Not Again: How a 1969 Oil Spill Devastated the Santa Barbara Coast

It takes a disaster to shock us out of complacency. In January 1969, an oil well blew up off the coast of Santa Barbara, spilling an estimated three million gallons of black goo into the ocean—then the largest oil spill in U.S. waters ever. As images of dead birds and blackened beaches flooded the media, the modern… » 5/23/15 4:00pm 5/23/15 4:00pm

Tesla's Gigafactory Isn't Big Enough to Make Its Preordered Batteries

As Elon Musk revealed in an earnings call earlier this week, people preordered a shit-ton of Tesla’s new batteries: Over 50,000 Powerwall units were reserved. Now some interesting math, courtesy of Bloomberg: The five million square-foot Gigafactory planned outside of Reno probably isn’t big enough to make them all. » 5/08/15 1:27pm 5/08/15 1:27pm

Tesla Battery Economics: On the Path to Disruption

Elon Musk announced Tesla’s home / business battery today. tl;dr: It’ll get enthusiastic early adopters to buy. The economics are almost there to make it cost effective for a wide market. And within just a few years, it almost certainly will be cheap enough to be cost effective for a broad market. Not a complete game… » 5/03/15 1:00pm 5/03/15 1:00pm

California Farmers Without Water Are Installing Solar Panels Instead

Due to the unprecedented drought, many of California’s farmers won’t be allocated any water this year, thanks to the way that the state’s water rights work. But what actually happens to the farms that don’t get water? Some of the farmers are ditching produce altogether for a more profitable alternative to… » 4/27/15 6:49pm 4/27/15 6:49pm

Tesla's New Battery Could Solve One of Solar Power's Biggest Problems

So far, specific details are thin on the new battery designed for home use that Tesla’s announcing next week. But just based on what we do know, it’s a pretty big deal. The quest for a good battery that can store home-generated power is kind of like the holy grail for a renewable energy future. This one product might… » 4/23/15 9:45am 4/23/15 9:45am

We're Six Years Closer to a Clean Energy Future Than We Thought

Key price indicators in the clean tech industry are about six years ahead of estimates, and it’s mostly thanks to companies like Tesla that are pioneering cheaper, smarter solutions for mass-market consumption which can be used across a wide range of applications. This is a very good thing for Earth. » 4/09/15 7:30pm 4/09/15 7:30pm

LA's Street Lights Can Now Be Wirelessly Controlled

Los Angeles recently converted 140,000 of its street lights to energy-efficient LEDs—the largest such upgrade in the world. Now a new partnership with lighting giant Philips will allow the city’s Bureau of Street Lighting to wirelessly manage all those street lamps, similar to the way its Hue system allows you to… » 4/08/15 9:00am 4/08/15 9:00am

Video explainer: What is nuclear energy and why we don't have more of it

Our ability to harness nuclear energy has existed for quite a while now and yet nuclear energy is only responsible for providing 10% of the world's energy. There are 439 nuclear reactors spread across 31 countries with 160 more reactors planned for the future and yet nuclear energy has stagnated since the 80's. What… » 3/26/15 1:57pm 3/26/15 1:57pm

Our Cities Could Become High-Density Solar Power Plants

Solar energy has a dark side. Those gargantuan plants that sprawl out like deconstructed disco balls sacrifice valuable open space and put wildlife, and possibly human lives, at risk. A new study by Stanford researchers says that focusing our solar energy efforts in already-developed urban areas could yield more… » 3/17/15 5:35pm 3/17/15 5:35pm