Just in case you are in the mood for a little hilarity, take a look as Mike Fell explores, photographically on Twitter, how heat pumps resemble George Clooney. 

ENERGY

ENERGY


ENERGY

Harnessing fossil fuels to generate energy –for electricity, transportation, heating and cooling– has enabled our huge growth over the past 250 years. Simultaneously, burning those fossil fuels has released, and continues to release, the CO2 that is the major cause of global warming and all its consequences.

We need both energy experts and environmental experts to collaborate in shifting from a fossil-fuel-based energy system to one based on renewables. Stanford University released one such plan.   

There are a wide variety of energy-related topics that we need to understand and acknowledge in our quest to preserve a livable planet. They include the development of renewables, of course, and the quest for safer nuclear (a clean energy source as far as CO2 is concerned).  Natural gas, which burns “cleaner” than coal or oil (and cheaper), has become a major player but, if safety measures aren’t carefully in place, it also releases methane (among other things), a powerful greenhouse gas, making it no kind of real solution.

This ENERGY section intends to explain the way energy currently works (explaining the sources, the role of utilities and transmission, and its uses, such as transportation, electricity, cooling and heating). It also explores the way a transition to renewables could look as we modify the grid, create energy storage through new battery technology and more exotic techniques, shift to electricity as our primary form of energy and, of course, find ways to conserve, one of the most important “sources” of energy-needs reduction — from light bulbs to smart thermostats and just plain reduction of use.

There are various emerging “drawdown” techniques, which promise to reduce the CO2 load, but also involve capturing and storing carbon. Many of these NEW TECHNOLOGIES are covered here.

Every year, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Department of Energy produce Sankey flow diagrams showing where energy in the U.S. comes from and where it’s going….The first thing that grabs attention every year is how much of this energy consumption is “rejected energy.” That’s what is wasted as heat going up the chimney or out the exhaust pipe. ..The most obvious and disturbing number on the chart is the total of petroleum, coal, and natural gas….Our biggest problems are fossil fuel-powered cars, cars, and cars. They are grossly inefficient, and our world is designed around them. When we electrify them, the total energy going to them is only a quarter of what it is now.

CREDIT: TREEHUGGER

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

World Energy Outlook 2021

10/29/21
Against the backdrop of turbulent markets and a crucial meeting of the COP26 conference on climate change in Glasgow, the 2021 World Energy Outlook (WEO) provides an indispensable guide to the opportunities, benefits and risks…

Let us find the best electricity & natural gas rates for you

10/18/21
Enter your ZIP code to see prices

Reports and Publications

10/08/21
The Future of Clean Hydrogen in the United States: Views from Industry, Market Innovators, and Investors

Stone Edge Farm

06/14/21
Imagine a lush, self-sustaining island that generates clean electricity, grows organic food and wine grapes, re-uses water, and creates fuel for zero emission vehicles.

US Energy Consumption Dropped 7.3 Quads in 2020

06/03/21
The single most important number here is the total estimated energy consumption of 92.9 quads. A quad is a quadrillion BTUs (1015) and is equivalent to the energy in 8,007,000,000 gallons of gasoline–it's big. In…

Greenhouse Gas Inventory Data Explorer

05/21/21
The Data Explorer is an interactive tool that provides access to data from the EPA's annual Inventory of the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. You can use the tool to create customized graphs, examine…

Energy Explained

05/18/21
Your guide to understanding energy

U.S. Energy in the 21stCentury: A Primer

04/08/21
Since the start of the 21stcentury, the U.S. energy system has changedtremendously. Technological advances in energy production have driven changes in energy consumption, and the United States has moved from being a net importer of…

Clean Air Act: ElectricitySector and Greenhouse Gas Standards

03/21/21
Congress may continue to examine Clean Air Act (CAA)authorities and climate change issues as it deliberates on legislation and conducts oversightof the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Biden Administration has committed to reducing greenhouse…

Testimony Before the Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate

03/20/21
Climate Change Is Expected to Have Far-reaching Effects and DOE and FERC Should Take Action.

Transition Towards a Decarbonised Electricity Sector

10/01/20
A Framework of Analysis for Power System Transformation.

Impact of Climate Risk on the Energy System

10/01/20
Examining the Financial, Security, and Technology Dimensions.

