Cleantech

Energy Policy

Germans pay extra for clean energy — is it worth it?

Germany has become a world leader in renewable power thanks in part to its Renewable Energy Act (EEG), which came into force in 2000. It established a feed-in tariff program that guarantees producers of carbon-free power an above-market rate of return for …

Business & Technology

What if the $152 billion to clean up Fukushima were spent on geothermal instead?

Here's a crazy idea: why not use the enormous geothermal resource under Japan — which is after all sitting on a "ring" made of "fire" — as a source of nearly always-on baseload power? I asked Alex Richter, an Icelandic …

Business & Technology

Physics breakthrough could mean solar panels made of nothing but glass

Exploiting an effect previously thought too small to be worth anyone's time, a bunch of researchers at the University of Michigan have figured out how to exploit the magnetic properties of light in a way that could ultimately lead to …

Business & Technology

CFLs are not a significant source of mercury, says EPA

If you've heard that CFLs are lousy with mercury, you've heard wrong. In the past 10 years, "reductions in the most used types of fluorescent lighting have decreased [mercury] content over the last decade by 60 – 80 percent," says …

Business & Technology

What if the $152 billion to clean up Fukushima were spent on solar instead?

The projected cost for the management of the Fukushima crisis is $152 billion. And that doesn't even include the cost of building and operating the plant in the first place. What if all that scratch had been spent on solar …

Business & Technology

Wind turbine suffers catastrophic failure; no one is irradiated

Last month, a wind turbine on a North Dakota wind farm suffered a "catastrophic failure" when "oversight" and "human error" — features of energy infrastructure which scientists suggest are unavoidable — led to the enormous turbine falling off its mount. …

Business & Technology

Military miracle turns fuel exhaust into water

Man, if there's two things you don't have enough of when you're deployed in the desert and insurgents keep blowing up your fuel runs, it's beer and Wii. Wait no, it's diesel and water. Luckily researchers have devised a way …

Renewable Energy

California solar has a sunny week

A rendering of the future Ivanpah solar plant. Photo: BrightSource EnergyIt’s only Tuesday but two milestones have been reached this week in the long march toward a carbon-free future. On Monday, BrightSource Energy became the first solar power plant developer …

Business & Technology

Google goes all in on solar — to the tune of $168 million

Google has saved you from getting lost, running out of email storage space, and not knowing trivial facts about 90s TV shows. And now it’s going to help save you from a dystopian Mad Max future by investing in solar …