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The EERE Blog includes updates to current Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) projects, interviews with energy experts, and success stories about EERE’s technology offices and national laboratories. Subscribe to the blog email list.

August 14, 2015
Wave Energy Prize Narrowed from 92 Teams to Top 20

After an unprecedented 92 teams registered to compete in the Energy Department-funded Wave Energy Prize, today we announced the top 20 teams. These teams all passed through Technology Gate 1: providing a thorough technical submission detailing their device and its functionality.

August 13, 2015
Employee vehicles plugged into workplace chargers available at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. | Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
EV Everywhere Seeks Your Designs

In order to increase the public’s awareness of EV Everywhere, the Energy Department is launching an EV Everywhere logo contest, which will attract attention to plug-in vehicles.

August 13, 2015
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt at a charging station. Its battery is based on a cathode technology developed at Argonne National Laboratory, which will make the battery safer, longer-lived and more powerful. Photo courtesy of General Motors
EERE Success Story—Battery Cathode Developed by Argonne Powers Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Increasing the number of plug-in electric vehicles on America’s roads can help reduce our dependence on petroleum, improving our economic, environmental, and energy security.   But without research undertaken at Argonne National Laboratory, supported by EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), PEVs may have had a very different, slower introduction to the market.  Today, batteries in both the Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Focus EV use technology that was originally developed at Argonne.

August 13, 2015
Molecular biologist Dr. Amanda Barry at Los Alamos National Laboratory's environmental photobioreactor matrix, which simulates microalgal biofuel pond conditions. <a href="/node/1143116">Algal biofuels have big potential</a> for America's clean energy future. | <a href="">Los Alamos National Laboratory</a> photo
8 Questions for a Scientist: Molecular Biologist Dr. Amanda Barry

We chatted with one of the Energy Department's leading molecular biologists, Dr. Amanda Barry, who is working to create biofuels from algae at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

August 12, 2015
Caption: Inverters allow for the electricity produced by solar panels to be converted into electricity. Licensed photo courtesy of Lauren Wellicome.
EERE Success Story—SunShot Funding Spurs Standardized Testing for “Smart” Solar Inverters

Solar inverters are one of the most important components of a solar energy system. These power electronic devices convert the direct current produced by photovoltaic panels into alternating current – the type of electricity used by all of the appliances in your home. New technologies enable inverters to have advanced (smart) functions that serve to ensure the stability and reliability of the grid.

August 10, 2015
Getting It Right: Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Are Good Investments

Two forthcoming peer-reviewed, national studies from the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will provide fresh evidence that the federal Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a good investment. Their findings show that WAP’s energy efficiency upgrades are indeed cost-effective with energy savings exceeding the costs by a factor of 1.4.

August 10, 2015
Quiz: Test Your Wind Energy IQ

How much do you know about wind energy? Test your knowledge with our wind power quiz!

August 10, 2015
EERE 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report Finds Wind Power at Record Low Prices

2014 proved to be a strong year for the wind industry as the United States remained a global leader in wind energy.

August 10, 2015
Wind turbines are soaring to record sizes. The average rotor diameter of turbines installed in 2014 grew to 99.4 meters, up 108 percent since 1998-1999. | National Renewable Energy Laboratory photo.
Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Wind Power

Get the details on a few of the lesser known wind energy facts.

August 10, 2015
Small-Scale Distributed Wind: Northern Power Systems 100 kW turbine at the top of Burke Mountain in East Burke, Vermont. | Photo courtesy of Northern Power Systems.
Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Distributed Wind Power

Learn about key facts related to wind turbines used in distributed applications.

August 6, 2015
Paul Thomsen, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, announces the new Nevada Electric Highway Joint Initiative in Carson City, Nevada.  He was joined at the event by Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, left, NV Energy CEO Paul Caudill, and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval.  The Initiative received financial support from the Energy Department's State Energy Program.
Energy Department Supporting Nevada’s Effort to Increase Electric Vehicle Infrastructure along Major U.S. Highway

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy and the local utility NV Energy recently announced the Nevada Electric Highway joint initiative, an effort to facilitate electric vehicle (EV) transportation on U.S. Route 95. The roadway connects Las Vegas and Reno. To help offset costs for installing the charging stations along the route, Nevada will leverage funds allocated by the Energy Department’s State Energy Program.

August 6, 2015
EERE Success Story—Battery Manufacturing Processes Improved by Johnson Controls Project

Improving battery manufacturing processes can help make plug-in electric vehicles more affordable and convenient. This will help meet the government’s EV Everywhere goal of producing by 2022 plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average American family then as a gasoline-powered vehicle is for families today.  By reducing process time and eliminating a specific processing solvent, Johnson Controls recently made progress in this area, with support from EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Office.

August 5, 2015
Energy Department Graphic.
Teachers Go Back to School with the Energy Department

It's August, which means students and teachers are getting ready to head back to school -- and some teachers are going back armed with a better understanding of renewable energy to pass on to the next generation of energy leaders!

