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A TED talk on accelerating the shift to clean energy

Electricity powers nearly every aspect of our modern, convenient lives. It’s so pervasive and easy that most of us take it for granted. But just behind the common electric outlet lies a system that is expensive, insecure, and, worst of all, dangerously dirty – the grid. For example, clean energy from the sun and wind… Read More

Does nuclear power enhance or undermine America’s national security? (Part 5)

While a stable grid is essential for the well being of developed countries, nuclear power magnifies the risks and rewards of making electricity to a level of national security. Few types of power generation are more contentious and none have the potential to affect the well being of nations like nuclear power – as both defender and demolisher. Read More

October Clean Energy Headlines

The biggest clean energy headlines of October:
* The US is about to surpass 1 million electric vehicles. 
* The US Government has written off $500 million in “clean coal” research since 2010.
* The US is on track for record coal retirements in 2018
* California utilities are proactively creating blackouts to avoid more powerline caused wildfires. 
* Chernobyl is once again generating power but this time it’s solar. Read More

The inevitability of a solar powered future

There are few more important questions for the 21st century than how we will power our electric grids. Literally trillions of dollars and are at stake, and possibly even the future of the planet. It’s a good bet that wind and solar will make up the majority of the future grid. But, wind and solar are not the same. Wind turbines benefit from economies of scale. As they get bigger, their costs go down; but only up to a point. By comparison, solar’s cost declines are driven by something even more powerful, economies of volume – the more you make of something, the cheaper it gets. Read More

What are the biggest trends threatening to disrupt the power industry?

I recently moderated a panel at the Energy Leaders Symposium called Disruptions in the Energy Industry. This event was hosted by Georgia Tech’s Center for Distributed Energy. To help frame the discussions, I defined a disruption as an industry changing so quickly that incumbents can’t keep up. I listed three drivers threatening to disrupt the power industry: a shift from economies of scale to economies of volumes, a shift from top-down to edge-in, and battery storage. Read More

Nuclear power and the environment: carbon-free electricity vs the impact of nuclear waste (Part 4)

Nuclear power plants produce almost no greenhouse gases. If you want a huge amount of steady 24/7/365 electricity that has minimal impact on climate change, nuclear is your go-to option. But the environmental promise of minimal greenhouse gas emissions comes with an environmental cost: nuclear waste. Decades of nuclear power has resulted in 250,000 tons of accumulated waste. Read More

Just how dangerous are nuclear power plants? Part 2

Nuclear power has a unique challenge. While it’s much safer than most people realize, it easily conjures up thoughts of meltdowns, sickness, and bombs. Decades of movies and the occasional nuclear disasters have kept these fears at the forefront of people’s minds. Up until recently, the future of nuclear power looked grim. However, the growing concern over greenhouse gases has put nuclear back in the spotlight as a possible source of carbon-free electricity. Read More