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Keyword: electricity

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  • Paying the Rates Obama Demands

    11/27/2011 7:08:30 AM PST · by Kaslin · 22 replies ^ | November 27, 2011 | Marita Noon
    Electricity rates now depend more on public policy and regulatory decisions than on actual costs. Based on a newly released report from Oliver Wyman, a leading global management consulting firm, “There is a growing need to increase electricity prices. These rate increases are largely being driven by environmental, regulatory, and security requirements.” And they are adding to “financial strain at the worst possible moment.”The report, designed to help utility companies deal with customer wrath, states that “the increases have been the most significant in the residential segment”—where they grew more quickly than other sectors. Despite declining pricing on some fuels,...
  • From Edison’s Trunk, Direct Current Gets Another Look

    11/20/2011 9:56:06 PM PST · by neverdem · 90 replies
    NY Times ^ | November 17, 2011 | MICHAEL KANELLOS
    Thomas Edison and his direct current, or DC, technology lost the so-called War of the Currents to alternating current, or AC, in the 1890s after it became clear that AC was far more efficient at transmitting electricity over long distances. Today, AC is still the standard for the electricity that comes out of our wall sockets. But DC is staging a roaring comeback in pockets of the electrical grid. Alstom, ABB, Siemens and other conglomerates are erecting high-voltage DC grids to carry gigawatts of electricity from wind farms in remote places like western China and the North Sea to faraway...
  • Japan: Electricity shortages could mean chilly winter for some

    11/14/2011 3:05:43 AM PST · by TigerLikesRooster · 7 replies
    Electricity shortages could mean chilly winter for some November 12, 2011 People across most of the country should be preparing to bundle up. With many nuclear power plants offline since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, electric utilities in some regions will likely face difficulties securing enough power this winter. Kansai Electric Power Co., which depends on nuclear power for more than 50 percent of its electricity generation, expects that its supply capacity will be 7.1 percent below peak demand in January and 9.5 percent in February. Similarly, Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s capacity will be 3.4...
  • Senate majority rejects GOP bid to block EPA (with the help of 6 RINOs)

    11/11/2011 4:48:48 PM PST · by Tolerance Sucks Rocks · 28 replies
    GOPUSA ^ | November 11, 2011 | Dina Cappiello (AP)
    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Democrat-controlled Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican attempt to block a regulation intended to curb power plant pollution that blows downwind into other states. By a 56-41 vote, senators defeated a resolution by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who said the step was needed to rein in what he called the Obama administration's overzealous job-killing approach to environmental protection. "We are simply asking that the clean air regulations already on the books stay in place and we do not make the regulations so onerous that they put utility plants out of business and we have an...
  • Plasmonic device converts light into electricity

    11/09/2011 11:52:00 AM PST · by Red Badger · 19 replies ^ | November 9, 2011 | Lisa Zyga
    While the most common device for converting light into electricity may be photovoltaic (PV) solar cells, a variety of other devices can perform the same light-to-electricity conversion, such as solar-thermal collectors and rectennas. In a new study, engineers have designed a new device that can convert light of infrared (IR) and visible wavelengths into direct current by using surface plasmon excitations in a simple metal-insulator-metal (MIM) device. The researchers, Fuming Wang and Nicholas A. Melosh of Stanford University, have published their study on the new device in a recent issue of Nano Letters. “The greatest significance thus far is to...
  • Utility company PROHIBITING illegal immigrants from obtaining electric, gas, water

    11/08/2011 1:25:49 PM PST · by moonshinner_09 · 77 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | 8th November 2011 | Nina Golgowski
    Utility company PROHIBITING illegal immigrants from obtaining electric, gas, water or sewer service in Alabama... A major utilities company in Alabama is now prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving electricity, gas, water or wastewater services to heated reactions on both sides, but they're just following the law. The Decatur Utilities company is now one of many in the state that follows the newly signed immigration law which prohibits business with illegal immigrants in the state or its subdivisions. 'We did not [originally] document or confirm whether or not they were citizens or aliens here legally,' Stephen Pirkle, Decatur business manager and...
  • New materials turn heat into electricity

    11/07/2011 1:35:12 PM PST · by Red Badger · 15 replies ^ | November 7, 2011 | By Lisa-Joy Zgorski + Provided by National Science Foundation
    Most of today's power plants--from some of the largest solar arrays to nuclear energy facilities--rely on the boiling and condensing of water to produce energy. The process of turning heated water into energy was essentially understood by James Watt all the way back in 1765. Heat from the sun or from a controlled nuclear reaction boils water, which then expands, moves a turbine and generates power. Why water? It is cheap; it absorbs a lot of "latent heat" as it turns into steam; it produces a lot of power as it expands through the turbine; and it is easily condensed...
  • Graphene shows unusual thermoelectric response to light

