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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Indian Railways and Military Go Solar

    Sunrise in Tamil Nadu, India. Image courtesy: SR Sasikumar.

    There’s been no shortage recently of big companies going big on solar, nor of middlemen trying to pave the way for bulk buying of solar power, but when the beast that is national procurement gets involved, the ante is upped. Entering this mix: India. While Indian solar potential has to date been largely untapped, there [...]

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    Stanford Researchers Unveil New Ultrafast Charging Aluminum-Ion Battery

    This schematic shows how the aluminum-ion battery shuttles AlCl4- ions from its graphite cathode to its aluminum anode in order to produce a discharge current (Source: Lin et al., 2015)

    Last week, Stanford University researchers unveiled a new aluminum-ion battery chemistry with the unique ability to charge or discharge in less than a minute. The battery’s incredibly fast charging and discharging times are not its only breakthrough. It is also the first aluminum-based battery to achieve an operating voltage sufficient for common applications and last [...]

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    Clinton Makes Climate Change A Central Issue for 2016

    Hillary Clinton

    It’s official. Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States. That wasn’t a surprise, but something about her campaign really stood out yesterday – and most people missed it. This tweet by John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman: As reported at ThinkProgress, Hillary’s campaign is the first major presidential campaign to make combating climate [...]

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    A Tale of Two City-States

    Singapore gardens by the bay, the result of an urban planning project to turn unused land in the bay into open walkable space, part of Singapore's garden tradition. Image credit: Kathleen Sullivan.

    How Hong Kong and Singapore Went from Fishing Villages to Urban Lodestars I’m writing this on a flight from Hong Kong where news has just broken that the father of the Singaporean city-state Lee Kuan Yew has passed away. On the airplane TV, BBC shows a 1993 interview with him, sharing his thoughts on the [...]

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    Wellinghoff: Extend Electricity Market Visibility to the Distribution Grid


    Last week I had the pleasure of attending Austin-based research firm ZPryme’s annual Energy Thought Summit, which brought together business leaders and technical experts to discuss emerging energy technologies and trends. One of the featured speakers was former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. He spoke about some potentially disruptive energy technologies currently [...]

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    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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