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Investments in power lines says a lot about how the US electricity system is changing

August 29th, 2014 at 9:20 am » Comments Off

Private investment in electric transmission has quintupled from $2.7 billion in 1997 to $14.1 billion in 2012. Private electric utilities in America have been doing something surprising over the past ten years – they have been investing a lot of money in power lines and other electric-transmission infrastructure. (Chart)    



The next big challenge for energy storage

August 24th, 2014 at 8:19 am » Comments Off

Solar is now the fastest growing segment in the energy business in the U.S. The energy storage era is upon us. States like California and New York have adapted energy policies that will make it possible to economically deploy storage systems, while technology advancements have boosted performance and trimmed costs. For the first time in […]



New transparent solar cells can be used on windows, smartphone screens to produce solar energy

August 22nd, 2014 at 12:54 pm » Comments Off

Transparent solar cell. Developed by researchers in Michigan State University, a new material, called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator, can be used to cover anything that has a flat, clear surface. Transparent solar cell technology has been attempted before, but the energy the cells produced was poor and the materials they were made out of […]



New offshore wind energy and transnational grid projects will boost use of submarine power cables

August 19th, 2014 at 10:24 am » Comments Off

The worldwide market for submarine electrical cables has surged over the past decade. Eighty wind turbines are now under construction in the German North Sea.  They will eventually generate enough power for some 400,000 homes. That power will travel via advanced cables buried along several miles of ocean floor, part of a growing move toward […]



Design flaw turns solar plant into a death trap for birds

August 19th, 2014 at 9:54 am » Comments Off

Super-concentrated sunbeams from BrightSource Energy Plant are deadly for birds flying overhead. In February, the $2.2 billion BrightSource Energy Plant opened up in the Mojave Desert with good intentions: to harvest clean, sustainable solar power, by using 300 mirrors to reflect sunbeams onto a steam-producing water boiler. But a design flaw has turned the plant into a death trap […]



17 year-old student invents device that produces clean energy and fresh water

August 16th, 2014 at 8:08 am » Comments Off

Cynthia Sin Nga Lam and the H2Pro The lineup of finalists in this year’s Google Science Fair is impressive. Among the 15 inventions designed to make the world a better place, Cynthia Sin Nga Lam’s submission is definitely a major standout. Concerned about the millions of people living without energy and water, the 17-year-old student […]



China and India race to fully harness thorium for nuclear power

July 25th, 2014 at 8:00 am » Comments Off

Thorium is an alternative to uranium as a way of doing nuclear fission. Although the chemical element thorium sounds like the kind of material used as a plot device in a comic book blockbuster, it could solve the fuel crisis in the real world.    



New spongelike material converts solar energy into steam

July 24th, 2014 at 9:00 am » Comments Off

The DLS that consists of a carbon foam supporting an exfoliated graphite layer. MIT has developed a new material structure that generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits […]



Generating electricity from jumping water droplets

July 21st, 2014 at 10:41 am » Comments Off

This process can generate small amounts of electricity. Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic (water-repelling) surfaces during condensation, the droplets can gain electric charge in the process.    



Project proposals nearly double California’s energy storage target

July 21st, 2014 at 9:53 am » Comments Off

Energy storage On paper, California’s push to transform the market for grid-scale energy storage is working even better than expected.    



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