News Archive:

Sam Miles contributes to a new assessment report, “Digitalising Innovative Finance: Emerging instruments for early– stage innovators in low– and middle-​​income countries”

For the report, click here.


Exec­u­tive summary

Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies play a sig­nif­i­cant role in unlock­ing the poten­tial of inno­v­a­tive financ­ing mech­a­nisms across the util­i­ties sec­tors in Africa and Asia. Across these sec­tors, access to cap­i­tal is a major chal­lenge, par­tic­u­larly when enter­prises have out­grown grant fund­ing but do not have the scale to tap into tra­di­tional invest­ment chan­nels. Tech­nolo­gies like dig­i­tal plat­forms, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI), blockchain and the Internet

of Things (IoT) can bring inno­v­a­tive financ­ing instru­ments to the energy, water, waste, san­i­ta­tion, recy­cling, mobil­ity and asset-​​financing sec­tors. How­ever, the scale of inno­v­a­tive finance has yet to reach its poten­tial, with only a small por­tion of avail­able devel­op­ment assis­tance and sus­tain­able pri­vate sec­tor cap­i­tal being mobilised through dig­i­tally enabled inno­v­a­tive financing.

There is lit­tle research that focuses specif­i­cally on the role of tech­nol­ogy in unlock­ing inno­v­a­tive finance in the util­i­ties ser­vice sec­tor in low– and middle-​​income coun­tries (LMICs). This research serves as a first attempt to cat­e­gorise the com­plex value chain con­nect­ing upstream financiers explor­ing inno­v­a­tive financ­ing instru­ments to the mid­stream dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy providers and solu­tions and on to the down­stream imple­menters of util­ity ser­vice deliv­ery and their beneficiaries.

The study uses novel con­cep­tual and ana­lyt­i­cal frame­works designed to cre­ate a com­mon lan­guage in iden­ti­fy­ing and analysing instances of dig­i­tally enabled inno­v­a­tive finance. The frame­work employs three dis­tinct lenses that cor­re­spond to the prin­ci­pal stages within the value chain con­nect­ing financiers to imple­menters. This approach acknowl­edges that the fron­tier of inno­va­tion is con­tin­u­ally expand­ing and context-​​dependent; what may be com­mon­place in one area can be con­sid­ered inno­v­a­tive when applied elsewhere.

To oper­a­tionalise this frame­work, each lens was defined through exten­sive desk-​​based research as well as con­sul­ta­tion with key stakeholders.Limitations to this approach are prin­ci­pally around the inter­con­nected nature of the dif­fer­ent finan­cial instru­ments and tech­nolo­gies which make cat­e­gories less dis­crete in real-​​world appli­ca­tions than in the­ory. Nonethe­less, the frame­work enables a com­plex land­scape to be bro­ken down into clear components.

Over 80 in-​​scope use cases were iden­ti­fied through this ana­lyt­i­cal frame­work. Use cases and their appli­ca­tion of inno­v­a­tive finance instru­ments are seg­mented into mature, scal­ing and emerg­ing cat­e­gories based on the num­ber of imple­men­ta­tion exam­ples doc­u­mented in the lit­er­a­ture, num­ber of coun­tries and sec­tors, and typ­i­cal vol­umes asso­ci­ated with the instru­ment. These use cases serve to con­cre­tise the

uni­verse of dig­i­tally enabled inno­v­a­tive finance instru­ments into a cat­a­logue of exam­ples where finance instru­ments, dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and the trans­ac­tion mech­a­nisms under­pin­ning them come to life in the real world. The study dives into five inno­v­a­tive finance instru­ments as case stud­ies — receiv­ables financ­ing, alt-​​lending, cli­mate, rev­enue– share mod­els, and digitally-​​verified RBF – as a means to fully explore the rela­tion­ship between dig­i­tal inno­va­tion and these evolv­ing models.

Key trends

Matur­ing use cases include social enter­prises’ use of finan­cial instru­ments such as alter­na­tive lend­ing, receiv­ables financ­ing and crowd­fund­ing. Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies dri­ving the growth of such use cases prin­ci­pally include advances in satel­lite imagery and dig­i­tal plat­forms that per­form ana­lyt­ics on trans­ac­tion and asset usage data enabled by IoT. Trans­ac­tion mech­a­nisms that fos­ter the growth of these use cases include tra­di­tional mobile money and pay-​​as-​​you-​​go (PAYG) sys­tems. The most mature use cases across the review were prin­ci­pally from the energy sec­tor, with emerg­ing inno­va­tion in the cook­ing space mir­ror­ing early suc­cesses of the PAYG solar light­ing prod­uct and solar home sys­tems (SHS) verticals.

Scal­ing use cases include those lever­ag­ing the growth of cli­mate finance, rev­enue shar­ing mod­els and digitally-​​verified results-​​based finance (RBF) mech­a­nisms. The dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies prin­ci­pally dri­ving these use cases are IoT sys­tems paired with dig­i­tal plat­forms capa­ble of per­form­ing ver­i­fi­ca­tion ana­lyt­ics, increas­ingly lever­ag­ing AI, and dig­i­tal ledger tech­nolo­gies. Trans­ac­tion mech­a­nisms that fos­ter these mod­els include mass-​​payout elec­tronic pay­ment inte­gra­tions into dig­i­tal plat­forms, as
well as embed­ded finance mech­a­nisms. Use cases exhibit­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of scal­ing are largely focused on agritech and pro­duc­tive use asset– lend­ing, par­tic­u­larly in the vehi­cle financ­ing space.

Emerg­ing use cases include social or envi­ron­men­tal cli­mate finance co– ben­e­fits mon­eti­sa­tion, impact bonds and
var­i­ous appli­ca­tions of dig­i­tal tokens and cryp­tocur­ren­cies. These use cases increas­ingly lever­age inno­va­tions in dig­i­tal iden­tity ver­i­fi­ca­tion like bio­met­rics and chat­bots, as well as dig­i­tal ledger tech­nolo­gies includ­ing smart con­tracts. Ledger tech­nolo­gies are par­tic­u­larly well rep­re­sented in the trans­ac­tion mech­a­nisms under­pin­ning emerg­ing use cases. Emerg­ing use cases were iden­ti­fied across sec­tors, with dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies sur­fac­ing as par­tic­u­larly promi­nent in use cases focused on the co-​​benefits of cli­mate finance.

