There is no question that solar power has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, but whenever one really looked at the numbers, it seemed to still be only a tiny fraction of the country’s power generation – until quite recently, less than one percent.
Baltimore’s harbor is cleaner than it has been in decades thanks to the efforts of two solar- and hydro-powered trash interceptors built to look like googly-eyed cartoon characters. In fact, they are known as Mr. Trash Wheel and Professor Trash Wheel.
A recent report from the Energy Information Administration notes that for the first time in 40 years, carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation are less than those from transportation. The reason is that power plants nationwide are abandoning the use of coal and turning to cleaner burning natural gas, as well as newer sources such as solar and wind power.
The traditional model of the electricity grid is one where centralized large power plants send power through transmission lines to substations and then on to homes and businesses. As localized renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and efficiency systems proliferate throughout the system, a new concept is emerging: that of the virtual power plant.
The introduction of the Tesla 3 and the 400,000 advanced orders for the vehicle have put the spotlight on electric cars recently. But despite all the buzz, electric cars are sill only a tiny piece of the US car market: about 0.66 percent last year.
Rivers concentrate the water and resources of an entire region. They are literally the lifeblood of much of the world’s fish population. They are also the fuel for hydropower, a critical energy source for human civilization.
One of the standard criticisms aimed at electric cars is whether they actually are good for the environment when everything is taken into account. For example, people worry about the amount of energy expended and the environmental impact of actually building the car. Recent studies have shown that this balances out over a relatively short amount of the car’s lifetime.
When it comes to carbon dioxide, three countries are responsible for half of the world’s emissions into the atmosphere: China, the US, and India. On a per capita basis, we are far worse than China, but its population is so huge that that it produces twice as much CO2 as the United States and nearly one-third of the world’s emissions.
This week, representatives of 195 nations and the 28 member states of the European Union are meeting in Paris to try to put together the first global agreement to curb carbon dioxide emissions. Among those nations, some are already doing much better than others.
Around the world, cities are trying to combat climate change by shifting their energy needs away from coal, oil and natural gas. Some, like Reykjavik and Zurich, use no fossil fuels to produce power at all; others are still planning cutbacks.