California Sets New Solar Power Record

Posted by Tom Denham on May 24, 2017 11:53:53 AM

For the first time in history, on March 11 California became the first state to power more than half the power it needs from the sun.

Since power levels fluctuate depending upon a multitude of factors, the record only lasted for a few hours.  But it is a significant milestone.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Windows May Soon Harness Energy

Posted by Tom Denham on May 19, 2017 10:52:43 AM

Look at any downtown skyline of a major city and what do you see? Glass - lots and lots of glass.

What if that glass could produce energy?  There is a revolution underway to transform windows and skylights into energy that will start in commercial buildings and eventually reach residential homes.

Windows might seem like an odd place to embed solar cells — after all, they are designed to let sunlight shine through, not capture it.  Windows also receive less direct sunlight than rooftops.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Portland, Chicago Make Major Energy Commitments

Posted by Tom Denham on May 17, 2017 5:57:19 PM

Portland and Chicago both committed to major energy goals recently.

The City of Portland and Multnomah County, Oregon announced they want to have 100% renewable power by 2035 and a complete transition to carbon-free energy, including the transportation sector, by 2050.

While more than two dozen cities have already made renewable energy commitments for their power mixes, the enhanced goal to shift all of Portland's energy sources will be a challenge.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Natural Gas Pipelines Will Dramatically Increase U.S. output

Posted by Tom Denham on May 3, 2017 3:01:36 PM

Natural gas has been one of the biggest energy stories of the last decade.  It seems almost unbelievable that less than a decade ago U.S. gas production from conventional fields was in decline. At that time, many experts predicted the United States would soon become the world’s biggest importers of natural gas.

But that was before technological innovation unleashed huge oil and gas supplies trapped in shale rock.  Now the nation is producing 50 percent more gas, making it the world's biggest producer.


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Topics: Natural Gas

U.S. Energy Secretary Orders U.S. Electrical Grid Study

Posted by Tom Denham on May 1, 2017 12:27:49 PM

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has ordered a study of the U.S. electric grid which will examine if the country’s increasing reliance on wind, solar and other less reliable energy sources will hamper the grid in the future.

If it is shown that the less reliable energy sources are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants, yet at the same time those sources of energy are less reliable than coal, President Trump’s administration may develop new policies to favor coal.

The review will be completed this June. 


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Houses Follow the Sun Like Sunflowers

Posted by Tom Denham on Apr 25, 2017 1:14:39 PM

Plants don’t appear to move until you use time lapse photography.  But when you do, you will notice that many plants almost imperceptibly follow the sun from sunrise to sunset.  Can houses do the same thing?

Apparently they can but whether this can become something that can be mass produced remains to be seen.  But the prototype is off the drawing board and on the sales floor.  A Portuguese company called Casas em Movimento (Houses in Motion) has designed rotating solar-powered houses that follow the sun just like a sunflower to harness the maximum amount of solar energy.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Google's Project Sunroof Expands to All 50 States

Posted by Tom Denham on Apr 11, 2017 12:50:26 PM

For homeowners and potential homeowners who have never had an energy efficient home, calculating the projected energy costs can sometimes be confusing and challenging due to different projections.  But now there is a new tool that can help.

Google announced recently that its online tool to assist homeowners in calculating energy savings from rooftop solar installations has now expanded to all 50 US states.  Approximately 60 million buildings have already analyzed by the program.


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Topics: Renewable Energy

Florida Solar Bill May Hurt Solar Companies

Posted by Tom Denham on Apr 3, 2017 4:47:14 PM

A bill winding its way through the Florida legislature that was supposed to assist solar industries in the sunshine state is being criticized as a way for the utility industries to hinder rooftop solar installations.

Legislators supporting the bill say they are trying to assist Florida consumers, but critics say it is a smoke screen for the utilities to do what they were unsuccessful in doing in the last election – impose roadblocks to solar industries.  Members of the solar industry warned that a long list of "consumer protections" in the bill will actually serve to keep legitimate companies from doing business in Florida.


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Topics: Solar Pricing

Purdue University’s Biowall Improves Indoor Air Quality

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 31, 2017 12:16:43 PM

The basic premise of most energy efficient homes is that they prevent the outdoor environment from seeping into the home, creating HVAC efficiency and reducing power consumption.  The goal is to seal air inside the home and keep outside air outside, but that has presented a new problem – air quality problems due to lack of ventilation.

A research team from Purdue University has attacked this problem by presenting a concept known as the “BioWall” to improve air quality in such airtight homes.

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Topics: General Green Home Topics

Germans Turns Lemons Into Lemonade

Posted by Tom Denham on Mar 28, 2017 1:01:49 PM

The demise of coal mines as countries turn to renewable energy leaves behind employment losses in the surrounding communities and large tracts of unusable land.

Germany may have found a solution to the problem.  It is turning one of its old coal mines into a giant 'battery station' that will be a pumped storage plant that will provide hydroelectric power and provide energy to around 400,000 homes.

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Topics: Alternative fuel energy