References on Green Issues

Notes for a Green New Deal

  • Weather Perils
  • Ideas for a Cure
  • Grids
  • Solar, Wind, Etc.
  • Power Storage – a Green solution
  • Super-Grids

Back in March 2021, I wrote a study called Texas: Deregulated Electricity Hurts Its Customers.  (  This was mostly about the immediate failures.  I’d accumulated a lot of notes about wider issues, but these had got too big for the magazine.

I promised a Part 2, and this should appear shortly.  But this in turn was too small for a mass of notes on matters I found interesting.  So rather than waste the earlier work, I show them here as a web page.  Mostly as raw facts that you can make what you like of, but sometimes with comments.

Note that some of these are pay sites.  They may keep you out – the British Financial Times always does this.  Other allow a limited number of free articles.

If any have ceased to exist, please let me know.

Weather Perils

“A tale of two freezes: How the Texas power grid stayed on in the 1989 cold snap”.

“Climate change needs ‘immediate’ action or the world could face economic damage of $1.7trn a year by 2025, experts warn

“The economic damage may rise to about $30trn a year by 2075, according to estimates by 738 economists from around the world.”.

“Canadian Conservative party votes not to recognize climate crisis as real”.

They refuse to accept the authority of existing weather patterns. They resolutely demand that they go back to what their voters are used to.

“India calls out rich nations for setting net zero goals over robust short-term targets”.

“Oil firms knew decades ago fossil fuels posed grave health risks, files reveal”.

“’The heart of darkness’: neighbors shun Brazil over Covid response”.

“How Texas’ Power Generation Failed During the Storm, in Charts”.

“Australia floods: Thousands evacuated as downpours worsen”.

“Climate change: River flows affected around the world…

“Scientists have looked at data showing increasing river flows in parts of northern Europe, and decreasing river flows in southern Europe, southern Australia and parts of southern Asia.

“They have found evidence that the climate crisis has caused these changes.”.

Abnormal is the New Normal.

“Climate crisis: recent European droughts ‘worst in 2,000 years’

“Study of tree rings dating back to Roman empire concludes weather since 2014 has been extraordinary.  .

“Global heating pushes tropical regions towards limits of human livability”.

“Humans already have the tools to combat climate change but we lack leadership”.

“It’s not too late for Australia to forestall a dystopian future that alternates between Mad Max and Waterworld”.

Debate on the question-and-answer site Quora:

“‘I’m seen as the fool’: the farmers putting trees back into the UK’s fields”.

“Japan’s cherry blossom ‘earliest peak since 812’”.

“There’s a New Definition of ‘Normal’ for Weather”.

“Uganda climate change: The people under threat from a melting glacier”.

Ideas for a Cure

“Controversial test flight aimed at cooling the planet cancelled”.

“Turning down Earth’s thermostat with solar geoengineering…

“The geoengineering we talk about in the context of climate change falls into two very different categories: carbon geoengineering and solar geoengineering. The difference between the two is the promise they hold. Carbon geoengineering addresses the cause of climate change. It is when you take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it underground or try to convert it into something else we can use. But it’s expensive, complicated and slow.

“Solar engineering is cheap and fast, but it doesn’t do anything to address the causes of climate change. As opposed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the idea is to change the energy balance by reflecting sunlight back into space. We know that this will cool down the planet because there will be less energy coming in.”

“Ending over mending: planned obsolescence is killing the planet”.

“How to Clean Up Steel? Bacteria, Hydrogen and a Lot of Cash.

“With climate concerns growing, steel companies face an inevitable crunch. ArcelorMittal sees solutions, but the costs are likely to run into tens of billions of dollars in Europe alone.

“Few materials are more essential than steel, yet steel mills are among the leading polluters. They burn coke, a derivative of coal, and belch millions of tons of greenhouse gases. Roughly two tons of carbon dioxide rises into the atmosphere for every ton of steel made using blast furnaces.

“With climate concerns growing, a crunch appears inevitable for these companies. Carbon taxes are rising, and investors are wary of putting their money into businesses that could be regulated out of existence.” .

“Hydrogen is currently the only solution to decarbonize some industries, RWE exec says”.


“3 Companies Building the Next-Generation Energy Grid…

“It’s not only the grid in Texas. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the U.S. energy infrastructure a C-minus grade, saying that in the near term, ‘additional transmission and distribution infrastructure, smart planning, and improved reliability are needed to accommodate the changing energy landscape, as delivery becomes distributed and renewables grow.’”

