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.

CREDIT: FLOWCHARTS

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).

CURRENT NEWS

New analysis shows how much PG&E bills could rise next year

By Julie Johnson 09/23/23
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. customers will pay between about $25 and $31 more each month for energy next year, according new rate estimates from state regulators obtained Thursday by the Chronicle.
Read more

State legislatures, Congress must do more to winterize power and gas systems, FERC says

By James Osborne 09/22/23
A report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission warned Congress and state legislatures they need to require natural gas pipelines and power plants to better protect themselves against cold weather after a series of power…
Read more

4. Auto giants link arms on EV grid services

By Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman 09/13/23
Ford, Honda and BMW are forming a company called ChargeScape to "unlock entirely new value that EVs can provide to the electric grid," Ben writes.
Read more

Update needed for 1872 mining law to boost clean energy, report says

By Timothy Puko 09/12/23
Because of a 151-year-old U.S. mining law, miners hold claims on federal land for years at little cost, work in secret and frequently submit incomplete plans to environmental regulators, according to a new report Tuesday…
Read more

Our climate change debates are out of date

By Noah Smith 09/08/23
Solar and batteries are going to win, and our thinking needs to adjust accordingly.
Read more

The Incredible Shrinking Energy Use of a Light Bulb

By Nathaniel Bullard 09/07/23
Last month, new lighting energy efficiency rules took hold in the US, requiring new light fixtures to provide at least 45 lumens per watt of electrical input. While that does not ban incandescent bulbs per…
Read more

The hidden digital roadblock that’s keeping green electricity off the U.S. grid

By Dan Charles 09/07/23
One morning earlier this year, all seemed calm in the dimly lit, bunkerlike control room of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) here, which manages an electricity grid that stretches across the high plains from North…
Read more

Hurricane Idalia is yet another test of America’s aging power infrastructure

By Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj 08/31/23
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, getting the power back on as quickly as possible will be one of the most pressing challenges — and any major delays will once again call into question…
Read more

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration’s Latest Actions to Support Communities Impacted by Maui Wildfires

08/30/23
Since the onset of the unprecedented wildfires on Maui, Hawaiʻi, President Biden launched a whole-of-government effort to support survivors and affected communities, and as soon as Hawaiʻi Governor Josh Green requested a Major Disaster Declaration,…
Read more

Technologies to enhance the power grid exist, we just need to deploy them

By Philip Giudice 08/26/23
The Inflation Reduction Act, which recently celebrated its first birthday, is building momentum toward our nation’s clean energy future. Unfortunately, our existing transmission system limitations threaten to undermine the law’s clean energy potential.
Read more

The staying power of fossil fuel subsidies

By Ben Geman 08/25/23
Well over a decade after high-profile international vows to rein in subsidies for producing and using fossil fuels, they remain deeply woven into government policies. Driving the news: Two new reports reach similar conclusions, 14…
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Enhancing EPA’s Proposed Carbon Standards on Gas Plants

By Amanda Levin and Maeve Sneddon 08/23/23
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed rules to curb carbon pollution from power plants. The rules provide long-overdue emissions rate limits for coal plants, new natural gas plants, and some existing gas plants.…
Read more

KEY RESOURCES

Electricity Generation by State

09/08/23
Do you know where electricity comes from in your state? Depending on its location, energy can come from various sources, including nuclear, wind, and solar. There are also other power sources, like coal-powered energy in…

Birds And Transmission

08/01/23
Building the Grid Birds Need

World Energy Investment 2023

05/31/23
This year’s edition of the World Energy Investment provides a full update on the investment picture in 2022 and an initial reading of the emerging picture for 2023.

Tennessee Valley Authority: Additional Steps Are Needed to Better Manage Climate-Related Risks

01/30/23
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) provides electricity to 10 million customers in 7 states. TVA faces some climate-related risks that could affect its ability to generate and transmit electricity while keeping rates low. For example,…

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…

Reports and Publications

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

5 alternative energy sources to speed our transition away from fossil fuels

10/07/21
As climate change fuels more extreme weather events, and environmental disasters threaten wildlife and human health, more people are banking on clean, carbon-free energy to speed the world’s transition away from fossil fuels and slow…

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…

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

‘Adding Insult to Injury:’ R.I. Needs Renewable Energy

By Tyson Bottenus   08/21/23  
For years, the residents of Rhode Island have had their sights set on offshore wind coming to our state to power pretty much everything. We got our first taste in 2016 with the Block Island…
Read more

