Archives for January, 2014

Coal is down but not out thanks in part to a pro-coal rider passed in the omnibus spending bill [pdf]. Are we looking at pro-export policy or just a little mutual back-scratching?

More than 1.3 billion people, or approximately one-fifth of the world’s population, live without access to an electrical grid. That is roughly five times the number of people living in the United States, a country that is so plugged-in that access to electricity is all but taken for granted. In places without electricity, kerosene has…

The extreme cold temperatures experienced by a large part of the United States this month have highlighted the vulnerability of power systems equipment in such extreme weather. This week’s snowstorm led to power outages in the Northeast, but cold weather alone can be enough to cause problems: The Tennessee Valley Authority, which serves 9 million…

Oil has begun flowing on the southern segment of North America’s most controversial pipeline project: the Keystone XL. TransCanada announced Wednesday that it had begun operations to send crude from the congested pipeline and storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma to the refining center of the U.S. Gulf Coast. (See related Interactive: Mapping the Flow of…

A massive winter storm hit much of the U.S. Tuesday, dumping heavy snowfall along the East Coast and sending temperatures plunging from 15 to 30 degrees below normal from the Mid-Atlantic region to the upper Midwest. But in addition to causing school closings and disrupting highway traffic, frigid winter weather has far-reaching effects on energy…

U.S. officials are weighing a wide range of actions to address what they view as the increasing public risk due to oil trains. Thanks to the booming oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, and the ramp-up of ethanol production throughout the Midwest, U.S. railways now are carrying an unprecedented volume of flammable liquid—and the…

With the acquisition of thermostat-maker Nest Labs for $3.2 billion announced Monday, Google might finally be arriving at the right moment in a quest for home energy data that began about five years ago with the now-retired PowerMeter. Nest might be one of the few home energy start-ups that you recognize by name. Founded by…

We may be witnessing a historic change in our driving habits.

The community of Longyearbyen is a key port in Norway’s Svalbard islands with a fast-growing tourism industry, but it attracts few permanent residents. In Longyearbyen, there are no indigenous people, and those residents who brave the isolation and extreme environment still cannot privately own land. But this Arctic town may offer insights on resilience to…

Our cities have the potential to be a key climate change solution. Already they are hot-beds of innovation in local and global approaches to the nexus of sustainability and quality of life.  People who live in cities drive less, use less energy to heat, cool, and light their homes, and even their water and sewer…

A recent post on the U.S. phase-out of 40- and 60-watt low-efficiency incandescent light bulbs, which became official January 1, elicited a lot of response from readers.  Many commenters were critical of the ban, dictated by legislation passed in 2007 by Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush.  (See related post: “U.S.…

A new type of race car debuts Monday in Las Vegas with the public unveiling of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, a fully electric vehicle capable of reaching 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour or more. The debut is a first glimpse of sorts at Formula E, an all-electric version of the hallowed Grand Prix racing circuit…

The location of a wind farm can play a key role in the potential for wind energy to add or detract from stability on the electric grid, according to researchers at North Carolina State University and Johns Hopkins University. The paper, released this month,  notes that some wind farms, because of their location and the…