COVID-19’s impact on the global economy introduced major supply chain shortages, hitting silicon wafer manufacturers particularly hard. Silicon wafers chips are a small slice of semi-conductors, a vital tech component inside all complex electronics from cell phones to cruise missiles. They also require critical minerals and advanced processing techniques to produce, two areas where the United States is lagging behind China and other Asian competitors. Today, the gap between semiconductor chip order and delivery times range between 18 weeks and 6 months, whereas pre-pandemic wait times hovered around 12 weeks.
A Solar Futures Study released by the Department of Energy (DOE) Wednesday projected that solar energy generation could reach 40% of the nation’s electricity consumption by 2035 and achieve nearly 50% by 2050, contingent on large federal government infrastructure investments such as those proposed by the Biden Administration. The study found that to reach 40% solar in the next 15 years, the US must double capacity each year until 2025, and then double it again from 2025 to 2030. The question is whether it is realistic — both technologically and economically.
Hurricane Ida, the worst storm since Katrina, knocked out an estimated 94% of offshore Gulf oil production, as well as power to one million homes across Louisiana and Mississippi this past weekend. Some 10% of gas stations in the Baton Rouge area were out of fuel — as were 7.5% around New Orleans — leaving thousands lined up for gas to fuel home generators. Gasoline shortages are expected to worsen sharply as Ida passes.
Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra have created the world’s first “truly bifacial solar cell”. These panels are dual sided, with both the front and the back of the solar module capable of generating power. Place a mirror behind these cells, and incoming sunlight can be absorbed twice.
The U.S. defeat in Afghanistan threatens to undermine already limited U.S. credibility and geostrategic leverage. With the ascendance of the Taliban, the energy infrastructure and natural resources of the region are now more in jeopardy than ever since 2001, the year the U.S. chased out the Taliban regime.
After months of negotiation, the Senate voted in a filibuster-proof 69-30 to approve a $1 trillion infrastructure framework. The bill orders repairs to crumbling physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges, expansions to broadband internet access, replacement of lead water pipes, financial support for clean energy projects, and improving the weatherization and cybersecurity of vulnerable infrastructure.
Thousands across Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon are fleeing their homes as historic wildfires whip through the region. This is climate change in its manic phase. And it is getting worse.
On Tuesday, August 3, the Panama-flagged tanker Asphalt Princess was reportedly seized in the Gulf of Oman by Iranian-backed forces, maritime sources said, and is now being towed into Iranian waters. The story is still developing.
General Motors (GM) recently announced a strategic partnership with California-based Controlled Thermal Resources (CRT) to secure “local and low-cost lithium,” for its Ultium battery packs. GM’s Ultium is a modular system wherein cells can be stacked vertically or horizontally, allowing up to 400 miles + range in its vehicles regardless of chassis design.
Record-breaking floods have devastated Western Europe, leaving at least 170 people dead and over 1,300 unaccounted for. This catastrophe will have long-lasting implications on European – and global – politics and policies, including an impact on the forthcoming German general elections in September, and the rollout of the EU radical energy policy package that was unveiled on July 14. This includes commitments to be the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.
Just as natural gas has competed with coal as the prime fuel for electricity in the last decades, renewables are putting pressure on the blue, clean-burning source of energy. The competition is fierce and will likely get worse. Yet, it is still too early to discount gas. This was the message at the 36th International Gas Congress in Croatia, where I spoke on Joe Biden’s plan to stop drilling on federal lands.
Soviet dominance left Central Asia’s environment in shambles. From hundreds of nuclear blasts in the testing grounds of Semey (Semipalatinsk) in Kazakhstan to barbaric destruction of water management in the drying-up Aral Sea, these environmental disasters left the land-locked five countries to deal with destroyed human lives, ruined ecosystems, and pollution.
California’s policymakers are lobbying for hydrogen fuel to play a larger role in the state’s economy. A bipartisan group of 20 legislators penned a letter to assembly leaders requesting that $300 million of a $500 million executive order on emission reductions be set aside for hydrogen fueling infrastructure. Such a significant sum shows that California may be getting serious about hydrogen’s applications in the energy transition.