PG&E monthly bills might hop higher due to power line burials

By George Avalos   08/21/23  
A hearing officer with the state Public Utilities Commission is expected to issue a proposed decision in the coming days on PG&E’s general rate request that could trigger an array of impacts on monthly customer…
Read more

Electricity companies face calamity as climate warms

By Nathan Bomey   08/17/23  
Power companies and grid operators increasingly risk financial calamity from natural disasters, with challenges intensified by operational hurdles, soaring costs and the effects of climate change.
Read more

Trump-era Energy secretary to lead electric utility lobby group

By Rachel Frazin   08/16/23  
Dan Brouillette, who led the Energy Department under former President Trump, will lead a lobbying group for electric utilities, the group said Wednesday.
Read more

The Clean Energy Future Is Roiling Both Friends and Foes

By Jim Tankersley, Brad Plumer and Others   08/16/23  
If there is anywhere in the country primed to welcome the clean energy transition, it is Penobscot Bay in Maine. Electricity prices there are high and volatile. The ocean waters are warming fast, threatening the…
Read more

Why Texas regulators refuse to investigate role pipelines played in 2021 blackouts

By Chris Tomlinson   08/16/23  
If a gas station on an interstate highway raised prices by 1,500 percent during an evacuation from a hurricane, state and federal authorities would prosecute the owner to the fullest extent of the law.
Read more

Power lines likely caused Maui’s first reported fire, video and data show

By Brianna Sacks   08/15/23  
At 10:47 p.m. last Monday, a security camera at the Maui Bird Conservation Center captured a bright flash in the woods, illuminating the trees swaying in the wind. “I think that is when a tree…
Read more

Why lasers could help make the electric grid greener

By Julia Simon   08/13/23  
Jon Marmillo is looking up at a box sitting about 20 feet up the tower, full of laser sensors. He says he spends too much time staring up at transmission lines – including when he's…
Read more

Hawaii utility faces scrutiny for not cutting power to reduce fire risks

By Brianna Sacks   08/12/23  
Four days before fast-moving brush fires engulfed parts of Maui, weather forecasters warned authorities that powerful wind gusts would trigger dangerous fire conditions across much of the island and Hawaii.
Read more

Debunking Mike Pence’s Misleading Energy Ad

By Robert Rapier   08/11/23  
I have a lot more to cover on the recently released Statistical Review of World Energy. But today I need to make a digression, albeit one with a tie-in to the Review.
Read more

Texas power use hits 3rd record this week in heat wave

By Ashitha Shivaprasad and Rahul Pawan   08/11/23  
Demand for power in Texas hit a record high on Thursday for the third time this week and the tenth time this summer as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners to escape a lingering…
Read more

Utilities say they want clean energy. So why are they opposing Biden’s plan?

By Sammy Roth   08/10/23  
The Rosemead-based electric utility — which serves 15 million people and, full disclosure, buys ad space in this newsletter — got 45% of its power from climate-friendly sources last year and has called for an…
Read more

Northeast utility exits gas group to pursue ‘decarbonization’

By Miranda Willson   08/09/23  
A New England electric and natural gas utility is leaving a leading trade association for the gas industry to “redirect costs” and focus on decarbonization.
Read more

Texas Power Prices to Surge 800% on Sunday Amid Searing Heat

By Naureen S Malik   08/08/23  
Texas power prices for Sunday surged more than 800% as searing heat pushes demand toward record levels and strains supplies on the state grid.
Read more

Texas Power Grid Holds Up During String of 100-Degree Days

By Naureen S Malik   08/07/23  
The Texas power grid is withstanding a string of triple-digit temperature days in the state, spurring households and businesses to use a record amount of electricity.
Read more

Opinion: The terrible climate hypocrisy at the top of Southern California Edison

By Leah C. Stokes   08/05/23  
With nearly 200 million Americans frying under extreme heat, and water off the coast of Florida reaching hot tub temperatures, Americans can see the climate crisis with their own eyes. We know we must cut…
Read more

Extreme heat is affecting oil refineries in Texas, pushing up gas prices

By Spectrum News   08/01/23  
Multiple days of temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in the Southern states are affecting oil refineries in Texas and Louisiana, diminishing gas supplies and increasing prices.
Read more

Grid Storage Of Electricity Will Continue To Be Dominated By Pumped Hydro

By Michael Barnard   07/31/23  
As the grid decarbonizes and everything electrifies over the coming decades, a key part of the end game is electricity storage. However, it’s not a prerequisite to getting started, otherwise we wouldn’t have been building…
Read more

California has new weapons to battle summer blackouts: Battery storage, power from record rain

By Grace Toohey   07/28/23  
It’s a summertime sequence that’s become all too familiar in California: Extreme heat forces air conditioners into overdrive, which pushes the state’s power grid to the brink.
Read more

A Bottleneck on the Grid Threatens Clean Energy. New Rules Aim to Help.