Accel­er­at­ing adoption

Screenshot 2023-10-19 at 2.53.05 PM

Across the use cases con­sid­ered, the most advanced and inno­v­a­tive organ­i­sa­tions have pio­neered a spe­cific tech­nol­ogy, instru­ment or busi­ness model, lay­er­ing on addi­tional inno­va­tions with time. Enter­prises or util­ity ser­vice providers aim­ing to lever­age dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to unlock inno­v­a­tive finance instruments

should mas­ter the tech­nolo­gies that pro­duce tan­gi­ble value in their sec­tor, and con­sider what oppor­tu­ni­ties are offered by off-​​the-​​shelf solu­tions providers, par­tic­u­larly for IoT plat­forms, satel­lite imagery pro­cess­ing or blockchain solutions.

The inter­sec­tion of cli­mate and fin­tech finance is an emerg­ing macro trend that will likely impact the land­scape of util­ity ser­vice providers. Smart­phone pen­e­tra­tion and increas­ing matu­rity in satel­lite imagery, IoT plat­forms, blockchain and AI are cre­at­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for util­ity ser­vice imple­menters to advance their digi­ti­sa­tion jour­neys. Trends in mobile money inter­op­er­abil­ity and cross– bor­der con­nec­tiv­ity are also poised to unlock addi­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties for build­ing on PAYG mod­els across Africa and Asia, par­tic­u­larly for receiv­ables finance and cli­mate finance.

Util­ity ser­vice enter­prises need to recog­nise the value of digi­ti­sa­tion in lever­ag­ing inno­v­a­tive finance. Digi­ti­sa­tion processes typ­i­cally begin with a desire to improve oper­a­tions, with inno­v­a­tive finance oppor­tu­ni­ties often emerg­ing as a byprod­uct. Devel­op­ing a sector-​​specific under­stand­ing of which tech­nolo­gies are best suited to improv­ing oper­a­tions is often the first step towards tap­ping into the most appro­pri­ate inno­v­a­tive finance mechanisms.

Financiers across the impact-​​return spec­trum need to lever­age the data-​​sharing oppor­tu­ni­ties unlocked by dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to gen­er­ate sec­tor stan­dards. The use of inno­v­a­tive finance spe­cific to the util­i­ties sec­tor is poorly char­ac­terised in the avail­able lit­er­a­ture. Grant, equity and debt financiers can lever­age the expo­nen­tial increase

in data gen­er­ated by util­ity ser­vice providers to develop and share sector-​​specific bench­marks that can gen­er­ate, bench­mark and socialise both com­mer­cial and impact indicators.

Global cor­po­ra­tions need to sup­port trans­par­ent, and acces­si­ble finan­cial inter­me­di­aries and instru­ments that can effec­tively allo­cate impact– ori­ented cap­i­tal flows. Increased atten­tion on cor­po­rate cli­mate and ESG impact met­rics means that cor­po­ra­tions need to drive dig­i­tally enabled mech­a­nisms that can enable stan­dard­ised, timely, and reli­able impact data.

Mobile net­work oper­a­tors (MNOs) have a key role to play across the land­scape of use cases. Increased atten­tion to util­ity ver­ti­cals rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­nity for oper­a­tors to develop addi­tional rev­enue streams and move towards a posi­tion­ing as a tech­nol­ogy part­ner for organ­i­sa­tions in the ecosys­tem. Laser-​​focused atten­tion on facil­i­tat­ing third-​​party access to mobile money inte­gra­tions across mar­kets can addi­tion­ally sup­port util­ity ser­vice providers’ abil­ity to digi­tise oper­a­tions in their financ­ing journeys.

Part­ner­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties high­lighted through the land­scape empha­sise the need for blended finance. Devel­op­ment financiers and impact– ori­ented investors can unlock new pri­vate cap­i­tal by de-​​risking invest­ments into tech­nol­ogy– enabled sec­tors through guar­an­tee mech­a­nisms and con­ces­sional forms of invest­ment. Such part­ner­ships rep­re­sent the oppor­tu­nity to include novel play­ers like local banks and pub­lic agen­cies in pio­neer­ing oth­er­wise poorly under­stood finan­cial instru­ments across new geographies.

Achiev­ing an inflec­tion point in inno­v­a­tive finance using tech­nol­ogy will require ded­i­cated efforts in break­ing down silos across the invest­ment land­scape. The returns on invest­ing in dig­i­tal inno­va­tion can take years to be realised, and typ­i­cally require time and effort to under­stand for those not already immersed. This report serves to cap­ture some of the most sig­nif­i­cant inter­sec­tions of tech­nol­ogy and finance trends that will guide the needed deploy­ment of climate-​​resilient, pro– poor cap­i­tal in the util­ity ser­vice sec­tors in the com­ing decade.


US, China [can] cooperate on green energy in rural areas

For the orig­i­nal click here, or nav­i­gate to China Daily:



US, China coop­er­ate on green energy in rural areas

By MINGMEI LI in New York | Xinhua | 

Inno­va­tion in rural area-​​green energy devel­op­ment and boost­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion between the United States and China in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy are being empha­sized at a “smart vil­lage” forum.

More than 50 experts, pro­fes­sors, local entre­pre­neurs, envi­ron­men­tal and social orga­ni­za­tions from many coun­tries are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Insti­tute of Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tron­ics Engi­neers Smart Vil­lage Forum (ISV) in Shanxi province on Sun­day and Monday.

Par­tic­i­pants in the forum, titled “Green Low-​​Carbon and Smart Vil­lage”, dis­cussed envi­ron­men­tal gov­er­nance top­ics such as achiev­ing energy tran­si­tion, using advanced tech­nol­ogy to assist poverty-​​stricken regions glob­ally in access­ing afford­able and clean energy, improv­ing energy effi­ciency, and pro­mot­ing green and sus­tain­able development.

A new demon­stra­tion project in Changzhi, a city in south­east Shanxi province, was fea­tured at the forum, show­cas­ing the cur­rent progress and prac­ti­cal results achieved by ISV. The project has effec­tively incor­po­rated solar pho­to­voltaic power and clean-​​heating tech­nolo­gies and prod­ucts for residents.

The ISV work­ing group has part­nered with lead­ing Chi­nese and inter­na­tional higher-​​education insti­tu­tions to cre­ate energy mod­els and projects suited to spe­cific local con­di­tions in other cities such as Chongqing, Gansu and Heilongjiang.

Daniel Kam­men, a Nobel Peace Prize lau­re­ate and energy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, and his lab­o­ra­tory, have worked closely with schol­ars and stu­dents from Tsinghua Uni­ver­sity, Chongqing Uni­ver­sity and North China Elec­tric Power Uni­ver­sity to research renew­able energy con­ser­va­tion and intel­li­gent mod­els from an aca­d­e­mic perspective.


