Renewable Energy

A new study reveals how much water the U.S. uses in energy production. The answer is a lot – 58 trillion gallons. The data breakdown may be critical information for the Mountain West, where energy industries are big, but water can be scarce.

McKinstry

The Colorado School of Mines has launched a new energy awareness and savings program. PowerED will retrofit facilities to be more efficient and teach students and staff how to conserve through online community engagement.

"We're training the next generation of scientists and engineers, and so we want them to go out into the world and understand energy and how people affect the energy use of buildings," said Lauren Poole, the sustainability coordinator for Mines.

Jerry Huddleston / Flickr

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

Courtesy of NCAR/UCAR

A regional energy project entering final planning stages this fall is set to become one of northern Colorado’s largest sources of wind power. 

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

Solar energy has had a great decade. One estimate puts the industry’s growth at 1,600-percent over the last eight years. However, this past year has not been so good, especially for rooftop solar companies. The market for residential solar systems has taken a hit, resulting in the bankruptcies of companies such as  SunEdison, Sungevity, Suniva and at least one company not starting with “sun” — SolarWorld.

Super Grid! Spanning Continents In A Single Bound!

Apr 21, 2017
Jordan Wirfs-Brock / Inside Energy

Somewhere in the world, the sun and wind are always shining and blowing, and people are always using electricity. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get renewable power from the windy and sunny places to the power hungry places?

That was presumably the thinking behind a question posed by an Inside Energy audience member:

Would transmission losses be too high to sustain an international green power electrical grid?

With The Cloud Ever More Energy Hungry, Tech Giants Want To Tap Straight Into Renewables

Jun 9, 2016
Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Media

The cloud, where you upload photos and stream video, is actually real, physical infrastructure housed in data centers across the country, like Green House Data's server farm in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

"This is the cloud," said Art Salazar, the company's director of operations, waving at rows and rows of glass and metal cabinets. "You're standing right in front of the cloud."

Feeding those hungry computers are big, black power lines, snaking along the ceiling. Like most data centers, electricity is the company's biggest expense, which is why Green House Data is obsessed with energy efficiency – and why companies want to get green power right at the source.

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

The costs of wind and solar power have fallen dramatically in recent years. Still, renewables only account for a fraction of the energy produced in the United States.

That's one of the challenges facing the new director of the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado. Dr. Martin Keller, who took over following the retirement of Dan Arvizu in late 2015, describes NREL's mission -- acting as the nation's premier renewable energy research laboratory -- as one of filling in the gaps in science and technology.

Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media

Food waste is an expensive problem. The average U.S. family puts upward of $2,000 worth of food in the garbage every year.

What some see as a problem, others see as a business opportunity. A new facility, known as the Heartland Biogas Project, promises to take wasted food from Colorado’s Front Range and turn it into electricity.

Through a technology known as anaerobic digestion, spoiled milk, dented canned goods, old pet food, vats of grease and helpful bacteria combine in massive tanks to generate gas. You’ll find the project on a rural road in Weld County, a stone’s throw from the county’s numerous feedlots, dairy farms, and a short drive from the state’s populous, waste-generating urban core.

U.S. Department of Energy

For the first time ever, Denver will host an international solar home building competition run by the U.S. Department of Energy. The 2017 Solar Decathlon will bring teams from 16 universities to show off model homes and compete for $2 million in prize money.

“Denver and the Colorado community really has demonstrated a leadership role in advancing clean energy technology,” said Jennifer Garson who directs DOE's Solar Decathlon.

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