• Climate mitigationU.S. Power Sector is Halfway to Zero Carbon Emissions

    Concerns about climate change are driving a growing number of states, utilities, and corporations to set the goal of zeroing out power-sector carbon emissions. To date 17 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have adopted laws or executive orders to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity in the next couple of decades. Additionally, 46 U.S. utilities have pledged to go carbon free no later than 2050. Altogether, these goals cover about half of the U.S. population and economy.

  • Negative emission technologiesNegative Emissions, Positive Economy

    By Mark Dwortzan

    The long-term goals of the Paris Agreement — keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and ideally 1.5 C in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change — may not be achievable by greenhouse gas emissions-reduction measures alone. Most scenarios for meeting these targets also require the deployment of negative emissions technologies (NETs) that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage could help stabilize the climate without breaking the bank.

  • Rare Earth elementsThe U.S. Is Worried about Its Critical Minerals Supply Chains – Essential for Electric Vehicles, Wind Power and the Nation’s Defense

    By Jordy Lee and Morgan Bazilian

    When U.S. companies build military weapons systems, electric vehicle batteries, satellites and wind turbines, they rely heavily on a few dozen “critical minerals” – many of which are mined and refined almost entirely by other countries. Building a single F-35A fighter jet, for example, requires at least 920 pounds of rare earth elements that come primarily from China. That level of dependence on imports worries the U.S. government.

  • Electric gridBatteries: Reshaping the Future of the Electric Grid

    Research begun at the Department of Energy’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research and continued at spinoff company Form Energy may launch a new era of renewable energy.

  • Texas power outagesAlmost 70% of ERCOT customers lost power during winter storm, study finds

    By Neelam Bohra

    Texans in ERCOT’s service area who lost electricity were without power for an average of 42 hours, according to the study. They had been told to prepare for short-term, rolling outages.

  • Energy securityStepped-Up U.S. Investment in Fusion Energy

    An influential Department of Energy (DOE) advisory committee has recommended that the nation move aggressively toward the deployment of fusion energy, including investments in technology and equipment to support one of the missions of LLNL’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) — laying the groundwork for the development of inertial fusion energy (IFE).

  • Energy securityIs It Worth Investing in Solar PV with Batteries at Home?

    Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of electricity that could potentially play a significant part in fulfilling the world’s energy requirements, but there are still some challenges to fully capitalizing on this potential. Researchers looked into some of the issues that hamper the uptake of solar energy and proposed different policies to encourage the use of this technology.

  • Nuclear powerWant Cheaper Nuclear Energy? Turn the Design Process into a Game

    By Kim Martineau

    Nuclear energy provides more carbon-free electricity in the United States than solar and wind combined, making it a key player in the fight against climate change. But the U.S. nuclear fleet is aging, and operators are under pressure to streamline their operations to compete with coal- and gas-fired plants. Researchers show that deep reinforcement learning can be used to design more efficient nuclear reactors.

  • GridGuiding Research Direction for Grid-Forming Inverters

    Power electronics—including the inverters that interface solar, wind, battery energy storage, and electric vehicles—are on track to gradually, or even entirely, displace traditional generation. In doing so, inverters will inherit new responsibilities and introduce a new set of challenges.

  • Energy securityIt’s Electrifying! Earth Could Be Entirely Powered by Sustainable Energy

    Can you imagine a world powered by 100 percent renewable electricity and fuels? It may seem fantasy, but a collaborative team of scientists has just shown this dream is theoretically possible – if we can garner global buy-in.

  • EarthquakesOil Feld Operations Likely Triggered Earthquakes in California Near San Andreas Fault

    By Thomas H. Goebel

    The way companies drill for oil and gas and dispose of wastewater can trigger earthquakes, at times in unexpected places. California was thought to be an exception, a place where oil field operations and tectonic faults apparently coexisted without much problem. Now, new research shows that the state’s natural earthquake activity may be hiding industry-induced quakes.

  • Nuclear powerStudy Identifies Reasons for Soaring Nuclear Plant Cost Overruns in the U.S.

    By David L. Chandler

    Analysis points to ways engineering strategies could be reimagined to minimize delays and other unanticipated expenses. Many analysts believe nuclear power will play an essential part in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases, and finding ways to curb these rising costs could be an important step toward encouraging the construction of new plants.

  • Energy securityPolicy, Not Tech, Spurred Danish Dominance in Wind Energy

    In emerging renewable energy industries, are producers’ decisions to shut down or upgrade aging equipment influenced more by technology improvements or government policies? It’s an important long-term question for policymakers seeking to increase renewable electricity production, cost-effectiveness and efficiency with limited budgets. Anew study focused on Denmark, a global leader in wind energy found that government policies have been the primary driver of that industry’s growth and development.

  • Energy securityReforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Fossil fuels still receive most of the international government support provided to the energy sector despite their “well-known environmental and public health damage,” according to new research. “There is evidence that fossil fuel subsidies are socially inequitable, that they encourage smuggling and waste, and distort economies in ways that undermine economic efficiency while harming the environment and the climate,” says the report’s author.

  • Mini reactorsMini Nuclear Reactor to Solve the E-Truck Recharging Dilemma

    Electric semitrucks sound like a great idea, leading to cleaner, carbon-free skies. But the largest cross-country 18-wheel truck needs five to 10 times more electricity than an electric car to recharge its battery. And these trucks often need to recharge far from high-power transmission lines. Where will that electricity come from? Engineers will tell you the answer is clear — microreactors.