We are on to part two of our look at the top energy stories for 2015. If you missed part


We are on to part two of our look at the top energy stories for 2015. If you missed part one, you can catch up by viewing here. If you would just like the cliff notes for any stories from part one:

10: Super-Group Join Forces For Sustainability
9: Microgrids and Smart Cities:
8: Tech Giants Dominate Energy Headlines
7: U.S. Cities Go 100% Renewable
6: Natural Gas Overtakes Coal:


Now we will delve into the top five:

5: Energy Grid Modernization Bill Passed


Many Americans have felt the impact of increased costs from their local utility company to “maintain” our failing power grid. These costs are bundled in to our existing service, and costs consumers millions of dollars annually, and act as a superficial band aid. This does not really address the problem of our need for a national overhaul of our electric grid infrastructure. An announcement which can be viewed as a major step in the right direction, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has approved the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015. The bill is aimed at promoting economic growth, and increasing jobs, in efforts to indirectly address the issue of improving our energy grid. There is still much debate on what role the federal or state level involvement will be, and what the ideal course of action is. However, the fundamental objective of addressing the problem, by creating policy in order to find a solution, will be an important step to shore up our energy grid. Over time, this should help by decreasing cost, while increasing reliability.

4: Technological advances


From a breakthrough in solar cell development, to artificial photosynthesis, there were some incredible advancements in energy technology in 2015. We have seemingly crossed a threshold where science fiction has developed into new science. Some of the headlines that were made over the past year, actually sound like they were made up. The U.S. Navy is exploring putting solar panels in space. Lockheed Martin is developing a fusion reactors that can fit in the bed of a pickup truck. A utility in Toronto is storing energy in under water balloons. These are some of the examples of truly innovative thought pushing the envelope of reality in 2015.

3: Anything Elon Musk


The man who has been called the real life Tony Stark, has dominated the news in 2015. From the introduction of the “Powerwall” energy storage unit, to the unveiling of one of the largest commercial buildings on earth, dubbed the “Gigafactory”, Musk has been on the cutting edge of renewable energy topics. This is not even mentioning that his company Tesla, which had been known for their electric car ingenuity, made a major announcement in 2015. Their plan to roll out the model 3 (which will be massed produced in the previously mentioned Gigafactory) should make electric cars almost as affordable as any new car (estimated price tag at $35,000). All in all, it was a good year for Elon.

2: Climate Summit


What will someday be looked back on as a day that started a monumental global development, December 12th became the day that the world decided to go green. In what would become the largest turn out in The United Nations history, the climate summit in Paris France became the stage where nations of all sizes and shapes pledged to do their part to move their respective countries towards zero emissions. While a global decarbonization plan could become one the biggest energy stories since we learned how to harness electricity, this was the first step towards making the ultimate story come to fruition.

1: Clean Power Plan


The number one story regarding energy in the United States in 2015 was easy to identify. On August 3rd of this year, President Obama and The Environmental Protection Agency announced the Clean Power Plan. This plan is designed to reduce carbon pollution from power generators, in efforts to effect climate change. While the end goal is one that very few would argue as admirable, the adverse effects have been felt by many. (Just ask Ohio). With many coal-fired generation plants closing, and capacity strained, the full effect of the policy will take a while to realize. Despite the implementation in 2015, this story is far from over.

And with that we have taken a spin through the major energy news stories of 2015. As we move into 2016, there are sure to be more ground breaking discoveries, and thought provoking policies to discuss. As for 2015, well it can be looked back at as a year when technology started to catch up with our imaginations.

I would like to take this moment to wish everyone a very happy end to their year, and a prosperous start to the new one!



Matt Helland

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