Department of Energy

DOE Bets on Central Station Solar — Is It the Right Horse?

Congratulations to Oakland’s BrightSource Energy Inc. for winning the largest federal loan guarantee for a renewable energy project thus far — $1.37 billion for the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, to be constructed in the Mojave Desert.  For an observer like me – one who is most definitely not a financial markets expert – the …


A red-letter day for washing machines

Under the Bush administration, which was implacably hostile to state environmental regulations exceeding federal minimum requirements, the Department of Energy refused to consider California’s request for permission to issue state rules setting water efficiency standards for washing machines. The Ninth Circuit has now set aside that action as arbitrary and capricious, and ruled that DOE …


2 Funny!

This is from Grist’s mock facebook page for Steve Chu: Steven took the quiz “Do you know more about energy than Sarah Palin?” and the result is “OMG I HOPE SO, MR. ENERGY SECRETARY“. You’re the flipping Secretary of Energy. Your vocabulary has moved beyond Sarah’s staples of “Drill, Baby, Drill” and “Nu-cu-lar.” You understand …


Water for Power Plants: A Major Concern All of Its Own

As the demand for freshwater grows and supplies dwindle, should water use become a major factor in choosing new sources of electric power?  That is a question addressed recently in a hearing sponsored by a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology. The United States Geological Survey says that 48 percent of …


Flexing Obama’s administrative muscle (& a victory on home furnaces)

Just after the election, the environmental group Earthjustice published a list of six easy things the Obama administration could do to help the environment.  On the list was the suggestion that Obama back off from defending Bush-era failures to ramp up the efficiency of home furnaces–a topic that sounds narrow but has remarkable implications for saving …