We develop math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els of the grid. There’s lots of inter­est­ing physics. There’s lots of inter­est­ing sci­ence. My part­ner­ships in China have been very pro­duc­tive,” Kam­men told China Daily. “Low-​​cost solar, bet­ter bat­ter­ies and smart sen­sors. We build mod­els that become real. My lab­o­ra­tory is very much based around not just basic sci­ence, but also the mis­sion of decar­boniz­ing the power grid and mak­ing our econ­omy green.

Just like the ten­sions that existed between the Soviet Union and the US over pol­i­tics and geopol­i­tics in the ‘70s and ‘80s, one les­son that I think sci­en­tists learned on both sides, both in the Soviet Union and in the US, is that we need to keep the sci­en­tific chan­nels open,” he said.

Kam­men said that sci­ence coop­er­a­tion and exchange are impor­tant at this moment. “The US and China are the G2. I like to say we are the G2 of energy, the two biggest con­sumers of energy and the two biggest pol­luters in terms of green­house gases,” he said. “There is no cli­mate solu­tion unless the US and China find ways to work through their differences.”

This is a tech­nol­ogy exchange and a global need. We are work­ing on clean energy under cli­mate change and ful­fill­ing the need for decar­boniza­tion,” said Xiaofeng Zhang, the vice-​​president of ISV and pres­i­dent of Global Green Devel­op­ment Alliance.

The ISV has extended its efforts not only within China but also across diverse regions, includ­ing Africa, Latin Amer­ica, South Asia and North Amer­ica, with the pri­mary focus on deliv­er­ing eco-​​friendly and cost-​​effective energy solu­tions to under­priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ties who have lim­ited access to envi­ron­men­tal resources.

We are doing more than only energy trans­fer­ring, but also inter­net, elec­tri­cal machin­ery, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and telemed­i­cine. We intro­duce all of these based on the community’s needs,” said Rajan Kapur, the pres­i­dent of ISV. “We ask the com­mu­nity what they want to do, and based on that, we tell them what tech­nol­ogy might be appro­pri­ate, what tech­nol­ogy can be locally sourced.”

ISV is also col­lab­o­rat­ing with Chi­nese local com­pa­nies and organizations.

It is also a business-​​development coop­er­a­tion, because when you take tech­nol­ogy and intro­duce it into soci­ety, you can­not just drop it over there,” he said. “The capac­ity does not exist to use the tech­nol­ogy; the infra­struc­ture does not exist. So we also help with the busi­ness mod­el­ing, the gov­er­nance of the enter­prises that get set up,” he said.

Kapur said that what they are try­ing to do is to have a long-​​term impact, and ISV has not only cre­ated sci­en­tific and busi­ness mod­els in those regions but also has deployed sup­port­ive equip­ment for more than 20 or 30 years.

He empha­sized that ISV’s ulti­mate objec­tive is to ensure afford­able and clean energy access for 1 bil­lion peo­ple world­wide through tech­nol­ogy and coop­er­a­tion between the US and China.

Addi­tion­ally, ISV expects to lever­age its resources to assist local com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses in achiev­ing sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth and region­wide improvements.

What we should remem­ber is that it is advanc­ing tech­nol­ogy for all of human­ity,” Kapur said.


Half of Americans can’t install solar panels. Here’s how they can plug into the sun.

Half of Amer­i­cans can’t install solar panels.

Here’s how they can plug into the sun.

No roof, no solar power.

That has been the dispir­it­ing equa­tion shut­ting out roughly half of all Amer­i­cans from plug­ging into the sun.

But sign­ing up for solar soon might be as easy as sub­scrib­ing to Net­flix. Scores of new small solar farms that sell clean, local elec­tric­ity directly to cus­tomers are pop­ping up. The setup, dubbed “com­mu­nity solar,” is designed to bring solar power to peo­ple who don’t own their own homes or can’t install pan­els — often at prices below retail elec­tric­ity rates.

Clean elec­tric­ity for less money seems a bit too good to be true. But it reflects a new real­ity: Solar energy prices are falling as pri­vate and pub­lic money, and new laws, are fuel­ing a mas­sive expan­sion of small-​​scale com­mu­nity solar projects.

Screenshot 2023-10-10 at 10.48.03 AM

 Find­ing a sub­scrip­tion to one, how­ever, can feel like try­ing to score Tay­lor Swift tick­ets: They’re on sale, but only a lucky few can buy them. At least 22 states have passed leg­is­la­tion encour­ag­ing inde­pen­dent com­mu­nity solar projects, but devel­op­ers are just begin­ning to expand.Most exist­ing projects are booked.

At the moment, com­mu­nity solar projects in the United States gen­er­ate enough elec­tric­ity to power about 918,000 homes — less than 1 per­cent of total house­holds, accord­ing to the Solar Energy Indus­tries Asso­ci­a­tion, a non­profit trade group.

But as more states join, and the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s “Solar for All” pro­gram pours bil­lions into fed­eral solar power grants, more Amer­i­cans will get the chance.

Should you take it? I took a look.

        Solar pan­els on Barb and Ger­ald Bauer’s Min­nesota farm in 2021. (Jim Mone/​AP)
What is com­mu­nity solar?

While projects exist in most states, they are highly con­cen­trated: More than half are in Mass­a­chu­setts, Min­nesota and New York. These might be on a condo roof, or on open land like the 10-​​MW Fresno com­mu­nity solar farm, on a city-​​owned plot sur­rounded by agri­cul­tural land. Most are small: 2 megawatts of capac­ity on aver­age, about enough to power 200 to 400 homes.

Devel­op­ers tend to finance their projects through investors or banks, and sign up cus­tomers dur­ing con­struc­tion. If there are projects in your utility’s ser­vice area, you can sub­scribe to elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated by a cer­tain share of the project’s solar panels.

The elec­trons that ulti­mately flow into your home aren’t nec­es­sar­ily from your panel. They are fed into the local grid, which pow­ers house­holds through­out your ser­vice area. Most allow sub­scribers to start or can­cel their solar sub­scrip­tion at any time, or some­times with a few months’ notice. The renew­able energy mar­ket­place Ener­gySage and the non­profit Solar United Neigh­bors con­nect cus­tomers to com­mu­nity solar projects in their region.

Peo­ple gen­er­ally receive monthly cred­its for elec­tric­ity pro­duced by their share of solar pan­els. These are sub­tracted from their total elec­tric­ity bill or cred­ited on future bills. If cus­tomers pro­duce more than they con­sume, those cred­its roll over. If they pro­duce less, cus­tomers pay the dif­fer­ence. Sub­scribers on aver­age save about 10 per­cent on their util­ity bill (the range is 5 per­cent to 15 per­cent).

