New tech for small-scale hydropower

This image shows both a model and a working small scale hydropower system in the central Oregon Cascade Range.  Credit: Photo courtesy of Oregon State University Engineers at Oregon State University have created a new computer modeling package that people anywhere in the world could use to assess the potential of a stream for small-scale, “run of river” hydropower, an …

Small, decentralized, pay-as-you-go solar energy scaling up in Africa

The 1.3 billion [people] who have no access to electricity spend an estimated $30 billion annually on kerosene.” Most customers start with the basic service, said Helgesen in a previous interview. They tend to upgrade after a few months once they get comfortable with the company’s services and know they’re reliable. Earlier this month, Lacey reported on M-Kopa, another solar …

Rising percentage of energy from solar is saving lives

Solar power could deliver $400 billion in environmental and public health benefits throughout the United States by 2050, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “We find that a U.S. electric system in which solar plays a major role–supplying 14% of demand in 2030, …

Why the future of cars is electric, by Zach Shahan

Technology changes at a fast pace these days, but even so, we typically think that today’s technology norms will remain for a long time, just with incremental improvements. That hasn’t been how the story goes, though. When I was in high school, a few people had beepers, and basically no one had a cell phone. If you were away from home …

US cities consider ways to transform transportation

San Francisco The pilot would try to lure people from their own cars to shared, clean-running electric vehicles, either with drivers or without (if robot cars prove cheap and trusty enough). The carrot? Ease and relative speed. Those in shared rides can use new dedicated carpool lanes (either marked on the pavement or drawn virtually using navigation apps such as …

How the EV boom could be good for the grid

Earlier this year, breathtaking numbers of pre-orders for the Tesla Model 3 not only shocked the auto industry but suggested that a transition of the U.S. and world auto fleet toward electric vehicles could happen faster than expected. There are still only a little more than 400,000 electric vehicles on the road in the United States, or just 0.16 percent of all …