The Canadian effort to sway President Biden to license for the Keystone XL pipeline has failed, leaving TransCanada (TC) Energy to formally scrap the contentious $9 billion project. While doubtless appealing to environmental activists, this is a massive geopolitical blunder by the Biden Administration, putting politics and ideology in front of national interests.
The scramble for the $5 trillion car market is afoot. The leaders in self-driving tech and electric mobility will be the winners. Apple is one of many tech companies planning to revolutionize the staid, 130 year-old industry. This is a sign of how cars will be joining cell phones in morphing into personal computers.
What makes renewable energy so exciting is the immense economic potential of groundbreaking technology advancements.
A recent discovery by engineers of Oxford Brookes University’s School of Engineering, Computing, and Mathematics could change the design of offshore wind farms forever. The study, led by Professor Iakovos Tzanakis, demonstrates that deep sea and coastal wind turbines could achieve a 15% increase in power output if traditional horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWTs) are replaced by a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) design. While classic HAWT windmills produce energy with a standard three-blade “pinwheel” design, VAWT utilizes a more cylindrical shape with blades rotating around a central shaft.
In this video series, Dr. Ariel Cohen discusses current events happening around the world. The discussion in this video will focus on the cyber attack against the Alpharetta-based Colonial pipeline.
As the renewable energy sector is growing amid dropping prices and policy incentives, energy storage startups are also seeking their share of the market. In the last year, zinc battery maker Eos Energy Storage, Stem and recycler Li-Cycle have all entered the marketplace via SPAC, as have electric vehicle startups Fisker and Nikola. The results have been mixed — Stem stock, for instance, has fallen since peaking in February — but the interest shows the level of growth for the storage sector, said Sam Wilkinson, director of solar and energy storage research for IHS Markit.
With President Joe Biden’s giant $2.25 trillion spending plan potentially making its way through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as early as this month, the United States may be on the verge of a transformational moment in energy policy.
Last Friday, a cyber-attack was conducted against the Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline, which spans 5,500 miles from Houston to the Port of New York and New Jersey and meets 45% of the East Coast’s fuel needs. The ransomware attack is believed to have been perpetrated by criminal hacker syndicate ‘Darkside.’ Even though the breach targeted business rather than operational computer systems, the company has halted all pipeline operations out of an abundance of caution. With this major artery shut down, a shortage of heating oil, jet fuel, gasoline and diesel will soon hit the North East. Gas prices are already trending upward, and that’s with a temporary freeze. If the systems that run the pipeline do become compromised, the pipeline may be shut for weeks or even months.
While the Leaders Summit on Climate last month emphasized the need for worldwide cooperation and accountability in the fight against climate change, recent developments along the U.S.- Canada border demonstrate just how messy joint action can be, even between the best of allies.
Millions of people on the planet are working on alternative energy: engineers, politicians, laborers and analysts. Even more people are the consumers of these emission-free power sources which range from solar to biofuels. In the future, yet more novel types of energy will charge our grids: geothermal, space-based solar, tidal, hydrogen, and more.
On Thursday April 15, President Biden imposed long-awaited sanctions on Russia, blaming the Kremlin for the SolarWinds hack that breached U.S. government agencies and American companies. The sanctions are aimed at Russia's disinformation efforts and the occupation of Crimea, along with its recent military buildup and exercises on the Ukraine border. Ten Russian diplomats were expelled as a result.
The Biden administration recently announced a plan to substantially expand the use of offshore wind power along the East Coast, aiming to tap a huge new source of clean energy that is likely to gain widespread acceptance in the United States.
March 27 saw the culmination of a half-decade of negotiations between Beijing and Tehran, with foreign ministers meeting to sign a twenty-five-year $400 billion strategic and economic partnership. The specifics of the agreement are largely in line with China’s ongoing Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), spending billions in infrastructure investment with an eye on long term influence and economic and security hegemony. Major sectors include oil, gas, petrochemical, renewables, nuclear power, and energy infrastructure. The draft agreement also covered the high-tech and military cooperation, as well as port construction to facilitate Iran’s integration in China’s Belt and Road trade routes.