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Alternative Energy

  • Something To Consider Before Buying In To Rooftop Solar

    Green energy has moved to the forefront of the national conversation on energy production even as oil prices sit near decade lows. The simple fact that solar power and wind power now command so much attention speaks to how the country’s views on energy have changed. But now some people are going one step further and actually looking to install enough solar panels on their homes to become energy positive – that is to generate more energy than they actually consume. Britain’s Guardian newspaper ran a recent story about this , but that story skipped over a few obvious issues.…

  • Natgas Boom Undermining U.S. Nuclear Future

    America's nuclear power industry should be luxuriating in its extraordinary safety record and the fact that it is a carbon-free way to make electricity. But all is not well in atom land. In fact, things are dismal. Only five nuclear plants are under construction, and they are having birth pains as schedules slip and costs rise. One plant, Vermont Yankee, has been taken out of service and others are on a watch list. This is happening not because of safety or end-of-life, but because cheap natural gas is undermining the economics of nuclear. The market has spoken and it has…

  • Do Biofuels Still Have A Place In The Global Energy Mix?

    Less than a decade ago, biofuels were set to take the energy world by storm. They promised a low-carbon alternative to gasoline, while advances in algae technology were taking biofuels beyond the traditional soybeans and corn. In 2015, the contrast could not be starker. The new frontier of biofuel technology has all but disappeared off the energy agenda, while opposition to traditional biofuels has only grown. The overarching question now is whether biofuels have a place in a sustainable energy future and what role should they play? The debate over the negative impact of ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel is not…

  • How Much Money Can You Really Save With A Smart Home?

    It has become conventional wisdom that the wave of the future is “smart home” technology from smart utility meters that read a houses energy usage automatically to smart lights that turn off when not in use. The industry has been in development for years, but moved to the forefront of the start-up world when Google bought Nest Labs last year for more than $3B. Nest Labs makes a variety of smart home devices including thermostats and smoke alarms. Smart home technology marries two of the most talked about trends in business right now – the internet of things and green…

  • Could The World Cope With Almost Limitless Energy?

    The concept of harnessing unlimited energy that has been a part of our ancient folklore and fiction might soon become a reality. A new, seemingly unlimited energy source could open up a plethora of possibilities for a world reeling from wars, economic sanctions, terrorism and natural disasters. Unlimited energy will indeed find a lot of takers.   World Energy Consumption at a glance The Energy Information Administration predicts that global energy consumption will grow around 56% between 2010 and 2040, most of this growth being attributed to non-OECD countries. Going by current projections, we find that use of fossil fuels…

  • Massive Nuclear Buildout Here Will Require A Lot More Uranium

    There's been a lot of talk in uranium about burgeoning Chinese demand being a savior for miners. But another, more surprising nation is also making a push this week to secure supplies. India. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Canada yesterday. With his arrival representing the first India-Canada governmental visit in 42 years -- and a chance to discuss securing uranium supply for India's growing nuclear sector.Related: Top 5 Richest Tycoons In Renewable Energy Prior to departing for the trip, Modi made it clear that uranium was a key issue in talks with Canada. Noting that "sourcing uranium fuel for…

  • Top 5 Richest Tycoons In Renewable Energy

    Not so many years ago the idea of a renewable energy CEO raking in billions, joining the ranks of oil barons, publishing tycoons, banking scions and other captains of industry would have seemed unlikely. The stereotype of the Birkenstock-clad hippy with dreams of a world powered by solar energy seemed to belong to the Age of Aquarius, not the dawn of the 21st century. This seemed especially so after the fall of communism ushered in a new era of capitalism and greed, all fueled to some extent by oil and gas, symbolized by the Bush years in the White House…

  • Japan May Not Restart Nuclear Reactors After All

    Japan may not return to nuclear power as quickly as its government had hoped. Now more than four years after the Fukushima meltdown, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has prioritized a return to nuclear power as a way of easing his country’s energy shortages and enormous trade deficit. But a Japanese court just struck a huge blow to his plans of restarting some reactors. A court issued an injunction on April 14 against two reactors in Fukui prefecture owned by Kansai Electric Power. Despite having passed a safety review from Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Administration (NRA), the court blocked the restart…

  • Post-Fukushima Japan Turns To Wind As Solution For Energy Crisis

    The kamikaze pilots that flew bombing raids and suicide missions against the Allies in World War Two were inspired by a “divine wind” that they believed was keeping their planes aloft in the service of the Japanese Empire. Legend has it that the divine wind from which the word “kamikaze” is translated, referred to a typhoon that saved the Japanese islands from invasion by a Mongol fleet in 1281. Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, nature continues to exert a powerful influence on the Japanese nation, and we only have to look back four years to…

  • Off-Grid Solar Threatens Utilites In The Next Decade

    The utility death spiral could be just around the corner. A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) finds that solar photovoltaics combined with battery storage could become cost competitive with grid electricity in key parts of the United States within a decade. That would pose an existential threat to the traditional utility. As more homes and businesses opt for solar power equipped with battery backup storage, utilities will lose their customers. That makes it increasingly difficult to finance and maintain expensive grid assets, forcing utilities to raise rates on remaining customers, further pushing people to go off-grid. For…