Taking Charge: Decisionmakers shaping the future of the power sector

09/04/20
The electric power industry is engaged in a massive transition toward resilient infrastructure and lower emissions. In a recurring series, Utility Dive talks to top regulators, executives and other decisionmakers to share new perspectives on…

2020 U.S. Energy &Employment Report

08/20/20
The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) a nonprofit association representing the 56 energy offices of the states, territories, and District of Columbia, and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), a nonprofit think tank based…

Rewiring America

08/07/20
A handbook for winning the climate fight. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the world the dire consequences of ignoring science and its predictions of global crises. But the pandemic was just a rehearsal for the climate…
Vox

How to drive fossil fuels out of the US economy, quickly

08/06/20
The US has everything it needs to decarbonize by 2035.

LIPA board OKs allowing municipalities to procure own energy

06/09/20
LIPA trustees on Wednesday approved a rule change that will bring a level of competition to electricity supply on Long Island by allowing local towns and villages to make wholesale energy purchases through contracts with…

2018 Case Study Report

02/20/20
Cities are ready for 100% clean energy.

Climate risk and decarbonization: What every mining CEO needs to know

02/10/20
Building a climate strategy won’t be quick or easy—but waiting is not an option.

U.S. Emissions Dropped in 2019: Here’s Why in 6 Charts

01/31/20
Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States dropped last year after a sharp increase in 2018, new data released Tuesday show. The drop resumed a long-term downward trend driven chiefly by a shift away from…

Carbonfund

08/01/19
Carbonfund.org is leading the fight against global warming, making it easy and affordable for any individual, business or organization to reduce & offset their climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future.…
OEP

Our Energy Policy

11/09/18
The ways that Americans produce, distribute, use, and think about energy are more important to our nation’s future than ever before. But despite rapidly evolving financial, national security, and environmental realities – and significant advances…

MORE NEWS

FERC walks back pipeline policies changes, approves three pipeline projects

By Catherine Morehouse  Photo: John Shinkle , Politico   03/24/22  
In an abrupt about-face after weeks of blowback, FERC voted unanimously on Thursday to solicit input and consider changes to its revamped policy statements that brought additional climate and environmental justice scrutiny to new fossil…

Heat Pumps emit less than high efficiency gas appliances in nearly every household in America.

By Sam Calisch   03/24/22  
Heat pumps are the cleaner choice. Even under conservative DOE minimum efficiency standards and 100-year global warming potentials, 98% of U.S. households would cut their carbon emissions by installing a heat pump. If all single…

Playing With Fire: Russia, Ukraine And The Geopolitics Of Energy

03/18/22  
The past several weeks have shaken the world order and given us a lot to process all at once. The IPCC released its latest report the same day the U.S. Supreme Court heard the most…
EPA

What If Electric School Buses Could be Used to Supply Power When Off Duty?

03/17/22  
The Big Yellow School Bus first entered the U.S. transportation scene in 1939 and has since become an iconic symbol of American life. We sing about them in nursery rhymes and wait for them with…

Electric School Buses And The Grid

03/15/22  
Currently, fewer than 1% of the nation’s school buses are powered by electricity, but with advances in electric bus technology, growing understanding of the benefits of electrification, and now a fresh influx of federal money…

3 design considerations for electric school bus vehicle-to-grid programs

By Norma Hutchinson and Gregg Kresge  Photo: AzizAlbagshi   03/14/22  
U.S. electric utilities are poised to be a key part of the momentum to shift American school buses from diesel fuel to electricity. Federal and state-level investments, along with other funding and financing opportunities, promise…

PG&E and Ford Collaborate on Bidirectional Electric Vehicle Charging Technology in Customers’ Homes

03/11/22  
Today, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Ford Motor Company announced a collaboration exploring how Ford’s new F-150 Lightning electric vehicle (EV)—the first commercially available light-duty truck with bidirectional charging technology—can interact with the…

Our Energy Library

By Hershel Spectre   03/10/22  
This document is a critique of the “New York State Climate Action Council’s Draft Scoping Plan” prepared by NYSERDA with the assistance of E3 and Abt Associates, herein called the NYSERDA Draft Plan.

