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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Can Chinese Cities Turn Around Pollution in Time?

    One of the few transit-oriented development projects in Shanghai. Photo by Tali Trigg.

    China became a mostly urban country in 2011, the service sector became the biggest in 2013, and in 2015 Chinese cities will try to reverse negative trends of sprawl and pollution. However, will it work, and by when? The country is striving for its cities to become livable hubs to attract not just Chinese workers, [...]

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    With Cuban Détente, What Future for its Classic Cars?

    Old classics ply the roads of Cuba. Image courtesy: mitsubis.

    I can’t seem to go a day without hearing someone say, “Get to Cuba before all the Americans get there.” What exactly is it that Americans will change once they get to Cuba? Or is just that there will be so many more tourists? Either way, a lot will likely change, from big things like [...]

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    Throwback Thursday: The First U.S. Energy Storage Plant

    (Source: Popular Science via Google Books)

    In July 1930, the magazine Popular Science ran an article announcing the start of operations at the first U.S. “ten-mile storage battery”—or pumped-hydro energy storage plant—near New Milford, Connecticut. Connecticut Electric Light and Power Company built the plant to meet the region’s peak electricity load and mitigate seasonal water shortages. The article goes on to [...]

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    Shale Gas is Commercially Produced in Just Three Countries

    Shale Gas 2015 EIA

    Just three countries currently produce shale gas at commercial levels according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) – the United States, Canada, and China. Furthermore, while all three of these countries increased their production levels in 2014 compared to 2013, the United States is still by far the dominant shale gas producer. Several countries including [...]

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    You Asked – They Answered: Q&A with Smart Wires

    PowerLine Guardian power flow control device being installed by a TVA lineman (photo courtesy of Smart Wires)

    I have received many interesting questions from readers in response to last Sunday’s article “Controlling the Path of Least Resistance with Smart Wires.” This week, I consolidated these questions and took them back to Smart Wires – the start-up company behind the power flow control technology that was featured in the previous discussion – to [...]

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    Low Oil Prices Could Be Good for Electricity and Renewables


    Since I first wrote about the price of oil last December, the global oil price has fallen to levels not seen in over five years. For many, the recent price decline brings back memories of the 1980s oil price collapse, which followed the 70s oil price spike and drew attention away from renewable energy and [...]

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    Flexible and Recyclable Solar Wallpaper


    Researchers in Finland have developed a flexible and recyclable organic solar panel in the form of a leaf. At the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland pilot plant, these solar panels were printed directly onto a thin sheet of film to create a solar wallpaper that can be used to produce electricity from interior lighting or sunlight. According to [...]

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    New Mobility Startups Give Uber a Run for its Money

    While terms like “smart grid” and “smart economy” are hard to peg down, we can at least say that for “smart mobility” we’re starting to see some of the bluster turning into reality. Uber gets a lot of attention in this space, as does its direct competitors Lyft, Sidecar, and Hailo to mention but a [...]

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    Cheap Oil: Good or Bad?


    Last week I paid about $20 to fill up my Prius. The last time I remember a similar experience was in the late nineties. Lower oil prices certainly ease pressure on our wallets, but are they ultimately good or bad for the economy? It’s complicated. When consumers save money on energy, they should spend more [...]

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    The U.S. Power Grid is in Need of a Technology Upgrade

    Secretary of Energy Moniz takes the stage at last year's ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

    Innovators gather in DC this week to discuss how to modernize the U.S. electric grid in the face of a changing electricity sector. The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit kicks off today in Washington DC and will highlight technologies that could fundamentally alter how the nation generates, uses, and stores electricity. In the face of a [...]

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