Archives for September, 2013

What a difference three years can make. In 2010, First Wind tried to do an initial public offering, but never made it out of the gate. Last Friday, in a sign of wind power’s now-entrenched place on the U.S. energy landscape, Pattern Energy Group had a successful IPO, raising $352 million. Of course, there was more that was different about…

Everyone who works on energy futures – myself included – spends a great deal of time envisioning and then evaluating the scientific, technical, policy, and behavioral factors needed to initiate and sustain these shifts. We recently completed a study of what it would take in western North America to expand the deployment of solar power…

Many of us stash a flashlight for emergencies, only to find that when the time comes to use it, the batteries have run out. The problem of how to achieve efficient, lightweight energy storage plagues everything from flashlights to electric cars. But what if you could bypass it altogether? That’s what Ann Makosinski of Canada…

By John Perlin Many people believe that solar energy is a twentieth century phenomenon, untried and untested. But I discovered through writing my new book Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy that houses have been designed since Neolithic times to scoop up sunlight in winter; that over the last three thousand years people have used solar concentrators…

Comments Off on Forum on Arctic ‘Science of Change’ Focuses on Decisions at the Top of the World

The United Kingdom may not be an Arctic nation, but it has a unique perch on the front line of the dramatic change reshaping the polar north. The U.K. government now is preparing to unveil an Arctic policy framework, its own version of the strategy documents  put forth by nations in the thick of decision-making…

The Arctic’s melt season has concluded, and this year the sea ice rebounded from its historic low last year, according to a release Friday from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Sea ice extent fell to its lowest level of 2013 on September 13, reaching  1.97 million square miles (5.10 million square kilometers).…

Comments Off on New U.S. Limits on Power Plant Carbon Emissions: Five Points

The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the first-ever national limits for carbon emissions from new power plants in the United States–a step that seeks to reshape the debate on climate change in the inevitable political and legal battles that lie ahead. (See related, “Four Ways to Look at Global Carbon Footprints.”) “We must meet our…

Birds face numerous human-made perils on their survival, ranging from collisions with structures and poisoning by pesticides to attacks by pet felines who are allowed to roam outdoors, despite pleas by conservationists to keep them inside.  And they’re further imperiled by loss of habitat areas crucial for breeding and wintering, due to encroachment by human…

Comments Off on Natural Gas Study: Allays Fears for Some, Inspires Hot Air From Others

Long-awaited research results suggest methane leakage small.

Imagine a home in which the temperature is always comfortable, yet the heating and cooling system is out of sight. That system performs efficiently but doesn’t require extensive maintenance or knowledge on the part of the owners. The air smells fresh; you can hear the birds chirping and the wind rustling lazily through the trees.…