Blog

A Campus on Clean Wheels

Before visiting UC Santa Barbara last week, I knew the campus was committed to implementing a Climate Action Plan geared toward achieving full carbon neutrality by 2050.  Being there to witness the steps already being taken was an inspiration, and it wasn't just the solar arrays - planned and in place - that impressed me.

Read more »

Carrying Coals to Newcastle?

It's a little like carrying coals to Newcastle, but I'm very happy to be speaking about solar at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 4pm, in the Corwin Pavilion. California is leading the country in its deployment of solar technology, with the sun generating 6.7% of the utility-scale power managed by the state's Independent System Operator (CAISO) during 2015.  And that doesn't even count the "distributed" solar electricity produced by hundreds of thousands of California households and businesses.

Read more »

Favorable review in CleanTechnica

I've never been called a "wind harvester" before. That's what Sandy Dechert dubs me in her very favorable review of Harness the Sun, appearing yesterday in CleanTechnica. I appreciate the moniker, though I was an admiring observer, not an actual harvester of wind in my first renewable energy book.  The sun, on the other hand, is a resource we've tapped on our home just outside Boston - the starting point in the solar journey that I trace in Harness the Sun. Dechert deftly encapsulates that journey.

Read more »

Back to the Future

Remember that day in October 1985 when Marty McFly blasted off into the future in his garbage-fed flying DeLorean? That future was, well, our recent past: October 21, 2015. John Rogers, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, has recorded a few of the technology milestones that have actually occurred in this 30-year period. See his blog, "The Equation."

Read more »

Harness the Sun review by Amory Lovins (Science mag.)

Harness the Sun was reviewed in this week's issue of Science by none other than Amory Lovins, who has been a leader in challenging conventional approaches to energy production and use for more than four decades.  I'm honored that this enduring force for energy sanity took a close and favorable look at my own exploration of solar power's role in building a more sustainable energy future.

Read more »

In Clash of Greens, a Case for Large-Scale U.S. Solar Projects

If we want to make solar power a mainstream source of U.S. electricity, can we afford to rely only on rooftops and parking lots, or do we need to extend our reach beyond the built environment?  In today's Yale Environment 360, I answer this question and examine some of the challenges we face in building large-scale solar power plants on America's farmland and open spaces.

Read more »

Hillary's Plan to Save the Planet

My take on "Hillary's Plan to Save the Planet" in today's Daily Beast makes it clear why her goal of "enough clean renewable energy to power every home in America within ten years" stands apart from Herbert Hoover's 1928 promise of "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage."

Read more »

Electric Car on Steroids

As a belated Father's Day gift, my daughter Tali arranged for and accompanied me on a Tesla test drive yesterday.  It is an amazing vehicle.  Too amazing for my staid tastes, though.

Read more »

A Call for Honesty and Humanity in Wildlife Filmmaking

My friend Chris Palmer has written an extraordinarily important and deeply disturbing book about the wildlife film industry. In Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings are King, this seasoned filmmaker exposes the deceptive practices and the brutality that have become all too common in an industry whose original intention was to educate the public about wildlife protection.

Read more »

A Courageous Critique of America's Cattle Industry

Want to know what 93 million factory-fed cows have brought to American diets, the American environment, and the global climate? In their new book Cowed, Earth Day 1970 coordinator Denis Hayes and environmental lawyer Gail Boyer Hayes provide some sobering answers.

Read more »

Solar in Snow

It's been a very rough season for Bostonians and other New Englanders, but that hasn't stopped our home solar system from capturing lots of winter sun.  In a blog post that just ran in Beacon Broadside, I describe how well our 23 solar panels have performed, even in the immediate aftermath of major snowfall.  Luckily for us, photovoltaic cells work even better in cold weather than in the summer's warmth.

Read more »

Paths Diverge on the EPA's New Carbon Initiative

On Iowa Public Radio's "River to River," I joined a panel this past Thursday assessing the EPA's proposed rule to bring about a 30% drop in power plant carbon emissions by 2030.  The views ranged from enthusiasm about this decisive move to rejection of the very idea that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are pollutants worthy of regulation under the Clean Air Act.  To listen to this debate, moderated by Iowa Public Radio's Ben Kieffer, click here.

Read more »

Renewable Energy in the Ideasphere

A few months after Harvest the Wind's publication in 2012, I spoke at Chicago Ideas Week, a lively exchange of disruptive ideas that takes place annually in the Windy City.  Earlier this week a follow-up interview with Erin Robertson appeared in Chicago Ideas Week's blog, The Ideasphere.  We talk about the new solar panels on our home in chilly Massachusetts and my reasons for guarded optimism about renewable energy's prospects for America.  The interview also appeared in the Chicago Tribune's Blue Sky Innovation hub.

Read more »