August 23, 2023
Building efficiency and electrification deliver half of buildings sector emissions reductions, with the other half attributable to power sector decarbonization Achieving ambitious U.S. federal and state carbon reduction goals hinges on rapidly accelerating the adoption of climate change solutions across all sectors of the economy. To date, research and policy efforts have largely focused on... Read more
August 23, 2023
Since early July, the Earth has sweltered under record-breaking heat. In the United States, from California and the Desert Southwest to Texas and Florida, a long-lasting heat wave in the triple digits has broken dozens of heat records – and counting. To mitigate the risks of living in extreme heat, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)... Read more
August 22, 2023
Across the United States, hundreds of microgrids provide power independently of regional electric grids. These facilities, which often include solar panels backed by battery energy storage, can help keep the power on locally while easing stress on the larger grid when demand is high or outages strike. A recent feature in The New York Times spotlighted microgrids in real estate development,... Read more
August 16, 2023
Updated data compilation from Berkeley Lab tracks operating and proposed plants Improving battery technology and the growth of variable renewable generation are driving a surge of interest in “hybrid” power plants that combine, for example, utility-scale wind and/or solar generating capacity with co-located batteries. While most of the current interest involves pairing photovoltaic (PV) plants... Read more
August 15, 2023
A growing number of states are increasing their attention to and emphasis on equity in utility regulatory decision-making. In order to guide state decision-makers in applying and incorporating equity concepts in regulatory processes, Berkeley Lab is pleased to announce the release of a report titled Developing an Equity Framework for State Regulatory Decision-Making. The report contextualizes... Read more
August 9, 2023
In rooms where smoking has taken place regularly, tobacco’s imprint lingers on indoor surfaces, even long after regular smoking has stopped. The leftover residues, known as thirdhand smoke, can be a long-term source of indoor pollutants. New research from a team led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) zeroes in on carpets as an especially potent... Read more
August 4, 2023
Mary Ann Piette, whose research has been foundational to improving energy efficiency of existing buildings and integrating flexible building technologies with the electric grid, has been appointed Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) of the Energy Technologies Area (ETA). The appointment, which took effect August 2, follows a national search. Piette has served as the interim ALD of ETA since... Read more
July 31, 2023
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing programs provide a mechanism for commercial property owners to finance energy improvements and can provide a variety of both private and public benefits. Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C. have legislation that enables C-PACE but many programs grow slowly and may take years to originate their first project.1 Berkeley Lab’s new... Read more
July 27, 2023
Plastic waste is a problem. Most plastics can’t be recycled, and many use finite, polluting petrochemicals as the basic ingredients. But that’s changing. In a study published today in Nature Sustainability, researchers successfully engineered microbes to make biological alternatives for the starting ingredients in an infinitely recyclable plastic known as poly(diketoenamine), or PDK. The... Read more
July 18, 2023
Researchers are hard at work on ways to make buildings more energy-efficient and user-friendly as part of net zero carbon emissions energy systems. That means things like windows and walls that take advantage of nature to heat and cool, better batteries to store and deliver energy when needed, and systems that can adapt to changes from the electrical grid. What would it look like to combine all of... Read more
July 10, 2023
Adapted from a news release by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. On June 28, 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign honored 17 K-12 schools and school districts for setting ambitious goals and applying the best practices available to save substantial amounts of energy from their facilities that also... Read more
July 6, 2023
New research from Berkeley Lab, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan draws insights from 54 interviews of residents, developers, and policy makers around seven large-scale solar projects across the U.S. Large-scale solar (LSS, defined here as ground-mounted photovoltaic projects ≥1 MWDC) has grown rapidly in the U.S., accounting for nearly half of new electric generating... Read more
June 29, 2023
Naïm Darghouth, a research scientist at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), recently returned from a yearlong international assignment helping to launch “Power Tunisia,” a $58 million initiative supporting Tunisia’s transition to advanced energy systems. The work is part of an interagency agreement between the U.S. Agency for International... Read more
June 28, 2023
We are pleased to announce the release of Berkeley Lab’s 2023 edition of U.S. State Renewables Portfolio & Clean Electricity Standards. The report provides an overview and status update on U.S. state renewables portfolio standards (RPS) and has been expanded to also cover 100% clean electricity standards (CES) adopted by a growing number of states. The report, published in slide-deck form... Read more
June 15, 2023
Wildfires have become increasingly frequent due to climate change, with record occurrences in areas not historically prone to them. In California, wildfires and regional power shutoffs have cost billions and taken lives. For some 46 million Americans living next to forests — at what scientists call the “wildland-urban interface” (WUI) — the risks of wildfire can be especially acute.... Read more
June 13, 2023
Recent ISO New England and New York ISO studies complete a U.S.-wide picture on interconnection costs amid dramatic growth in interconnection queues With the recent publication of interconnection cost analyses for ISO New England (ISO-NE) and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), Berkeley Lab is pleased to announce that our series of briefs analyzing interconnection costs and trends... Read more
June 12, 2023
The U.S. electric grid faces simultaneous, evolving pressures. Demand for power from the grid is increasing as people adopt electric cars and building energy is transitioned from gas to electricity. At the same time, climate change is driving more extreme weather. Events like the 2020 heat wave that led to rolling blackouts in California are relatively infrequent, but they are happening more often... Read more
June 7, 2023
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) recently hosted a summit to showcase the benefits of vacuum insulated glazing (VIG) — a type of highly insulated window glazing that utilizes a vacuum as an insulating layer between window panes — and the likely challenges preventing its widespread adoption on the market. A wide cross-section of stakeholders was present at the summit,... Read more
June 2, 2023
In the United States development of new wind and solar plants has outpaced development of new transmission. Transmission allows load centers to access electricity generated from low-cost resources in other areas. Congestion occurs when transmission limits are reached and can prevent low-cost resources (like wind and solar) from being fully utilized, limiting their market value and maintaining... Read more
May 30, 2023
Solid oxide electrolysis cells that operate at high temperature provide high performance and efficiency, and can make use of waste heat or steam from industrial or geothermal sources. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers are working to reduce the cost and increase the durability of electrolyzers and advanced pathways. The Science in Motion series from the Berkeley Lab... Read more
May 25, 2023
Decarbonizing the electricity sector will likely require a broad portfolio of clean energy technologies and development approaches. “Community renewables” has proven to be a popular development model that promises to broaden public support for renewable generation, but at present is largely limited to a single technology: solar. New research from Berkeley Lab seeks to leverage the success of... Read more
May 16, 2023
Two new papers by authors at Lawrence Berkeley Lab and US Department of Energy explore possibilities for integrating energy justice into policy and research Climate, environmental, and clean energy policy and research efforts in the United States are increasingly centering energy justice. Energy justice is “the goal of achieving equity in both the social and economic participation in the energy... Read more
May 10, 2023
After the Justice40 (J40) Initiative was established in 2021 by President Biden with the objective that 40% of benefits from certain federal investments go to disadvantaged communities, five scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) played a key role in mapping out how to achieve this goal in federal programs that focus on... Read more
May 9, 2023
A team of scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have now made significant headway in describing the complex dynamics in the ablation of copper. Their novel imaging setups, described in Science Advances, allowed the real-time visualization of plasma plumes, copper particles, and ejecta streaks created by the laser on the metal’s surface... Read more
May 9, 2023
When it comes to energy efficiency in California buildings, windows are a weak link. About half of the state’s homes still have inadequate, single-pane windows. A significant portion of these homes are in communities throughout the state that may have more vulnerable populations. Windows pose a key opportunity both to reduce carbon emissions from California’s buildings and to boost energy... Read more