“Diversity can prevent failures in large power grids…

“The U.S. is served by three ‘separate’ grids: The Eastern interconnection, the Western interconnection and the Texas interconnection, interlinked only by direct-current power lines. Any persistent deviation in frequencies within a region can lead to an outage.

“As a result, researchers are searching for ways to stabilize the grid by looking for methods to mitigate deviations in the power generators’ frequencies..

“Fed urges Texas to ‘winterise’ grid after $130bn storm damage…

“The Texas legislature is debating proposed rules in response to the storm that would require power plants to winterise their facilities and provide funding to cover the cost, with penalties for not doing so escalating to as much as $1m a day.

“The newly proposed regulations, part of a sweeping response to the storm, are similar to those that were recommended by federal officials after a similar cold snap caused widespread blackouts in 2011, but were never taken up by Texas state lawmakers or regulators.”.

“How the US can achieve resilient power grids and support EV deployment”.

“Hydro-Québec is a Crown corporation (state-owned enterprise) based in Montreal. In 2018, it paid CAD $2.39 billion in dividends to its sole shareholder, the Government of Québec. Its residential power rates are among the lowest in North America”.

“Texas electricity grid failure shows how microgrids offer hope for a better future”.

I can’t see that it solves the main problem.  It’s a familiar fantasy – ‘the people’ acting spontaneously will solve it all.  No, they mostly don’t.

“US Department of Energy Launches Design & Construction of $75 Million Grid Energy Storage Research Facility”.

“What We Can Learn From the Texas Weather Crisis About Design Resilience”.

“Where do we go from a crisis like the Texas winter freeze? 5 experts point the way.”.

“Why China, with same size of power grid, won’t suffer outage like in the US…

“Records show that the US is the country with the most blackouts among all developed countries: in 1965, seven states in the northeast suffered a sudden blackout; in 1977, New York had a power outage; in 1996, several states in the west had two blackouts; in 1998, the eastern coast saw a blackout; in 2003, the US-Canada integrated power grid lost power; in 2005, southern California had a power outage; in 2014, the northeast had a blackout.”(Global Times ).

“ERCOT was minutes from a ‘black start’ that would have killed power, cell signals in Texas for weeks”.

Solar, Wind, Etc.

“Bladeless wind turbine that vibrates to generate power could save more than 500,000 birds killed each year by spinning blades, experts say”.

“China mandates energy storage as it sets 16.5% solar and wind target for 2025”.

“EGEB: China leads the world in wind – and coal”.

“Good vibrations: bladeless turbines could bring wind power to your home…

“The bladeless turbines stand at 3 metres high, a curve-topped cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. To the untrained eye it appears to waggle back and forth, not unlike a car dashboard toy. In reality, it is designed to oscillate within the wind range and generate electricity from the vibration…

“Our technology has different characteristics which can help to fill the gaps where traditional windfarms might not be appropriate…

“These gaps could include urban and residential areas where the impact of a windfarm would be too great, and the space to build one would be too small. It plugs into the same trend for installing small-scale, on-site energy generation, which has helped homes and companies across the country save on their energy bills.”.

“Whitest-ever paint could help cool heating Earth, study shows”.

“How Kenya is harnessing the immense heat from the Earth…

“Kenya relies on geothermal steam for 38% of its power – a greater proportion than any other nation….

“How Texas solar helped meet winter storm challenges, and could go even further”.

“In a World of Big Wind, There’s Still a Place for Tiny Turbines”.

“In the current climate, nuclear power plants find it difficult to compete with cheaper natural gas and renewable energy generation meaning that many are forced to retire early with no short-term way of destroying nuclear reactors.

“However, the investigation conducted by AES-100 has revealed that nuclear plants could be used as a perfect component to produce green hydrogen whilst ensuring a stable power output and maximising efficiency.”.

“It may look rude, but this vibrating wind turbine is producing clean energy”.

“Moneypoint power station in Clare will be transformed into a green energy hub, where a range of renewable technologies will be deployed over the next decade with the capacity to power 1.6m homes…

“Under the plan, a floating offshore wind farm of 1,400MW will be developed off the coast of Clare and Kerry in two phases by the ESB and Norwegian energy company Equinor, formerly known as Statoil.”.

“More Compact and Efficient Vertical Turbines Could Be the Future for Wind Farms”.

