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Average number of televisions in U.S. homes declining

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Energy Consumption Surveys Results from the U.S Energy Information Administration’s most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that an average of 2.3 televisions were used in American homes in 2015, down from an average of 2.6 televisions per household in 2009. The number of homes with three or more televisions declined from the previous survey conducted in 2009, and a larger share of households reported not using a television at all. Televisions and peripheral equipment such as cable boxes, digital video recorders (DVRs), and video game consoles account for about 6% of all electricity consumption in U.S. homes. D

As seas rise, city mulls a massive sea barrier across Boston Harbor

After Hurricane Katrina, the federal government built a 1.8-mile barrier along Lake Borgne, a lagoon of the Gulf of Mexico. LEE CELANO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES/FILE It would be a massive, highly controversial wall sure to cost billions of dollars. But this barrier would be much closer to home — and potentially more expensive — than the one President Trump has proposed along the Mexican border. As rising sea levels pose a growing threat to Boston’s future, city officials are exploring the feasibility of building a vast sea barrier from Hull to Deer Island, forming a protective arc around Boston Harbor. The idea, raised in a recent city report on the local risks of climate change, sounds like a pipe d

Investors Renew Call on Exxon to Address Climate Risk

Credit: David McNew/Getty Images Coalition Representing $4 Trillion in Assets Asks Exxon How It Will Be Impacted by a Lower Carbon Future A coalition of institutional investors, led by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, as trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), and the Church of England investment fund, have again asked ExxonMobil to report how its business will be impacted by global efforts to mitigate climate change. The CRF and the Church of England filed a similar proposal for consideration at Exxon's 2016 annual meeting. Despite Exxon's unsuccessful attempt to exclude the proposal from a vote at the meeting, it received support from 38.2% of voting share

Lawmakers in California and Massachusetts Introduce Bills for 100% Renewable Energy

Onshore wind turbine image; Credit: © SmartestEnergy Here are some of the stories we’re reading this morning. Desert Sun: California Senator's New Bill Calls for 100% Renewable Energy Kevin de León has promised to lead the resistance to President Trump. A new bill could make good on that promise. The California Senate leader has introduced legislation that would require the Golden State to get 100 percent of its electricity from climate-friendly energy sources by 2045. That's a big step up from the state's current renewable energy mandate, 50 percent by 2030 -- a target that's only been on the books for a year and a half, and that California is still a long way from meeting. Under Gov. Jerry

Madison County Named New York's 10th Certified Climate Smart Community

From left: Ken Lynch (DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner), John Becker (Chairman, Madison County Board of Supervisors) and Scott Ingmire (Director, Madison County Planning Department) Last Friday, DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch and DEC Regional Director Matthew Marko congratulated County Chairman Becker and presented him with two street signs highlighting the county’s certification at an event at the Madison County Agriculture and Renewable Energy Park in Lincoln, New York. The DEC recognized Madison County as the tenth local government in the State to be designated a Certified Climate Smart Community and announced the award of a $15,000 grant to right-size the Madison County fle

Local professors to use grant funding for research on green-building construction methods

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two local professors will use a grant of $19,000 for new research in the area of green-building construction methods. Their research will focus “specifically” on cross-laminated timber (CLT) wood products in multi-family housing, according to a news release issued by Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Syracuse’s sustainable-enterprise partnership (SEP) and the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the $19,000 grant. Rene Germain, professor of forest and natural-resources management at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), and Patrick Penfield, professor of supply-chain practice at Syracuse University’s Whitman School, will con

Wind Energy Surpasses Coal Generation in Europe

Europe is widely considered to be the birthplace of the modern wind energy industry and its corporate and technology home base. Installation rates announced by WindEurope for 2016 show continued and stable momentum, with 12.5 GW installed across 28 EU member states (10,923 MW onshore and 1,567 MW offshore). This was 3% less than the new installations in 2015, which is less a downturn than a reflection that 2015 was a record installation year as German projects raced to get installed before wind incentives became less generous. Activity in 2016 otherwise shows stable installation rates expected for the continent. Growing Role of Wind and Renewables Total wind capacity in Europe now stands at

Winter Is Over: NYISO Releases Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap on Groundhog Day

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) unveiled its much-anticipated Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Roadmap on Groundhog Day, meaning that winter is almost over for DER in the wholesale energy market. I attended the first meeting in this process last September, and NYISO has done a good job of having an open, transparent stakeholder process throughout and leading up to the final roadmap release. NYISO has had demand response (DR) programs for over 10 years, but it may not be appropriate to simply use those same market rules for other types of DER. Energy storage, solar, and other types of distributed generation have different attributes than either DR or centralized, large-scal

