A Fascinating Early Wind Power Generation System

Sleek wind machines both on land and in the ocean intrigue many people. The units provide clean energy and contribute nothing to climate change. However, the early history of wind power in the U.S. included some interesting trials that bear no resemblance to the majority of today’s modern turbines. Many wind enthusiasts are aware of the […]

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Former Sen. Pete Domenici, Key Energy Legislator, Dies at 85

Former New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Domenici died last week in Albuquerque from complications following abdominal surgery. He was 85.   Domenici was a tireless and bipartisan legislator over his career as the longest-serving senator in New Mexico history, from 1973 to 2009. He was also a thoroughly decent man who viewed political compromise as […]

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Blackout: A Coming Dystopia?

Dystopian novels are not my normal literary cup of tea (1984 excepted). But I just finished reading Marc Elsberg’s Blackout, originally published in Germany in 2012 and translated into English this year. It’s a bone-chilling thriller about an international Luddite group attempting to destroy modern civilization by bringing down first the European and then the […]

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DOE Grid Study: Will it Make a Difference?

The highly-touted Department of Energy’s grid study is anodyne and irrelevant but worthwhile nonetheless. Commissioned by new energy secretary Rick Perry in April, the order for the study charged the Department of Energy staff to examine whether current policy was responsible for base load coal and nuclear plant retirements that jeopardize the reliability of the […]

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FERC: Back in Business

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is back in business, with three commissioners constituting a quorum. The agency has a scheduled monthly public meeting for Sept. 20. By then it may have a full slate of five commissioners. But getting FERC rolling again involved some peculiar political musical chairs on the part of the White House. […]

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Paris Accord: Fact or Fiction?

Is the highly-touted 2015 Paris climate accord substantive or merely international slight-of-hand? In a new paper in the British journal Nature, a group of six international scholars, led by David G. Victor of the University of California, San Diego, suggest that the agreement is proving to be a sham. Titled “Prove Paris was more than […]

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Trump Energy Nominees Not Very Controversial

While the Trump administration has been glacially slow in filling second-tier jobs at federal energy agencies, his nominees to date ring few warning bells among those who have followed appointments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Department of Energy. At FERC, which is far more important to the on-the-ground, day-to-day operations of […]

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Tony Clark on Electric Market Turmoil: Be True to Your School

The legendary Beach Boys rock group in 1963 recorded “Be True to Your School” on their early album “Little Deuce Coupe.” Among the lyrics, “Now what’s the matter buddy, ain’t you heard of my school, it’s number one in the state.” Electric markets roil over what appear to be fundamental challenges to the market restructuring […]

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Despite limits, Li-ion Batteries Win Market Competition

The limitations of lithium-ion batteries, particularly for electric utility use, are well known: They have a short lifetime, they don’t like rapid cycling, they run out of power quickly, and they can catch on fire, particularly when linked together (as Elon Musk is planning for his South Australia project). So why have well-financed, well-thought-out high-tech […]

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FERC: And Then There Was One

Behold, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC): Cheryl LaFleur, chairman and sole commissioner. Thanks to a largely feckless Trump administration, the five-member FERC now consists of only one member, leaving the commission, an important energy infrastructure agency, continued partially crippled for lack of a quorum. FERC has been hobbled since early February, when Trump demoted […]

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