“News analysis: ‘Forced labor’ lies won’t beat down Xinjiang solar firms”.

“Offshore Wind Could Meet 166% of Texas’s Electricity Demand”.

“Ørsted Unveils Plans for Large Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Project”.

“Portugal is going to have ‘at least two hydrogen valleys – industrial clusters for the production, distribution, export and use of green hydrogen on national territory – in the next few years’.”.

“Renewable energy listed for first time as one of Australia’s top infrastructure priorities”.

Australia still has a powerful Labor Party.  (Labor not Labour.)

“Semi-Transparent Solar Cells Can Power Greenhouses Without Stunting Plant Growth”.

“So Big It’s Boring: The Rise of Utility-Scale Solar

“Hundreds of gigawatts of utility-scale solar will define the shape of the rest of America’s carbon-free economy, says WoodMac’s Colin Smith.”.

“Success of nuclear reactor Hualong One suggests it can compete with wind and solar to drive China’s decarbonisation

“With the first Hualong reactor delivered on schedule, the costs have come down…

“China has a clear advantage over European rivals in the sector…

“China is the first country globally to commercialise the so-called third-generation reactors, which incorporated extra safety features designed to avoid the kind of disaster suffered at Japan’s Daiichi Fukushima

plant a decade ago.”.

“The Hottest Amenity From Developers? A Power Plant Made of Batteries.

“Charged via rooftop solar panels, the cells form a network that provides a building with backup electricity and that utilities can tap during peak periods…

“‘In the ’80s, people installed solar because they cared about doing the right thing … Now, solar and battery systems like the one at Soleil are like putting an A.T.M. in your kitchen that spits out $20 every month.’”.

“The stakes couldn’t be higher for America’s first major offshore wind farm”.

“Tiny Nuclear Reactors Can Save American Energy

“They pack 10 percent of the power of a full-size nuclear plant in just 1 percent of the space.”.

“Why Asia Will Lead The Energy Transition

“The region is ahead in new energy technology and demand growth”.

Great potential for wind farms on the West of Ireland.

“Bill Gates’s next-gen nuclear plant packs in grid-scale energy storage”.

“Nuclear Plant Closures And Renewables Increase Electricity Prices & Unreliability, Testifies Michael Shellenberger to U.S. Senate”.

“A controversial and polarizing figure,[11] Shellenberger’s positions have been called ‘bad science’ and ‘inaccurate’ by environmental scientists and academics…

“‘Troublingly, he seems more concerned with showing climate-denying conservatives clever new ways to own the libs than with convincing environmentalists of anything.’”  .

“Fusion processes require fuel and a confined environment with sufficient temperature, pressure, and confinement time to create a plasma in which fusion can occur. The combination of these figures that results in a power-producing system is known as the Lawson criterion. In stars, the most common fuel is hydrogen, and gravity provides extremely long confinement times that reach the conditions needed for fusion energy production. Proposed fusion reactors generally use hydrogen isotopes such as deuterium and tritium (and especially a mixture of the two), which react more easily than hydrogen to allow them to reach the Lawson criterion requirements with less extreme conditions. Most designs aim to heat their fuel to tens of millions of degrees, which presents a major challenge in producing a successful design…

“By firing particle beams at targets, many fusion reactions have been tested, while the fuels considered for power have all been light elements like the isotopes of hydrogen—protium, deuterium, and tritium. The deuterium and helium-3 reaction requires helium-3, an isotope of helium so scarce on Earth that it would have to be mined extraterrestrially or produced by other nuclear reactions. Finally, researchers hope to perform the protium and boron-11 reaction, because it does not directly produce neutrons, though side reactions can.”.

H-bombs work by having a fission bomb compress lithium-6 deuteride so that it fuses.  And normally the bomb has an outer layer of Uranium 238: common uranium that will fuse thanks to the flood of neutrons from the fusion reaction.  ( 

“China leads world’s biggest increase in wind power capacity”.

