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

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…

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…

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 state asked for a blueprint of a gas-free future. Why are the utilities writing the first draft?

By Sabrina Shankman  Photo: Jessica Rinaldi   10/14/21  
Looking ahead to a future when fossil fuels must be almost entirely removed from everyday life, Massachusetts last year made what would seem a sensible move: It launched a formal effort to plot the organized…

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…

Collectives seek to lower cost of renewable energy, offer choice at local level

By Sharon Udasin  Photo: Getty Images   10/13/21  
Nonprofit public agencies that grant communities collective control over their power sources are broadening access to lower the cost of renewable energy in the few states where they are authorized to operate. One such agency…

The Fight to Control the Narrative Over Climate and Energy Security

By Ciara Nugent  Photo: Finnbarr Webster—Getty Images   10/13/21  
Russian president Vladimir Putin had some unsolicited advice for the rest of Europe last week. Speaking at a government meeting Oct. 5, he warned that the energy crisis currently roiling the continent—which has pushed natural…

Are Tesla and Texas a Perfect Match? It’s Questionable.

By Niraj Chokshi, Clifford Krauss and Ivan Penn  Photo: Matthew Busch for The New York Times   10/13/21  
Tesla’s move from Silicon Valley to Texas makes sense in many ways: The company’s chief executive, Elon Musk, and the conservative lawmakers who run the state share a libertarian philosophy, favoring few regulations and low…

An energy crisis is gripping the world, with potentially grave consequences

By Will Englund  Photo: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg News   10/09/21  
Energy is so hard to come by right now that some provinces in China are rationing electricity, Europeans are paying sky-high prices for liquefied natural gas, power plants in India are on the verge of…
WSJ

Natural-Gas Shortage Sets Off Scramble Ahead of Winter

By Joe Wallace and others   10/07/21  
Myrina, a tanker chartered by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, set sail to Asia from the west coast of France last month carrying liquefied natural gas. When it was about to enter the Strait of Gibraltar,…

Congressman Jimmy Panetta: Microgrids to Move to Front Line of Climate Fight

By Lisa Cohn  Photo: Paul Logan   10/06/21  
Microgrids are not just a revolution in the US, but a reality across the globe, said California Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) in the keynote speech at Microgrid California, a one-day event held yesterday in…

As Massachusetts envisions a fossil fuel-free future, gas companies are quietly investing billions in pipelines

By Sabrina Shankman  Photo: Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe/file   10/03/21  
More than 21,000 miles of aging gas pipelines lie under the streets in Massachusetts, nearly enough to encircle the earth. When researchers began discovering about a decade ago that tens of thousands of leaks across…

Northwest Power and Conservation Council Sets Aggressive Targets for Renewable Energy

10/02/21  
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council has published its draft 2021 Northwest Power Plan, which will guide the development of the Bonneville Power Administration and the regional power grid through 2027.

US can meet Paris climate commitments but will need to rely heavily on electric utilities: report

By Robert Walton  Photo: David Berkowitz   09/21/21  
It is possible for the United States to meet its climate commitments in the Paris Agreement and halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but the effort will rely heavily on rapid decarbonization in the electric…

New Orleans Built a Power Plant to Prepare for Storms. It Sat Dark for 2 Days.

By Sophie Kasakove and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs  Photo: William Widmer   09/10/21  
Linda Williams is used to power outages in her neighborhood, where strong winds often damage the electrical lines that crisscross her street. But Hurricane Ida was different. Within days of losing power, the heat was…

Natural Gas Excluded in Democrats’ Budget Plan for Clean Energy

By Ari Natter  Photo: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg , Bloomberg   09/09/21  
Natural gas won’t count as clean energy under a House Democratic plan that would eventually rid the electric grid of carbon and is part of the $3.5 trillion tax-and-spending package moving through Congress. The proposal…

More Power Lines or Rooftop Solar Panels: The Fight Over Energy’s Future

By Evan Penn and Clifford Krauss  Photo: Tamir Kalifa   09/08/21  
The nation is facing once in a generation choices about how energy ought to be delivered to homes, businesses and electric cars — decisions that could shape the course of climate change and determine how…

What would it take to put all our electric lines underground to prevent outages?

By Will Englund  Photo: Gerald Herbert , AP   09/02/21  
Hurricane Ida plunged more than 1 million customers on the Gulf Coast into darkness, and then knocked out power to another 200,000 in the Northeast on Wednesday night. The chief culprit, especially as the storm…