Archives for March, 2013

Students of all ages are accustomed to being graded on their work and ranked against their peers. It’s a common practice for just about everything in society from education to politics, but athletics is perhaps one of the most scrutinized and ranked fields out there. With college basketball’s March Madness tournament just around the corner,…

  Sometimes the long term trends are the hardest to see, yet also the most significant. Take energy efficiency, for example. There’s no question that using energy more efficiently is crucial in both meeting the rising global demand and in minimizing climate change. And the good news is that the United States has been on…

Speaking at Argonne National Laboratory Friday, President Barack Obama emphasized the need for research on alternative energy technologies and called for an energy security trust to fund such research, pulling $2 billion in royalties from oil and gas leases over 10 years. Taking aim at the recent sequester-driven budget cuts and partisan budget battles in…

Solar energy continues to grow in the United States, but its relative unpredictability remains a hurdle in deploying it on the grid. Now a research team is working to create detailed 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the sun. The three-year effort, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is funded by a…

Less than 25 percent of the population has access to electricity in the small West African country of Benin (map). In rural areas, the rate is even lower. Without an alternative, locals use kerosene for lighting needs, which contributes to health problems and is very costly. Climate conditions create challenges for Benin as well. In…

The Energy Information Administration is touting the fact that “heating and cooling” now comprise less than half of our residential energy usage. But that’s only half the story. Used to be that most of our residential energy bucks went to heating and cooling our homes. In 1978, for example, almost 70 percent of the energy used in American…

Comments Off on Is U.S. Energy Use Distributed as Unequally as Our Wealth?

If you’re active on social media, you may have noticed a viral video about U.S. wealth inequality making the rounds. In just a few short days this video was watched and shared by millions, raising awareness about the difference between our perception of how wealth is divided and the reality. According to a report from energy start-up Opower, however,…

When the giant winter storm Nemo hit New England in February, the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Generating Station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, lost outside power for seven days. Diesel backups took over operating the reactors’ cooling system. (Related Quiz: “What Do You Know About Nuclear Power?“) Pilgrim has the same kind of reactors that failed at Fukushima,…

Progress in developing new energy technology typically has a longer time horizon than can be measured in little more than three years, but the ARPA-E program is already showing early signs of success. Created in 2007, ARPA-E began funding energy technology projects in 2009. By November 2012, ARPA-E’s total portfolio had reached $770 million, which…

President Obama’s decision to nominate Ernest Moniz as U.S. Secretary of Energy potentially places an advocate of nuclear energy and shale gas at the head of the department during a time of intense debate over the future of both. The U.S. is grappling with how to regulate, and whether to export, its booming natural gas…