Power Storage – a Green solution

“Ammonia decomposition for hydrogen economy, improvement in hydrogen extraction efficiency…

“Ammonia has recently emerged as a liquid storage and transport medium that has shown promising stability for long-distance hydrogen transport…  Liquefied ammonia (NH3) can store 50% more hydrogen than liquid hydrogen.  When ammonia is decomposed at high temperatures, only hydrogen and nitrogen gases are produced, with minimal carbon dioxide emissions. Because over 200 million tons of ammonia is currently produced annually for industrial use around the globe, the infrastructure for its mass storage and long-distance transport already exists and can simply be re-purposed for hydrogen transport…

“The need for large amounts of heat has been a pressing issue thwarting the widespread adoption of ammonia for use in hydrogen transport and storage, however. The decomposition reaction through which hydrogen is extracted from ammonia can only proceed at high temperatures which requires high energy input. A catalyst in the form of a solid powder can be added during the decomposition reaction to lower the reaction temperature; however, existing ruthenium-metal-based catalysts are very expensive and have low stability, thus requiring regular replacement.”.

They may have a better catalyst

“Australians could be charged for exporting energy from rooftop solar panels to the grid”.

“Climate think-tank E3G has published a report exploring the use of hydrogen, which the government hopes to expand significantly as a potentially sustainable alternative to other energy sources…

“In particular, the E3G report … criticises government plans to scale up the use of both ‘blue’ hydrogen (produced by splitting natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide) and ‘green’ hydrogen (produced by splitting water by electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen). While green hydrogen requires a large energy input, blue hydrogen cannot be described as a zero-emission fuel source. Although it could be called net-zero if used in conjunction with efficient carbon capture and storage, there remain serious limitations in this technology..

By current market prices, Green Hydrogen is more expensive.

Price governed by Smart Money that figures it can move on before its selfish actions cause a disaster.

“Japanese researchers said they’ve made an important step toward making vast amounts of hydrogen using solar energy. The team from Shinshu University in Nagano studies light-absorbing materials to split the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water. Now they’ve developed a two-step method that is dramatically more efficient at generating hydrogen from a photocatalytic reaction…

“A handful of facilities can make ‘green’ hydrogen using renewable electricity to split water molecules, but the process itself is energy-intensive. If scientists can directly make hydrogen from the sun’s energy, they could bypass this expensive step.”.

“Over the past year, many energy companies—including some of the biggest oil and gas firms—have stated their intention and started developing projects involving blue hydrogen (hydrogen plus carbon capture and storage) and green hydrogen (hydrogen made of water electrolysis using electricity from solar or wind).”  .

“Renewables plus batteries offer Australia the same energy security as coal, research finds”.

“Scottish Renewables calls for storage ‘price floor’…

“While batteries provide tremendous flexibility over short time periods, we also need to be able to store large amounts of electricity for hours and even days.

“Pumped storage hydropower is a mature and trusted technology which is available now and gives us the ability to do that, but the current, fragmented design of the electricity market does not offer sufficient confidence to investors…

“This would allow more long-duration storage projects, including pumped-storage hydropower, to be built.”.

“Sodium-Ion Batteries Poised to Pick Off Large-Scale Lithium-Ion Applications

“Safe, lower-cost storage tech could find footholds in data centers, telecoms, and home and grid storage…

“Researchers have been promising to make sodium batteries viable for years. The technology might finally be catching up to its promise, with a couple companies now starting commercial deliveries…

“From a pure performance point-of-view, sodium-ion batteries are not attractive for portable electronics or electric vehicles… Lithium-ion batteries boast a higher energy density than sodium-ions, which means a compact lithium-ion will have a longer run time between charges. So far, sodium-ions have demonstrated about half the energy density of lithium…

“But sodium-ion batteries could give lithium-ions a run for their money in stationary applications like renewable energy storage for homes and the grid or backup power for data centers, where cost is more important than size and energy density. Based on currently available information, Abraham projects the cost of sodium-ion batteries to be about 10–20 percent less than lithium-ion.

“The biggest thing going for sodium batteries is their use of abundant, cheap, and benign materials. There is over one-thousand times more sodium than lithium in the Earth’s crust. It also costs less to extract and purify. Moreover, sodium metal oxide cathodes typically used in batteries—the anodes are carbon just like lithium-ion batteries—can be made from plentiful metals such as iron and manganese. Lithium-ion cathodes, by contrast, use cobalt, a metal with limited geological reserves and an iffy supply chain centered on a handful of countries. And other batteries such as lead-acid and nickel-cadmium contain toxic metals…  The main attraction of sodium is sustainability…

“Sodium batteries are also more stable and safe than lithium-ion. They have a wider temperature range, are nonflammable, and there is no thermal runaway—which can cause lithium-ion batteries to catch fire—under any condition.

Batteries With A Pinch of Salt

You could have a large battery in your own home, if you have space.  It would make money by letting the central generator store electricity when it is surplus and tap it when short.  And save you during power cuts.

