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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Guest Post: Exploding Oil Trains – Should we worry about the train or its cargo?

    mcnally exploding trains

    If you haven’t seen the video of the train carrying Bakken crude oil exploding, it is quite an impressive and scary sight. Fortunately, in the Casselton, ND incident, nobody was hurt by the explosion. But, it still leaves us with the question, should we be terrified of the train or its cargo? The hazards of [...]

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    REEcycle sweeps past the competition by turning waste into a domestic stream of rare earth elements


    A student team from the University of Houston swept this year’s U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Business Plan Competition. With their innovative (and proprietary) approach to recycling a pair of critical rare earth materials, the REEcycle team introduced the energy industry to an innovative way to turn waste into a domestic stream of rare [...]

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    Urban Energy Systems and Women in Energy – two themes woven together as C3E symposium gets underway


    “The future of cities and energy efficiency could be a very bright one – but we have to get there,” said MIT Professor Dr. Amy Glasmeier at today’s launch of the 2014 Women in Clean Energy Symposium in Boston. But, before she launched into a discussion of the evolution of the urban energy system, Dr. [...]

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    Study of Eastern U.S. Shows Wind Energy Could Stabilize the Grid

    NREL Wind

    Last month, General Electric (GE) consulting presented the results of a U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) sponsored study testing if wind turbines can be controlled to manage the stability of the electric grid. The authors found that wind turbines might actually be a valuable tool for controlling and stabilizing the grid in the future, [...]

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    Data show that Germany’s grid is one of the world’s most reliable

    Gimme Power

    As the share of renewables 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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