Is nuclear energy “sustainable”? Certainly it’s not categorized as such in any federal definition of the term. Nuclear power is not ballyhooed in pro-renewable montages of solar panels and wind turbines. The nuclear industry receives none of the tax incentives renewables do. But the argument for nuclear energy as an important part of any large-scale sustainable energy plan is a powerful one, and an urgent one to explore as climate change becomes an ever more pressing reality.
Electricity for rainforest villages in Gabon. Tent fabric that harvests solar energy for nomadic people in Kazakhstan. A modular greenhouse and fish farm in an unused industrial building in Highland Park, Michigan.
These are some of the goals and possibilities a team of 17 researchers will pursue with a new $3 million Third Century Initiative Global Challenges grant from the University of Michigan.
Renewable Portfolio Standards- the percentage of a given energy portfolio made up of renewable power sources- are a contentious issue in many states. In this blog entry, University of Michigan researcher Jeremiah Johnson describes his new study, which will describe in detail the various costs and benefits of adding more renewables to Michigan’s energy mix.
No matter what their income bracket, American consumers all express an equal degree of “personal worry” about the impact of energy use on the environment, according to the newest findings of the University of Michigan Energy Survey. A joint effort of the U-M Energy Institute and Institute for Social Research, the quarterly survey gauges consumer perceptions and beliefs about key energy-related concerns including affordability, reliability and impact on the environment.
The New York Times posted an article today entitled Industry Awakens to the Threat of Climate Change, describing how Coke, Nike, the World Bank and even the tycoons in Davos are looking at the physical impacts of climate change as a business risk with real dollars attached to them in the form of lost resources.
Frank Markus of Motor Trend magazine explains why every carbon molecule in a liquid biofuel, such as ethanol or biodiesel, can't be counted "as an ecological freebie." He reports on the debate about the Renewable Fuel Standard that took place during a panel discussion at this year's Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Government-Industry Meeting in Washington, DC.
Autonomous "robot" vehicles that can drive themselves hold great promise for transforming transportation systems across the world. Part of their appeal is the potential to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Not so fast, notes Bradley Berman in a critical piece on ReadWriteDrive, where he quotes Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco's admonition that technology "doesn't save us from ourselves."
Based on results from his recent study, the Energy Institute’s John DeCicco has authored an article for Yale’s Environment 360 blog. This thought-provoking piece opens:
Every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan has backed programs to develop alternative transportation fuels. But there are better ways to foster energy independence and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than using subsidies and mandates to promote politically favored fuels.
Since 2005, the United States has embarked on a steady expansion of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, widely touted as a win-win proposition for energy security and the environment. However, the promised breakthroughs in biofuel technology have greatly lagged the rapid ramp-up of production mandated by Congress while adverse side effects of the policy have become ever more clear.
With the backing of 13 car companies, the United Auto Workers and other parties, the Obama Administration announced the biggest step forward on auto efficiency in over a generation. The new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations just finalized target the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of 54.5 mpg by model year 2025, double the efficiency of this year's vehicle fleet.