Articles written by Greg Whiting

Sorted by date  Results 1 - 25 of 53

 By Greg Whiting    News    November 29, 2023 

Alternative energy growth will bring job growth as economy grows

In the 1880s, thousands of businesses in the U.S. depended on horse-drawn transportation. Carriage manufacturers, blacksmiths, horse breeders, stables and related enterprises were major employers. Of... Full story


Portable public solar power's future

The ongoing emergence of low-cost energy technologies is leading to the development of a host of interesting systems that aren’t directly related to the large-scale electric grid. Read this asking y... Full story


Part 3 on creating EV charging infrastructure in La Conner

The need for electric vehicle charging infrastructure will inevitably increase. People who don’t want EVs now because their initial cost is too high or their range is too low will re-evaluate that... Full story


High power EV chargers needed to keep keep tourists coming

Last week I talked about electric vehicle chargers in rural British Columbia. Charger availability there is still improving.’s map shows that the charger in Woss, BC (population about 200),... Full story


Tourist towns need EV charging stations to keep visitors coming

About a year ago, Jenelle and I drove from Victoria, on the south end of Vancouver Island, to Port Hardy, near the north end. We took a gasoline-powered car. We weren’t sure whether public charging... Full story


Don't let vampire and phantom electric loads suck your power out of your house

Pumpkin spice lattes, football, leaves starting to change color, the approach of Halloween … it’s time to talk about vampires and phantoms. Vampire and phantom electric loads, that is. Many... Full story

 By Greg Whiting    News    October 11, 2023

E-bikes just the option for local commutes

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the possibility of buying a second electric car. I’m still giving that some consideration. However, before making a final decision, I’m going to wait till the... Full story


Energy planning grants awarded to schools and fire department

The La Conner School District and the La Conner Fire Department have each been awarded a grant from the Washington state Department of Commerce. These grants will fund work required for each to...


Energy Star is efficiency seal of approval

Last time, I suggested buying Energy Star electronics to cut your energy bills. What is Energy Star and why is their work relevant? Energy Star is a voluntary program started by the U.S. Environmental...


EV costs are predictable; that cannot be said about gas powered vehicles

A typical home in western Washington uses about 10,800 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. If you add in an electric car, that will increase to about 14,400 kWh. Solar panels in western...


Smart electric meters offer way to cut costs

Electricity and natural gas are very unusual products. The end-use customers, homeowners, use these products without knowing how much they’ve used, or how much the products will cost, till they get... Full story

 By Greg Whiting    Opinion    August 9, 2023

Utilities are using lithium-ion batteries to bridge power gaps

Lithium-ion batteries have long been in the news because of their role in electric vehicles, but uses for this technology are expanding to the utility industry. Batteries that can be charged and... Full story

 By Greg Whiting    Opinion    August 2, 2023

Rechargeable batteries keep getting cheaper

When I started working on lithium-ion batteries, in 1993, Sony and Toshiba had introduced the first such commercially available batteries a couple of years earlier. They were mostly used in “the 4...

 By Greg Whiting    Opinion    July 26, 2023

Would you like to be paid to heat your water?

New solar and wind electric generators are being installed at increasing rates because their costs are declining and utilities are getting better at integrating intermittent generation into their...

 By Greg Whiting    Opinion    July 19, 2023

Do the math: Buying a new EV will cost less over time than maintaining your old car

About a month ago, I had to take my gasoline car into the dealer for routine maintenance. That cost about $2,000, and it needs more work. My car has been driven about 100,000 miles. It probably has... Full story

 By Greg Whiting    News    July 12, 2023

Off-the-grid living is possible – and affordable – electricity-wise

Given national and international news, you may be thinking that it would be great to build a self-sufficient cabin in remote northeastern Washington. My grandfather did that, about 120 years ago....

 By Greg Whiting    Opinion    July 5, 2023

Technological advances of solar panels, EV batteries improve efficiency, cut costs

Just 20 years ago, a kilowatt of new photovoltaic solar panel electric generation capacity cost more than a hundred times as much as a new kilowatt of natural gas capacity (although the difference...

 By Greg Whiting    News    June 28, 2023

100% renewable electricity means hydropower in Washington

First, a clarification: Last week’s headline said we can expect 100% solar and wind energy on the grid in the future. Although that’s likely to become feasible within the next 20-30 years, I...

 By Greg Whiting    News    June 21, 2023

One day, 100% of electric grid power will come from solar and wind energy

When I talk with groups about solar and wind energy, people ask: “The sun isn’t up all the time and the wind doesn’t blow all the time. How can solar and wind energy power a reliable electric...

 By Greg Whiting    News    June 14, 2023

Reducing home electrical use reduces costs

An earlier column emphasized understanding the numbers on your electric bill. Understanding what the bill means, however, doesn’t help much in understanding why you’ve used that much energy, nor d...

 By Greg Whiting    News    June 7, 2023

Natural gas stoves are bad for you and the environment

A few days ago, one of the people I was talking with at the coffee shop asked me whether a possible ban on gas stoves is real, or just another straw-man argument designed to rile up the public in...

 By Greg Whiting    Community    May 31, 2023

Skagit Valley Clean Energy Cooperative is making progress

The Skagit Valley Clean Energy Cooperative is a nonprofit cooperative. It was founded in La Conner about a year ago. Like any co-op (say, REI or the Skagit Valley Food Co-op), SVCEC helps people to...

 By Greg Whiting    Community    May 24, 2023

How to read your electricity bill

One of the most common complaints electric utility customers have about utilities is that utility bills are hard to understand. I looked at PSE’s website page, “How to read your bill.” Having...

 By Greg Whiting    News    May 17, 2023

Build energy efficiency savings into new home construction

Well-built houses last for centuries. Today’s decisions during construction of a new home can affect your grandchildren’s grandchildrens’ energy bills. If you were building a new house for...

 By Greg Whiting    News    May 3, 2023

Choices are in the future for consumers buying electricity

Ongoing work towards both energy independence and the transition to energy sources that don’t use fossil fuels are going to create choices for energy consumers that we haven’t had in decades, or e...


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