

In recent years, the people of western Kenya have been feeling the painful effects of climate change and deforestation. As the practice of chopping down trees for fuel wood continued, “deforestation was getting worse,” says resident Salim Shaban. Removing trees compromises nutrient and water retention in soils, and nutrients lost in the runoff can pollute…

North American companies are raising both cash and controversy recently in deals with Chinese firms: both American battery maker A123 and Canadian oil and gas firm Nexen have made headlines in recent weeks as some U.S. politicians question the transactions on the basis of national security. China has been ramping up foreign investment in energy…

It’s a sad fact of modern politics that what politicians don’t say is as significant as what they do. That certainly seems to be true on energy and climate change in the 2012  campaign, where both sides seem to be ducking the issues as best they can. Unfortunately, that’s not much help to the voters.…

In a sign of the severity of this summer’s record heat, one of the two reactors at Connecticut’s only nuclear power plant has been shut down due to historically high water temperatures in Long Island Sound, source of the facility’s cooling water. Unit 2 of Millstone Power Plant near New London was shut down Sunday…

Is energy efficiency condemned to be an “eat your peas” technology? Matt Wald, The New York Times’ senior energy reporter, remarked during a Scaling Green Communicating Energy Lecture earlier this month that energy efficiency “is like flossing your teeth. It’s a wonderful idea, but it’s hard to get people to do it … Saving energy is no.…

News that China’s largest auto parts maker is seeking a controlling stake in one of the most heralded U.S. green technology companies, A123 Systems, has quickly ignited into a debate on national security and the energy future. Of course, the Obama administration, which supported A123 with a $249.1 million grant in 2009, like the Bush…

They may not be sexy in a Top Gun kind of way, but the U.S. Navy’s continued investments in clean technologies for use throughout its operations recently extended to Pearl Harbor via 36 new electric vehicles. These new two- and four-passenger trucks and cargo vans are from Vantage Vehicle International out of California, who get the chassis for the vehicles from China…

It was no easy task getting a thousand or so solar panels past preservationists PO’d at the idea of PV on the iconic Alcatraz penitentiary – and now that the modules are up and operating, there’s the challenge of keeping the bird poop off them. A National Renewable Energy Laboratory feature detailed the challenge of locating the…

In June 2011, the geothermal (earth-coupled) heating and cooling system started to fail in the emergency operations center for Sussex County, Delaware, even though the $13 million building had only been built in 2008. (Related: “Can Geothermal Energy Pick Up Steam?“) The 18,000-square foot facility in Georgetown, Delaware contains $4 million worth of electronics equipment…