Energy use drops: It’s not just the economy

By Elisa Wood May 13, 2010 We’ve been hearing a lot about a drop in energy consumption as a result of the economic downturn. In fact, US energy use per person declined last year to its lowest level since 1968. Economic activity and energy use are directly linked. But lately, several reports have noted that the economic slowdown is not the only … [Read more...]

Are we thinking about energy all wrong?

By Elisa Wood April 29, 2010 The energy world operates under the premise that more is better.  If we build more power plants, we’ll have ample supply, and electricity prices will drop. Even better, if those plants are clean and green, we’ll displace older, dirtier plants and reduce emissions. That will help our economy by producing jobs. But is … [Read more...]

Wanted: GOLD for smart grid

By Elisa Wood April 8, 2010 As John McDonald tells it, smart grid needs GOLD. And he’s not talking money. GOLD stands for Graduates of the Last Decade, the technology savvy, risk-taking engineers and technicians who may be among the greatest benefactors of the new smart grid movement. While most recent college graduates face dismal employment … [Read more...]

Will public support for efficiency continue?

By Elisa Wood March 4, 2010 What’s the shelf life of today’s support for energy efficiency technologies? The industry has seen an unprecedented boom over the last several years. But all booms eventually bust. A recent souring of public opinion about global warming science has some industry insiders bracing for impact. Will American enthusiasm … [Read more...]

Reasons for efficiency: Plain as the smudge on your face

By Elisa Wood February 11, 2010 Remember soot? A long time ago, before global warming, getting rid of soot was considered a good reason to make our energy supply cleaner and more efficient. These small dirty particles, created from auto and power plant combustion, discolor walls and do worse to our lungs. Their harm is immediate, yet we seem to … [Read more...]

What’s geothermal again?

October 29, 2009 By Elisa Wood Some green energy sources seem to have charisma; others struggle for public attention with little success. Solar energy is an “it” technology, as evidenced once again by the tremendous participation in the annual Solar Power International conference in Anaheim, California this week (Oct. 27-29). Twice as many … [Read more...]

It’s the environment, stupid

By Elisa Wood October 22, 2009 If Harry Truman were running for president today, he’d probably ‘Give ‘em Green,’ rather than ‘Give ‘em Hell.’ Bill Clinton’s campaign slogan would be, ‘It’s the environment, stupid.’ And Herbert Hoover might be promising a solar panel on every roof, rather than a chicken in every pot – and the pot would sit on a … [Read more...]

Even rebels like efficiency

By Elisa Wood April 23, 2009 Clean energy advocates favor a federal requirement that a certain amount of our electricity come from green sources, a concept known as a portfolio standard. No year in history has offered more promise for the policy. President Obama is pushing for at least 10% of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012, … [Read more...]

How well is clean energy weathering the recession?

By Elisa Wood March 5, 2009 The clean energy industry may not be popping the champagne cork, but it is at least holding the bottle in hand. While not unscathed by the recession, the industry sees growth in several sectors, according to recent reports. For example, use of smart meters—a key technology for better energy management and efficiency – … [Read more...]

Clean energy, jobs and the real estate market

By Elisa Wood November 20, 2008 President-elect Barack Obama wants to create five million new green jobs over the next decade. This is a big goal, but in line with what clean energy industry advocates see as possible. An upcoming international report provides some solid perspective on why green initiatives make for good job building … [Read more...]