These eco­nom­ics are pro­pelling the indus­try to record heights. Between 2016 and 2019, com­mu­nity solar capac­ity more than quadru­pled to 1.4 gigawatts. By the end of this year, energy research firm Wood Macken­zie esti­mates, there will be 6 GW of com­mu­nity solar. And the Energy Depart­ment wants to see com­mu­nity solar reach 5 mil­lion house­holds by 2025.

The eco­nom­ics are strongly on the side of doing this,” says Dan Kam­men, an energy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley. “It’s now cheaper to build new solar than to oper­ate old fos­sil [fuel plants]. … We’re at the take­off point.”

                       Pho­to­voltaic pan­els at a solar field in White­wa­ter, Calif., in 2021.                                                                                            
                                                                  (Bing Guan/​Bloomberg)
Who should get it?

Com­mu­nity solar, also called “solar for renters,” is for any­one. But if you’re a home­owner, it won’t max­i­mize your savings.

On aver­age, sav­ings from com­mu­nity solar amount to about $100 per year for the aver­age ratepayer. Rooftop solar arrays may save home­own­ers more than $1,000 annu­ally, esti­mates EnergySage.

But it brings other advan­tages. It’s a sub­scrip­tion you can walk away from at any time with no upfront invest­ment. And your fixed rate or dis­count off pre­vail­ing elec­tric rates is usu­ally locked in for at least a decade. Res­i­den­tial elec­tric­ity rates, mean­while, have jumped about 17 per­cent since 2018.

The biggest ben­e­fit may be expand­ing access to clean energy to the roughly half of U.S. con­sumers and busi­nesses not able to install their own solar pan­els. “The great promise of com­mu­nity solar is it allows every­one to be part of the energy tran­si­tion,” says Bran­don Smith­wood of Dimen­sion Renew­able Energy, a com­pany that has financed more than 1,000 MW of solar projects, “and not feel they’re being left behind.”

How to buy

If you live in a state with a robust com­mu­nity solar mar­ket, sub­scrib­ing is easy.

Mar­ket­places like Ener­gySage aggre­gate projects sign­ing up new sub­scribers. I typed in a Zip code in St. Paul, Minn., a hotbed of com­mu­nity solar activ­ity, and was pre­sented with six projects offer­ing sav­ings of $68 to $135 per year, along with 10 tons of green­house gases.

The Ener­gySage com­mu­nity solar mar­ket­place. (EnergySage/​TWP)

The mar­ket­place allows you to quickly com­pare details such as fees, loca­tions and billing. Once I selected a project, I could cre­ate an account, link this to my util­ity and start a subscription.

To get the best terms, say project devel­op­ers and non­profit groups, you should look for con­tracts that uphold a few key terms:

  • Get a dis­counted elec­tric­ity rate: Com­mu­nity solar projects tend to offer 5 per­cent to 15 per­cent off pre­vail­ing elec­tric­ity rates.
  • Ensure you can can­cel any time: Sell­ers should allow you to can­cel your sub­scrip­tion imme­di­ately or within a few months to final­ize cred­its on your bill.
  • Avoid can­cel­la­tion fees: Choose a plan that doesn’t force you to pay if you want to end your subscription.
  • Source close to your home: Ide­ally, projects should be within 10 or 15 miles of where you live, says Jeff Cramer, CEO of the Coali­tion for Com­mu­nity Solar Access. This ensures that you decar­bonize your local grid.

For mil­lions of peo­ple liv­ing in places with abun­dant com­mu­nity solar such as Min­nesota, Col­orado, New York and Mass­a­chu­setts, find­ing projects is rel­a­tively easy.

But I live in Cal­i­for­nia, where the mar­ket has stag­nated amid unfa­vor­able poli­cies and fierce oppo­si­tion from util­i­ties. While that may change — Cal­i­for­nia, like many other states, is poised to enact poli­ciesenabling more com­mu­nity solar — I need to buy elec­tric­ity now.

I still have options — they’re just not as attrac­tive. Green power plans, or retail elec­tric­ity plans sold by third par­ties in about 20 states, are often pricier, and most don’t finance new renew­ables directly since they often just buy renew­able energy cred­its from exist­ing projects.

Com­mu­nity choice aggre­ga­tion is another one. Cities or local gov­ern­ments buy power inde­pen­dently for local res­i­dents and busi­nesses, and rely on util­i­ties to dis­trib­ute the elec­tric­ity, which is often cleaner than the stan­dard mix. CCA can be less expen­sive, but not always. It served about 5 mil­lion cus­tomers in 10 states in 2020, accord­ing to the EPA.

In the end, I signed up for CCA. It was cheaper than my local utility’s stan­dard rate. I paid a small monthly pre­mium of about $3 to source 100 per­cent green power.

But if com­mu­nity solar comes to town, I look for­ward to sub­scrib­ing to my own solar pan­els — and pay­ing less.

ERG COLLOQUIUM — The Power of Health: Accelerating the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

—————————————————————-ERG Col­lo­quium————————————————————

Sep­tem­ber 20, 2023

Loca­tion: 141 Gian­nini Hall, Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley

Time: 16:00 — 17:30 PDT

Title: The Power of Health: Accel­er­at­ing the 2030 Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals

Sum­mary: Clean energy is under­go­ing a cost and per­for­mance rev­o­lu­tion, and health, social andgender-​​justice crises across Africa are explod­ing. With that back­ground, how do we rapidlyand with resilience accel­er­ate progress on the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals? To explorethis ques­tion on basic the­o­ret­i­cal and very prac­ti­cal applied grounds, HETA, (Health­Elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Alliance) has emerged as a new tool. This talk will­ex­plore the early evo­lu­tion and fram­ing ideal of this clean energy-​​health-​​gender nexus. Wewill also cover HETA+, the inte­gra­tion of indige­nous knowl­edge and tra­di­tional med­i­cine intothis via a large-​​scale ‘pilot’ learn­ing project that was advanced sig­nif­i­cantly last week at theAfrica Cli­mate Sum­mit in Nairobi, Kenya.

Screenshot 2023-09-19 at 4.41.50 PM

Why what happened to Oppenheimer then is relevant now

Timed for pub­li­ca­tion with the release of the movie Oppen­heimer, we pub­lished an arti­cle on pub­lic ser­vice by sci­en­tists, a the I-​​M-​​P-​​E-​​A-​​C-​​H let­ter when Prof. Kam­men left the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion, a piece in The Bul­letin of the Atomic Sci­en­tists, is now avail­able (open access):

Oppenheimer Movie Poster–07/why-what-happened-to-oppenheimer-then-is-relevant-now/

The full col­lec­tion of arti­cles is online at:–07/


To down­load a pdf of the arti­cle: click here.