By Brad Plumer   07/27/23  
Federal regulators on Thursday approved new rules to speed up the process for connecting wind and solar projects to the electric grid, in an attempt to reduce the growing delays that have become one of…
Read more

Biden’s climate deal still has an enormous hole

By Kelsey Tamborrino   07/26/23  
Thursday marks a year since Democrats secured the surprise deal that led to the biggest climate law in U.S. history, with hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies aimed at transforming the economy around green…
Read more

Would an occasional blackout help solve climate change?

By Sammy Roth   07/20/23  
What’s more important: Keeping the lights on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or solving the climate crisis? That is in many ways a terrible question, for reasons I’ll discuss shortly.
Read more

How Biden’s climate law will — and won’t — transform America

By Maxine Joselow   07/20/23  
Almost a year ago, President Biden signed into law the most ambitious climate bill in the nation’s history. Now, as a blistering heat wave bakes the southern United States, a timely new report illustrates how…
Read more

Taking Stock 2023: US Emissions Projections after the Inflation Reduction Act

By Ben King, Hannah Kolus and Others   07/20/23  
Every year, Rhodium Group provides an independent projection of future US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, under current policy and expectations for economic growth, future fossil fuel prices, and clean energy cost and performance trends. This…
Read more

Why the high price of modernizing the U.S. power grid is worth it

By Jacob Knutson   07/12/23  
The U.S.’ outdated and fragmented power grid is increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change and global warming, but estimates show that upgrading it may cost billions, even trillions, over the coming decades.
Read more

DTE to retire coal plants by 2032, invest $11 billion in clean energy push

07/12/23  
Utility firm DTE Energy (DTE.N) said on Wednesday that it plans to retire its coal plants in less than a decade and invest $11 billion over the next 10 years toward clean energy transition. The…
Read more

Guess Who’s Been Paying to Block Green Energy. You Have.

By David Pomerantz   07/05/23  
To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we have to make two big transitions at once: First, we have to generate all of our electricity from clean sources, like wind turbines and solar panels,…
Read more

America’s Biggest Power Source Wasn’t Built for Extreme Weather

By Naureen Malik   06/27/23  
In the 15 years since the American fracking boom unleashed a torrent of abundant, cheap and domestically available natural gas, the country has leaned into the fuel — and hard. Hundreds of new, state-of-the-art gas…
Read more

A grid collapse would make a heat wave far deadlier

By Maryn McKenna and Matt Simon   06/27/23  
Consider this nightmare scenario. For four days now, temperatures have soared past 110 degrees. Those able to stay home are cranking their air-conditioning while officials scramble to move the unhoused into cooling centers. Even at…
Read more

ERCOT nears all-time demand record on Monday amid heatwave

By Kyra Buckley   06/26/23  
Persistent triple digit temperatures pushed electricity demand in Texas above 80,100 megawatts around 4:30 p.m. Monday – close to the all-time record demand and the equivalent of enough electricity to power 16 million homes with…
Read more

Two thirds of country at risk of power shortfall, Energy Department warns

By James Osborne   06/26/23  
The Department of Energy warned Monday that two thirds of the country, including all of the Western United States, is at risk of losing power this summer due to high heat. Citing a recent report…
Read more

Oregon wildfires case highlights the climate change risks to utilities

By Claire Rush   06/19/23  
A jury verdict that found an Oregon power company liable for devastating wildfires — and potentially billions of dollars in damages — is highlighting the legal and financial risks utilities take if they fail to…
Read more

We Can’t Have a Green Revolution Without Fixing Our Electric Grid

By Kate Aronoff   06/14/23  
Ask any expert how the United States should address the climate crisis, and they’ll probably start by talking about the need to transition our electric grid from fossil fuels to carbon-free power. Unfortunately for us,…
Read more

Why the U.S. Electric Grid Isn’t Ready for the Energy Transition

By Nadja Popovich and Brad Plumer   06/12/23  
The U.S. electric grid is often described as a vast, synchronized machine — a network of wires carrying electricity from power plants across the country into our homes. But, in reality, there is no single…
Read more

