Tag archives for electricity

Energy use increased in the United States in 2013 as a fourth consecutive year of economic growth exerted its influence, but the longer-term trend shows the country operating with greater efficiency while also revealing the small but growing role of renewable sources like solar and wind. The font for these insights is the Lawrence Livermore…

On March 25, I was honored to participate in a roundtable discussion convened by National Geographic as part of its Great Energy Challenge initiative. Along with a group of academics, government officials, and representatives of industry and nongovernmental organizations, we tackled key questions about the role of natural gas in a low-carbon future. What became…

Last year more than 25 million tourists visited the Caribbean’s islands, drawn in part to the region’s sandy beaches and breathtaking sunsets. Though many consider it a tropical paradise, the Caribbean’s 40 million residents know that such positives also come at great cost: dependence on expensive, imported fossil fuel for energy generation. It affects everything…

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…

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…

Comments Off on Google’s Deal to Buy Nest: One Piece of a Larger Consumer Energy Puzzle

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…

The incandescent light bulb has been around since the late 1800s, but the venerable technology’s dominance seems just about over.  On January 1, 2014, in keeping with a law passed by Congress in 2007, the old familiar tungsten-filament 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs can no longer be manufactured in the U.S., because they don’t…

Which is more important: Meeting energy demand, lowering carbon emissions, or conserving water? How about all three? The Three Big Challenges Facing the Electric Power Industry The U.S. electric power industry has huge challenges to meet in the coming decades. First and foremost it has to meet growing demand for electricity. By 2050 it is…

A catastrophic, prolonged failure of the electrical grid—the sort of event whose effects are  depicted in National Geographic Channel’s upcoming American Blackout, which premieres Sunday—may seem like just apocalyptic science fiction to some viewers.  Unfortunately, though, the possibility of such a breakdown is all too real.  (See related interactive: “Survive the Blackout.”) Government and utility…

Sometimes our dependency on battery-charging devices seems ironic, considering the abundance of energy around us that is being generated every day by sources as mundane as the human hand, footsteps, and lightning, which strikes the Earth dozens of times per second. (See related photos: “Immense, Elusive Energy in the Forces of Nature.”) A typical lightning…