Screenshot 2023-08-03 at 2.06.52 PM


From Sun to Sustainability: The Journey of Solar Panel Recycling



The grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of solar pan­els has brought atten­tion to a crit­i­cal issue: the chal­lenge of recy­cling these devices at the end of their lifespan.
Cal­i­for­nia has become a sig­nif­i­cant hub for solar panel instal­la­tions, lead­ing the way in the adop­tion of solar energy within the United States.
With a cur­rent installed capac­ity of over 11,000 MW or the amount of elec­tric­ity that would power Los Ange­les County, the state has embraced sus­tain­able prac­tices and played a piv­otal role in pro­mot­ing clean energy solutions.

How­ever, the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of solar pan­els has brought atten­tion to a crit­i­cal issue: the chal­lenge of recy­cling these devices at the end of their lifespan.

As the United States is pro­jected to dom­i­nate solar power in North Amer­ica by 2030, with an esti­mated capac­ity of 240 gigawatts, con­cerns are emerg­ing about the poten­tial accu­mu­la­tion of solar waste. Experts antic­i­pate that by 2030, between 170,000 and 1 mil­lion met­ric tons of solar panel waste may be generated.

Ensur­ing proper man­age­ment and recy­cling of solar pan­els is essen­tial to mit­i­gate the envi­ron­men­tal impact of this grow­ing waste stream.

Cal­i­for­nia, along with other states and the solar indus­try, is actively work­ing to develop ways to recover the valu­able mate­ri­als from decom­mis­sioned solar pan­els and min­i­mize the dis­posal of haz­ardous components.

Efforts are under­way to estab­lish ded­i­cated recy­cling facil­i­ties and cre­ate stan­dard­ized processes for han­dling solar panel waste. Col­lab­o­ra­tion between man­u­fac­tur­ers, recy­clers, and reg­u­la­tory bod­ies is cru­cial to address the chal­lenges asso­ci­ated with recy­cling solar pan­els effec­tively. Devel­op­ing effi­cient recy­cling meth­ods will not only help reduce the envi­ron­men­tal foot­print of solar energy but also ensure the long-​​term sus­tain­abil­ity of this renew­able energy source.

By address­ing the issue of solar panel recy­cling, Cal­i­for­nia and the broader solar indus­try can pave the way for respon­si­ble and envi­ron­men­tally con­scious prac­tices, ensur­ing that the growth of solar energy aligns with sus­tain­able waste man­age­ment principles.

Climate Change is an Energy Problem. Here’s How We Solve It.

For the Cal­i­for­nia Mag­a­zine arti­cle, click here.


Count on come­di­ans to nail the zeitgeist.

I’m think­ing of comics like Marc Maron, whose act riffs off exis­ten­tial pain points like mor­tal­ity, anti­semitism, the delam­i­nat­ing geopo­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, and, of course, that multi­gi­ga­ton car­bon ele­phant in the room, cli­mate change.

The rea­son we’re not more upset about the world end­ing envi­ron­men­tally, I think, is that, you know, all of us in our hearts really know that we did every­thing we could,” Maron dead­pans. “We brought our own bags to the super­mar­ket,” he says, then pauses a few beats.

Yeah, that’s about it.”

No sur­prise that come­di­ans are able to play our eco-​​dread for yuks. Com­edy is often rooted in the fer­tile manure of uncom­fort­able truths: we laugh so we don’t sob. And that’s all fine and good; laughter’s a good anti­dote to the malaise that comes from doom­scrolling our news­feeds day in, day out.

But are we really ready to throw in the towel and laugh our­selves into obliv­ion? And is Maron cor­rect? Have we really done noth­ing to con­front our fore­most envi­ron­men­tal cri­sis? Hardly. True, we haven’t yet reversed the upward trend in green­house gas emis­sions, and the chal­lenge of tran­si­tion­ing away from fos­sil fuels often seems insur­mount­able. Is it, though?

Accord­ing to Berke­ley experts inter­viewed for this story, there’s rea­son for hope that we’ll make it through the bot­tle­neck yet. The tech­nol­ogy is already here and improv­ing all the time. It won’t be easy, but it is doable. Now, let’s see how:


a statue of a man holding up a disco ball

If you’re look­ing for a peg to hang your hopes on, start with energy eco­nom­ics and, in par­tic­u­lar, the price of solar pan­els. Costs have dropped by nearly 90 per­cent since 2009, dri­ven by both improved tech­nol­ogy and global pro­duc­tion (par­tic­u­larly from China). In 1976, solar elec­tric­ity cost $106 a watt; today, it costs less than 50 cents per watt. Bot­tom line: Solar is now com­pet­i­tive with fos­sil fuels as a means of energy production.

While solar still only accounts for 3.4 per­cent of domes­tic energy con­sump­tion, pro­duc­tion has been grow­ing by more than 20 per­cent annu­ally over the past five years, and likely would have been higher if not for ship­ping and sup­ply chain dif­fi­cul­ties stem­ming from the pandemic.

Pro­duc­tion isn’t every­thing, how­ever. For wide­spread adop­tion, an energy source must be avail­able on demand. And it’s here that fos­sil fuels have a big leg up. Nat­ural gas or coal can be burned at any time to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity as required. Solar pan­els pro­duce only when the sun shines. Stor­ing ade­quate energy for later use—i.e., at night or on cloudy days—has long posed a major obstacle.

Solar pro­duc­tion has been grow­ing by more than 20 per­cent annu­ally over the past five years, and likely would have been greater but for the pandemic.

Not any­more, says Daniel Kam­men, the found­ing direc­tor of Cal’s Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory and a pro­fes­sor in the Energy and Resources Group and the Gold­man School of Pub­lic Pol­icy. A coor­di­nat­ing lead author of the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change since 1999, he shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

I don’t see stor­age as a major prob­lem at this point,” Kam­men says. “It’s not a sin­gle break­through that makes me think that way, but more that we’re see­ing the same trend in price and per­for­mance for stor­age that we saw with pho­to­voltaics. A vari­ety of approaches are com­ing to mar­ket, and they’re scal­ing really fast. Things that used to take sev­eral years to develop now take a year, and that’s almost cer­tain to continue.”

