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A man reads the newspaper by flashlight during the Northeast Blackout in August 2003. AP Photo/Joe Kohen

Keeping the electricity grid running – 4 essential reads

Fifteen years after the Northeast Blackout of 2003 cut power to 50 million people in the US and Canada, experts explain that many threats to the electricity grid remain.
“No Linky” posters in Montreuil, near Paris. The first one reads “Linky: You can say no.” The second reads “Linky spies on your private life.” Some residents fear data surveillance rather than looking at possible advantages of smart meters. Carole Salères

Linky: Do smart meters actually help reduce electricity consumption?

A recent study suggests that smart meters can help households reduce their electricity use by as much as 5%. Are France’s anti-Linky households listening?
Block Island Wind, the first offshore wind energy project in the U.S., started operation in 2016. Ionna22

Market forces are driving a clean energy revolution in the US

A recent survey of electric utility leaders finds that Trump administration efforts to promote coal energy and roll back air pollution regulations have had little impact on their long-range plans.
Solar home designed by University of Maryland students for the Department of Energy’s 2017 Solar Decathlon. DOE Solar Decathlon

Subsidizing coal and nuclear power could drive customers off the grid

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US needs to subsidize nuclear and coal power plants to keep the grid stable. But this policy would raise energy costs and could drive consumers off-grid instead.
The imposition of steep duties on imported solar panel components could jeopardize thousands of jobs in the industry. Reuters/Mike Blake

How Trump could undermine the US solar boom

A trade spat could jack up the cost of going solar, killing jobs and obstructing efforts to do something about climate change.
The first U.S. offshore wind farm, near Block Island, Rhode Island, started delivering commercial electricity in December 2016. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Thinking beyond Trump: Why power companies should be investing now in carbon-free electricity

When utilities plan investments, they think decades ahead. A recent study shows why power companies should be spending more on renewables despite the Trump administration's tilt toward fossil fuels.
When it comes to TV use energy, calling one household ‘average’ can be misleading. Evert F. Baumgardner - National Archives and Records Administration.

TV-watching couch potatoes have outsized energy footprint

People who watch a lot of TV consume a disproportionate amount of electricity so we should tailor energy efficiency incentive programs to these and other big energy users.
Solar power in suburbia: what’s not to like? Gray Watson

Utilities, solar energy and the fight for your roof

Utilities are pushing back against the spread of rooftop solar power and charging bigger fees to solar homes. Who is right in this solar-versus-utilities fight?
Supreme Court ruling allows consumers and businesses to make money by reducing power and other grid services. wilks_photography/flickr

The Supreme Court saves the smart grid, but more battles loom

An obscure Supreme Court ruling paves the way for people and businesses to earn money with distributed energy technologies.
With rooftop solar installations soaring, utilities are nervous – for a few reasons. Greens MPs

Why rooftop solar is disruptive to utilities – and the grid

Electric utilities want to quash distributed solar because they don't want the competition, right? Perhaps, but if you rely at all on the grid, you have a stake in this fight, too.

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