The business of providing Americans with electricity hasn’t evolved much in a century. But today, growing concerns about climate change, affordable wind and solar power, and the potential for distributed generation are pressuring utilities and power producers like NRG to clean up their acts, and fast.
“Our industry is going though massive transformation, the likes of which we’ve never seen,” said Mauricio Gutierrez, the recently installed chief executive of NRG. “The industry has never seen this much turnover.”MIT News: New System From MIT Can Identify How Much Power Is Being Used by Each Device in a Household
If you want to save on your monthly electric bill and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions at the same time, you might buy a new energy-efficient refrigerator. Or water heater. Or clothes dryer. But if you can only replace one of these, which will give you the biggest payback?
You could try to figure that out by comparing the energy-use labels from your existing appliances with those of the models you might purchase -- if you still have your old labels. Even then, the numbers may differ significantly from your actual usage, depending on factors such as age, condition, and your local climate. But soon, there could be a much easier way to figure out exactly how much power is being used by every appliance, lighting fixture, and device in your home, with pinpoint accuracy and at low cost, thanks to devices and software developed by researchers at MIT.Los Angeles Times: Who Owns the Wind? We Do, Says Wyoming
Not long after it became clear that the robust winds that blow down from the Rocky Mountains and across the sea of sagebrush here could produce plenty of profit in a world that wants more renewable energy, some of the more expansive minds in the Wyoming Legislature began entertaining a lofty question:
Who owns all of that wind? They concluded, quickly and conveniently, that Wyoming did.
Then, with great efficiency for a conservative state not traditionally tilted toward burdening the energy industry, they did something no other state has done, before or since: They taxed it.
In the four years since Wyoming began taxing power generated by wind turbines, it has collected a little less than $15 million in revenue.The Denver Post: Work Program Trains Unemployed Oil and Gas Workers in Solar Technology
The coal industry has been painted with a bleak brush in recent years. Production has plummeted. Plants have closed. Jobs have been lost.
And while mining communities grapple with neighbors moving away, increasingly empty schools and fewer tax dollars, a separate industry is blooming: renewable energy.
National rhetoric pits the two energy producers against each other. But in Delta County, one organization is targeting unemployed coal miners in the hope of transitioning them into the solar industry -- and leaving politics out of the conversation.Engadget: The Week in Transportation
After years of anticipation, Karma Automotive has finally unveiled the Revero, a plug-in electric supercar powered by roof-mounted solar panels. In other transportation news, BMW launched an electrified version of its flagship sedan, and a new report shows that the U.K. will have more EV chargers than gas stations by the year 2020. Work continues on the Hyperloop: One company announced plans this week to build the world's first underwater supersonic transport tubes. And Republic Bike's kids' cargo bike might just be the coolest ride for pint-sized commuters.