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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Data show that Germany’s grid is one of the world’s most reliable

    Gimme Power

    As the share of enewables in Germany’s electricity mix approaches 30%, the country’s power grid appears to be going strong. According to data released Friday by the Bundesnetzagentur (Germany’s grid regulator), the country’s power grid remained one of the world’s most reliable in 2013. In fact, total unplanned outage time was down from 21.53 minutes in 2006 to 15.32 [...]

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    Will Solar Float to the Rescue in Japan?

    kyocera 1101_nnms_03

    Land-constraints and a massive nuclear shutdown have intensified the debate over where to put new electricity generation capacity in Japan. Solar has risen to the forefront, as its panels take to the water. Earlier this month, the Kyocera, Century Tokyo Leasing, and Ciel et Terre announced their plans to build two floating solar power stations [...]

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    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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