Energy 101


Harnessing fossil fuels to generate energy –for electricity, transportation, heating and cooling– has enabled America’s 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, which are increasingly dire.

It seems clear, that within our communities, it is our task to shift our energy usage away from fossil fuels and towards clean sources of energy: nuclear, hydropower, wind and solar. Perhaps the most compelling way to do that is to eliminate bringing fossil fuels into our buildings (residential, commercial and municipal) for our heating and cooling needs as well as into our cars, trucks, and buses. Electrify everything is becoming an increasingly powerful mandate, which would allow our energy grid the possibility of being fueled by clean instead of dirty fuel. In this scenario, we shift to electric cars (not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the source of fuel but also eliminating the emissions which otherwise pollute the air). And we need to shift to heat pumps for the heating and cooling of our buildings – whether air source or geothermal.

For much more detailed information about energy, go here. You will learn the way energy works (explaining the sources and the role of utilities and transmission as it moves towards its ultimate destinations, such as transportation, electricity, cooling and heating).

There are also 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.



These ‘energy vampires’ could be sucking your wallet dry: ‘As much as 20% of your monthly electricity bill’

By Brett Aresco 04/23/23
They are so-called “energy vampires,” appliances in your home that use energy when they’re plugged in, even when they’re not turned on. The garlic, stake to the heart, or silver bullet for these energy vampires…
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Solar ‘resilience hubs’ coming to three Minneapolis neighborhoods

By Danny Spewak 07/18/22
Three Minneapolis neighborhoods will implement "resilience hubs" in the near future, outfitting buildings with solar rooftops and battery storage to create microgrids that can generate power even in the event of a natural disaster.
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EPA plans sweeping regulatory strategy for power plants

By Ethan Howland 03/11/22
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to issue a series of proposals covering air, water and waste pollution from power generators, especially coal-fired power plants, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Thursday.
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Heavy hitters form $500M joint venture to expand community solar to disadvantaged communities

By Eric Wesoff 01/19/22
Reactivate, a new joint venture with half a billion dollars in backing, says it has figured out how to profitably develop community solar projects to serve low- to moderate-income communities.
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Heat pumps could be key to fighting climate change, but how? We answer your burning questions

By Sabrina Shankman 08/25/21
Massachusetts has sworn to get 1 million homes and other buildings off fossil fuel by the end of the decade, a target made even more urgent by recent revelations that the climate is in worse…
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Heat Pumps Are Ready to Have a Moment

By Brian Kahn 07/07/21
It took nearly 170 years, but geothermal heat pumps are finally ready to have a moment. The poorly named appliance—they heat and cool buildings—could be the key to ensuring our homes are more comfortable and…
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The Climate Crisis

We’re reaching the endgame on the climate crisis, as news from both poles made clear this week. In the Antarctic, researchers reported first data from uncrewed submarine trips beneath the crucial Thwaites Glacier
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The battle over climate change is boiling over on the home front

By Steven Mufson 02/23/21
Municipalities want new buildings to go all electric, spurning gas-fired stoves and heating systems. The gas industry disagrees
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Proposals to prohibit natural gas bans may threaten cities’ clean energy goals

By Karen Uhlenhuth 01/15/21
Kansas and Missouri may become the next states to block cities from banning natural gas, with hearings on legislation in both states expected soon.
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What clean energy might look like in 2021

By Austa Somvichian-Clausen 01/14/21
2020 was undoubtedly one of the most tumultuous years in American history — one that was rocked not only by a global health pandemic but also by unprecedented political divisions that infiltrated most facets of life…
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How a small Wisconsin city became a renewable energy leader

By Stephanie Manuzak 01/07/21
With a population of only about 16,000, River Falls, Wisconsin, is not a big city, but it’s taken big steps to promote renewable energy and help its residents cut carbon pollution. “You build up a…
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Top 10 Utility Regulation Trends of 2020

By Noah Garcia 12/31/20
In September, we published a list of the top 10 utility regulation trends of 2020 so far. With a tumultuous 2020 largely in the rearview mirror, we now look back on the 10 trends that defined the…
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BS = Battery and Storage. If you see no icon in front of an entry, it means the entry covers more than one subject.

