• 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.

  • Energy securityTwo's a crowd: Nuclear and Renewables Don't Mix

    If countries want to lower emissions as substantially, rapidly and cost-effectively as possible, they should prioritize support for renewables, rather than nuclear power. That’s the finding of new analysis of 123 countries over 25 years.

  • Energy securityEnergy security The Promise of California Offshore Wind Energy

    As California aims to provide 60 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, a Cal Poly study provides some good news: Offshore winds along the Central Coast increase at the same time that people start using more energy — in the evening.

  • Energy securityAssembling Offshore Wind Turbines

    The United States offshore wind energy industry is growing, with planned commitments to build 26 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind projects along the East Coast from now through 2035. This is the clean power equivalent of 26 nuclear power plants, or roughly 10 times the average electric energy used by the entire state of Delaware. Marshalling ports, large waterside sites with the acreage and weight-carrying capacity necessary to assemble, house and deploy the huge wind turbines ready to ship out into the ocean, will be critical to meeting this current and committed demand for offshore wind.

  • Hemispheric securityU.S. Seeks to Seize Iran’s Gasoline Shipments Heading to Venezuela

    U.S. prosecutors have filed a lawsuit to seize the gasoline aboard four tankers that Iran is currently shipping to Venezuela, the latest attempt to increase pressure on the two sanctioned anti-American allies. The civil-forfeiture complaint filed in the District of Columbia federal court late on 1 July claims the sale was arranged by an Iranian businessman with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

  • Nuclear powerFrance Shuts Down Its Oldest Nuclear Plant

    France gets 70 percent of its energy from nuclear reactors – it has 56 of them (only the United States, with 98, has more). Most of France’s nuclear reactors were built in the late 1960s and 1970s, and they are reaching – and in some cases, have exceeded — the 40-year limit on the safe operation of reactors. On Monday, France took offline its oldest nuclear reactor, and it will shut down 12 more by 2035.

  • Energy securityUncertainty in Renewable Energy Regulation Leads to Electricity Price Volatility

    Incorporating renewable energies into the electricity system entails a certain degree of volatility in the electricity price owing to the intermittent nature of generation by plants of this type. However, a study by the UPV/EHU shows that the greatest volatility is caused when unexpected regulatory changes are made in the renewable sector. What disrupts economic players most is uncertainty.

  • Energy securityUsing Wind Turbines to Defend the National Grid from Power Cuts

    A ‘smart’ system that controls the storage and release of energy from wind turbines will reduce the risk of power cuts and support the increase of wind energy use world-wide, say researchers. The system uses the variable speed of the rotors in wind turbine systems to more closely regulate the supply of power to the grid. This means that when electricity demand is high, stored kinetic energy in the turbines can be used intelligently to keep the grid stable.