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Articles on Electricity

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Nuclear power plants, like this one in Tennessee, supply almost 20 percent of the electricity in the US. Nuclear Regulatory Comission

What’s inside the first new US nuclear plant in two decades

It’s been almost two decades since a new nuclear plant opened for business in the United States. But that’s about to change as construction wraps up on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2…
To find out if the carbon price worked, you have to look at the electricity sector. Paul Hocksenar/Flickr

FactCheck: did carbon emissions fall faster before the carbon price?

Emissions fell by six times the rate in the five years before the carbon tax than they did under the carbon tax. – Environment minister Greg Hunt, The Guardian, January 17, 2015. Australia’s total greenhouse…
The renewable energy sector is looking a little gloomy thanks to record low investment. Is RET uncertainty to blame? Stephan Mosel

Why has investment in renewable energy projects stalled?

You may have seen recent reports that Australia’s renewable energy sector is suffering. According to a Bloomberg analysis, investment in the sector in the year to September 2014 was down 70% on investment…
Well, maybe it’s not quite this electrifying, but the prototype is pretty cool. Florian F. (Flowtography)/Flickr

Flat battery? New prototype turns waste heat into electricity

Picture a device that can produce electricity using nothing but the ambient heat around it. Thanks to research published…
Falling demand and prices are leaving no incentive to invest in Australia’s electricity sector.  Indigo Skies Photography /Flickr

Why Australia’s entire power sector should support the RET

There’s been much talk about how uncertainty over the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is affecting the renewable energy industry. Investment in renewable energy is at its lowest level since…
The government knows that solar panel subsidies are very popular with voters. zstock/Shutterstock

The pitfalls of using renewable energy as a political football

Federal industry minister Ian Macfarlane has finally revealed his opening gambit on negotiations on the future of the Renewable Energy Target (RET). He and environment minister Greg Hunt have pledged to…
As early as 2015 China’s use of thermal coal for electricity could peak. Bret Arnett/Flickr

Ross Garnaut: China to reach ‘peak coal’ for electricity by 2015

China’s use of coal for electricity could peak as early as next year, then decline until 2020 in a turnaround of “global importance”, according to economist Ross Garnaut in a lecture presented at the Melbourne…
While Australians love Michael Leunig’s whimsical ducks, there’s another ‘duck’ pushing your power bills higher. Used with permission from Michael Leunig

Slash Australians’ power bills by beheading a duck at night

Rooftop solar power has slashed Australians’ demand for electricity during the day, but left evening peak power demand largely unchanged. That’s why, as strange as it may sound, we now need to behead a…
The sun is setting on a heavily coal-dependent power sector, a new Climate Council report argues. Tao Zero/Flickr

Australia’s ancient electricity sector urgently needs a new plan

It takes 10 years or more to plan, permit, finance and build major new power plants. That means the decisions we make today – or don’t make – will have lasting consequences for generations to come. And…

Waste battery heat converted to electricity

New technology allows researchers to capture low temperature (below 100C) waste energy from batteries. Researchers at Stanford…
Alcoa is to close its Point Henry smelter in Geelong. AAP

Australian aluminium outgunned by cheap, coal-free global rivals

Alcoa’s decision to close the Point Henry smelter, at a cost of almost 1000 jobs in Geelong and elsewhere, comes amid a perfect storm buffeting Australia’s aluminium industry. Point Henry will be the second…
Taste the current. arselectronica

Explainer: what is a Tesla coil?

Picture a reclusive man, dripping with sweat all night in a dark lab, illuminated only by crackling sparks that periodically leap from enormous machines and cast a purple glow across his face. This was…
Cooling towers at Yallourn, one of Victoria’s major brown coal power generators. Flickr/ccdoh1

Is $15 a year really too much to pay for renewable energy?

Australia’s Renewable Energy Target looks likely to be weakened or even axed, with the Prime Minister saying the scheme needs to be reviewed because it is causing “pretty significant price pressure”. But…
Brisbane’s annual City of Lights show, which is sponsored by an oil and gas company. Flickr/Wei Lun Koh (some rights reserved)

When will Australians finally stop wasting our energy?

From flicking on a light to travelling around town, our lives are utterly dependent on energy. That’s why it’s so surprising that Australia has been so bad at thinking about our country’s future energy…

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