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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • U.S. petroleum exports rise while East Coast continues to import


    Petroleum product exports are on track for another banner year, with total exports climbing to a 3.7 million barrels per day (bbpd) average for 2014 from just under 3.5 million bbpd in 2013. However, on the East Coast, imports for some fuels increased by almost 50% in the first half of 2014. According to a report published [...]

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    Energy efficiency can negatively impact public health


    Some energy efficiency improvements could cost lives by increasing indoor radon exposure and the resulting risk of developing lung cancer. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, energy efficiency improvements could reduce home energy use and greenhouse gas emissions (which could lead to many health benefits). But, improvements that decrease air exchange rates [...]

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    Safety is primary focus in GM’s driverless vehicle announcement

    mary barra

    Driverless cars came to the forefront of transportation discussions this weekend when General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced her company’s plan to add “hands-free and feet-free” driving capabilities to some 2017 models. In her announcement, Barra cited safety as a major factor in GM’s decision to push ahead with automated driving technology. The “estimated the [...]

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    How Does Oil and Gas Drilling Raise Electricity Prices in West Texas?

    Often, oil and gas drilling occurs in rural areas without sufficient electricity infrastructure. (Photo by Richard Childress)

    In July 2012, Frontier Texas, an Old West museum located in Abilene, received an electric bill nearly $4,000 higher than expected. Oddly enough, the museum hadn’t used an unusual amount of power that month. Rather, the cause of the high bill was the fact that Abilene lies in Texas’s western power trading zone, which happens [...]

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    Used Tires Could Find Second Life in Batteries


    Hundreds of millions of tires reach the end of their first life each year in the United States. The majority of these tires are recycled into road paving materials, plastic additives, and other useful materials. But, a significant waste stream remains, providing an opportunity for new applications for wasted rubber. This month, the chemistry journal [...]

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    The Sun is Shining Bright in Texas as Solar Becomes a ‘Default’ Generation Resource


    This week, the Austin City Council approved a resolution that brings solar to the foreground in Texas. And, perhaps most interestingly, they did so because it made business – and not just environmental – sense in current energy markets. In May, Austin Energy signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Recurrent for solar at a cost [...]

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    The United States Gets Most of Its Oil From…


    ..the United States. Have you heard? Computer scientist and data whiz Randy Olson dove into the UT Energy Poll data and noticed that the American public is pretty confused about where we get out energy. I can’t say I’m surprised, but Randy highlights the need for raising energy literacy across the U.S. He points out [...]

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    Did Congestion Charging Just Go Viral?

    Congestion charging point in Stockholm. Image courtesy of Transport Styrelsen.

    What is congestion charging? Congestion charging or pricing is the practice of setting up cordon tolls around the city on a large-scale to charge entrants for entering during peak hours. Ideally, this is done in an automatic fashion with cameras registering your license plate and directly billing you. This is different from low emissions zones, [...]

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    The Importance of Debating Energy Policies—Not Technologies

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) documents the source of all U.S. primary energy use, and then approximates to which sector energy from each source flows. (Source: EIA)

    As a researcher working in the area of energy technology and policy, I often find myself drawn into debates surrounding certain energy technologies, and what role they should play in the future energy system. People are quick to list the specific benefits or drawbacks of one technology over another: “Wind energy is fine at the [...]

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    UK wind sets new record and supplies more power than domestic coal, hydro and biomass


    On Sunday night, wind power in the United Kingdom supplied more electricity than domestic coal, biomass, and hydropower (combined) and set a new record for maximum hourly output. According to RenewableUK, this record was reached at 10pm when wind supplied an hourly average of 5 GW over an hour (17% of the total electricity demand [...]

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