My review of Russell Gold’s “The Boom” for Nature

April 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I wrote a review of Russell Gold’s new book on fracking, The Boom, for the scientific journal Nature. It’s behind a paywall, but if you’re a subscriber, you can find it here: Energy: The new oil era

The Boom is a very thorough and interesting read, and I liked it a lot more than I expected to! Highly recommended.

5 finance models bringing clean power to the people

April 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm
Contributed by: Chris

I have a short new article at GreenBiz.com on several financial innovations that are opening up new sources of capital for renewable energy and energy transition.

Read it here: 5 finance models bringing clean power to the people

New podcast appearances

April 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm
Contributed by: Chris

If you’d rather listen to my thoughts than read them, I have made three recent guess appearances on some podcasts.

- On the Extraenvironmentalist podcast with Seth and Justin: Episode 76 (I last appeared on the Extraenvironmentalist podcast in August 2012.)

- On the KunstlerCast podcast with James Howard Kunstler: Episode 251

- On the Wall St. for Main St. podcast

As always, you can find all my media appearances on my media page.

 

‘Watts’ the mystery? The energy units that power our lives

March 22, 2014 at 4:10 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I explained common energy measurement units, and how to convert and compare them, including ever-befuddling capacity factors.

Read it here: ‘Watts’ the mystery? The energy units that power our lives

The energy transition tipping point is here

March 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed the trends I have explored over the past several years and updated them with fresh data, and concluded that the world has reached a tipping point in energy transition from which there will be no going back.

Read it here: The energy transition tipping point is here

 

The UAE’s slow march to sustainability

February 10, 2014 at 9:20 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet last week, I reported on my trip to the 2014 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, and the slow progress United Arab Emirates appears to be making on its goals to diversify its economy away from fossil fuels and build Masdar City.

Read it here: The UAE’s slow march to sustainability

(more…)

Why the US should not export oil

January 26, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the debate over whether the US should lift its ban on exporting crude oil. But whereas most of the opposition to lifting the ban has focused on jobs and prices, I see another even more important angle: the long-term energy security of the United States. In the 1980s, Britain went all-out on producing its North Sea oil and gas for export, and now it is paying punishingly high prices for imports of both, as well as for gas-fueled grid power. Do we really want to make the same mistake in this country, considering that several good, transparent models show US tight oil peaking and going into decline within the next 7 years?

Read it here: Why the US should not export oil

(more…)

Oil and gas price forecast for 2014

December 31, 2013 at 11:22 am
Contributed by: Chris

For my final SmartPlanet post of the year, I graded my 2013 oil and gas price forecast as “close enough” and issued my forecast for 2014.

Read it here: Oil and gas price forecast for 2014

(more…)

Monterey Shale isn’t all it’s fracked up to be

December 15, 2013 at 9:37 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I featured a new report by geoscientist David Hughes, which is the first publicly available empirical analysis of actual oil production data from the Monterey shale formation in California. Widely touted as the next big play in fracking, the Monterey looks to be a dud.

Read it here: Monterey Shale isn’t all it’s fracked up to be

(more…)

How green bonds could unleash the Kraken of energy transition

November 24, 2013 at 1:23 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I followed up on my previous story about securitization and other financial innovations in renewable energy with a look at the emerging “green bond” market, which is bringing billions of dollars of financing to bear on climate change solutions. I also talked to a creative New York-based financing company that is packaging off-balance-sheet bonds to help cities implement self-financing energy efficiency improvements.

Read it here: How green bonds could unleash the Kraken of energy transition

(more…)

Financial innovation is the next big thing in clean energy and efficiency

November 11, 2013 at 11:08 am
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed the “capital gap” problem in financing clean energy and efficiency, and how a slew of new players and approaches aim to solve it. Move over, mortgage-backed securities, solar-backed securities are the next big thing.

Read it here: Financial innovation is the next big thing in clean energy and efficiency

(more…)

U.S. grid power storage charges up

October 27, 2013 at 11:38 am
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed a slew of developments from the past two months in the grid power storage sector, including California’s new storage procurement mandate, commercial microgrids, innovative financial models, utility testing of storage systems, and the opening of the PJM capacity market to storage. It all adds up to a very exciting picture of storage finally growing into a serious grid player, which will enable more renewable energy on the U.S. grid.

Read it here: U.S. support of grid energy storage charges up

(more…)

Myth-busting Germany’s energy transition

October 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I debunked the anti-renewable energy narrative that has become all too common in major news media coverage of Germany’s energy transition.

Read it here: Myth-busting Germany’s energy transition

(more…)

FuelCell Energy Eyes the Grid Support Market

October 3, 2013 at 8:07 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For Greentech Media last week, I explained how FuelCell Energy, the largest of the publicly traded fuel cell makers, is partnering with utility NRG Energy to market and deploy its fuel cells. This is good news, after so much contention between utilities and the makers of smart grid/microgrid/renewable energy equipment. Some utilities are finally figuring out the new business models they’ll need to survive the energy transition, and how to replace conventional baseload power with a cleaner, decentralized alternative.

(more…)

10 ways to get ready for the end of oil

September 18, 2013 at 5:15 am
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I responded to a reader asking how to prepare herself for an age of declining and increasingly unaffordable oil.

Read it here: 10 ways to get ready for the end of oil

(more…)

The 21st century population crash

September 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I discussed how most official forecasts project anywhere from 8.3 billion to 10.9 billion people on the planet by 2050, while resource-based models suggest the planet’s capacity will be far less. Exploring the charts from various models, I show how fertility rates, policy choices, and the remaining endowment of global oil could determine the curve of global population through the rest of this century. The actual population in 2050 might not be much more than it is today — and could be considerably less.

Read it here: The 21st century population crash

(more…)

The Perils of Electricity Capacity Markets

September 4, 2013 at 10:49 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For Greentech Media this week, I reported from the Energy in Western Australia conference, where a capacity market for grid power has resulted in excess capacity and high prices even as rooftop solar power is growing rapidly. The experience of Western Australia offers a cautionary tale for markets like Texas, which are currently eyeing capacity markets as a way to provide sufficient power generation capacity in the future at lower than spot market prices.

(more…)

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to oil

August 21, 2013 at 6:00 am
Contributed by: Chris

For SmartPlanet this week, I took on America’s addiction to oil as one might any other addiction intervention, but with more data (naturally) and a little hat tip to Robert Palmer. It’s time to kick the habit and start down the long road to recovery.

Read it here: Might as well face it, you’re addicted to oil

(more…)

Can US Solar PV Costs Keep Falling?

August 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm
Contributed by: Chris

For Greentech Media this week, I reviewed a new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the installed cost of U.S. solar PV systems since 1998. The good news is that costs are still falling. But further cost reductions will depend largely on policymakers.

(more…)

Interview on NPR today about solar on the grid

August 14, 2013 at 10:02 am
Contributed by: Chris

I appeared on WBUR/Boston’s “Here and Now” today, to talk about solar on the grid. To listen to it today, you can find NPR stations that syndicate the show here (it has already aired on the East Coast but check local listings for re-broadcasts). The full audio of the interview will be posted here later today.

Here are some articles I’ve written on the subject, some of which were referenced in the interview:

Behind Closed Doors, Utilities Grapple With New Strategies

Adapt or Die? Private Utilities and the Distributed Energy Juggernaut

Can the Utility Industry Survive the Energy Transition?

The 2020 Deadline: No Excuse Left for Delaying the Energy Transition


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