Posts

March 28, 2015

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6:13 PM | As the water drops, so does the power.
As I empty the last of last month’s big snowstorm from my rain barrels onto the garden, I notice the water comes out more and more slowly. It’s a reminder of why power production drops as supply in our big reservoirs declines. Some tricky tradeoffs here:

March 27, 2015

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8:03 PM | NRDC Says Your Xbox Is Causing Global Warming - But It Isn't
A day after Playstation announced that their players are finally getting an update which will allow them to quickly switch from Rest Mode to powered-up, a feature already available on Xbox, the National Resources Defense Council announced that Xbox players are killing Gaia.read more
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8:18 AM | How do you operationalize the water-energy nexus?
On World Water Day, IIASA Water researcher Paul Yillia reflects on the Water-Energy Nexus, and what it means in practice. Continue reading →

March 26, 2015

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8:48 PM | Harmful Blooms Of Algae Could Be Turned Into Biofuel
Pollution in waterways can cause terrible algae blooms that choke out marine life and contaminate water supplies. In some places, the blooms are so big that they are visible…
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8:26 PM | Supreme Court Reviews EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule; Decision Due in June
The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) consideration of cost impacts when developing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard, (MATS) which are set to go into effect next month. At issue in the case is whether the Clean Air Act requires the EPA…

March 25, 2015

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10:00 PM | Soon A Texas Town Will Run On 100 Percent Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is having its moment in the sun...and wind, and water. Costa Rica managed to run on 100 percent renewable power for over 75 days. And in Texas, a state…

March 24, 2015

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10:46 PM | The cool car: electric vehicles show possible benefit to combat global warming
Electric vehicles have been touted as a revolution waiting to happen to our transportation grid, just as soon as we can make a battery that provides long-range travel between charging stops.  They are also sold as a way to avoid … Continue reading →

Li C, Cao Y, Zhang M, Wang J, Liu J, Shi H & Geng Y (2015). Hidden benefits of electric vehicles for addressing climate change., Scientific reports, 5 9213. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25790439

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3:40 PM | Big solar plants produced 5% of California’s electricity last year
But boom in capacity barely offsets the loss of hydroelectric power.
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2:09 PM | March 22, 2015: Understanding Wild Fires, Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in Winter and More
This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they hitch hike from Tasmania to London, study sleep's science, count India's tigers, protect the world's oceans, hike the length of the Pacific Crest Trail in winter, cook the world, understand forest fires, study the real ingredients of processed foods.

March 20, 2015

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4:57 PM | New Rooftops In France Now Have to Be Covered In Plants or Solar Panels
On Thursday (3/20), French legislators approved a bill decreeing that the rooftops of all new buildings built in commercial zones must be partially covered by solar panels or plants. These so-called “green roofs” provide increased insulation for buildings, which helps with temperature control. By absorbing more of the sun’s rays than a traditional roof, green roofs reduce the amount of energy needed to cool a building in summer. And during the winter, green […]

March 19, 2015

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7:25 PM | How Anxiety and Guilt Affect Your To-Do List
Do you keep a running to-do list that never seems to end? Do self-directed commands such as “send emails” or “write resume” or “buy salad ingredients” always end up on tomorrow’s list because of a lack of time today? You may even find yourself saying, “There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” A new […]
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6:04 PM | How Will The EU Energy Grid Handle The Surge During And After The Solar Eclipse?
The solar eclipse due to cover much of Europe on March 20 will be the continent’s first for 16 years. Back in 1999, as people stopped staring at the sun and got back on with their day they caused a power surge which still stands as a UK record – greater than anything after a football match or royal wedding. read more
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5:24 PM | McCarthy: States Must Comply with Clean Power Plan
On Tuesday, a lawyer hired by the world’s largest coal mining company told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power that proposed requirements to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants are reckless, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, in an op-ed, said states should ignore them, but U.S. Environmental…
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4:38 PM | Developed areas in Calif. could support enough solar to power the state
And leave enough left over to power desalination plants.

March 18, 2015

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12:53 AM | engadget:Underwater Aussie wave farms pump both power and...
engadget:Underwater Aussie wave farms pump both power and waterI’m super intrigued by this. Also, ocean-power in general. I mean, there’s so much ocean! And finding suitable space on land can be very challenging. I know the ocean-power alternative energy field isn’t as robust as its land-based counterparts, but I’d really love to see more work like this, esp since this *seems* like an environmentally safe setup.

March 17, 2015

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12:45 PM | Vacuum Maker Dyson Invests in 40-Hour Battery
New battery technology could double the energy density of top-of-the line lithium-ion batteries.

