"In this dynamic global context, the challenges of developing an energy architecture that delivers a secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy supply are many and complex. In assessing the performance of countries across a number of key indicators, this study confirms just how various and sizeable those challenges are: no country achieves the full score of 1/1 overall, and no country achieves top performance on each measure. While there is considerable variation in performance between different countries, all face obstacles on the way to achieving lasting balance in their management of the three sides of the energy triangle: economic growth and development; environmental sustainability; and energy access and security."

Energy architecture performance from the World Economic Forum. Read he report

Citizen science, social impact data, human rights, agriculture saving & planning, and more - check out the inspiring work the newly announced 2013 PopTech Social Innovation Fellows are up to. 

This crazy-looking thing is a new kind of wind turbine —which happens to produce 600 percent more power than a conventional windmill. 

A cool map of global oil routes and choke points. It’s from the Washington Post of all places.

C.J. Huff and Vicki Arroyo on weather disasters

It’s hard for most of us to understand diasaster and resiliency quite the way C.J. Huff (PopTech 2012) does. He is the superintendent of Joplin Schools. He was also on the job on May 22, 2011, when the infamous tornado ripped through his home town. At PopTech 2012 Huffrecently discussed the compelling resiliency in Joplin that followed the apocolyptic disaster. Some of those lessons seem particularly relevant in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. “It is about tapping into the time, talent and treasure of our community,” he said while describing Joplin’s model for rapid, healthy recovery.

Huff was joined on stage by Vicki Arroyo (PopTech 2012), the executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown University Law Center. Arroyo  studies how cities can better design and maintain infrastructure to withstand weather-related catastrophes, another pertinent topic following Sandy.

And in a recent interview with PopTech, Arroyo highlighted a major question lingering in Sandy’s wake. Why are there so many more weather-related disasters these days? “Can we please talk about what is happening?” Arroyo asked.

Arroyo told PopTech that she hopes Sandy will finally catalyze honest talk about the real problem. “More scientists are feeling comfortable that we are seeing more super storms that are very consistent with climate change. It is just happening sooner than we expected.”

That trend seems to make irrelevant the bickering about whether a single storm is attributable to global warming.  “When you heat something up, you’ve got more energy,” she said about increasing ocean temperatures. “I think we really have a wake up call here,” Arroyo said about Sandy. “We are living in a different world. We have got to get serious about reducing our emissions.”

Read more…

Photo: NASA

It is not far-fetched to imagine that in 30 or 40 years, 50 percent of our energy will be spent on IT.
Eiríkur Hrafnsson calls his new company, Green Qloud, the world’s first green cloud computing company, bucking a frightening trend. 


This is the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant in Andalucía, Spain, which is a type of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant. It works by reflecting sunlight off of heliostats (sun-tracking mirrors, basically) onto a tower where salts are heated. These heated salts are then used to create steam, which in turn runs a turbine that generates electricity. It is also capable of producing electricity day and night thanks to a salt storage system that can keep the turbine going for 16 hours. For more, watch this video.

Having never even heard of this type of solar power plant until just the other week, I feel like I just took a leap into a future I didn’t even know existed. My mind = blown. And not only is this a really ingenious way of harnessing solar power, the whole thing just looks incredible too. Yay for environmentally-friendly energy without it looking like a complete and utter eyesore.

TAKING CHARGE will be a pocket guide to the emerging synergies of portable solar energy, cell phone technology and natural resource management in ten remote river communities on the Arapiuns River in Brazil’s Amazon region. 

Electricity flows from ocean turbine to grid for first time in western hemisphere

Tidal power went from theory to reality Thursday when, for the first time in the western hemisphere, electricity flowed from an ocean-based turbine to the electricity grid.

Watch now: Social critic John Thackara argues that the current human paradigm of endless growth is obviously unsustainable, so we should consider the brilliance of the Brazilian Jequitiba tree, which soaks up four tons of water a day. “I am a proper tree hugger, as well as a lichen hugger.”