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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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Next Generation Fuels Stuck In Neutral

In the fall, switchgrass ripens to a golden brown. It is normally harvested in early November when the plant has gone dormant.

The federal government’s complex set of rules meant to spur a renewable fuels industry has fallen behind one of its main goals: cut greenhouse emissions from gasoline. Nearly a decade after the rules were drafted, low-carbon fuels have yet to arrive. The Environmental Protection Agency says it will propose tweaks to the nation’s ethanol policy by June 1, and the changes will mark a crucial point for the next generation of biofuels, which have so far failed to flourish. Continue Reading →

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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

The huge, steel transmission towers carrying power to the North Country  collapsed under the weight of the ice during the Ice Storm of 1998.

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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