Stephanie Joyce, Wyoming Public Radio

Recent Posts

On Denmark’s Road To Renewable Power

Jesper Rasmussen shows a map of power flow through Denmark inside the control room for Denmark's transmission grid.

Renewable energy seems to be taking off in the US, but there are serious challenges—both technological and social—that come along with adding more solar and wind to the grid. Denmark has faced similar challenges as it has transitioned from almost no renewables in the mid-90s to almost half of its power supply today. Continue Reading →

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On A Tiny Danish Island: Making Electricity Demand Meet Supply

Rønne is the largest city on the Danish island of Bornholm, a popular tourist destination that is also testing some innovative energy solutions.

Denmark gets some 40 percent of its power from wind energy, but it’s aiming for even more—going fully renewable by 2030. In order to do that, it’s going to have to shake up the traditional relationship between electricity supply and demand, and the country is looking to a tiny island in the middle of the Baltic Sea for guidance.
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Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid

Power transmission lines march across the Shirley Basin in central Wyoming.

In 2009, President Obama promised to modernize the electric grid, using stimulus money. The new power grid would be smart and efficient, bringing the tech revolution to electricity. It would incorporate more renewable energy. It would have the ability to fix blackouts more quickly. And, it would save customers a whole lot of money. So whatever happened to that plan? (Blackout: Reinventing the Grid #3) Continue Reading →

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When The Largest Machine In The World Fails

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If you could peer behind an electrical plug in your house, you’d find a massive network of transmission lines and power plants and a whole army of people bringing power to the socket in real-time, 24 hours a day. It’s the largest machine in the world: the power grid. Most of the time it operates invisibly, in the background, but when it fails, it often does so memorably. To most people, those outages seem like isolated events, but when you look at the trend, they're not. (Blackout: Reinventing the Grid #1) Continue Reading →

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Drilling Is Loud, But Are Wyoming Officials Listening?

Don Behrens' company, Environmental Noise Control, specializes in noise control for oil and gas operations, like this production facility in Northern Colorado.

When it comes to oil and gas drilling in urban and suburban areas, the question is often ‘how close is too close?’ That’s been the major point of contention in Wyoming, where the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is currently considering a rule to increase the setback distance between oil and gas wells and houses from 350 to 500 feet. Many homeowners would like it to be even further. But distance is only one part of the issue. Continue Reading →

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Solar Economics Looking Sunnier, Even In Coal Country

Holly Copeland in front of the family's house and their newly-installed solar array.

Wyoming's solar potential is among the best in the nation, but even as residential rooftop solar has boomed recently in places like California, Colorado and New Jersey, it's barely made any inroads in the state. Economics and politics both play a role, but with the price of photovoltaics continuing to drop, some people are starting to ask whether momentum is building for solar in nation's largest coal-producing state. Continue Reading →

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Falling Oil Prices Leave Petroleum Engineering Students Out In The Cold

In Vladimir Alvarado's petroleum engineering class, there are no signs enrollment is shrinking, although job prospects are getting slim.

A year ago, a petroleum engineering degree seemed like the ticket to a bright and well-paid future. With six-figure starting salaries for a bachelor’s degree and endless optimism about the shale revolution, enrollment climbed rapidly in petroleum engineering programs across the country. But now that the oil price slide has turned to an oil price slump, the luster is wearing off. Continue Reading →

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