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

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.

The 2021 energy flow chart released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory details the sources of energy production, how Americans are using energy and how much waste exists. (click image to enlarge or download a PDF version).

CREDIT: FLOWCHARTS

CURRENT NEWS

KEY RESOURCES

Short-term Energy Outlook

10/12/22
Many households across the United States are likely to spend more on energy in the winter of 2022–23 compared with recent winters. Higher forecast energy expenditures are the result of higher fuel prices, combined with…

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…

Our Energy Policy

11/09/18
The mission of OurEnergyPolicy is to facilitate substantive, responsible dialogue on energy policy issues, and provide this dialogue as a resource for the American people, policymakers, and the media. OurEnergyPolicy does not have or endorse…

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.…

MORE NEWS

Vehicle-to-grid (V2g): Everything You Need To Know

06/17/22  
V2G stands for “vehicle to grid” and is a technology that enables energy to be pushed back to the power grid from the battery of an electric car. With electric vehicle-to-grid technology—also known as car-to-grid—a…

Power Company NextEra Plans to Cut Carbon Emissions to Close to Nothing by 2045

By Katherine Blunt   06/15/22  
No major U.S. utility company to date has committed to near-total decarbonization without the use of offsets or carbon-capture technology. The strategy represents a big gamble for new NextEra Chief Executive John Ketchum, who earlier…

NextEra Energy plans to cut all carbon emissions by 2045, partly via FPL adding 140 GW of solar, storage

By Ethan Howland  Photo: Glen Richard , Getty Images   06/14/22  
Outside Florida, NextEra aims to help decarbonize the utility and other sectors through its NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary. NextEra sees a roughly $4 trillion investment opportunity in decarbonizing the U.S. economy by 2050, a move…

Fuel crisis: slash demand in three sectors to protect economies and climate

By Felix Creutzig  Photo: Krisztian Bocsi , Getty Images   06/13/22  
The war in Ukraine has triggered an energy and resource crisis. Russian exports account for 3.6% of coal, 7.0% of natural gas and 5.8% of oil consumption globally (see Supplementary information). Much of those exports…

Collaborating for a Clean Energy Future: California’s First 100% Renewable Multi-Customer Microgrid is Now Operational

06/07/22  
Research and development was supported through a $5 million grant from California’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC)—a statewide program which invests in scientific and technological research to accelerate the transformation of the electricity sector to…

Disrupted Energy Markets: Fossil Revival or Renewable Opportunity?

06/03/22  
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and surging inflation disrupt global energy markets, even insiders are scrambling to make sense of this moment. The European Union recently agreed to ban imports of 90 percent of Russian…

The power grid explained — plus demand response, virtual power plants and more

By Alison F. Takemura  Photo : Binh Nguyen , Canary Media   06/02/22  
How does electric power reach our homes and workplaces? Via the grid — a vast network of electrical lines, transmission towers, transformers, and control and sensing equipment that carries electricity from power plants to where…

DOE launches grid interconnection initiative to cut ‘gridlock’ hampering clean energy progress

By Ethan Howland  Photo : Lovelyday12 , Getty Images   06/02/22  
In an effort to spur clean energy development, the U.S. Department of Energy is launching a program to improve the grid interconnection process through a partnership with utilities, grid operators, state and tribal governments, clean…

A summer of blackouts? Wheezing power grid leaves states at risk.

By Evan Halper  Photo: David J. Phillip , AP   06/02/22  
The nation’s power grid is under stress like never before, with regulators warning that the kind of rolling outages that are now familiar to California and Texas could be far more widespread as hot summer…

Inside Ithaca’s plan to electrify 6,000 buildings and grow a regional green workforce using private equity funds

By Robert Walton  Photo: Robert Walton/Utilitydive   06/02/22  
Ithaca is known for its progressive politics — in the 90s the city pioneered a time-based currency to inspire local spending, for example. But the decarbonization plan is among its most ambitious efforts, according to…

How Putin Has Played His Energy Cards

By David Wallace-Wells  Photo: Ibrahim Rayintakath   05/31/22  
Almost as soon as the war in Ukraine began, in February, I found myself returning to an essay published online in Foreign Affairs in November. In “Green Upheaval,” Jason Bordoff and Meghan O’Sullivan predict that…
Rmi

The Economics of Electrifying Buildings

By Sherri Billimoria and Others   05/31/22  
Seventy million American homes and businesses burn natural gas, oil, or propane on-site to heat their space and water, generating 560 million tons of carbon dioxide each year—one-tenth of total US emissions. But now, we…

U.S. approves major transmission line from Wyoming to Utah

By Nichola Groom  Photo : Stephen Lam , Reuters   05/27/22  
The Biden administration on Thursday gave final approval to a 416-mile electric transmission line that will help connect more wind and solar energy to the Western U.S. grid.
Rmi

Three Questions Wisconsinites Are Asking about Heat Pumps

Lauren Reeg and Others   05/27/22  
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission, which regulates public utilities in the state, is currently deciding what role the state’s energy efficiency program will play in developing the local market for heat pumps. Heat pumps are…

The U.S. Is Addicted To Gas Heating. A New Bill May Make Going Electric The Easy Choice.