The stor­age of the future will serve two dif­fer­ent sec­tors, observes Kam­men: trans­porta­tion (think elec­tric vehi­cles) and every­thing else (homes, office build­ings, fac­to­ries, etc.).


a plug cord making the shape of a car

From a cli­mate change point of view, an elec­tri­fied vehi­cle fleet is desir­able because it dove­tails nicely with a green elec­tric grid—i.e., one fed by sus­tain­able energy sources. Cur­rently, cars burn­ing gaso­line or diesel spew about 3 giga­tons of car­bon into the atmos­phere each year—about 7 per­cent of total human-​​created CO² emis­sions. Just elec­tri­fy­ing roughly a third of China’s vehi­cle fleet could slash car­bon emis­sions by a giga­ton a year by 2040. So there’s a lot at stake with elec­tric vehi­cles, and every­thing con­sid­ered, Kam­men is pretty san­guine about their progress.

It’s really been pick­ing up, par­tic­u­larly over the last year,” he says. “It’s prob­a­bly not a coin­ci­dence that gaso­line and diesel prices have been spik­ing at the same time, and I hate to think that the war in Ukraine is part of that, but it prob­a­bly is.” EVs are now the best-​​selling cars in Cal­i­for­nia, Kam­men con­tin­ues, “and it’s the same in Nor­way, and it’ll soon be the same in New York. Prices on EVs are com­ing down. The trend is strong and accelerating.”

EVs gen­er­ally store energy in bat­ter­ies that use lithium, a rel­a­tively rare ele­ment that charges and dis­charges rapidly and is lightweight—an essen­tial qual­ity for auto­mo­biles, where excess weight is anath­ema. Lithium bat­tery tech­nol­ogy is well advanced, and some EVs can now go 400 miles between charg­ing, alle­vi­at­ing ear­lier anx­i­eties about lim­ited range.

A cen­tral goal of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion is the con­struc­tion of 500,000 new EV charg­ing sta­tions. For per­spec­tive: There are cur­rently fewer than 150,000 gas sta­tions in the entire United States.

The next chal­lenge to over­come is a paucity of charg­ing sta­tions, a real­ity that still gives Tesla dri­vers pause before embark­ing on a long road trip. But that’s being reme­died, Kam­men says, thanks in sig­nif­i­cant part to the 2022 Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (see side­bar), which pro­vides gen­er­ous home and busi­ness tax cred­its for new and used EV pur­chases and fast-​​charging EV sta­tions. A cen­tral goal of the Biden admin­is­tra­tion is the con­struc­tion of 500,000 new EV charg­ing sta­tions dis­trib­uted across all 50 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and Puerto Rico by 2030. For a lit­tle per­spec­tive on how ambi­tious that num­ber is, con­sider: There are cur­rently fewer than 150,000 gas sta­tions in the entire United States.

Wor­ries over charg­ing sta­tion access are real, there’s no deny­ing it,” says Kam­men. “But this leg­is­la­tion, cou­pled with the fact that recharge times are now very fast, will make a huge dif­fer­ence. The one thing that we still have to address, though, is the social jus­tice com­po­nent,” as not all zip codes will see the same resources. With­out poli­cies to ensure oth­er­wise, Santa Mon­ica will likely have charg­ing sta­tions aplenty; South Cen­tral Los Ange­les not so much.

We really need to ensure that doesn’t hap­pen,” says Kam­men. “First, it’s wrong. Sec­ond, to make a real dif­fer­ence, both energy pro­duc­tion and trans­port must progress across a broad scale. That’s an eas­ier case to make when every­one benefits.”


batteries behind a city skyline

In addi­tion to trans­porta­tion, urban infra­struc­ture must tran­si­tion to sus­tain­able, carbon-​​free energy as well. That will require com­bin­ing clean energy with ade­quate stor­age to pro­vide “grid reliability”—that is, sys­tems that will keep the juice flow­ing in all sea­sons, even when the sun is absent or the wind stops blow­ing. In short, you need really, really big batteries.

But what kind of bat­ter­ies? Lithium-​​ion bat­ter­ies, already well estab­lished, are one option, says Kam­men. But the qual­i­ties that make them ideal for vehicles—lightweight, fast charg­ing capabilities—aren’t as crit­i­cal when you’re try­ing to light a city at night. For sta­tion­ary power needs, bat­ter­ies can be indus­trial scale—heavy, with a large footprint.

Another prob­lem with lithium is its scarcity. The United States cur­rently con­trols less than 4 per­cent of global reserves. For that rea­son alone, researchers are look­ing for alter­na­tives: bat­ter­ies that employ cheaper and more read­ily avail­able elements.

One of the most promis­ing approaches, accord­ing to sev­eral sources, is iron-​​air bat­ter­ies. And one of the lead­ers in the tech­nol­ogy is Form Energy, a com­pany head­quar­tered in Mass­a­chu­setts with satel­lite facil­i­ties in Berkeley.

Zac Jud­kins ’06 is the company’s vice pres­i­dent of engi­neer­ing. He stresses that Form was obsessed with find­ing a way to address the prob­lem of mul­ti­day stor­age, not enam­ored of a par­tic­u­lar technology.

Jud­kins and col­leagues eval­u­ated a wide array of can­di­date chemistries before set­tling on iron-​​air bat­ter­ies, which work by rust­ing and unrust­ing thou­sands of iron pel­lets with every cycle.

When we started up in 2017, we saw that the world was rapidly mov­ing to renewables—mainly solar and wind—and set­ting increas­ingly ambi­tious grid reli­a­bil­ity and decar­boniza­tion goals.” With­out effec­tive stor­age, how­ever, progress was going to hit a brick wall, Jud­kins says.

Ana­lyz­ing the mar­ket, Form’s engi­neers arrived at a tar­get. They needed to build a bat­tery that could con­tin­u­ously dis­charge for 100 hours at a total cost of $20 per kilowatt-​​hour and had a round-​​trip effi­ciency (the amount of energy stored in a bat­tery that can later be used) of 50 percent.

Those para­me­ters, Jud­kins says, would allow for very high adop­tion of renew­ables with no sac­ri­fice to grid reli­a­bil­ity and min­i­mal increase in cost to con­sumers. “That was the bench­mark we had to hit.”

Jud­kins and col­leagues eval­u­ated a wide array of can­di­date chemistries before set­tling on iron-​​air bat­ter­ies, which work by rust­ing and unrust­ing thou­sands of iron pel­lets with every cycle. Says Jud­kins, “We didn’t invent the iron-​​air bat­tery. It was devel­oped by West­ing­house and NASA in the late ’60s and ’70s. They’re not good for cars—they’re not light, and they don’t dis­charge rapidly. But there are advan­tages. For one thing, iron is abun­dant. It’s cheap. We don’t have to worry about sup­ply constraints.”

