Cindy Foor

What Lies Beneath: Concerns About Securing Our Energy Infrastructure

We don’t give much thought to what’s buried under us because we can’t see it. But to get an idea of what’s underground, picture a route map in the back of an airline in-flight magazine. There are more than 1.5 million miles of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines criss-crossing the United States. Since nearly 30 […]

Cindy Foor

Can Federal Effort on Energy Innovation Recreate Space Race Magic?

You might not know the acronym DARPA – Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – but you should. It gave us the internet. We can only hope that its modern-day cousin, ARPA-E –Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy – has a similar, profound impact. President Eisenhower created DARPA in 1958 as a response to Sputnik, which had put […]

Cindy Foor

Hybrid Vehicles Keep Getting Better; Could 1,000 MPGe Be Within Reach?

“A thing made by combining two different elements; a mixture.” That’s the simple definition of “hybrid.” But when it comes to hybrid cars, things get a bit more complicated: plug-in hybrids, plug-in electrics, gas-powered generator electrics and now, finally, a diesel hybrid. The first models of Toyota’s Prius and Camry, along with the Honda Insight […]

Cindy Foor

An Energy Future Marked by Beer-Powered Beer and Homes Heated With Bathwater?

What if you could use the waste from making beer to make even more beer? Or pull waste from a sewage treatment plant, feed it into a pond of algae, and then pour the algae biofuel into your car’s gas tank? Or use your household wastewater to heat your house? Let’s start with the beer […]

Cindy Foor

Safer Nuclear Power: Could Thorium Be An ‘Energy Miracle?’

When Bill Gates talks, people listen (with apologies to E.F. Hutton). And when he talks about the future, he says we need “energy miracles.” Speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference last year, Gates said we need breakthrough innovation in at least five areas – one of those being nuclear power – if we expect […]

Cindy Foor

Is Breakthrough Solar Pricing on the Horizon?

It might sound too good to be true: Cut your electric bill in half without cutting your energy usage in half. But if you live in certain parts of Texas or New Mexico, you might be in luck. As reported by Bloomberg, El Paso Electric has agreed to buy power from First Solar at less […]

Cindy Foor

Upgrading Our Aging Energy Infrastructure Will Require Some Creative Thinking

Our nation’s infrastructure is like a kid on the verge of flunking out of school. Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issues its Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, and we got a D on the last one (in 2009). The 2013 report card will be out in March, and we shouldn’t […]

Cindy Foor

Money May Not Grow on Trees, but Energy Does Fall From the Sky

Did you know that solar panels have dropped in price by roughly 80 percent over the last five years? And did you know that, according to a New York Times opinion piece last month, they can provide electricity for at or below the current retail cost of grid power in 20 states? Unlike sunshine, which […]

Cindy Foor

California’s Cap-and-Trade Debut

Cap-and-trade? Cap-and-dividend? CARB? AB32? Carbon tax? Confused? Cap-and-trade legislation began as a simple idea – setting limits on pollution and having companies buy or trade offsets. A greenhouse cap-and-trade bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009. But the Senate bill, which ballooned into an incomprehensible 1,400 pages, was ultimately abandoned. Soon […]

Cindy Foor

The Energy Outlook for President Obama’s Second Term

As the most expensive race on record, the 2012 presidential election consumed a vital resource: energy. Most of that energy – in the form of transportation and electricity (to produce all those TV ads) – isn’t renewable and, therefore, we won’t be getting it back. Ever. So now what? We’ve used vast amounts of energy […]