    10/07/2011 11:42:34 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 11 replies
    MIT ^ | 10/7/11 | David L. Chandler
    Finding could lead to new photodetectors or energy-harvesting devices.Graphene, an exotic form of carbon consisting of sheets a single atom thick, exhibits a novel reaction to light, MIT researchers have found: Sparked by light’s energy, the material can produce electric current in unusual ways. The finding could lead to improvements in photodetectors and night-vision systems, and possibly to a new approach to generating electricity from sunlight. This current-generating effect had been observed before, but researchers had incorrectly assumed it was due to a photovoltaic effect, says Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, an assistant professor of physics at MIT and senior author of a...
  • House advances Hoover Dam electricity bill

    10/04/2011 8:03:03 AM PDT · by ¢ommon ¢ents · 13 replies
    Las Vegas Sun ^ | Monday, Oct. 3, 2011 | 10:10 p.m. | Karoun Demirjian
    The House passed a bill to extend the allocation of electricity created by the Hoover Dam for another 50 years Monday afternoon without any objection, and well in advance of the deadline to divvy up the output from the regional power center.The deal under which Nevada, California and Arizona share power produced at Hoover Dam is set to expire in 2017; Monday’s bill would preserve it until 2067.It would also create a new category of power recipient: under the new contract, the participating states would agree to take 5 percent of their allocations -- for a total pool of about...
  • Tesla S gets souped up speed

    10/03/2011 7:27:21 AM PDT · by thackney · 51 replies
    Fuel Fix ^ | October 3, 2011 | Jillian Cohan
    Electric carmaker Tesla got gearheads buzzing this weekend with its announcement of a tweak to its Model S luxury sedan to give it super speed. The souped up version will go 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and get about 320 miles per charge. Green Car Reports has more on the specs: The sportier version features the same 85 kilowatt-hour, 300 miles-per-charge battery pack found in the 2012 Model S Signature series. “That’s quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera],” joked [Tesla CEO Elon] Musk. “Not bad for an electric luxury sedan.” In fact, it’s better than some of the gas-powered cars...
  • A Simple Way to Boost Battery Storage (+30%)

    09/30/2011 8:51:17 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 13 replies
    MIT Technology Review ^ | Friday, September 30, 2011 | By Katherine Bourzac
    A stretchy binder material that's compatible with existing factories could help electric cars and portable electronics go 30 percent longer. A stretchy binder material that's compatible with existing factories could help electric cars and portable electronics go 30 percent longer. One approach to the problem is to structure these anodes in a totally different way, for example growing shaggy arrays of silicon nanowires that can bend, swell, and move around as lithium enters and exits. This approach is being commercialized by Amprius, a startup in Palo Alto, California. But growing nanowires requires new processes that aren't normally used in battery...
  • 'Artificial leaf' makes fuel from sunlight (w/ video)

    09/30/2011 6:34:40 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 25 replies ^ | Sep 30, 2011 | by David L. Chandler
    Researchers led by MIT professor Daniel Nocera have produced something they’re calling an “artificial leaf”: Like living leaves, the device can turn the energy of sunlight directly into a chemical fuel that can be stored and used later as an energy source. The artificial leaf — a silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials bonded onto its two sides — needs no external wires or control circuits to operate. Simply placed in a container of water and exposed to sunlight, it quickly begins to generate streams of bubbles: oxygen bubbles from one side and hydrogen bubbles from the other. If...
  • Valero calls on grid operator to shape up in Texas City

    09/29/2011 5:33:06 AM PDT · by thackney · 17 replies
    Fuel Fix ^ | September 29, 2011 | Tom Fowler
    The CEO of refiner Valero is telling the electric grid operator that serves its Texas City refinery it needs to do more to improve power reliability. Valero’s Texas City refinery has been hit by four major power outages this year, each caused by problems with the power transmission and/or distribution equipment owned and operated by TNMP. The outages, which hit other Texas City refineries including facilities owned by BP and Marathon, led to equipment shutdowns and flaring as the companies scrambled to burns off dangerous emissions. In one instance Texas City officials declared a shelter-in-place when emissions levels became dangerously...
  • New Battery Could Be Just What the Grid Ordered

