Virtually overnight we are starting to see energy-saving LED lighting almost everywhere. Not only was last month's Super Bowl played under LED lights, the new flat panel TVs for watching the game were illuminated by LED backlights, and the lights on the poles in the parking lot outside the sports bar and the streets and highways between there and h
Many businesses can now perform the traditional functions of an electric utility — provide affordable, reliable, resilient power to homes and businesses. The barriers to entry in the business have fallen. For instance, a home with rooftop solar panels, batteries, and gas-based generators may choose to be grid-independent. Even when homes decide to remain grid-tied, utilities face falling demand and revenue, and the possibility of future grid-defection. Further, competing electricity solutions can emerge quickly, and not one-home-at-a-time — microgrids can offer community, village, or campus-level solutions.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)'s latest "Electric Power Monthly" report, with data through the end of 2014, net electrical generation from non-hydro renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) increased by 10.9 percent over the previous year.
In recent months, a veritable open patent war has erupted between Tesla Motors and Toyota. Both companies have been widely cited in the industry and financial press for their respective announcements opening up their electric vehicle (Tesla) and fuel cell (Toyota) patents. Tesla CEO Elon Musk opened the first salvo with a blog post last June in which he announced that Tesla would “not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
Developers in the geothermal industry report a common challenge: they often must wait years for permits before they can even determine whether a site is worth the trouble. Something must be done to address this grueling Catch-22, the industry has been saying for years. The Energy Department’s Geothermal Technologies Office and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have also identified permitting as a major barrier to geothermal development in the U.S.