Monthly U.S. renewable electricity generation in 2016 surpasses previous years

Read the full story from the Energy Information Administration.

Renewable electricity generation has surpassed levels from previous years in every month so far this year, based on data through June. Both hydroelectric and nonhydroelectric renewables have contributed to this trend, but in different ways. After a lengthy West Coast drought, hydro generation has increased and is now closer to historical levels. Nonhydro renewable generation continues to increase year-over-year and has exceeded hydro generation in each month since February 2016.

For China’s Massive Data Centers, A Push to Cut Energy and Water Use

Read the full story in E360 Digest.

As China’s population connects to the Web, its data centers are consuming huge amounts of energy to power the growing demand. Now, Chinese tech companies are turning to energy-efficient data facilities to cut costs and green their operations.

Study: Biofuels increase, rather than decrease, heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

A new study from University of Michigan researchers challenges the widely held assumption that biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are inherently carbon neutral.

Contrary to popular belief, the heat-trapping carbon dioxide gas emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow, according to a study by research professor John DeCicco and co-authors at the U-M Energy Institute.

The water-energy nexus is not what you expect

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Earlier this summer, researchers at UC Davis confirmed what a lot of us already know — that saving water saves energy. The analysis from the UC Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency found that California’s mandatory 25 percent reduction in urban water use, adopted in May 2015 due to the ongoing severe drought, resulted in significant energy and greenhouse gas savings.

Why manufacturing will make or break the future of energy

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

From solar panels a decade ago to energy storage today, the history of clean tech is littered with capital-intensive concepts poised to radically alter the relationship between industrialized society and the environment.

But why do these widely heralded breakthroughs always seem to limp along so slowly when it comes to actually hitting the market? The dreaded “valley of death” between conception and commercialization is one increasingly recognized explanation, dooming novel technologies to relegation in never-ending pilot projects as follow-on investment lags.

For Mark Johnson, the Department of Energy’s resident innovation expert, the real problem often boils down to production. That is, not just inventing a new energy-centric technologies, but making sure those new tools can be reliably made in a cost-effective manner.

Women, There’s A Reason Why You’re Shivering In The Office

Read the full story from NPR.

He was probably about 40 years old, 155 pounds, white and wearing a suit. And he’s the reason why women are shivering at their desks in air-conditioned buildings.

At some point in the 1930s, someone defined “metabolic equivalents” — how much energy a body requires while sitting, walking and running. Almost a century later, the back-of-the-envelope calculations are considered a standard for many things, including air conditioning.

But using that metabolic equivalent could be unnecessarily ramping up energy bills during summertime, researchers say, and it’s time to plug in the right numbers so that air conditioning settings aren’t biased toward men, and fewer women are reaching for the sweater.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” says Boris Kingma, a biophysicist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. “So, if you put in the wrong metabolic rate, you get an answer which is of course not valid.”