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…

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 ow 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).…

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…

Long-awaited research results suggest methane leakage small.

By Jay Egg 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…

How does a utility increase the amount of wind energy powering homes without putting up more turbines? You make sure every watt generated – or close to it – makes its way onto the grid. (See related quiz: “What You Don’t Know About Wind Energy.”) That’s what Maui Electric Company said [PDF] it’s doing, announcing changes in…

… in three regions. When it comes to climate change, coal, the dirtiest of the fossil fuels, is a definite baddie — BTU for BTU, burning it puts out almost 30 percent more carbon dioxide (CO2) than burning petroleum and about 78 percent more CO2 than natural gas. Want to fight climate change? Then you…

A newly published study by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers says that wind energy facilities have killed at least 85 golden and bald eagles between 1997 and 2012—and that eagle fatalities possibly may be much higher. The study also indicates that eagle deaths have increased dramatically in recent years as the nation has turned…

Q Given the receding sea ice in the Arctic, and increased interest in developing its resources, what do we need to know more about? Rate the options below. The Arctic is currently changing in ways we are still trying to grasp, but it is already dramatically, undeniably different than it was just 30 years ago.…

As half of Venezuela, including much of the capital Caracas, plunged into darkness during electrical outages Tuesday, the country’s president used Twitter to go on the offensive. Saying that his government had stabilized the electrical system while directing blame for the outage at political opponents, President Nicolas Maduro posted on Twitter, “It’s evident that behind…