The ‘New Normal’ In America: Renewables Boom, Emissions Plunge And Consumers Save More Than Ever

Findings from the 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook After decades of technology development, business model innovation and policy progress, the U.S. economy is now decisively growing — independent of energy consumption and carbon emissions. Since 2007, U.S. GDP has grown by 12 percent, while energy consumption has fallen by 3.6 percent, according to the new 2017 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE). This year’s fifth edition report builds on last year’s Factbook findings that show the U.S. economy grew by 10 percent since 2007, while energy consumption fell by 2.4 percent. “In

Americans are now twice as likely to work in solar as in coal

CREDIT: Green MPs Last year, solar accounted for one of every 50 new jobs in the United States. In his first hour as president, Donald Trump promised to resurrect middle-class manufacturing jobs in the United States. It will be all but impossible for him to reverse the tides of globalization and automation, but the future may nonetheless be bright for the American worker, thanks to a trend that predates and will outlast the 45th president. For the last decade, the solar industry has enjoyed exponential job growth. Last year, more than 51,000 people in the United States were hired to design, manufacture, sell and install solar panels, according to a new report from The Solar Foundation. That

Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in a Crucial Measure

A wind turbine farm in Colorado City, Tex. Credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images The wind industry crossed an important threshold in the United States last year, exceeding the generating capacity of hydroelectric power for the first time, according to the main industry trade group, the American Wind Energy Association. The nation’s fleet of dams has long stood as the top renewable energy source, but there has been little market interest in building more big hydroelectric generating stations. In the meantime, wind has rapidly expanded — more than tripling in capacity since 2008 — with many more installations on the way. An Important Asterisk The comparison here is limited, measuring the maximum a

Wind Power Could Blow Past Hydro’s Capacity Factor by 2020

Legacy hydroelectricity -- clean, dispatchable and cheap -- has long dominated the renewable energy sector as a dependable workhorse. But by the decade’s end, wind may end up wearing the capacity factor crown. Capacity factor is the ratio of a generator’s annual power production to the power it could have produced if it ran at 100 percent rated capacity 24/7. It’s a valuable measure of the generator’s ability to operate at its full potential and maximize the value of sunk-cost capital investments. Last year the United States nuclear fleet managed a capacity factor of 92 percent, while coal plants and combined-cycle natural gas generators managed 55 percent and 56 percent, respectively. As re

NYSEG proposes alternative fix to gas needs in Lansing

Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson discusses the proposals NYSEG has made to the New York State Public Service Commission to address energy needs in Lansing. Matt Weinstein / staff photo. Instead of a $17.8 million pipeline, NYSEG has worked with Tompkins County leaders to propose an alternative With a proposed $17.8 million natural gas pipeline in development to boost service to existing customers in the Lansing area, officials at NYSEG have agreed to consider an alternative option. Several Tompkins County legislators and community leaders gathered in the legislature chambers Monday to announce NYSEG has presented the alternative option — building a small compressor station in Lans

A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months

2016 Microsoft Corporation Earthstar Geographics A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this year in an area already vulnerable to warming temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown by the length of about five football fields each day. The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf. Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according

UB researchers bulid ultimate solar-powered water purifier

Researchers used this floating solar still prototype for some of the experiments. The device, which they call a “solar vapor generator,” cleans or desalinates water by using the heat converted from sunlight. Image: University at Buffalo. You’ve seen Bear Grylls turn foul water into drinking water with little more than sunlight and plastic. Now, academics have added a third element — carbon-dipped paper — that may turn this survival tactic into a highly efficient and inexpensive way to turn saltwater and contaminated water into potable water for personal use. The idea, which could help address global drinking water shortages, especially in developing areas and regions affected by natural disa

Chart of the month: Driven by Tesla, battery prices cut in half since 2014

Prices per kiloWatt-hour of storage, from battery surveys by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Electric vehicles already match petrol cars on total cost, soon batteries plus solar will beat natural gas power. Battery prices have continued their stunning decline, with game-changing implications for electric vehicles (EVs), the electric grid, and the cage fight between renewables and natural gas. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports that lithium-ion battery prices have fallen “by almost half just since 2014” and “electric cars are largely responsible.” Last year, BNEF called this “the miracle of Musk,” referring to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, which jump-started the stagnant EV business and

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