Environmental Groups Are United In California Rooftop Solar Fight, with One Notable Exception

By Dan Gearino and Anne Marshall- Chalmers  Photo: An Abal Martel , Getty Images   03/07/22  
A policy debate over rooftop solar subsidies in California is pitting one of the largest environmental groups in the world, the Natural Resources Defense Council, against dozens of its peers in environmental advocacy.

Whatever His Motives, Putin’s War in Ukraine Is Fueled by Oil and Gas

By Marianne Lavelle  Photo: Stringer , Getty Images   03/06/22  
With a Russian military convoy advancing on her city of Kyiv, Ukraine’s leading climate scientist made an emotional plea at last week’s meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

NorthWestern announces plans to be net-zero on carbon emissions by 2050

By Tom Lutey   03/03/22  
In a plan that allows its largest carbon-emitting asset in Montana to continue burning through 2044, NorthWestern Energy announced Thursday it was committed to net-zero emissions by 2050.

DOE Releases First-Ever Comprehensive Strategy to Secure America’s Clean Energy Supply Chain

02/24/22  
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released America’s first comprehensive plan to ensure security and increase our energy independence. The sweeping report, “America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy…

Carbon-proofing the grid: Increasing renewables and resilience

By Jim Thompson , Christian Grant and Others   02/24/22  
The power sector is both a primary mover and a casualty of carbon emissions. Power companies drive the clean energy transition: Their move to lower-carbon sources of generation and higher efficiency enables the decarbonization of…

EPRI, Battelle Announce Unique Research and Development Partnership to Accelerate Clean Energy Transition

By Battelle Media Relations   02/15/22  
Research and development powerhouses the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Battelle are teaming up, announcing today a new partnership with industry and other key stakeholders to accelerate the demonstration and deployment of new low-carbon…

Tunneling robot speeds installation of underground utilities, aiding resilience efforts

By Mary Salmonsen  Photo: SasinParaksa via Getty Images   02/03/22  
Petra, a San Francisco-based robotics company focused on installing utilities underground, has developed a boring robot designed to tunnel utility channels through difficult terrain, including bedrock. The robot's thermal spallation drilling process creates "micro tunnels" between…

Texas prepares for winter test of electric grid

By Asher Price   02/02/22  
It's about to get very cold — though hopefully not losing-power-for-days-on-end cold. Driving the news: An arctic cold front is bearing down on Central Texas starting Wednesday evening, bringing the chilliest temperatures we have seen…

Overwhelmed by Solar Projects, the Nation’s Largest Grid Operator Seeks a Two-Year Pause on Approvals

By James Bruggers  Photo: Ben Hasty , Getty Images   02/02/22  
The nation’s largest electric grid operator, PJM Interconnection, is so clogged with requests from energy developers seeking connections to its regional transmission network in the eastern United States that it is proposing a two-year pause…

More electric vehicles mean more utility microgrids

By Lisa Cohn  Photo: Scharfsinn   01/28/22  
Policy, economic and environmental issues are expected to dramatically boost demand for electric vehicles (EVs), a phenomenon that is spurring more utility microgrids. In fact, three utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Portland General…

Transition to electric transportation must elevate equity beyond EVs, advocates say

By Kathiann M. Kowalski  Photo: Aleksejs Bergmanis   01/28/22  
While a shift to electric vehicles can help curb climate change, advocates say policymakers should start work now so the transition is just and equitable. That process, they say, should look not just at electric…

Three Ways Utilities Can Keep Pace With The Unprecedented Amounts Of Clean Power Coming Online

By Michael O'Boyle  Photo: Corbis via Getty Images   01/26/22  
Starting with President Biden’s call for 80 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030, new federal and state policies and economic realities are poised to drive unprecedented growth in clean power. But keeping up with this transformative…

A 21st-century reinvention of the electric grid is crucial for solving the climate change crisis

By Charles F. Kutscher and Jeffrey Logan   01/12/22  
In the summer of 1988, scientist James Hansen testified to Congress that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels was dangerously warming the planet. Scientific meetings were held, voluminous reports were written, and national pledges were…

