Energy

Here's What's Awesome
11:13 am
Tue March 13, 2012

Flying the Self-Powered Skies

Vox Efx via Flickr/Creative Commons

Airplanes use a lot of energy to get from place to place, but they also create a lot of it - especially, say, when they're slowing down and landing. Engineers at the University of Lincoln are looking at how to harness that energy so airplanes can power themselves.

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Energy
12:01 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Power Grid Must Adapt To Handle Renewable Energy

Towers carry electrical lines in San Francisco. The electricity grid is a web of power stations, transformers and transmission lines that span the continent.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:08 am

The National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C., once asked its members to pick the greatest engineering achievement ever.

Their choice? The electrification of the country through what's known as "the grid."

Ernest Moniz, director of the Energy Institute at MIT, says they were right on the money.

"That reflects what an amazing machine this is, spread out geographically, always having to balance demand and supply because electricity is not stored," he says.

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Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength
12:01 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Jobs Abound In Energy Industry's New Boom Time

Oil workers on a drilling rig owned by Chesapeake Energy in Ohio. Students are flocking to the energy field.
Gus Chan The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 5:47 pm

Part of a series

Economists say many industries are looking up this year. But perhaps none has a better outlook than the energy sector.

New drilling technologies and rising fuel prices have generated a boom in drilling — and lots of high-paying jobs for people with the skills to work in the oil patch. On some college campuses, companies are so eager to find petroleum engineers that they are offering jobs to students even before they have graduated.

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Rebuilding Japan
12:01 am
Thu March 8, 2012

With Radiation, Doubt Grows In Fukushima Farms

A woman picks carrots on her farm as she explains her fears that no one will buy them since the radiation fallout in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan. A year later, challenges persist for farmers in the region.
Wally Santana AP

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 4:00 pm

The mountain village of Kawauchi lies partly inside the area deemed unsafe because of high levels of radiation in Japan's Fukushima prefecture. Chiharu Kubota uses a high-pressure water gun to hose down buildings there.

Radiation is still leaking from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns immediately after last year's earthquake and tsunami.

'Nothing Is Better'

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Energy
12:01 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Is U.S. Energy Independence Finally Within Reach?

A worker hangs from an oil derrick near Williston, N.D. The state now produces 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day, and production continues to rise.
Gregory Bull AP

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 8:17 pm

Rising gas prices have been the big energy story of the past several weeks. But many energy experts say that's a sideshow compared with the really big energy event — the huge boom in oil and natural gas production in the U.S. that could help the nation reach the elusive goal of energy independence.

Since the Arab oil embargo of 1973, energy independence has been a Holy Grail for virtually every American president from Richard Nixon to Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama.

But now, it might just be within reach.

The Shale Gale

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Newt Gingrich
4:29 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Energy Fuels Newt Gingrich's Comeback Plan

Republican candidate Newt Gingrich is counting on his promise of $2.50-per-gallon gas to return him to front-runner status.
Evan Vucci AP

When voters in Michigan go the polls Tuesday, it's unlikely many will tick the box for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In part, that's because Gingrich has all but written off the state, leaving his opponents to fight over it.

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U.S.
3:57 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

What Happens If The Keystone XL Pipeline Isn't Built?

A mock oil pipeline near Cushing, Okla.
Brent Baughman/NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:56 am

Part two of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas isn't like a rare bottle of wine that fetches a high price just because it's rare. But at the same time, no one can agree what drives gas prices. Demand for gasoline in the U.S. is at its lowest point in more than a decade; domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun February 26, 2012

Why Did Leading Solar Panel Maker Solyndra Fail?

Zachary Graham/Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What caused Solyndra, a leading American solar panel maker, to fail last fall and what are the implications for U.S. alternative energy industries?     -- Walt Bottone, Englewood, NJ

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NPR News
5:01 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

Ranchers' Land Becomes Ground Zero In Energy Fight

Rancher Randy Thompson is fighting to keep the Keystone XL pipeline from being built in Nebraska.
Guy Raz NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:38 am

Part one of a two-part series on the Keystone XL pipeline

Gas prices are spiking once again; the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded is about 12 percent higher than it was a year ago. But winter typically isn't the time for a rise in gas prices. Demand for gasoline is at a 14-year low and domestic oil production is at an eight-year high.

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Middle East
3:13 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Iran Can Disrupt Key Waterway, But For How Long?

The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
Hassan Ammar AP

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.

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Energy
4:03 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

Natural Gas Boom Energizing The Chemical Industry

A Shell-owned ethylene cracker plant on Pulau Bukom, Singapore. Several U.S. states are competing for a similar plant the company plans to build in northern Appalachia.
Courtesy of Shell Chemicals

Originally published on Mon February 13, 2012 8:19 pm

Just outside of West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, on the banks of the Kanawha River, sits the Institute Industrial Park. Chemical plants have operated here continuously since World War II, when the local factories cranked out synthetic rubber. Today there are industrial pipes, tanks and buildings stretching in just about every direction.

Soon, there could be more.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun February 12, 2012

How Green is the State of Our Union?

Pete Souza/White House photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: What are the environmental implications of the road ahead as laid out by President Obama in his recent State of the Union? -- Marilyn Pike, Bethesda, MD

 

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat February 11, 2012

New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association

John Brownlow via Flickr/Creative Commons

When Bob and Celine Richer decided to retire to New Hampshire, they knew they would need an energy-efficient home to be able to afford the long heating season. Bob contacted the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association for help. The Richers’s home is constructed of insulated concrete form with a geothermal and solar heating system.

Bob: The Sustainable Energy Association provided us guidance and encouragement along the way because there were so many things to choose from.

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Around the Nation
12:01 am
Fri February 10, 2012

Nuclear Safety, Cost Issues Loom As U.S. OKs Reactor

Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
Mary Ann Chastain AP

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 11:56 am

The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.

Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun January 29, 2012

The Energy Waste of TV-Top Boxes

iStock Photo/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that cable and other pay TV boxes that sit atop television sets consume massive amounts of energy, in part because they are always on, even when the TV is off? -- Sam Winston, Metarie, LA

 

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