» Energy

Arpa-e

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy. An agency of the US Department of Energy. Read More

Local biomass burning is a dominant cause of the observed precipitation reduction in southern Africa

Observations indicate a precipitation decline over large parts of southern Africa since the 1950s. Concurrently, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols have increased due to anthropogenic activities. Here we show that local black carbon and organic carbon aerosol emissions from biomass burning activities are a main cause of the observed decline in southern African dry season precipitation over the last century. Near the main biomass burning regions, global and regional modelling indicates precipitation decreases of 20–30%, with large spatial variability. Increasing global CO2 concentrations further contribute to precipitation reductions, somewhat less in magnitude but covering a larger area. Whereas precipitation changes from increased CO2 are driven by large-scale circulation changes, the increase in biomass burning aerosols causes local drying of the atmosphere. This study illustrates that reducing local biomass burning aerosol emissions may be a useful way to mitigate reduced rainfall in the region. Read More

CERES Clean Energy Utility Benchmarking Report: 2016

“Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy Deployment: 2016” provides a window into how the global transition toward clean energy is playing out in the U.S. electric power sector. Specifically, it reveals the extent to which 30 of the largest U.S. investor-owned electric utility holding companies are increasingly deploying clean energy resources to meet customer needs. Benchmarking these companies provides an opportunity for transparent reporting and analysis of important industry trends. It fills a knowledge gap by offering utilities, regulators, investors, policymakers and other stakeholders consistent and comparable information on which to base their decisions. And it provides perspective on which utilities are best positioned in a shifting policy landscape, including likely implementation of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon pollution from power plants. Read More

U.S. Fuel Ethanol Plant Production Capacity

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released its annual fuel ethanol production capacity report. The new report contains data for all operating U.S. fuel ethanol production plants as of January 1, 2017. Detailed nameplate capacity of fuel ethanol plants by Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD District) are available. Read More

Solar PV Safety for Firefighters

With consumers going solar in nearly every state, the likelihood that firefighters will encounter solar electric systems on residential and commercial properties is increasing dramatically every year. The Solar PV Safety for Firefighters Course is designed to give firefighters the knowledge necessary to feel confident and safe when responding to fires on Solar PV-equipped structures – to better understand the potential hazards. Read More

Light pollution is associated with earlier tree budburst across the United Kingdom

The ecological impact of night-time lighting is of concern because of its well-demonstrated effects on animal behaviour. However, the potential of light pollution to change plant phenology and its corresponding knock-on effects on associated herbivores are less clear. Here, we test if artificial lighting can advance the timing of budburst in trees. We took a UK-wide 13 year dataset of spatially referenced budburst data from four deciduous tree species and matched it with both satellite imagery of night-time lighting and average spring temperature. We find that budburst occurs up to 7.5 days earlier in brighter areas, with the relationship being more pronounced for later-budding species. Excluding large urban areas from the analysis showed an even more pronounced advance of budburst, confirming that the urban ‘heat-island’ effect is not the sole cause of earlier urban budburst. Similarly, the advance in budburst across all sites is too large to be explained by increases in temperature alone. This dramatic advance of budburst illustrates the need for further experimental investigation into the impact of artificial night-time lighting on plant phenology and subsequent species interactions. As light pollution is a growing global phenomenon, the findings of this study are likely to be applicable to a wide range of species interactions across the world. Read More

California’s New Interconnection Policies First to Address Cost Certainty and Storage

The comprehensive Rule 21 Order adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) provides numerous innovations to mitigate costs associated with connecting clean energy to the grid, facilitates a clear process for interconnecting energy storage systems, and enables implementation of smart inverter functionality. Read More

EnergyStar Podcasts

Podcasts about the EnergyStar program. Read More

Household energy consumption and carbon emissions for sustainable cities – A critical review of modelling approaches

The purpose of this paper is to conduct a review of how household energy consumption and carbon emissions (HECCE) modelling paradigms have evolved over the years. This is achieved by adopting the literature review methodology for the study. The paper first reviewed the previous studies that are serving as the theoretical framework underpinning the HECCE models. Further to this, the paper identified an array of energy models that have evolved over the years together with their capability of analysing energy consumption and their associated carbon emission trends in housing sector of the economy. The results of the study showed that econometric (mainly top-down), building physics, and statistical (mainly bottom-up) methods are the existing approaches that have found application in modelling HECCE issues. However, a number of limitations were noticed in these existing modelling techniques. These are (1) lack of transparency in the model algorithms, (2) inability to account for the complex, interdependencies, and dynamic nature of the issue of energy consumption and carbon emissions, (3) limited evidence to show for the occupants–dwelling interactions, and (4) lack of enough capacity to accommodate qualitative data input. And as such, the study concluded that there is the need to scout for more robust and sophisticated modelling approaches that take into consideration the kind of complexity involved in issues relating to HECCE. Read More

CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE U.S. ENERGY SECTOR: REGIONAL VULNERABILITIES AND RESILIENCE SOLUTIONS

We live in a rapidly changing world. The effects of climate change— such as heat waves, rising sea levels and more severe storms— are already being felt across the United States. Our energy infrastructure is especially vulnerable to climate-related impacts, which can pose a serious threat to America’s national security, energy security, economic well-being, and quality of life. This interactive map illustrates how climate change has the potential to disrupt our nation’s energy systems. Click on the shaded regions below for a breakdown of the key climate vulnerabilities in each part of the country. Read More

Mission

EERL's mission is to be the best possible online collection of environmental and energy sustainability resources for community college educators and for their students. The resources are also available for practitioners and the public.

EERL & ATEEC

EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

Contact ATEEC 563.441.4087 or by email ateec@eicc.edu