Weekend reads: Solar-powered airplanes; Tesla's 'Gigafactory'; Nevada's net metering fight & more - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Procurement, Industrial, Regulation, Utilities  -  August 13, 2016

Weekend reads: Energy flowcharts; Tesla's autopilot woes; an EPA report under scrunity & more


Every Saturday, we'll bring you five most interesting — or quirky; it is the weekend after all — energy stories from the prior week that you may have missed from around the web. This weekend's reads:

This Very, Very Detailed Chart Shows How All The Energy In The U.S. Is Used (Fast CoExist): Saul Griffith likes numbers. The serial entrepreneur and MacArthur genius once calculated the carbon footprint of every single action in his life, from buying underwear to paying taxes. Now he and a group of colleagues at Otherlab, his San Francisco-based company, have mapped out something else in obsessive detail: all of the energy used in America.

"I think we may be the first three or four people to read every footnote in every energy agency document ever produced," Griffith said at a recent talk when he presented the new flowchart — which is still in a somewhat rough iteration — at an event run by Reinvent, a company that brings innovators together to talk about how to reshape the world.

Tesla owner in China blames Autopilot for crash (USA Today): The owner of a Tesla Motors Model S sedan in China reportedly said his vehicle crashed into a car on the side of the road while the vehicle's Autopilot system was engaged, but the automaker said the driver was using the system improperly. Luo Zhen, 33, of Beijing told Reuters that his vehicle collided with a parked car on the left side of a highway, damaging both vehicles but injuring no one. He criticized Tesla sales people for allegedly describing the vehicle as "self-driving."

EPA's science advisers challenge agency report on the safety of fracking (The Washington Post): Science advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency Thursday challenged an already controversial government report on whether thousands of oil and gas wells that rely on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," systemically pollute drinking water across the nation.

California Utility Found Guilty of Violations in 2010 Gas Explosion That Killed 8 (The New York Times): A federal jury on Tuesday found California’s major utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, guilty of safety violations at the time of a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed a neighborhood in a San Francisco suburb. It was one of the country’s deadliest gas explosions and underscored glaring weaknesses in America's aging infrastructure.

Customers Could Pay $2.5 Billion for Nuclear Plants That Never Get Built (Bloomberg News): Utilities including Duke Energy Corp., Dominion Resources Inc.and NextEra Energy Inc. are being allowed by regulators to charge $1.7 billion for reactors that exist only on paper, according to company disclosures and regulatory filings. The practice comes as power-plant operators are increasingly turning to cheaper natural gas and carbon-free renewables as their fuels of choice. 


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