Energy solutions could change the way we live - from one city's bold smart grid experiment, to radical home-building redesigns, and cutting-edge technology that could surround us in solar power no matter where we live. This week energyNOW! looks at energy innovations across the globe.
The Pecan Street Project
The smart grid conjures up images of controlling home energy use with iPhones and utilities communicating with customers in real time like never before. But across most of the country, the smart grid is more fantasy than reality - except in the Lone Star State.
Correspondent Josh Zepps reports from Austin, Texas on the Pecan Street Project, a smart grid experiment that could help prevent blackouts and change the way we all use electricity.
The Round House
Consumers don't need to wait for smart grid technology to go mainstream in order to save energy and reduce their electricity bills. Measures like adding insulation or using efficient appliances are well known, but what about changing the way we build our homes?
Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan tours a factory constructing prefabricated round homes that can help lower heating and cooling bills while reducing construction costs.
Solar Power From Nanotechnology
The solar cell, our main technology for capturing solar energy and turning it into electricity, has been steadily getting cheaper and much more efficient. What it hasn't been doing, however, is becoming more flexible or thinner.
Correspondent Josh Zepps checks out how nanotechnology is helping MIT researchers pioneer solar cells that can be printed on flexible plastic cells as thin and light as a sheet of paper.
Solar Ovens in South Africa
Renewable energy innovations generally appeal to high-tech aspects of life, and can often be taken for granted. But in less-developed countries, people's relationship with energy is much different and power doesn't come with the flick of a switch.
Chief correspondent Tyler Suiters visits South Africa to learn how one abundant energy source, the sun, is being used to improve lives and replace firewood for cooking through solar ovens. You can learn more about Sunfire Solutions' solar cooking products at sunfire.co.za
Goodbye and Thank You, from energyNOW!
In 2012, energyNOW! will be changing course. This week's episode (to air January 7th and 8th) will be our last 30-minute weekly show on Bloomberg TV.
Last year, the American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), the non-profit organization that has funded energyNOW! since the Fall of 2010, announced that it was restructuring its educational media program and would wind down its support for our weekly TV news magazine. In its place, however, the Foundation expects to sponsor a new multi-part TV series profiling energy innovators. The new show -- Energy Now: The Innovators -- will premier this Spring and will also be distributed by Bloomberg TV.
ACSF will also continue to maintain the energyNOW! website and provide free access to all the archived episodes, stories, and educational videos created since October 2010. In addition, during the run up to the new show, an energyNOW! team will continue to distribute news, contributor postings, and viewer comments via energynow,com and social media channels.
We'd like to thank each and every one of our viewers for letting us into your homes to provide independent broadcast journalism on America and the world's energy future. We hope you continue to be involved in this important conversation on our website and social media channels, and keep an eye out for more news soon about the launch of "Energy Now: The Innovators".