What you also get with iron, says Jud­kins, is low cost and high energy density—i.e., the amount of juice you can put into the bat­tery. The trade­off is lower power density—how fast you can pull the energy out rel­a­tive to volume.

It’s roughly 10 times lower on power den­sity than lithium-​​ion, but for our needs it’s fine,” says Jud­kins. “This is stor­age for large-​​scale, grid-​​tied projects.” Take the exam­ple of a large pho­to­voltaic array like those on California’s Car­rizo Plain. One array there has a 250-​​megawatt capac­ity, enough for about 100,000 homes, but only when the sun is shin­ing. At night, dur­ing storms, there’s no elec­tric­ity. But, says Jud­kins, with the addi­tion of a Form plant with a foot­print of 100 acres or so, you could store enough energy to keep the elec­tric­ity flow­ing for a four-​​day period.

The com­pany is now tran­si­tion­ing from proof of con­cept to full pro­duc­tion. Iron­i­cally, the first com­mer­cial rust/​unrust bat­tery sys­tems will likely come out of the Rust Belt. “We’re build­ing a fac­tory in West Vir­ginia on a 55-​​acre site—a for­mer steel plant—that will have approx­i­mately 800,000 square feet of pro­duc­tion space and employ 750 peo­ple at full oper­a­tion.” Green jobs. Once the plant is fully on its feet, Jud­kins says, it will pro­duce 50 gigawatt-​​hours of stor­age capac­ity every year.


In sub-​​Saharan Africa alone, 600 mil­lion peo­ple live with­out elec­tric­ity. Pro­vid­ing them carbon-​​free power will require microgrids.

Large, cen­tral­ized util­ity grids are nat­u­rally the focus for decar­boniz­ing devel­oped countries—but they don’t really apply to parts of the world where access to elec­tric­ity is still rare. In sub-​​Saharan Africa alone, 600 mil­lion peo­ple live with­out elec­tric­ity, which doesn’t mean they don’t want it. Pro­vid­ing carbon-​​free power to these com­mu­ni­ties will require micro­grids: small sys­tems that serve neigh­bor­hoods, ham­lets, or even mul­ti­ple vil­lages. But while the micro­grid con­cept has been kick­ing around for years, its full real­iza­tion has been elusive—until recently.

What we’re see­ing is a mesh­ing of enabling tech­nolo­gies,” says Dun­can Call­away, an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of Energy and Resources at Berke­ley and a fac­ulty sci­en­tist at Lawrence Berke­ley National Laboratory.

For starters, he points to cheap solar. “With the pro­found price drop in pan­els, it’s a truly afford­able resource that’s ide­ally suited for mid-​​latitude coun­tries,” which expe­ri­ence less sea­son­al­ity. “In gen­eral, you can serve elec­tric demand with solar bet­ter in those lat­i­tudes than in coun­tries [closer to either pole], where there’s just less sunlight.”

Another dri­ver is cheaper, bet­ter stor­age options, Call­away says. For microgrid-​​scale, lithium-​​ion bat­ter­ies work well. And these, too, have grown more afford­able. “The explo­sive growth in elec­tric vehi­cles really pushed things along,” Call­away says. “Ten years ago, it cost $1,000 for one kilowatt-​​hour of stor­age. Now it costs less than $100.”

Finally, says Call­away, “smart grid” tech­nolo­gies have been devel­oped that make micro­grids, once noto­ri­ously balky, highly efficient.

We now have ‘big bucket’ con­trol sys­tems that allow for the smooth coor­di­na­tion of energy pro­duc­tion, stor­age, and demand,” Call­away says. “That makes these small grids both low-​​cost and really reli­able. The goal is to make sys­tems that are truly mod­u­lar, so you can plug var­i­ous com­po­nents into larger sys­tems. That will allow easy cus­tomiza­tion and scaling.”

More than 150 micro­grids already are deployed in the United States, pow­er­ing every­thing from indi­vid­ual build­ings in large cities to small, remote vil­lages in Alaska.

As far as wide­spread adop­tion goes, Call­away doesn’t fore­see many tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties. It’s social and polit­i­cal road­blocks that need to be over­come. “The great thing about micro­grids is that they work well in remote, under­served areas and they can be man­aged locally. But in less devel­oped coun­tries, there are often cor­rupt gov­ern­ments that want their cut from any project. And if that’s the case, you’d have an inher­ent bias toward cen­tral­ized grids with base­line power plants.”

It’s a chal­lenge that must be met, says Call­away. “Some­how, some way, small grid tech­nol­ogy must be put on a level play­ing field with the old sys­tem, the large, cen­tral­ized grid—or it’s unlikely to make it, even where it’s clearly the supe­rior choice.”


Glowing electric light bulb isolated

Micro­grid or macro­grid, we’ll need a lot of clean, sus­tain­able energy flow­ing through the wires if we’re going to simul­ta­ne­ously sus­tain an advanced civ­i­liza­tion and cool the planet. Kam­men is con­vinced it will largely come from fusion. But by that he means fusion in all its forms, includ­ing, as noted, the sun: that mas­sive reac­tor in the sky that con­tin­u­ally fuses hydro­gen into heav­ier ele­ments, releas­ing 3.8 x 10²6 joules of energy every second.

But there’s also that will-o’-the-wisp that’s been tan­ta­liz­ing futur­ists and physi­cists for decades: ter­res­trial fusion reac­tors. These would use hydrogen—the most com­mon ele­ment in the universe—as feed­stock to gen­er­ate gigawatt-​​hours of cheap energy, pro­duc­ing harm­less, inert helium as the pri­mary by-​​product. (Radioac­tive tri­tium would also be gen­er­ated, but it has a short half-​​life and it’s con­sumed by the reac­tor in a closed-​​loop process.) Fusion tech­nol­ogy remains the Holy Grail of clean, Earth-​​friendly energy pro­duc­tion, but it’s also the butt of wag­gish com­ments. The most com­mon is that it looks promis­ing, but it’s 20 years away. And it’s been 20 years away for 60 years.

But after a break­through on Decem­ber 5, 2022, at Lawrence Liv­er­more National Laboratory’s National Igni­tion Facil­ity (NIF), it now seems highly pos­si­ble that a com­mer­cial fusion reac­tor actu­ally could be avail­able in, uh, well, 20 years. Maybe sooner.

