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Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

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Using less and saving more through ingenuity and efficiency.

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Better Batteries Might Hold Enough To Power Your Neighborhood

One of the nation’s leading researchers who’s trying to make batteries better is James Tour and his colleagues at Rice University. “Everybody’s investing billions. If you say millions they scoff at you,” Tour told News 88.7. Tour says there are three categories of things that need better batteries: portable electronic devices, electric vehicles, and a use [...]

NASA Satellite Will Improve Drought Forcasting With a Little Help From Texas

A satellite launched by NASA over the weekend could help people around the world tackle the challenges of drought. Researchers at the University of Texas will play a part in that mission that could also help forecast flooding and allow officials to better manage reservoir water supplies. The SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite that launched [...]

Copenhagen Turns to Two Wheels and Takes Off

Rain or shine, in the light of summer or the early afternoon darkness of winter, under heavy sleet, unrelenting winds or drifts of snow, people in Copenhagen just bike. They bike in fur coats, they bike in suits and ties. They bike old, they bike young. They wheel their kids around on a cargo bike [...]

How Denmark and Texas Became Wind Energy Kings

Standing on the shore of the Baltic sea a few miles outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, the view’s about what you’d expect. Rocky shore, grey horizon, a boat here or there. But this shore is special. Look up, and you’ll see — and hear — three giant offshore wind turbines cutting through the air. Each stands 500 [...]

What Spain Can Teach Texas About Solar Energy

About an hour’s drive outside of Sevilla, Spain’s old city, past grazing black-footed pigs and olive orchards, sits the Abengoa Solucar complex, and it’s truly a sight: Imagine cresting a hill and then all of the sudden seeing several large towers, over 500 feet high, with hundreds of beams of light striking them — solar [...]

How Underground Sensors In Texas Will Help NASA Predict Drought and Floods

Credit Photo courtesy of Richard Casteel Todd Caldwell works on a soil moisture monitoring station in Central Texas. Stanley Rabke’s family has lived and worked on their Hill Country ranch since 1889. Generations of Rabkes have struggled with the extremes of Texas weather, but one storm sticks out in Stanley’s memory: it came after the [...]

Listening For The Call Of The Quail

Helped by $6 million from the State of Texas, prairies west of Houston are being restored with native grasses to increase the population of Bob White Quail. There’s something missing these days around ranches and farms just west of Houston: the unmistakable call of the Bob White Quail. “Everybody knows that sound, “said Robert Perez, [...]

Can the Private Space Industry Stabilize a Boom-and-Bust Economy?

From KXWT News:  By early next year, alongside the sound of jets landing at the Midland International Airport, you might also hear sonic booms from space flights re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. This month, the private space company XCOR broke ground at the airport, where it plans to launch commercial space flights next year. Some hope this new [...]

Solar Power Shedding ‘Ugly’ Image in Houston

Global demand for solar panels could soon create shortages according to Bloomberg News. In Texas, costs for solar are dropping and the amount of power Texans now get from the sun is up over 30-percent in the past year. But while some housing developments are banning the roof-top solar panels, saying they’re unsightly, some homeowners in [...]

For Legacy Oil Family Facing Drought, It’s Conservation or Bust

From Marfa Public Radio: The latest drought monitor from the USDA shows about 60% of Texas still suffering from a lack of rain and strained water resources. Lately there’s been some concern brewing in West Texas about towns, cities or landowners selling their water to oil and gas companies, and the possibility of oil and gas development in the Big Bend. [...]

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