How solar power works

Solar energy is quickly becoming a more popular and affordable power source for homeowners and businesses. With residential solar energy, you can lower your carbon footprint and see substantial cost savings.

We Already Have the Key to a Clean Energy Economy. We’re Just Not Using It

Over the past 20 years, the increasing recognition that climate change poses a grave threat to our society has given rise to an entirely new clean energy economy. Almost every ambitious clean energy plan recognizes…

Rewiring America

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…

Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments

Our updated step-by-step Local Action Framework will help you plan, implement, and evaluate your energy and environmental work.

LIPA board OKs allowing municipalities to procure own energy

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…

The key to tackling climate change: electrify everything

Tackling climate change is a complicated undertaking, to say the least. But here’s a good rule of thumb for how to get started: Electrify everything.


Saul Griffith: Electrify Everything to Make the Future Awesome

Peter Sinclair   12/09/20  
Inventor and MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient Saul Griffith wants you to get excited about electrifying everything, and not just because it’ll create a cleaner, safer world. Running our energy system on renewable electricity will save every…
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Riverhead Hears Solar Farm Concerns

By Beth Young   09/02/20  
The Riverhead Town Board, which is considering a 12-month moratorium on considering solar farm applications after two major projects were proposed in the past year, heard concerns from several residents about the impact the installations…
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Grants Issued for Affordable Housing, Transformative Climate Communities, Climate Change Research

By Melanie Curry   06/26/20  
Yesterday the California Strategic Growth Council met to discuss and approve a list of staff recommendations for grants in four of its programs that shift the state towards sustainable, healthy, equitable planning and infrastructure.
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Southampton Seeks Support for Renewable Power Program

By Beth Young   05/11/20  
Southampton Town is seeking support from its residents for a new program called Choice Community Power, which would allow the town to issue a competitive bid to choose renewable energy for its residents, at what…
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Climate movement moves online during coronavirus pandemic

By Dino Grandoni   03/25/20  
With the covid-19 pandemic forcing Americans to stay indoors, the climate movement is moving online.
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California Solar

California has the largest solar market in the U.S. and has been a longtime champion of solar because of the many economic and environmental benefits it provides, including $57 billion in investment in the state.…
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Florida signs off on FPL’s 1.5 GW community solar program, despite lack of competition

By Lulia Gheorghiu   03/04/20  
Renewable advocates praised the development, but some groups were disappointed to see the entire 1,490 MW project would be built by the utility. In the U.S., a few green tariff programs have included solar capacity…
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Tesla, PG&E to Build Massive Clean Energy Facility in Monterey County

By Stephen Ellison   02/27/20  
Officials in Monterey County on Wednesday gave the green light on a massive clean-energy battery farm project in Moss Landing spearheaded by Tesla and PG&E that officials say would be the largest of its kind…
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PG&E is betting heavily on microgrids. But can it move away from fossil fuels?

By Kavya Balaraman   01/28/20  
In December, the utility launched a request for offers for distributed generation during public safety power shut-offs.
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The Energy 202: Arizona’s biggest utility, which fought renewables in 2018, now wants to go carbon-free

By Dino Grandoni   01/22/20  
Arizona’s biggest electric utility spent millions of dollars in 2018 to defeat a renewable energy ballot initiative. Just two years later, it now says it wants to get all of its power from carbon-free sources.
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Revolutionary Solar Energy Breakthrough Could Replace Industrial Fossil Fuels

By CitizenTruth Staff   11/22/19  
A Bill Gates’ backed renewable energy project has made a solar energy breakthrough that could lead to replacing the use of fossil fuels in industrial settings.
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How 12 Communities Are Fighting Climate Change and What’s Standing in Their Way

They’re using renewable energy, urban planning, their voices and the law to try to rein in climate change that’s already in their front yards.
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