Archives for September, 2012

The NBC drama Revolution, which premiered last week, is set in a world completely devoid of electrical power 15 years after a massive, mysterious blackout. People go back to traveling by horse and on foot; villages grow their own food; iPhones become useless relics. Some critics have complained that the show is short on explanations…

Iraq’s oil production reached 3.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) this past August – nearly 1 mbpd more than it was a year ago. That growth is set to continue: Iraq, home to the world’s fourth largest proven petroleum reserves, plans to ramp up production to 10 mbpd in six years. Given that 95 percent…

No less an authority than the International Energy Agency says the world could cut the fuel used for road transport in half over the next 40 years. The question is whether anyone is willing to do the work needed to get there. Fully one-fifth of all energy use worldwide is for transportation, and transportation is…

Jennifer Burney, named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2011, continues her work on agricultural solutions for struggling farmers. She observes, for example, that “as great as local organic food may be in my own kitchen, we’ll never feed the whole world that way. Like it or not, ‘Big Agriculture’ is why we’ve been able…

Over two years later, the Gulf Coast is still struggling to recover from the 2010 BP oil spill. Perhaps the only silver lining to this deadly event was the fact that it revealed to the world just how unprepared oil companies are to prevent, contain, and clean up offshore spills. Faced with this ugly truth, scientists…

The aptly named Arctic Challenger—Shell’s* trouble-plagued oil spill recovery barge—has once again demonstrated how challenging drilling for oil in the Arctic can be in a post-Deepwater-Horizon world. (Related: “Is Another Deepwater Horizon Disaster Inevitable?“) The barge, which underwent a multi-million-dollar facelift in a Bellingham, Washington, shipyard, was retrofitted to serve as the flagship of Shell’s…

A lack of wind won’t stall our future renewable energy economy, but Congress might. Debunking the Myths That Take the Wind out of Wind Energy’s Sails Wind has its downsides. It’s intermittent; it’s too expensive. Fair points, but there are ways around them. For example the whole intermittency issue could be handled now by using…

From the outside, the upscale look of this suburban Maryland home is typical for the Washington, D.C., area. But the inside reveals something very different. The virtual “family” inside the house is made up of state-of-the-art sensors, and the house aims to achieve net zero annual energy consumption. Built by the U.S. government, the $2.5…

Oregon Eco-Winery Goes Beyond LEED

In 2002, more than a dozen structures and countless trees were scorched in the course of the Biscuit Fire, which took down roughly 500,000 acres in southern Oregon. Now a Dayton-area winery with a history of green innovation — Stoller Family Estate — has put a number of those trees to use in its new tasting room, along with…

Even as cars become more efficient and fuels become cleaner, the sheer number of vehicles on the road and the distances we travel in them may overwhelm whatever gains the world achieves in fuel economy, according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute. World production of passenger cars has rebounded from the dip seen…

Harvesting Energy in Eastern Uganda

In recent years, farmers in eastern Uganda have had to endure dire conditions that have caused them to lose three to four harvesting seasons in a row. Severe drought in 2007 was followed by several periods of flooding. Large swaths of their land were deforested for political reasons and for providing cooking fuel to sustain…

One of the interesting – and challenging – problems with energy policy is that it’s both global and local. The implications of climate change are worldwide, and so is the problem of meeting surging demand. And certain kinds of energy, like petroleum, are traded in truly global markets. When it comes to electricity, however, what…

How do Obama’s words on energy compare to Team Romney’s? Last week, while the Republicans were celebrating the Romney-Ryan ticket in Tampa, Florida, we posted a count-the-words analysis of their energy plan. The plan’s overall aim is to achieve energy independence for North America. The numbers told us the path to independence for the Romney…

Some of the people who could shape the energy future have a maddening aversion to playing favorites. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the U.S. presidential race, where President Barack Obama endorses “all of the above” energy strategy, the same approach, word-for-word, touted by the opposition Republican party. The GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney,…

When the reigning Super Bowl champions kick off the first game of the season Wednesday against the Dallas Cowboys, they’ll do it under a new solar ring around the top of MetLife Stadium, lit up in New York Giants blue. The NFL’s biggest stadium, which is also home to the New York Jets, is debuting…

After a steep decline in oil production during the uprising that ended with the fall of Muammar Qaddafi’s long-standing regime at this time last year, Libya has restored its output to near pre-war levels. Now, it must address political conflicts that threaten this recovery, particularly in the eastern Cyrenaica region (map), which is home to…