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Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Farewell

    Well, it’s time for me bid y’all farewell. It’s crazy to think that three years have already gone by. I started contributing to Plugged In shortly after I completed graduate school, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed the posts. I’ve learned a lot from you, dear reader, and so many others who write and cover [...]

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    Photo Friday: A living laboratory for net-zero homes (California)


    This picture is of the user interface screen of the home’s energy management system in the new Honda Smart Home in California. Located in the West Village at the University of California, Davis, this 1,922 square foot home includes a 9.5 kW rooftop solar panel array and an electric vehicle with 10 kWh of battery storage, [...]

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    Rethinking environmental folklore

    You’ve likely faced the question: “paper or plastic?” Clearly the paper bag is the better option, right? Or is it? In a TED Talk, Leyla Acaroglu has a challenge for us. She wants us to rethink our environmental folklore, or how we decide what is good or bad for the environment. We want to do [...]

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    George Bush Presidential Library opens offshore drilling exhibit

    The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University has a new exhibit that tells the story of offshore drilling and the 41st President’s previous life as an oilman. The Library’s web site explains: George Bush was a successful and pioneering Texas oilman, first on land and then offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. [...]

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    Photo Friday: Rural Electrification (California)


    The Point Conception lighthouse is located at the west enterance of the Santa Barbara Channel in Southern California. This photograph is a part of the online photography exhibit “Form and Landscape,” a collaborative project from William Deverell and Greg Hise. This exhibit features photos from the Huntington Library’s Southern California Edison archive. These archives document the electrification [...]

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    Infrastructure Spotting

    When I began writing On the Grid, my book about the infrastructure systems that make our lives possible, I envisioned it as a sort of Peterson’s Guide to the Infrastructure of the Modern World. It never became that — for one thing, there’s just way too much infrastructure to really contain in a single narrative [...]

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    First utility-scale solar project on tribal land breaks ground in Nevada


    This spring, tribal leaders and community members broke ground on the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. Located on the Moapa Indian Reservation, this 250 Megawatt (MW) solar project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015 and will provide energy to homes in the city of Los Angeles, California. Also on the reservation is an off-grid [...]

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    Photo Friday: Opening fusion’s 48-ton door (1979)


    This 1979 photo is of a woman at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) opening a 97,000 pound (48.5 ton) door. Eight feet thick and nearly twelve feet wide, this concrete-filled door included a special bearing in the hinge that allowed a single person to open or close it. The door [...]

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    Photo Friday: Nuclear Power Lands on Mars (2012)


    NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. Its primary goals were to gather geological and environmental data from the planet. This photo was taken by a navigation camera located toward the back-left of the rover. It is, one can see a part of Curisoty’s nuclear power supply. Beyond the rover itself, one can [...]

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    Photo Friday: The GoldenEye Dam (Switzerland)


    The 220m tall Contra Dam* was build in the early 1960s and forms part of the Verzasca Hydroelectric Complex in Ticino, Southern Switzerland. This three turbine hydroelectric power plant played a starring role in GoldenEye, where James Bond is shown jumping from the top of this dam (as many bungee jumpers still do today). Photo [...]

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