But individual interest will never be enough.  The needs would need to be pooled via the state and public regulations.

“The batteries that could make fossil fuels obsolete…

“Driven by steeply falling prices and technological progress that allows batteries to store ever-larger amounts of energy, grid-scale systems are seeing record growth. Many of the gains are spillovers from the auto industry’s race to build smaller, cheaper, and more powerful lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. In the US, state clean-energy mandates, along with tax incentives for storage systems that are paired with solar installations, are also playing an important role.

“The mass deployment of storage could overcome one of the biggest obstacles to renewable energy – its cycling between oversupply when the sun shines or the wind blows, and shortage when the Sun sets or the wind drops. By smoothing imbalances between supply and demand, proponents say, batteries can replace fossil fuel ‘peaker’ plants that kick in for a few hours a day when energy demands soar. As such, widespread energy storage could be key to expanding the reach of renewables and speeding the transition to a carbon-free power grid.”.

“The Battery That Will Finally Unlock Massless Energy Storage…

“The main use case is for electric cars, where a literally massive amount of batteries take up a ton of room and don’t contribute to the actual structure of the car. In fact, these cars must be specially designed to carry the mass of the batteries. But what if the frame of the car could hold energy? “Due to their multifunctionality, structural battery composites are often referred to as ‘massless energy storage’ and have the potential to revolutionize the future design of electric vehicles and devices,” the researchers explain.”.

“The UK government recently announced plans to fund companies that come forward with new technologies for large-scale energy storage. But their incentives to build grid storage technology at the appropriate scale are falling short.

“By the end of 2020, only about 600 megawatts of battery storage was running on the UK’s grid. As renewables like wind and solar increase to two or three times their current levels by 2030, energy surpluses and deficits will become more extreme. Large-scale storage could help balance the peaks and troughs, but companies aren’t being paid enough to justify the cost of building new storage in the first place…

“Several companies are offering to pay owners of energy storage devices (like home batteries) a fee to manage their devices over the internet – instructing the device to charge or discharge to the National Grid when necessary. Consumers can charge home batteries with electricity from the grid when it’s cheap (normally at night), and use this stored energy instead of buying more expensive electricity from the grid during the day. Millions of home storage devices could eventually charge and discharge according to algorithms in order to minimise costs to the consumer. But without strategies and tools to handle the effects of storage distributed across millions of buildings and electric vehicles, costs could mount on the companies managing the electricity infrastructure and grid operators.”.

“U.S. Energy Storage Installations Up 183% In Q4 2020…

“Alongside rising shares of solar and wind power in the electricity mix, the U.S. is set to see increased energy storage installation as storage is critical to ensuring more solar and wind power generation.”

“World’s biggest coal company bets on solar power”.

“Emissions of Grid-Scale Storage”

“Because renewable sources like wind and solar power can suddenly change output with little warning, the ability to store intermittent power has become more important. Historically, pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES) has been the primary type of grid-scale storage. PHES involves pumping water uphill to a reservoir, and then allowing that water to flow back downhill through a turbine as needed.

“PHES still accounts for about 95% of all grid-scale storage, but that number has been falling in recent years as battery storage solutions have become more economical…

“‘We’re almost entirely piggybacking on the growth of lithium-ion battery technology, which is driven mostly by electric vehicles and consumer electronics’,”.


“Northeast Asia power grid could slash cost of green energy, study finds

“Regional network would enable long-distance transmission of renewable energy for about the same price as it costs to produce coal

“China, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea and Japan consume about a third of the world’s energy combined…

“With the exception of North Korea, the five nations have signed a series of agreements in recent years to connect their national power lines and coordinate electricity production and distribution…

“With the exception of North Korea, the five nations have signed a series of agreements in recent years to connect their national power lines and coordinate electricity production and distribution….

“Ultra-high voltage power lines are crucial to a greener future, but world leader China’s growing network has hit its fair share of snags…

“Expensive and difficult to build, UHV lines transmit energy at 800,000 volts and above, double the voltage of conventional high-voltage lines, allowing them to transmit up to five times more electricity at minimal energy loss along the way. They are seen as the answer to China’s energy imbalance: Whereas energy sources, including wind and sunshine, are mostly found inland, much of the country’s population lives toward the coast.”.

“Untangling the crossed wires of China’s ‘Super Grid’”.