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Plugged In

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

Can Chinese Cities Turn Around Pollution in Time?

Can Chinese Cities Turn Around Pollution in Time?

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.

February 26, 2015 — Tali Trigg
Throwback Thursday: The First U.S. Energy Storage Plant

Throwback Thursday: The First U.S. Energy Storage Plant

In July 1930, the magazine Popular Science ran an article announcing start of operations at the first U.S. "ten-mile storage battery"—or pumped-hydro energy storage plant—near New Milford, Connecticut...

February 19, 2015 — Robert Fares
You Asked - They Answered: Q&A with Smart Wires

You Asked - They Answered: Q&A with Smart Wires

I have received many interesting questions from readers in response to last Sunday's article "Controlling the Path of Least Resistance with Smart Wires." This week, I consolidated these questions and took them back to Smart Wires – the start-up company behind the power flow control technology that was featured in the previous discussion - to [...]..

February 13, 2015 — Melissa C. Lott
Low Oil Prices Could Be Good for Electricity and Renewables

Low Oil Prices Could Be Good for Electricity and Renewables

Since I first wrote about the price of oil last December, the global oil price has fallen to levels not seen in over five years. For many, the recent price decline brings back memories of the 1980s oil price collapse, which followed the 70s oil price spike and drew attention away from renewable energy and [...]..

February 12, 2015 — Robert Fares
Flexible and recyclable solar wallpaper

Flexible and recyclable solar wallpaper

Researchers in Finland have developed a flexible and recyclable organic solar panel in the form of a leaf. At the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland pilot plant, these solar panels were printed directly onto a thin sheet of film to create a solar wallpaper that can be used to produce electricity from interior lighting or sunlight. According to [...]..

February 12, 2015 — Melissa C. Lott
Cheap Oil: Good or Bad?

Cheap Oil: Good or Bad?

Last week I paid about $20 to fill up my Prius. The last time I remember a similar experience was in the late nineties. Lower oil prices certainly ease pressure on our wallets, but are they ultimately good or bad for the economy?...

February 9, 2015 — Sheril Kirshenbaum

The U.S. Power Grid is in Need of a Technology Upgrade

Innovators gather in DC this week to discuss how to modernize the U.S. electric grid in the face of a changing electricity sector. The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit kicks off today in Washington DC and will highlight technologies that could fundamentally alter how the nation generates, uses, and stores electricity...

February 9, 2015 — Melissa C. Lott

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Science or SciFi?

Science or SciFi?

Vanishing Particles. Spooky Action.