April 8 -- The most important piece of news on the energy front isn't the plunge in oil prices, but the progress that is being made in battery technology. A new study in Nature Climate Change, by Bjorn Nykvist and Mans Nilsson of the Stockholm Environment Institute, shows that electric vehicle batteries have been getting cheaper much faster than expected. From 2007 to 2011, average battery costs for battery-powered electric vehicles fell by about 14 percent a year. For the leading electric vehicle makers, Tesla and Nissan, costs fell by 8 percent a year. This astounding decline puts battery costs right around the level that the International Energy Agency predicted they would reach in 2020. We are six years ahead of the curve. It's a bit hard to read, but here is the graph from the paper. >>View Article
April 8 -- A silent revolution is under way. In November, Dubai announced the construction of a solar energy park that will produce electricity for less than $0.06 per kilowatt-hour – undercutting the cost of the alternative investment option, a gas or coal-fired power plant. >>View Article
April 7 -- The nation’s electricity sector is undergoing a sweeping transition that is providing consumers with far more choices in the way they buy and consume energy. Through a combination of exciting new technologies, changing consumer behavior and smart public policies, these choices not only provide more options for affordable and reliable energy, but they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Virginia is poised to be a leader in embracing this changing landscape. Already, the commonwealth has moved a significant portion of its traditional energy sources to cleaner-burning natural gas. It can build upon this promising start by beefing up its commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. >>View Article
April 7 -- President Obama really should have visited Utah more often.
If he had, then the attention surrounding his visit to Salt Lake City and Hill Air Force Base last week — his first and perhaps only as president — might have been placed more directly on what the man was saying, rather than all on the fact that he was here at all. >>View Article
April 7 -- Regular readers may recall my 2013 post describing how “energy agreement” is often “hidden by climate disputes” — drawing on data from a sustained survey by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
I saw that work as invaluable because it illustrated that a focus on deep polarization over the level of risk posed by global warming could be distracting from the prospect of taking widely-supported steps that could be taken to address it. >>View Article
April 7 -- There's good news for those considering installing solar panels.
The Georgia Legislature recently passed a bill that would make it easier for homeowners to secure financing and install solar panels with little to no upfront costs. >>View Article
April 7 -- More than a third of the power used in a region including Kansas on Monday morning came from wind energy.
The Southwest Power Pool tweeted at about noon Monday that a record 36.8 percent of the electricity dispatched for use for part of Monday morning came from wind. SPP runs an electricity market for a nine-state region including Kansas and decides what sources of power to dispatch based on cost and ability to meet demand. >>View Article
April 6 -- When members of the Minnesota National Guard report to the newly expanded Education Center at Camp Ripley for training, they are kept comfortable, in part, by a geothermal ground source system, solar thermal panels and 27 solar tubes.
Camp Ripley's leaders also are working with Minnesota Power to plan the state's largest contiguous solar array. It will be the largest solar installation on any National Guard facility. >>View Article
April 6 -- President Barack Obama said the U.S. economy is being buffeted by slowdowns overseas and made a pitch for his proposals on infrastructure, education and energy as the remedy to sustain growth. >>View Article
April 6 -- Chicken Little ran nervously through the barnyard, warning that "the sky is falling, the sky is falling."
For the last decade, Big Oil has been running nervously through the halls of the U.S. Capitol and the EPA, screaming — to anyone who will listen — that the Renewable Fuel Standard is an "unworkable," "infeasible," "unsustainable," rule that will create a "death spiral" in the fuels market. >>View Article
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