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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Visualizing U.K. and U.S. Energy Flows

    Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.55.15 PM

    Where does it comes from? Where does it go? These two questions were asked last summer here on Plugged In with respect to the energy use in the United States. Now, let’s take a look at energy flows on the other side of the Atlantic – in particular the United Kingdom – and see how [...]

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    In Los Angeles, Cleaner Air Is Helping Children Breathe Easier


    Children’s lungs are growing substantially stronger as air pollution in Southern California decreases. The Los Angeles area had struggled with air pollution for decades. But, according to new research published this month in the New England Journal of Medicine, recent local air quality improvements appear to have led to a positive shift in children’s respiratory health. All [...]

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    What’s Our Top Energy Concern?


    My last post explained why lower prices at the pump aren’t quite as black and white as most media outlets would have us believe. Sure it’s comfortable for our wallets, but the nuances don’t fit easily into a few bullet points for the mainstream media. Just yesterday, Melissa reported that oil prices are currently half [...]

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    The impact of low oil prices on state tax revenues


    Despite a slight uptick since January, global oil prices are still half of what they were a year ago. These low prices have benefited consumers by dropping the price of gasoline and diesel across the United States. But, for oil-producing states, these lower oil prices mean decreasing tax revenues that will be difficult to offset [...]

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    Renewable Energy Intermittency Explained: Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities


    Critics of renewable energy often cite the fact that technologies like wind and solar only produce energy when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. They argue that we can’t effectively utilize renewable energy until appropriate energy storage technology is developed. While the fact that wind and solar don’t produce energy around the [...]

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    The Overly Dramatic Demise of the Light Bulb

    Phase out of incandescent light bulbs around the world. Green = A full ban. Orange = A partial ban. Yellow = A program to exchange a number of light bulbs with more efficient types. Image courtesy: KronosLine at Wikipedia Commons.

    Remember when the fight against phasing out inefficient incandescent light bulbs was a big deal? Well it seems the sky didn’t fall. Just recently, Canada joined the United States, the European Union, and Australia among several countries (see map below) to phase out the production and import of inefficient incandescent light bulbs. While the jury [...]

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    Eiffel Tower Going Green With Two New Wind Turbines

    Wind turbine installed in Eiffel Tower (by UGE)

    The City of Light’s green makeover touched the iconic Eiffel Tower last week as it ramped up two onsite wind turbines. These turbines are installed inside the tower’s metal scaffolding on the second level, and are painted in the same color to minimize their visual impact on the 126-year-old tower. They are so camouflaged, in fact, [...]

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    Building New Homes for Energy Innovation


    As discussions begin today at the 10th MIT Energy Conference, the energy sector ponders how industry, government, and the scientific community can combine forces to enable the rapid evolution of the energy system. Will it be a modern day Bell Laboratories? Or is a new approach to innovation and the funding paradigm needed? Looking back [...]

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    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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