Cold weather reignites debate about stability of Texas’ gas-powered grid

By Shelby Webb  Photo: Tim Fischer / Midland Reporter-Telegram   01/12/22  
A week since temperatures dipped below freezing in Houston — and almost a year after the deadly February 2021 blackout — a spat has erupted again over the ability of the state’s natural gas operations…

Virginia okays Dominion’s plan to deploy 1.1M smart meters

By Jason Plautz  Photo: Mark Florence , Flickr   01/11/22  
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) on Friday approved Dominion Energy's proposal to deploy roughly 1.1 million smart meters as part of a $776 million grid transformation plan. The plan also includes investments in security,…

Dixie Fire caused by PG&E, Cal Fire says. Fire was second largest in California history

By Dale Kasler and Rosalio Ahumada   01/05/22  
Cal Fire said Tuesday that investigators have determined that a tree contacting Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines caused last summer’s Dixie Fire, which burned nearly 1 million acres and destroyed more than 1,300…

Top News of 2021

By Larry Pearl   01/04/22  
The election of a Democratic president intent on addressing climate change through federal policy drove some of the biggest utility stories of the past year.

An Energy Transition Needs Lots of Power Lines. This 1970s Minnesota Farmers’ Uprising Tried to Block One. What Can it Teach Us?

By Dan Gearino  Photo: Luther Gerlach   01/03/22  
If the United States is to make a transition to clean energy, it will need to build many more transmission lines—the thick wires that deliver power from rural areas, where there’s enough open space for…

Microgrid Knowledge Names Congressman Jimmy Panetta as ‘Microgrid Person of the Year 2021’

By Elisa Wood   12/31/21  
Microgrid Knowledge began choosing a person of the year in 2019, but we have yet to name an individual, instead making the award conceptual rather than personal, a convention Time magazine sometimes uses. Last year,…

Report highlights dirtiest power plants in Delaware

By Kristian Jaime   12/29/21  
An energy watchdog group recently released a report outlining the dirtiest power plants in the nation.

2021: Year in review

By Jeff St. John  Photo: M. Wen , Unsplash   12/28/21  
States have long led U.S. clean energy policy by setting renewable energy targets and requiring carbon emission cuts from their broader economies. The Biden administration has shifted the federal government’s policy toward similar goals, but…

New video explores ups and downs of global energy pricing in 2021

By Peter Sinclair   12/20/21  
“Volatile and unpredictable.” Those are the terms used in this new Yale Climate Connections video produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair.
INC

Redfin CEO: 2022 Will Be a Big Year for Electrified Homes–and Entrepreneurs Should Take Note

By Kevin J. Ryan   12/17/21  
The carbon footprints of our homes will start to shrink significantly in 2022. That's according to Glenn Kelman, president and CEO of Seattle-based tech-powered real-estate brokerage Redfin. In a recent LinkedIn post, Kelman forecasted that…

Could The Next Blackout Be More Deadly Than Katrina?

12/08/21  
Having lived for more than 20 years in Houston Texas I have experienced some very extreme weather between hurricanes, floods and freezing temperatures with ice and snow. I learned from the 2005 hurricane Katrina that…

What’s better than a big battery? How about a big battery you can move around

By Jeff St. John  Photo: Power Edison   12/06/21  
Study after study has shown that the power grid of the future is going to need a lot of batteries. To meet that need without breaking the bank, those batteries must be as affordable as…

Solar and green groups buy into Duke’s net-metering plan in North Carolina

By Jeff St. John  Photo: Duke Energy   12/02/21  
Duke Energy customers in North Carolina are poised to get a revamped net-metering regime for new home solar systems — one that would closely tie the value of rooftop solar power to how much households…

‘A long way to go’: How ConEd, Xcel and 4 other utilities are helping cities meet big EV goals

By Robert Walton and others  Photo: Reklamlar/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images   11/30/21  
Electric vehicles (EVs) could finish 2021 as 5% of new car sales in the U.S., according to market observers, and are expected to make up a growing share in the years to come. Driven by…

Democratic lawmakers create Electrification Caucus in Congress

By Dave Kovaleski   11/19/21  
A group of Democratic lawmakers in Congress recently established the Electrification Caucus, which will work to advance policies to accelerate widespread electrification.

