Mon November 24, 2014
Life In A Boom Town

In The Bakken, The Self-Defense Business Is Good, But Is It Necessary?

Pepper sprays and blunt striking objects for women to hang on their key chains at a Damsel in Defense party in Dickinson, North Dakota.
Emily Guerin Inside Energy

On a recent Tuesday night in Dickinson, North Dakota, five women were sitting in the living room. It felt like a slumber party — no shoes, no husbands and no children — except these women were passing a stun gun back and forth. It's a purple stun gun with a rhinestone wrist strap.

Business is booming for Damsel in Defense, an Idaho-based company that throws home sales parties for self-defense products. In 2011, there were no sales reps in North Dakota. Now, there are about 30. Boom towns have never been friendly places for women.

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Fri November 21, 2014
Oil and Gas

Agreement Reached For Colorado's Roan Plateau

Colorado's Roan Plateau
Courtesy of EcoFlight

The Bureau of Land Management, environmentalists, and the energy industry have reached an agreement on a proposal to drill for oil and gas on the Roan Plateau. The new plan cancels 17 out of 19 oil and gas leases that were issued in 2008. Two previous leases at the top of the plateau, and a dozen at the base will remain in place.

"These measures allow us to protect the plateau but harness some of the energy resources," said Governor John Hickenlooper.

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Wed November 19, 2014

Watch Greeley Get Surrounded By 15,000 Oil Wells In 13 Years

A screen shot of the maps of oil wells from the Center for Western Priorities
Center for Western Priorities

We all know oil and gas drilling has taken off around the Front Range. Sometimes, though, it's hard to actually visualize that change.

A new set of animations created by the Center for Western Priorities shows how wells expand around the Front Range and other Colorado communities over the past 13 years.

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Wed November 19, 2014

Colorado Lab Tests 'Smart Home,' Where Dishwashers Talk To The Grid

A view of one of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's mock homes inside its lab.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

Bryan Hannegan is picturing the home of the future. In his imagination, it's not in outer space, or shaped like a giant geodesic dome. This home talks to itself, and to what's around it.

"The dishwasher could talk to the electric vehicle in the garage, it could talk to the solar PV system on the roof," said Hannegan, a scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

These "talking" appliances can also read a weather forecast calling for a sunny afternoon. This tells them the rooftop solar will be making lots of power, meaning it's a great time to run the dryer and dishwasher.

You may be at work, but your "smart" home doesn't need you. When you pull into your driveway at the end of the day, the dishes are done and the clothes are dry -- all with power generated from your rooftop that afternoon.

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Tue November 18, 2014
Energy Traffic

Energy Boom Leaves One Tiny Wyoming Town Stuck In The 'Coal Miner 500'

Highway 59 traffic going through Bill, Wyo.
Leigh Paterson Inside Energy

The little town of Bill, Wyoming is certainly not a boom town. It this town of 11, there's a school, a post office, a hotel and a general store. What it lacks in population and size, it's making up for in oil and gas traffic. Bill is situated in the middle of a 115-mile stretch of highway that connects two of Wyoming's biggest boom towns: Douglas and Gillette.

The oil and gas boom in states like Wyoming, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas has not only brought jobs and prosperity but also a dangerous spike in traffic and accidents. According to Wyoming's Department of Transportation, accidents on Highway 59, which runs through Bill, nearly doubled between 2010 and 2013.

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