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Desalination Gets a Graphene Boost

November 13, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Graphene Technology and Safe Water

With the intensifying drought in California, the state has accelerated the construction of desalination plants. Yet due to high construction and operating costs we’re not likely to see reclaimed seawater represent more than a small fraction of America’s clean water reserves for some time to come.[read more]

Do Bloom Fuel Cells Qualify as Low-Emissions Distributed Generation?

November 11, 2015 by Eric Wesoff

Fuel Cells and Emissions

In a just newly revised proposed decision, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) lowered the emissions threshold to be eligible for its Self-Generation Incentive Program subsidy to 334 kilograms of CO2 per megawatt-hour in 2016.[read more]

New Evidence Shows Government Grossly Underestimated Risks of Atlantic Oil and Gas Exploration

November 6, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Last year the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued an environmental analysis that would open the east coast, from the New Jersey/Delaware border down through central Florida, to seismic airgun surveys. These surveys are what the offshore industry uses to prospect for oil and gas.[read more]

Beyond China, Other Southeast Asian Countries Plan for Significant Hydroelectric Additions

November 3, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy

Asia and Hydro Power

China's long-terms and substantial development of hydroelectric power, including the largest power plant in the world at Three Gorges Dam, has overshadowed the relatively large hydroelectric expansion plans of other Southeast Asia countries.[read more]

Leaking Coal to Asia

October 29, 2015 by Maximilian Auffhammer

Coal Export Terminals

The view from my window high up in the ivory tower is spectacular. But recently I climbed down to attend a hearing at Oakland’s city council about the possible construction of a coal export terminal right here smack dab in the heart of the most liberal metropolis in North America.[read more]

Shell, Arctic Drilling, and the Obama Administration: Keep On Keepin' On

October 29, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Arctic Drilling and Environmental Risk

It just keeps getting better and better for the Arctic and the environment. First, Shell Oil pulled the plug on its horrific current drilling effort there two weeks ago. Now the Obama administration has taken its first concrete steps to reduce future threats.[read more]

Using Microbes to Clean Up Oil Spills

October 22, 2015 by Energy @ MIT

Microbes and the Environment

Catherine Drennan, a professor of chemistry and biology, likes to wax poetic about the complex chemistry of microbes. "I think they’re elegant and beautiful," she says. Of course, she also sees that they have plenty of useful practical applications.[read more]

33 More Injection Wells Shut Down in California

October 22, 2015 by Briana Mordick

The California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources issued orders last Thursday requiring operators to shut down 33 of the more than 2,500 injection wells improperly permitted to pump potentially toxic oil and gas wastewater and other fluids into federally protected drinking water aquifers.[read more]

Better Together: Regional Power Pools in Africa are Worth the Challenge

October 13, 2015 by Amy Rose

Africa and Regional Energy

Despite an abundance of energy resources, electric power systems in Africa have been slow to develop, leaving a large portion of the population in sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity. The growing interest in regional power pools across the continent could dramatically alter that trend.[read more]

Servicing One Turbine After the Other: Living and Working on a Wind Farm

October 5, 2015 by René Cornelis Wigmans

Servicing Wind Farms

Christened, the “Esvagt Faraday”, Siemens’ new SOV, is now in operation on German offshore wind farms. Ingo Bischof, Project Manager for the Butendiek wind farm in the North Sea, has just returned from a trial tour of duty. He explains what it’s like to live and work aboard the new service operation vessel.[read more]

Sorry Environmentalists, Shell's Arctic Decision is All About the Money

September 30, 2015 by Cutler Cleveland

Shell and Arctic Drilling

Environmentalists can hardly contain themselves with news that Royal Dutch Shell abandoned oil exploration in the Alaskan Arctic for “the foreseeable future.” To be sure, the oil companies are under tremendous pressure to keep carbon “in the ground.” But that is not what triggered Shell’s decision.[read more]

EPA's Water Report: A Good but Incomplete Start

September 17, 2015 by EDF Energy Exchange

Water Report from the EPA

The oft-quoted statement of EPA’s water study – that it found no evidence of “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water sources”– implied to some that activities related to hydraulic fracturing had been declared risk-free. That couldn't be further from the truth.[read more]

Can California Ignore its Neighbors?

September 1, 2015 by James Bushnell

California and Neighborly Risk

The U.S., has operated its power system as a collection of balkanized fiefdoms. Evidence from around the country, indicates that merging utility system operations can be a big win economically by reducing the amount of fuel burned, improving network utilization, and increasing reliability.[read more]

Katrina 10 Years On: The Federal Flood Risk Management Standard Provides a Way Forward

August 28, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

Federal Flood Standards

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It was the costliest, as well as, one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. When the levee system safeguarding New Orleans catastrophically failed, our nation watched in horror as the flood waters spread.[read more]

Drought and Extremes of Heat Reduce Farm Yields and Worsen Wildfires

August 27, 2015 by Henry Auer

Global Warming Damage Already Done

Man-made global warming worsens the extreme drought in the American West because of its excessive heating. Farms in California receive inadequate water supplies, leading to crop losses. Wildfires are burning record areas of forest in the West as well as in Alaska.[read more]