NorthWestern seeks PSC help in fighting tougher pollution laws

By Tom Lutey   06/08/23  
Worried about Colstrip Power Plant being able to pass tougher mercury and toxic air emissions standards, NorthWestern Energy is asking its state regulator to lobby the EPA against tighter pollution controls.
Read more

The revolving door at public utilities commissions? It’s alive and well

By Sammy Roth   06/08/23  
These are the government agencies that regulate utilities — companies that supply us with electricity, gas, water and more. All 50 states have them — and as boring as they sound, their work affects our…
Read more

Flood of US Renewable Projects Risks ‘Breaking’ Power Markets

By Naureen S Malik   06/08/23  
The potential for a flood of US renewable projects driven by new tax incentives is at risk of “breaking” power markets by pushing electricity prices to negative levels, according to Wells Fargo.
Read more

The GOP no longer loves power lines. That’s bad for Biden’s climate goals.

By Maxine Joselow   06/02/23  
In today’s edition, we have an exclusive on Democrats urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to prioritize clean energy in Puerto Rico. Plus, the Interior Department is finalizing protections for New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon. But…
Read more

California’s blistering heat sparked power shortages last summer. Here’s this year’s forecast

By Russ Mitchell   05/25/23  
Torrential rainfall and massive dumps of snow wreaked havoc across California last winter. But the wild weather brought an upside: Water-storage reservoirs now have abundant supplies of H2O to run the state’s hydropower electricity generators…
Read more

Atlantic hurricane season expected to be near average this year, NOAA says. Here’s how many storms to expect

By Brandon Miller   05/25/23  
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be near average, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday.
Read more

Rural electricity is getting its biggest boost since FDR — here’s how

By Jeff St. John   05/24/23  
America’s rural electric cooperatives, the member-owned and -operated entities that bring power to 42 million people and cover more than half the country, will soon get their biggest jolt of federal funding since the New…
Read more

‘It’s just crazy’: How the U.S.-China energy race imperils the climate fight

By Sara Schonhardt And Phelim Kine   05/18/23  
For the U.S., the crash effort to move away from fossil fuels is colliding with policies meant to wean the nation off its dependence on China for clean energy gear such as solar panels and…
Read more

EPA says pollution limits proposed for U.S. coal, gas power plants reflect climate crisis ‘urgency’

By Matthew Daly   05/11/23  
The Biden administration proposed new limits Thursday on greenhouse gas emissions from coal- and gas-fired power plants, its most ambitious effort yet to roll back planet-warming pollution from the nation’s second-largest contributor to climate change.
Read more

Frustrated by outdated grids, consumers are lobbying for control of their electricity

By Emma Foehringer Merchant   05/05/23  
Climate change is spurring interest in remaking local infrastructure to accommodate renewable energy, minimize power failures and expand consumer choice....
Read more

We Desperately Need a New Power Grid. Here’s How to Make It Happen.

By The Editorial Board   05/04/23  
To tap the potential of renewable energy, the United States needs to dramatically expand the electric grid between places with abundant wind and sunshine and places where people live and work. And it needs to…
Read more

NRG to cancel Texas natural gas plant plans if certain bills pass

By Kyra Buckley   04/27/23  
NRG Energy, one of the state's largest producers of electricity, is warning lawmakers in Austin that changes to a plan to secure the Texas grid against the sort of power outages that occurred during the…
Read more

Farewell Transmission

By Nitish Pahwa   04/27/23  
Ever since brutal winter storms blacked out much of Texas and killed hundreds of residents in February 2021, the state’s government has constantly talked a big game about bolstering its grid and shielding Texans from…
Read more

New rules for power plants could give carbon capture a boost. Here’s how.

By Brad Plumer   04/26/23  
The Biden administration’s plan to limit, for the first time, greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants could hinge on the ability of plant operators to capture carbon dioxide before it is pumped into the…
Read more

Congress should adopt 30% tax credit, streamlined permitting for regional transmission, clean grid group says

By Ethan Howland   04/26/23  
Permitting reform appears possible despite the divided Congress, Brett White, Pine Gate Renewables’ vice president for regulatory affairs, said Tuesday.
Read more

Utilities Seize Control of the Coming Boom in Transmission Lines

By Dan Gearino   04/26/23  
The power grid near Chicago, much like the region’s highways, is often congested. Just about everyone involved agrees that the grid needs an upgrade, including a plan for a new transmission line that would run…
Read more