March 16, 2015

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6:25 PM | US DOE examines a future grid that’s 35 percent wind
Getting there by 2050 won't be much of a strain, and it has lots of benefits.

March 15, 2015

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10:03 PM | Keeping up with the Joneses: Who has the coolest house in the neighbourhood?
Ever wondered how hot your home gets in summer or how cold it is in winter? Think solar is a good idea but not quite sure if it would work on your roof? Wondering if it’s worth investing in a rainwater tank? Now with a new interactive tool we helped develop called My Climate, residents […]

March 13, 2015

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6:55 PM | Global carbon emissions due to energy stalled in 2014
First time on record they've been stable while the economy grew.
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1:55 AM | One Step Closer to Solar Power Beamed From SpaceWireless energy...
One Step Closer to Solar Power Beamed From SpaceWireless energy is a hot topic now, but in Japan they’ve big thinking big about this for some time. In fact, i remember a few years ago mentioning this program (x): Their plan is to build solar panels… in space. Sounds a bit crazy, but consider this: In space there’s no clouds and constant sunlight, which is great for solar and often an issue for us grounders. The challenge, though, is getting that space solar energy back to […]

March 12, 2015

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7:58 PM | Climate Pledges May Not Be Enough
The European Union (EU) is now the second body to submit an official climate target to the United Nations ahead of talks to reach a global climate agreement in Paris later this year. One of the world’s top emitters, the EU intends to reduce its emissions 40 percent (relative to 1990 levels) by 2030. This…
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1:01 PM | How photosynthesis inspires solar power research | @GrrlScientist
Plants capture sunlight and turn it into starch. Scientists are now adapting the photosynthetic process to improve the way we harness solar energyThe impacts that people have upon the global environment has been a concern to scientists for more than 100 years. These impacts are due, in large part, to the fuels we use. To reduce environmental damage, people must develop and use alternative fuel sources.“The one source of energy that is abundant across the developed and the developing world […]

March 11, 2015

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9:50 PM | NASA Can Make 3 More Nuclear Batteries, And That's It
Few materials in the universe are in as short supply as plutonium-238--the hot, radioactive material NASA uses to power its pluckiest spacecraft. It's estimated only 77…
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3:40 PM | Charting Clean-Energy Paths in New York and Beyond
Digging in on ways to move the clean-energy discussion from menus to outcomes.
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1:35 PM | 2015 US grid to see more wind and natural gas, retirement of coal plants
Plus lots of solar and the first new nuclear plant in decades.

March 09, 2015

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11:35 PM | The Overly Dramatic Demise of the Light Bulb
Remember when the fight against phasing out inefficient incandescent light bulbs was a big deal? Well it seems the sky didn’t fall. Just recently, Canada joined the United States, the European Union,... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

March 07, 2015

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3:25 AM | Dogger Bank: Submerged Island Is The Perfect Spot For The World's Biggest Wind Farm
Planning permission has been given for what could become the world’s largest offshore wind farm on the Dogger Bank, off England’s east coast. If fully constructed, the project will have up to 400 turbines with a total generation capacity of 2.4 GW. That’s enough to power 1.9 million households – more than Manchester and Birmingham combined. read more

March 06, 2015

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2:00 PM | Artificial Lagoons In Swansea Can Harvest Energy From The Tides
The search for alternative energy sources in the age of climate change has overlooked tidal energy: a vast and unexploited worldwide resource.For three decades now, tidal lagoon schemes have been recommended as an economically and environmentally attractive alternative to tidal barrages. More recently, two proposals for tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Wales have emerged and there have been several reports documenting how such a project there could have the potential to harness significant energy […]

March 05, 2015

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8:47 PM | First-Ever Direct Observation of Greenhouse Gas Increase
A new study in the journal Nature offers that for the first time scientists have directly observed an increase in one major greenhouse gas at Earth’s surface. “We see, for the first time in the field, the amplification of the greenhouse effect because there’s more CO2 [carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere to absorb what the…

March 04, 2015

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9:54 PM | Hospitals, Large Stores Could Use Natural Gas Fuel Cells And Get Off The Electrical Grid
Walmart, Costco and other 'big box stores' or facilities like hospitals could use a fuel cell that runs off the natural gas that already flows in pipelines below city streets and eliminate the electricity 'middle man', which is good for the environment. Instead of drawing electricity from the power grid, that often ends up being converted from coal, natural gas or nuclear power, facilities could instead go direct and use natural gas-powered solid oxide fuel cells. It would  lower […]
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