By Alexander C. Kaufman  Photo: Leon Neal , Getty Images   05/25/22  
When it’s cold outside, most American homes burn gas or fuel for warmth ― a big part of why buildings are the country’s fourth-largest source of climate-changing emissions. When it’s hot, an even bigger percentage…

Democrats scramble on energy prices ahead of Memorial Day

By George Cahlink & Others  Photo: Francis Chung , E&E News   05/25/22  
Both parties have spent weeks trading blame over who is responsible for high fuel costs that threaten to be a major issue in the midterm elections. Partisan bills have been proposed that won’t pass the…

How changing demand and supply for energy can help tackle climate change

By Ben Van Beurden   05/24/22  
With the huge uncertainty caused by the war in Ukraine, volatile energy prices and threats to a secure supply of energy, there is a fear that countries and companies will shy away from their promises…

Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

05/23/22  
Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. Human activities are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over the last 150 years.1 The largest source of greenhouse…

The American West should brace for a blackout summer, electricity regulator warns

By Tristan Bove  Photo: George Rose—Getty Images   05/20/22  
Electricity shortages and blackouts are increasingly possible for the American West this summer, as an electrical operator warns of “out-of-the-ordinary” conditions.

Utilities: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

By John Oliver   05/16/22  
John Oliver discusses the incredible amount of power we give electric utility companies, how weakly regulated they are, and why they get such bad Yelp reviews.

Rising panel costs hit solar power as electric-rate hikes boost appeal

By Mark Harrington   05/13/22  
In recent weeks and months, a U.S. Commerce Department investigation has short-circuited a key supply source of solar panels from Asia, and one major supplier to the United States, LG Electronics, has exited the market,…

Washington, D.C., is ‘ideally poised for electrification,’ Sierra Club finds. The city’s gas utility disagrees.

By Robert Walton   05/13/22  
Renewable natural gas and green hydrogen could be used to help the District of Columbia affordably reach its 2050 carbon neutrality goal while avoiding costly grid upgrades, Washington Gas told the D.C. Public Service Commission…

PJM releases road map for creating ‘grid of the future’ to handle coming renewables, storage wave

By Ethan Howland   05/12/22  
The PJM Interconnection has developed a roadmap for handling the various changes affecting its system, including the retirement of fossil-fueled generation, growth in renewable energy and storage, and the electrification of the transportation and building…

A Fight Over America’s Energy Future Erupts on the Canadian Border

David Gelles  Photo: Renaud Philippe   05/06/22  
Hundreds of feet below a remote forest near Hudson Bay, Serge Abergel inspected the spinning turbines at the heart of the biggest subterranean power plant in the world, a massive facility that converts the water…

Climate Change Is Straining California’s Energy System, Officials Say

By Benjamin Mullin  Photo: Philip Cheung , The New York Times   05/06/22  
Torrid heat, raging wildfires and prolonged drought are putting California residents at increased risk of power outages, officials said Friday, as extreme weather driven by climate change puts additional stress on the state’s already-taxed energy…

Major grid dilemma: Treat fossil fuels like renewables?

By Miranda Wilson   05/05/22  
Now, clean energy advocates have their sights set on another issue they say may give coal, natural gas and nuclear generators a leg up with PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization that oversees the flow…

The fight for a national clean energy transmission system emerges on three fronts

By Herman K. Trabish  Photo: Don DeBold   05/03/22  
After years of studies showing a national transmission system is the most cost-effective way to meet growing clean energy and carbon reduction mandates, there is still no nation-spanning solution.
AP

Big US energy transmission projects inch closer to approval

By Susan Montoya Bryan  Photo: Susan Montoya Bryan , AP Photo   04/29/22  
The federal government has finished another environmental review of a proposed transmission line that will carry wind-generated electricity from rural New Mexico to big cities in the West and similar reviews are planned for two…

Is ​‘vehicle-to-everything’ charging ready for prime time?

By Jeff St. John  Photo: Harvey Farr   04/27/22  
How much more valuable can electric vehicles be if their batteries can be tapped to power homes, other buildings or the grid at large? And are those extra benefits worth the costs and complications of…

First all-electric heating mandate for buildings passes in Washington state

By Emily Pontecorvo   04/26/22  
The State Building Code Council voted 11-to-3 on Friday to adopt a revised energy code that requires most new commercial buildings and large multifamily buildings to install electric heat pumps. The Council will consider a…

Heat Pump Heads Rejoice: Washington State Now Requires the More Efficient Systems

By Lauren Leffer  Photo: Silas Stein , AP Images   04/26/22  
Washington is now the first state in the country to mandate energy-efficient (and possibly fossil fuel-free) electric heat pumps, over traditional furnaces and water heaters. The rules apply in new commercial and multifamily residential buildings…

The US has more clean energy projects planned than the grid can handle

By Jeff St. John  Photo: George Rose , Getty Images   04/20/22  
The proposed wind, solar and battery projects seeking interconnection to U.S. transmission grids today are enough to bring the country to 80 percent carbon-free electricity by 2030. But based on historical trends, less than a…

Renewables are growing — but a backlog of projects is holding up a greener grid

By Emily Pontecorvo  Photo: Robert Alexander , Getty Images   04/20/22  
From where Joe Rand stands, there’s good news and there’s bad news about renewable energy development in the United States — and it’s hard to tell which is more significant.

What the 1970s teaches about today’s energy crisis

By Heather Richards  Photo: Ashley Landis , AP Photo   04/12/22  
The Biden administration faces an oil crisis the likes of which haven’t been seen since the price shocks of the 1970s. That troubled decade is burned on the American imagination with its Nixonian price controls…

States’ solar fights pinpoint tensions between environmentalists and utility companies

By Vanessa Montalbano  Photo: Rich Pedroncelli   03/31/22  
Lawmakers in Florida are clamping down on solar incentives for homeowners, escalating a years-long fight between clean energy advocates and politically powerful utility companies.

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…