A conversation with the U.S. Energy Secretary on energy innovation and the Valley’s role

A year and a half after taking the lead at the Department of Energy, Ernie Moniz reflects on changes to the loan programs, and how the government and Silicon Valley can fund energy innovation.

Why Solar Is Much More Costly Than Wind or Hydro

It’s no surprise that if environmental costs are considered, renewables—particularly wind power—are a far better bargain than coal power. But it might surprise many that according to a new such analysis, solar power lags far behind wind and even hydroelectric power in its economic impact, at least in the European Union.

Energy Department Announces $53 Million to Drive Innovation, Cut Cost of Solar Power

Building on President Obama's Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and continue U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced more than $53 million for 40 innovative research and development (R&D) projects that aim to drive down the cost of solar energy, tackling key aspects of technology development in order to bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly.

GAO: Lifting oil export ban would cut gas prices

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, released on Monday, said repealing the ban would "likely increase domestic crude oil prices but decrease consumer fuel prices." Lifting the ban would help bring the price of domestic crude oil closer to the international prices of crude, which would be beneficial to producers, the report states, and prevent a slowdown.

$54 million Calif. project aims for 'Holy Grail' of solar, wind energy storage

Southern California Edison has more than 600,000 lithium-ion battery cells — enough to power 2,000 Chevrolet Volt hybrids — at a substation in Tehachapi, Calif. The $54 million, two-year test project aims to collect power generated from the area's 5,000 wind turbines and store it for future use.

The Innovation Challenge For Lockheed Martin

There was some earth-shatteringly important news last week, and it had nothing to do with Ebola: Lockheed Martin it had invented a compact fusion reactor that fits on a semi-trailer flatbed. Granted, it may require a decade of work to finish, but the technology could disrupt energy, utilities, even space-travel. The potential profits would be commensurately huge. So why wasn’t it the lead news story for days, and why didn’t the stock price skyrocket?

Gas From Fracking Won’t Slow Climate Change, Scientists Say

A range of scenarios, including the possibility of gas use rising as much as 170 percent by mid-century, would lead to anything from a 2 percent cut to an 11 percent jump in carbon emissions, the study released today in the journal Nature showed. Cheaper gas may not replace coal but rather crowd out clean-energy and boost polluting economic activity, they said.

Venture Capitalists Return to Backing Science Start-Ups

Over all, industrial and energy start-ups attracted $1.24 billion in venture capital financing in the first half of 2014, more than twice as much as in the period a year earlier, according to statistics from the National Venture Capital Association. Still, investment remains well below peaks reached in 2008, when industrial and energy start-ups attracted $4.64 billion.

U.S. Oil Producers May Drill Themselves Into Oblivion

Rather than pulling back in hopes of slowing the amount of supply on the market to try and boost prices, drillers are instead operating at full tilt and pumping oil as fast as they can. Over the past five years, the amount of horizontal rigs deployed in the U.S. has almost quadrupled, from 379 in early 2009 to more than 1,300 today.

U.S. Fuel Economy Hit New Highs With 2013 Models

American cars are using less gas per mile and emitting less carbon dioxide than ever before, according to a government analysis released Wednesday. The average fuel economy of 2013 models is 27.6 miles per gallon for cars and 19.8 miles per gallon for trucks, “both of which are all-time highs,” said the report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

More cars getting stop-start despite driver resistance

Gas-saving stop-start systems, which turn off the engine when the vehicle isn't moving and restart it when the brake pedal is released, will be standard on more cars and trucks than ever before — whether drivers like it or not.

Satellite Data Shows U.S. Methane ‘Hot Spot’ Bigger than Expected

One small “hot spot” in the U.S. Southwest is responsible for producing the largest concentration of the greenhouse gas methane seen over the United States – more than triple the standard ground-based estimate -- according to a new study of satellite data by scientists at NASA and the University of Michigan.

PCAST Pushes to Commercialize Nanotech

In a report out today on the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology urges the government to "transition its activities toward facilitating commercialization by directing the formulation of specific nanotechnology Grand Challenges."

Science supports fracking

Critics claim, typically without much evidence, that hydraulic fracturing is an environmental bogeyman fouling the air and water. But as the body of science grows, the case against fracking is falling apart.

More efficient fracking means more oil and natural gas

Drillers have honed their fracking techniques since the start of the energy boom and are now getting far more oil and gas from each rig. Five of the six major shale areas in the United States have seen increased production per rig in the last few years, with Eagle Ford leading the efficiency increase in oil drilling and the Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania tops for natural gas.


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