Smart Grid

Climate & Energy

The small-c conservatism of U.S. power companies

The U.S. power sector is biased in favor of the familiar. It's not well-suited to producing the risk-taking and innovation we need in clean electricity

Climate & Energy

Obama administration to put $250 million toward smart grid

As exciting as alternative energy is, all the wind turbines in the world are not going to replace dirty energy unless the power they generate can get to consumers. That requires a better, smarter power grid than the U.S. has …

Smart Cities

Great places: dense, wired, and sustainable

This is part three in a series on “great places.” Read parts one, two, four, and five. Part of what makes great places great is ecological sustainability. So what’s the best way to reduce our per-capita resource footprint? Typically you …


U.S. infrastructure needs a $2 trillion make-over

Like those bridges and roads and trains tracks you've got there? Want to keep them? That'll be $2 trillion. That's how much the Urban Land Institute estimates the U.S. needs to invest in infrastructure just to keep what's already in …

Wind Power

An underwater grid for offshore wind, funded by Google

I have a feature story in the latest issue of Popular Science: “Hundreds of Miles of Wind Farms, Networked Under the Sea.” It’s about the Atlantic Wind Connection, a new project (funded, in part, by Google) that would lay high-voltage …

Wind Power

Texas to install world’s largest wind energy storage system

The Notrees wind farm.Photo: Duke EnergyThey like to do things big in Texas, so it’s no surprise that the Lone Star state will launch the world’s largest wind battery storage project. Duke Energy is not a Texas company, but it …

Business & Technology

PG&E to let customers disable their smart meters — for a price

Over the past year, a revolt against the rollout of utility Pacific Gas & Electric’s smart meters has swept through Northern California as some customers claimed the devices’ wireless transmission of electricity data was harming their health. In response, city …

Smart Cities

If Watson can win Jeopardy, can IBM make cities smarter?

Photo: Rodrigo SennaIBM has generated a lot of buzz lately for Watson, its game-show-playing supercomputer that recently bested a couple of skin jobs on “Jeopardy.” Less high profile is the expansion of Big Blue’s computer and software systems designed to …

Smart Cities

Philips wants to reward some innovative urban ideas

A rendering showing how rooftops in Sana’a, Yemen, could be used to collect water.The ideal of smart cities — technologically advanced, forward-thinking, and green — is big in corporate circles these days. IBM has its “Smarter Cities” program, Cisco has …