    09/28/2011 10:27:12 AM PDT · by Red Badger · 18 replies
    MIT Technology Review ^ | Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | By Prachi Patel
    A Pittsburgh company says its battery has the long life and cheap cost needed to be practical for energy storage. Utilities need cheap, long-lasting ways to store the excess energy produced by power plants, especially as intermittent power from solar and wind farms is added to the mix. Unfortunately, the batteries available for grid-level storage are either too expensive or don't last for the thousands of cycles needed to make them cost-effective. A new battery developed by Aquion Energy in Pittsburgh uses simple chemistry—a water-based electrolyte and abundant materials such as sodium and manganese—and is expected to cost $300 for...
  • Baking the Smart Grid Books: Study Estimates Costs and Benefits

    09/17/2011 10:58:30 AM PDT · by dila813 · 21 replies
    Forbes Business ^ | 4/17/2011 @ 8:43PM | William Pentland
    The U.S. electric grid was not designed to meet the increased demands of a restructured electricity marketplace, the energy needs of a digital society or the increased use and variability of renewable power production. For these reasons, we call today’s power grid “dumb.” Conversely, we call the anti-dote to this stupidity the “smart grid.” This “smart grid” will ensure high levels of reliability, enhance economic productivity and reduce the environmental impact of producing electricity, according to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
  • Battery Storage Could Get a Huge Boost from Seaweed

    09/09/2011 2:05:46 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 10 replies
    MIT Technology Review ^ | Thursday, September 8, 2011 | By Stephen Cass
    A binding agent found in everything from ice cream to cosmetics could let lithium-ion cells hold much more energy. Lithium-ion batteries could hold up to 10 times as much energy per cell if silicon anodes were used instead of graphite ones. But manufacturers don't use silicon because such anodes degrade quickly as the battery is charged and discharged. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Clemson University think they might have found the ingredient that will make silicon anodes work—a common binding agent and food additive derived from algae and used in many household products. They say this material...
  • The shocking truth about electric cars

    09/01/2011 11:01:55 PM PDT · by neverdem · 107 replies
    Globe and Mail ^ | Sep. 01, 2011 | MARGARET WENTE
    Wouldn’t you love to have an electric car? They’re clean, green and righteous. And once we make the switch, we can pull the plug on fossil fuels, air pollution, imported oil and Middle Eastern autocrats, and create millions of green jobs into the bargain. No wonder progressive governments are so eager to plow money into electric cars. This week, Ontario’s McGuinty government (which likes to brag that Ontario is Canada’s greenest province) showered Magna International with nearly $50-million to develop new electric vehicle technologies. Magna, which is rolling in dough, admits it doesn’t need the money. But in a world...
  • SOLICITING ADVICE: Want to purchase a generator to power home in emergency

    09/01/2011 7:24:56 PM PDT · by Libertarian4Bush · 76 replies
    After seeing many people still without power in the wake of Irene, I'd like to purchase a generator - something I can use to either attach a few outlets, or, in the event of a longer outage, use to power my entire home (within reason). I'm looking for advice and lessons learned from people who are either happy or unhappy with their purchase/arrangement. Thanks.
  • Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel cells: Chemists develop way to safely store, extract hydrogen

    08/30/2011 6:38:50 PM PDT · by Red Badger · 26 replies ^ | Aug 29, 2011 | Staff
    A team of USC scientists has developed a robust, efficient method of using hydrogen as a fuel source. Hydrogen makes a great fuel because of it can easily be converted to electricity hydrogen is that, because it is a gas, it can only be stored in high pressure or cryogenic tanks. In a vehicle with a tank full of hydrogen, "if you got into a wreck, you'd have a problem," said Travis Williams, assistant professor of chemistry at the USC Dornsife College. A possible solution is to store hydrogen in a safe chemical form. Earlier this year, Williams and his...
  • EPA's Looming Blackouts

    08/22/2011 4:53:03 PM PDT · by Kaslin · 97 replies
    IBD Editorials ^ | August 22, 2011 | Staff
    Energy: It won't matter which light bulbs we use as the administration's implementation of cross-state pollution rules shuts down coal plants across the country. Where will the jobs be when the lights go out? It's called the Cross-State Pollution Rule, announced last month, and its implementation over the next 18 months will likely result in the loss of a fifth of the nation's electricity-generating capacity. The result will be likely power shortages, skyrocketing rates and inevitable brownouts and rolling blackouts. Based on Bush-era EPA proposals that the federal courts threw out in 2008, this latest example of legislation is designed...