There is a tendency to think of the changes in the energy industry as a pitched battle between fossil fuel companies and renewable energy. There is some truth to this, but only to a certain extent. The multi-trillion-dollar fossil fuel industry is made up of businesses dedicated to growth and increased profits. And like businesses in other industries when major changes occur, fossil fuel companies may read the tea leaves and change with the times.
There’s ample evidence over the past decade or so that Americans are gradually changing their diets, driven by health concerns among other factors. But there’s one change that really stands out. According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans have sliced their beef consumption by 19% between 2005 and 2014.
According to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey, millions of people living in Oklahoma and parts of Kansas face significant potential for damaging earthquakes this year as a result of human activity. The only other part of the continental United States facing a similar danger is California, which has natural faults lines slicing through the state.
According to a new study by the non-profit group Carbon Brief, carbon dioxide emissions in the United Kingdom are at their lowest levels since the 1920s. Four factors are responsible: a record drop in coal use, the rapid growth of renewable energy, the expansion of energy efficiency programs, and the increased use of natural gas for electricity power plants.
Regardless of the new administration’s position on climate change, America’s corporations have assumed a leadership role in the country’s ability to meet and beat previous domestic climate pledges.
Multiple studies are now reporting that wind and solar power are the cheapest way to make electricity in a growing number of places around the world. A thorough analysis of the levelized cost of energy – which considers every cost component from capital expenditures to operating and maintenance costs over a lifetime – shows that solar and wind power are winning the day.
Wind turbines have been getting bigger and bigger over the years. The reason is that bigger blades produce more power and give much more bang for the buck. A big part of the plummeting price of wind power is the increasing amount of power produced by each turbine.
The U.S. has just turned on its first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island. In the meantime, offshore wind continues to grow by leaps and bounds in Europe. Wind energy in the European Union accounts for 12% of its electricity supply. Until 2011, offshore wind comprised only 5-10% of the newly-installed wind energy capacity; now it about one third of the new installations.
Pretty much every discussion of electric cars, plug-in hybrids and ordinary hybrids starts and ends up with the question of whether they are worth the money. If the reason for buying such a vehicle is strictly economic, then this is the right question to ask. But the naysayers who say such a purchase is foolish may be barking up the wrong tree.