US House Passes Microgrid Tax Credit. All Eyes on the Senate

By Elisa Wood  Photo: Steve Heap , Shutterstock.com   11/19/21  
The microgrid tax credit cleared the US House of Representatives in a Friday morning vote approving President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376). The 30% tax credit would apply to microgrid controllers for…

LIPA-PSEG Contract Draws Criticism

By Christopher Walsh  Photo: Durell Godfrey   11/18/21  
A Nov. 9 announcement that the Long Island Power Authority and the New York State Department of Public Service had agreed on a new management contract with PSEG Long Island came with reassuring words from…

IEA World Energy Outlook 2021

10/28/21  
Against the backdrop of turbulent markets and a crucial meeting of the COP26 conference on climate change in Glasgow, the 2021 World Energy Outlook

Old Power Gear Is Slowing Use of Clean Energy and Electric Cars

By Ivan Penn  Photo: Jim Wilson/The New York Times   10/28/21  
Seven months after workers finished installing solar panels atop the Garcia family home near Stanford University, the system is little more than a roof ornament. The problem: The local utility’s equipment is so overloaded that…

5 Common Questions About Microgrids Answered

By Elisa Wood  Photo: Pavlo S/Shutterstock.com   10/26/21  
As the microgrid industry grows, more and more readers new to the technology come to Microgrid Knowledge looking to learn the basics. So today we’re taking a step back from our usual flow of industry…

Longer, more frequent outages afflict the U.S. power grid as states fail to prepare for climate change

By Douglas MacMillan and Will Englund  Photo: Cornell Watson   10/24/21  
Every time a storm lashes the Carolina coast, the power lines on Tonye Gray’s street go down, cutting her lights and air conditioning. After Hurricane Florence in 2018, Gray went three days with no way…

Meeting state offshore wind, renewable goals requires up to $3.2B in transmission, PJM says

By Ethan Howland  Photo: Joern Pollex via Getty Images   10/21/21  
It will cost $2.2 billion to $3.2 billion to build enough transmission in the PJM Interconnection to meet states' offshore wind and renewable portfolio standard goals through 2035, according to a study by the grid operator.

Facing Off Climate Disaster in Louisiana: The Tale of Two Microgrid Champions

By Elisa Wood  Photo: Footprint Project   10/18/21  
Debra Phipps, of PowerSecure, had her eye on Hurricane Ida when it was little more than an oceanic disturbance. Years of experience, and her company’s state-of-the-art weather monitoring bureau, signaled to her that trouble was…

Plug-in cars are the future. The grid isn’t ready.

By Will Englund  Photo: Kate Lovering   10/16/21  
On a good day, a fair wind blows off Lake Ontario, the long-distance transmission lines of New York state are not clogged up and yet another heat wave hasn’t pushed the urban utilities to their…

As California burns, PG&E CEO promises: ‘We are going to fix our stuff’

By Sammy Roth  Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times   10/14/21  
I don’t envy Patti Poppe. In the nine months since she took the helm of Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest and possibly most hated utility, Poppe has seen the firm potentially implicated in…

DOE Invests $61 Million for Smart Buildings that Accelerate Grid Resilience

By Emily Holbrook   10/14/21  
The US Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $61 million for 10 pilot projects that will deploy new technology to transform thousands of homes and workplaces into state-of-the-art, energy-efficient buildings. These Connected Communities can interact…

The Energy Transition Is in Full Swing. It’s Not Happening Fast Enough

By Justin Worland  Photo: Liang Wendong—VCG/Getty Images   10/13/21  
Even if you follow these things closely, it can be hard to understand where the world’s fight against climate change stands. On the one hand, news abounds of the clean energy revolution, as wind farms…

The Energy Crunch, in Six Paragraphs

By Robinson Meyer  Photo: Kevin Frayer / Getty   10/13/21  
This is the month that the world’s energy transition got messy. Over the past few weeks, the world has sleepwalked into an energy crunch. The benchmark price of a barrel of crude oil is up…

Rising Temperatures Will Change Air Conditioning Use—But Not How You Might Expect

By Molly Taft  Photo: Altaf Qadri (AP)   10/13/21  
After a summer of deadly heat, the future of air conditioning in a world marked by rising temperatures has come sharply into focus. While some research has indicated we could “essentially cook ourselves” if the…