Energy - latest news and research

When joining a solar garden, location is key

To lower your energy losses stick close to transmission lines

Solar carport reduces transmission losses-As global temperatures climb, the demand for electricity is increasing, and solar is becoming one of the cheapest sources. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, many are turning to solar community gardens to climate-proof their energy costs. This can decrease your electricity bill, but many patches of land being used for solar panels may not be so efficient.

A […]

Community Solar: No roof? No money? No problem.

Lower your costs and expand your solar access with this community energy plan.

Community solar - a way to climate-proof your lifeThe demand for electricity is expected to surge, particularly as we use more for air conditioning, raising costs by $12 billion a year for utility customers. You may be able to climate-proof those energy costs without having to build a costly system of your own (rooftop panels only work on about 30 percent of U.S. homes […]

Renewable Energy Standards boost jobs.

Are jobs in renewable energy risky? Not if your state has high renewable energy requirements.

Solar energy creating middle-class jobs.For states like California that can muster the political oomph to mandate Renewable Portfolio Standards, the employment payoff appears to be even better than expected. Not only does the quantity of jobs go up, but the quality of those jobs does too. Surprisingly high-wage, skilled jobs, many of them unionized, have been the result according to this Berkeley study.

Originally conceived […]

A microgrid in your future?

I like innovation contests. They explains things simply.

Microgrids, a form of climate-profingThis contestant’s set-up could become common soon. Twenty homes share a system that collects electricity from solar panels (when the sun is shining) or the grid (when time-of-use rates are low). The power can be 1) kept in their large battery backup (the homes are an island in case of outages), 2) routed to the various homes (cheap electricity when time-of-use rates are high), or […]

Me, part of the grid?

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 9.47.49 AMGreen Mountain Power will make it worthwhile for you to store their electricity in your house.

Unpredictable and intermittent sources – like solar and wind – are a whole lot more valuable to your power company if they can be stored for when needed. Let them borrow power from time to time, and they’ll sell you the battery cheap.

Sacramento cuts landfill costs, sells natural gas instead

Collecting methane created from organic garbage not only reduces greenhouse gases, it reduces your municipal budget. Many towns are running out of landfill, with expensive expansions ahead. Check out the list of advantages of better digestion in Sacramento.


Why the free market alone can’t protect us

The free market isn’t going to protect us from global warming without some serious government-supplied incentives. The best idea so far is a carbon tax. […]

A simple life is hard to imagine. Here’s one way.

Lost driver: “Can you tell me how to get to Union Grove?” Roadside farmer: “No. But if I was you, I wouldn’t start from here.”

Most of us have trouble seeing from here down the road. If we ponder what life would be like with a lot less water, air-conditioning, meat, or municipal services, it’s hard to visualize. How would limited transportation, lower home values, more community conflict, and food scarcities feel? We can’t quite imagine.

World Made By Hand

Carbon tax stirrings could boost oil prices

Three recent events suggest the chances for a US carbon tax have improved. […]

When did anxiety begin?

Looking around the horizon, alone 1,000 miles from land, I wasn’t afraid. Then I looked down.

Carbon pollution in the oceanFor me it was 1977. I was halfway across the Atlantic, squinting into a bucket of seawater. Specs of brown were floating in it, along with microscopic grey things. What is this stuff? And why is this patch of water, so far from humans, so polluted? I emptied it back over the side, sailed a few more days, and pulled […]