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Plugged In

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

Appalachia's Fall Colors Safe for Now

View from Rabun Bald peak on the GA/NC border. Elevation of 4,696 feet. Photo courtesy: Robynne Boyd It was time to get away. Remove myself from the city and head to the Appalachian Mountains to watch its warm-weather greens turn to the auburns, tangerines and rusts of autumn.First thing I noticed on arriving at the mountain cabin in the southwestern part of the state, just outside Highlands, NC, was the pressing quiet...

October 31, 2012 — Robynne Boyd

The Word of the Day - Blackout

Utility companies in the United States are good at their job - so good that Americans can largely take for granted that, when they flip a switch, their lights will come on.

October 30, 2012 — Melissa C. Lott

The Name of the Wind

With everybody staring down their storm-related doom, this might be an appropriate time for a somewhat less-portentous Sandy sidelight.I’m talking about names.

October 29, 2012 — Scott Huler

U.S. Solar PV Tops 3.5 GW

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the nation’s solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity now exceeds 3.5 GW. This figure is the result of a new system at the EIA for estimating the lower bound on total installed PV capacity...

October 24, 2012 — Melissa C. Lott
Will Sea Level Rise Make the Final Debate?

Will Sea Level Rise Make the Final Debate?

Tonight, President Obama and Governor Romney will step onto the stage at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, for their final debate. Familiar topics, such as boosting the economy, healthcare reform and the role of government, are likely to be wrangled over...

October 22, 2012 — Robynne Boyd

Energy policy is shaped by what you think about energy

Friend of the blog Sheril Kirshenbaum has a piece up over at NPR’s 13.7 blog about energy perception and policy reality (link). Her point? That what the public thinks about energy – what they want, think they want, or think they know – shapes the decisions politicians make about energy and environmental policy: Personal attitudes, concerns, and priorities are determined by more than just "the facts." We take into account stories in the media, the talking points of politicians, vocal celebrities and religious leaders, as well as the opinions of family and friends...

October 15, 2012 — David Wogan

Chinese Solar Tariffs Moving Forward

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Commerce released its final ruling on a new set of tariffs on Chinese solar panel imports. According to their announcement, most Chinese firms that sell solar cells or panels in the U.S...

October 11, 2012 — Melissa C. Lott

Guest Post: Waterless Fracking?

Propane Fracking vs. Water Fracking: Which is better (worse)? With all the negative attention surrounding hydraulic fracturing, a process that stimulates shale plays but requires the use of millions of gallons of water, it is no surprise that companies are looking at alternatives...

October 10, 2012 — Scott McNally

Coping with deep climate uncertainty

There is a great post at the Council on Foreign Relations blog where by Michael Levi boils down global climate change in to two overarching unknowns: (1) extent of damage by an accumulation of greenhouse gases, and (2) an uncertainty around which policies, or set of policies, will succeed in reducing emissions...

October 9, 2012 — David Wogan

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Science or SciFi?

Science or SciFi?

Vanishing Particles. Spooky Action.