August 5, 2015
<em>The research engineers in Argonne National Laboratory’s Vehicle Modeling, Simulation and Control group who designed the Autonomie modeling tool are continuously investigating new ways to improve it. | Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.</em>
Models Move Vehicle Design Forward

These days, modeling software is as important to building a car as welding equipment. The Energy Department’s Vehicle Technologies Office is working to make these models as useful and accurate as possible so that manufacturers can build the next-generation of fuel efficient and advanced technology vehicles.

August 4, 2015
Entrepreneurs Celebrated at White House Demo Day

Today, President Obama is hosting the first-ever White House Demo Day, showcasing entrepreneurs who have launched innovative businesses across the country. The event will highlight a diverse set of entrepreneurs: people whose stories show why America needs to continue growing our innovation economy and make sure there's plenty of opportunity for everyone to succeed.

August 4, 2015
5 Energy Education Ideas to Spark Learning Beyond the Classroom

Did you know energy is everywhere? Like turning off the lights when you leave home, our everyday decisions impact energy use. This school year, help create energy awareness for America's youth with these teaching tips from the Energy Department.

July 30, 2015
The Energy Department's Lab-Corps pilot program is a national network that aims to unleash national lab researchers to successfully transition their discoveries into high-impact technologies in the marketplace. | Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL
Lab-Corps Program Helping to Accelerate Commercialization of Clean Energy Technologies from our National Labs

The Lab-Corps pilot program was launched last year to accelerate the transfer of new clean energy technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Laboratories into the commercial marketplace. Just six months into the program, we are already seeing some exciting results.

July 29, 2015
3 Reasons We’re Closer to an Algae Future than You Think

Algae shows great potential as a homegrown and renewable fuel source. Here's why it will be a big part of our nation’s energy mix sooner than you might expect.

July 29, 2015
The Azura device sits 30m out from the Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Oahu.
EERE Success Story—Catching a Wave: Innovative Wave Energy Device Surfs for Power in Hawaii

With support from the Energy Department and the U.S. Navy, a prototype wave energy device has advanced successfully from initial concept to grid-connected, open-ocean pilot testing. The device, named Azura, was recently launched by Northwest Energy Innovations at a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.

July 27, 2015
National Park Service Greens Its Rides with the Help of Clean Cities

The National Park Service is working with the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program to provide sustainable travel options, including using more efficient vehicles themselves and encouraging visitors to “green their rides” in the parks to minimize their contribution to climate change and air pollution.

July 23, 2015
The Self-Help Office Building in Wilmington, N.C., reduced nearly $11,000 in annual energy costs and increased the building’s valuation up to $275,000 after a green retrofit.  Photo courtesy of the Institute for Market Transformation.
What’s Green Worth?

The effect on a property’s value is usually one of the first things to consider before a building is retrofitted with green features. However, appraisers are often not experienced in working with green buildings. When an appraiser is not versed in investigating the costs and benefits of green strategies, they might miss some of the benefits. To address this concern, the Energy Department and the Appraisal Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to improve resources for appraisers who are involved with energy efficient buildings.

July 23, 2015
Energy Department representatives visit “Deep Orange 5,” the fifth version of Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research’s (CU-ICAR) industry-sponsored and student-led vehicle project. DeepOrange is a an innovative approach to engineering education, teaching graduate students a complete product development process. | Photo Credit: CU-ICAR
EERE’s Southeast Swing: Clean Energy Manufacturing in the Southeast is Booming

The Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI) recently held its Southeast Regional Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. The more than 200 clean energy manufacturing leaders attending the summit and our Assistant Secretary David Danielson’s visits to GE, Suniva, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, and the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council highlighted the region’s growing strength in building cutting-edge automobiles, high-efficiency natural gas turbines, advanced composites, and a number of other clean energy technologies.

July 22, 2015
Photo courtesy of San Diego Gas & Electric
Green Button Initiative Makes Headway with Electric Industry and Consumers

The Green Button Initiative provides American businesses and families with simple and secure access to their energy consumption data in a standardized format. The effort has grown significantly in size and sophistication since it launched in 2012, and now more than 150 utilities and service providers have committed to providing more than 60 million U.S. households access to their own Green Button energy data in a consumer- and computer-friendly format.

July 21, 2015
The photovoltaic array on top of the U.S. Department of Energy headquarters. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy)
EERE Success Story—FEMP Assists White House in Setting GHG Reduction Target for Federal Government

Earlier this year, EERE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) provided key data and analytical support to the White House Council on Environmental Quality to determine the government-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target. As the scorekeeper for federal agency energy performance data, FEMP is uniquely positioned to project the government’s future path in a clean energy economy. In its support to the White House, FEMP assessed the GHG mitigation impact of achieving the key goals for 2025 contained in the Executive Order (EO) including:

July 20, 2015
History of Air Conditioning

Learn about some of the key milestones in one of the most important inventions of modern times -- air conditioning.