Airports look to the sun to save money

A plane taxis on the George airport runway in South Africa. It’s Africa’s first airport to be powered by solar energy. (© Getty Images) Airports around the world are looking sunward to electrify their facilities — and they find it makes good business sense. George Airport, on the southern coast of South Africa’s Western Cape ...
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When it comes to renewable energy, will emerging economies be leaders?

(© AP Images)  Part 4 Countries that are developing or expanding their energy infrastructure are well placed to be the renewable energy leaders of the future. Not only is that a good position, it is a good business strategy. “In many senses, [the developing world] is a clean slate. It can just leapfrog into the ...
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With renewable energy everyone wins

A man installs solar panels on a Honolulu rooftop. Hawaii is a U.S. national leader in solar power. (© AP Images) Part 3 Rooftops, great for shelter, can now make the homeowner money too. That’s because of renewable energy technology. People are able to generate their own electricity close to home, and in communities where ...
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California leads the way to a renewable future

This solar farm at the University of California Davis supplies 14 percent of power used on campus. There are solar installations on rooftops and parking lots too. (UC Davis) Decarbonizing the economy is an intellectually electrifying and energizing opportunity for California’s universities and students. It is abundantly clear to most people working in the energy field ...
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What happens when fossil fuels meet the renewable-energy model of power generation?

Part Two Necessity — and good business — is ushering in a new energy reality. And that energy is renewable. Large, energy-hungry populations; failures of outdated 20th-century infrastructure; and commitment to preventing global temperature rise are all reasons why cities, states and countries around the world are using renewable energy. So how are they doing ...
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The future is renewable and we are transitioning toward it

(© AP Images) Part One By 2050, the world will get most of its electricity from renewable sources, like the sun and wind, and no longer rely on polluting fossil energy that contributes to climate change. Angelina Galiteva (Courtesy photo) That bold prediction comes from Angelina Galiteva, who knows a lot about energy. She has ...
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What is distributed generation?

If you’ve ever seen solar panels on the rooftop of a home or business, you were looking at “distributed generation.” And it’s a safe bet you will be seeing more of it. Distributed generation means generating electricity at or near the location where it is used. It is cheaper than conventional, centralized generation because it ...
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Myths about solar energy

Myth #1. Solar power doesn’t generate enough electricity. Solar energy is now mainstream. Solar contributes substantially to electricity grids around the world. Globally, solar installations grew by nearly 30 percent last year and the industry is on an upward trend. Texas, Colorado and other U.S. states have successfully integrated solar and other renewables to the ...
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Bright solar tech entrepreneurs make a mark in South Africa’s Silicon Valley

An invention by South African scientist Vivian Alberts that replaces expensive silicon used in photovoltaic solar panels promises to make solar energy more affordable than ever. It’s a thin-film photovoltaic coating for glass that uses no silicon at all. Alberts announced his discovery in 2007. Now he is poised to build an industrial-scale factory to ...
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What is renewable energy and why use it?

Renewable energy comes from natural sources that don’t run out, such as the sun, wind, water or heat within the earth. Fossil fuels — coal, oil and gas — are traditional sources of energy generation that will eventually run out. Solar panels and wind turbines generate electricity from sun and wind. Geothermal plants harness heat ...
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For former coal workers, renewable energy means renewed job market

What does greater use of green energy mean for workers in more traditional energy sectors? A Colorado initiative may have the answer: put the workers where the jobs are. Consider the findings of Michigan Technological University professor Joshua M. Pearce and associates: There are nearly 209,000 solar workers in the United States, compared to about ...
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Next-generation batteries for cars and power grids use glass and molten metal

(Shutterstock) In a bid to create more efficient and longer-lasting batteries for electric vehicles and the power grid, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been testing ideas that could revolutionize the clean energy field. The latest research aims to improve upon rechargeable “lithium-air” batteries, a highly promising technology that can store up to ...
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Salting away renewable energy for future use

One of the biggest challenges in the solar energy field is how to store electricity from the sun for use when the sun isn’t shining. One solution may be no farther than your salt shaker. SolarReserve, a California company, is pioneering a technology that uses molten salt as a medium for long-term energy storage. Mirrors ...
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Renewable Energy Costs: How Low Can They Go?

How can we reduce the greenhouse gases that cause  climate change  when most developing nations need more energy than ever before? Renewable energy  sources emit far less CO2 than traditional fossil fuels. But critics argue renewables like solar and wind are too expensive. No more. Innovation and research have lowered the cost of many renewables to — and sometimes below — ...
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As We Generate More Electricity From Sun and Wind, Where Do We Store It?

The big thing holding us back from wholesale use of renewable energy is a reliable long-term storage mechanism. But scientists are working hard to develop a battery that can make the most of solar- and wind-generated energy. This ClimateWire article describes a few of the promising technologies under consideration for storing electricity collected by solar ...
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Combating Climate Change With Cool Tech

How is the world going to reach the climate goals of COP21? Not with your grandmother’s wind turbines. “The truth is, if we adapt existing technologies … there’s still going to be a big gap to fill,” said President Obama about the importance of climate innovation. “Cool technologies” need to fill the gap, and fast, says ...
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To Protect the Planet, We Can All Do Our Part

Did you know small changes in your daily routines can make a huge difference to your health, the health of your neighbors and the future of the planet? Choose from among these simple steps and start today. (Adapted from the California Air Resources Board’s “Simple Solutions to Help Reduce Air Pollution”) When you run errands ...
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Power to the People the Smart-Tech Way

What if every month you got a report on how your electricity use compared to that of your neighbors? And personalized tips on how to save money based on your own usage patterns? New software is making this possible, says David Moore, senior market development manager at  Opower . His company has pioneered cloud-based software that ...
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How Many Days In A Year Can You Use Renewable Energy?

In recent years, some communities around the world have pledged to meet all their future power needs with renewable energy. One notable example:  Costa Rica used only renewable sources  to power itself for the first 75 days of 2015. The Central American country has made great strides in its use of renewable energy — mainly hydropower — which today generates more ...
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A Country Lowers Its Energy Bill

America is energized. In the last decade, U.S. energy production grew 24 percent, while energy consumption steadily declined. One reason for the shifts is changes made by  businessescollege campuses  and  cities  — changes that have helped the environment and reduced costs. Here are details about America’s recent progress and future plans. This graphic shows changes in U.S. energy ...
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