• Small Modular Reactors Competitive in Washington’s Clean Energy Future

    As the Clean Energy Transformation Act drives Washington state toward carbon-free electricity, a new energy landscape is taking shape. Alongside renewable energy sources, a new report finds small modular reactors are poised to play an integral role in the state’s emerging clean energy future.

  • Researchers Study Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Grid-Tied System in Texas

    Scientists are continuously looking for alternatives to fossil fuel-based power plants to diminish the adverse effects of fossil energy sources on the environment and build reliability. Researchers are studying the viability of solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-tied systems on rooftops to fill that need.

  • In Oregon, New Gun Violence Restraining Orders Appear to Be Used as Intended

    Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs), also known as gun violence restraining orders, are civil court orders that grant temporary restrictions on purchasing and possessing firearms for individuals determined by a civil court judge to be at extreme risk of committing violence against themselves or others. A new study found that while ERPOs are commonly considered as a tool to remove guns from dangerous individuals, they should also be considered as a tool to prevent gun purchases by dangerous individuals.

  • Analysis: The Texas Electric Grid and the Improvements that Didn’t Come

    After the deadly and expensive electrical outages during a winter freeze in February, Texas lawmakers passed major bills aiming to make such disasters less likely in the future. But there’s still a lot to do.

  • U.S. Judge Overturns California's Decades-Long Ban on Assault Weapons

    A judge in San Diego has slammed a 1989 ban on assault weapons as unconstitutional and said Americans should have the right to own semi-automatic rifles. “Like the Swiss Army knife, the popular AR-15 rifle is a perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment. Good for both home and battle,” San Diego District Judge Roger Benitez said. “Guns and ammunition in the hands of criminals, tyrants and terrorists are dangerous; guns in the hands of law-abiding responsible citizens are better.”

  • A 20-Foot Sea Wall? Miami Faces the Hard Choices of Climate Change.

    In Miami, the U.S. metropolitan area that is perhaps most exposed to sea-level rise, the problem is not climate change denialism. Patricia Mazzei writes that “the trouble is that the magnitude of the interconnected obstacles the region faces can feel overwhelming, and none of the possible solutions are cheap, easy or pretty.”

  • Earthquake Early Warnings Launched in Washington

    When the Big One hits, the first thing Washington residents notice may not be the ground shaking, but their phone issuing a warning. This week, the ShakeAlert early warning system was activated in Washington state, and it will send earthquake early warnings throughout the state.

  • Mapping Local Earthquake Risks from Eagle Ford Fracking

    Scientists simulated the local risk of damaging or nuisance-level shaking caused by hydraulic fracturing across the Eagle Ford shale formation in Texas. The results could inform a new approach to managing human-caused earthquakes.

  • California's Wildfire Season Has Lengthened, and Its Peak Is Now Earlier in the Year

    California’s wildfire problem, fueled by a concurrence of climate change and a heightened risk of human-caused ignitions in once uninhabited areas, has been getting worse with each passing year of the 21st century.Researchers have found that the annual burn season has lengthened in the past two decades and that the yearly peak has shifted from August to July.

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

    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.

  • Paperwork Failures Worsened Texas Blackouts, Sparking Mid-Storm Scramble to Restore Critical Fuel Supply

    Dozens of natural gas companies failed to do the paperwork that would keep their facilities powered during an emergency, so utilities cut their electricity at the very moment that power plants most needed fuel. The mid-storm scramble to fix the problem exposed a regulatory blind spot.

  • The Texas Blackouts Showed How Climate Extremes Threaten Energy Systems Across the U.S.

    Pundits and politicians have been quick to point fingers over the debacle in Texas that left millions without power or clean water during February’s deep freeze. Many have blamed the state’s deregulated electricity market, arguing that Texas prioritized cheap power over reliability. But climate extremes are wreaking increasing havoc on energy systems across the U.S., regardless of local politics or the particulars of regional grids.

  • What Went Wrong with Texas’ Power Grid?

    On 13 February, a severe winter storm swept across Texas and nearby southern states, bringing sub-zero temperatures and snowfall as far south as the border with Mexico. The polar air that descended on Texas lasted many days, leading to a statewide crisis as energy grids failed to supply enough power, fuels froze, and water pipes burst. Why did it happen? Experts explain.

  • A Looming Crisis for Local U.S. Water Systems?

    Water bills in the U.S. are eating up a growing share of household budgets — and becoming increasingly unaffordable for low-income families. In many cities, shrinking populations and aging infrastructure mean increasingly unaffordable water.

  • Lessons from the Texas Grid Disaster: Planning and Investing for a Different Future

    It is now a week out from the start of the massive Texas grid failure. Alexandra Klass writes that at this point we already know that freezing wind turbines – in fact, wind turbines outperformed grid operator expectations, despite the extreme cold, and the outages would have been worse without the wind energy that remained online. the state’s electric grid failed for a very simple reason—because Texas power plant operators do not insulate their facilities for sustained cold temperatures. As a result, pipes and equipment needed to run the state’s natural gas plants, nuclear plants, and wind turbines froze.