Most fusion efforts to date have involved toka­mak reactors—toroidal vac­uum cham­bers that cor­ral hydro­gen atoms via mag­netic coils, sub­ject­ing them to heat and pres­sure until they become plasma, a super­heated (as in 150 mil­lion degrees Cel­sius) gas that allows the hydro­gen to fuse. This releases energy that trans­fers as heat to the cham­ber walls, where it is har­vested to pro­duce steam to drive tur­bines for elec­tric­ity production.

For the first time on this planet—other than dur­ing a ther­monu­clear explosion—a fusion reac­tion was cre­ated that pro­duced more energy than was required to ini­ti­ate the process.

Toka­maks have been able to coax hydro­gen to fuse for brief periods—indeed, progress has been steady, if plod­ding, since the first machine was built 60 years ago. But to date, they haven’t been able to achieve “ignition”—that point at which sus­tained fusion occurs, and more energy is pro­duced by the device than it consumes.

NIF took a dif­fer­ent approach. Researchers there fab­ri­cated a minute pel­let from frozen deu­terium and tri­tium (both hydro­gen iso­topes). They then placed the pel­let in a small gold cap­sule known as a hohlraum, which in turn was sit­u­ated on an arm in a cham­ber bristling with 192 lasers. The sci­en­tists then fired the lasers simul­ta­ne­ously at the hohlraum, caus­ing the inner cap­sule to com­press. The result: tem­per­a­tures and pres­sures exerted on the deuterium/​tritium admix­ture were extreme enough to pro­duce igni­tion. For the first time on this planet—other than dur­ing a ther­monu­clear explosion—a fusion reac­tion was cre­ated that pro­duced more energy than was required to ini­ti­ate the process.

True, the sus­tained yield was mod­est. The reac­tion lasted less than a bil­lionth of a sec­ond and released 3.15 mega­joules of energy, or slightly less than one kilowatt-​​hour. Not very much, in other words; the aver­age Amer­i­can house­hold uses about 900 times that every month. Still, it was 50 per­cent more energy than was expended by the laser bursts. Progress! But here’s another catch: While the actual laser beams rep­re­sented only around two mega­joules of energy, it took about 300 mega­joules to power up and oper­ate the mech­a­nisms that fired the beams.

So, there’s still a lot to be done before we’re microwav­ing our frozen bur­ri­tos with fusion power. Nev­er­the­less, Kam­men, ever the opti­mist, is fairly sure we will be soon.

Given the trends, I think I’m pretty safe in pre­dict­ing that we’ll derive about 70 per­cent of our power from fusion by 2070,” Kam­men says. “Half of that will be from the sun and half from fusion power plants.”

And while NIF’s laser-​​blasted pel­let approach points to future suc­cess, don’t rule out toka­maks. Kam­men says he’s “expect­ing some excit­ing announce­ments about toka­mak reac­tors pretty soon.” You heard it here first.

Solar fusion, too, will fol­low mul­ti­ple avenues toward fuller implementation.

It’s not just rooftop pan­els in cities and solar farms out on the land­scape,” he says. “There’ll also be marine solar—large arrays out in the ocean.”

Also: orbital solar. Live tri­als are now under­way at Cal­tech and the Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­tory, says Kam­men, to estab­lish large, autonomously assem­bled (i.e., no live astro­nauts required) solar arrays in space. The energy would be beamed down as microwaves to ter­res­trial col­lec­tors, where it would be con­verted to elec­tric­ity. That may raise the specter of a loose-​​cannon death ray immo­lat­ing cities from orbit if some­thing goes awry—but not to worry, says Kam­men. “The watt-​​per-​​square-​​meter dose is pretty low, so there’s no dan­ger of any­one get­ting fried if they’re hit by it.”

He also thinks the fusion tech­nol­ogy now under devel­op­ment for ter­res­trial reac­tors will have appli­ca­tions for space travel. “There’s a dual angle on fusion that’s really cat­a­pult­ing the tech­nol­ogy,” Kam­men says. “For bet­ter or worse, it’s imper­a­tive that we col­o­nize the solar sys­tem so our fate as a species isn’t com­pletely tied to one planet. Fusion propul­sion will be an excel­lent means for get­ting us to the moon and Mars and beyond, and fusion—solar, reac­tor, or both—will also serve as a base-​​load power source when we get there.”


Fis­sion gen­er­ates a lot of energy from a small foot­print. Dia­blo Canyon, California’s sole nuclear plant, pro­duces almost 10 per­cent of the total elec­tric­ity con­sumed in the state, and it does it within a con­fine of 600 acres.

With all the fuss over fusion, the other “nuclear” power source, fis­sion, seems to have faded into the back­ground. That’s illu­sory. Fis­sion is still quite hot, so to speak, with increas­ing num­bers of erst­while foes in the envi­ron­men­tal com­mu­nity now embrac­ing it—or, at least, tac­itly sup­port­ing it. The rea­sons are clear. First, fis­sion can gen­er­ate a great amount of energy on a small foot­print. Dia­blo Canyon, California’s sole oper­at­ing com­mer­cial fis­sion plant, pro­duces almost 10 per­cent of the elec­tric­ity con­sumed in the state and does it within a con­fine of 600 acres. And from a cli­mate change per­spec­tive, nukes are peer­less: they emit zero CO².

Of course, peo­ple remain wor­ried about other kinds of emis­sions, such as intense radioac­tiv­ity from long-​​lived waste iso­topes. And older gen­er­a­tion plants—that is, most of the ones oper­at­ing today—are sus­cep­ti­ble to core dam­age to vary­ing degrees, with cat­a­strophic results à la Cher­nobyl and Fukushima.

Those con­cerns are entrenched, espe­cially in the United States, where envi­ron­men­tal issues, reg­u­la­tory red tape, and sim­ple cost often con­spire to scotch large infra­struc­ture projects in the pro­posal phase.

We’re pretty bad at megapro­jects in this coun­try,” says Rachel Slay­baugh, for­merly an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor in nuclear engi­neer­ing at Berke­ley and now a part­ner at ven­ture cap­i­tal firm DCVC. “For one thing, it’s incred­i­bly easy for them to go over bud­get. Just look at the new Bay Bridge, which ran triple the orig­i­nal estimates.”

That prob­lem is com­pounded for nuclear plants, given height­ened safety con­cerns and the reg­u­la­tions and lit­i­ga­tion they engen­der. But there has been an upside to the imped­i­ments imposed on tra­di­tional nuclear power, Slay­baugh says: Out of neces­sity, more efficient—and per­haps more socially acceptable—technology has been developed.

The newer reac­tors are smaller—some much smaller—than the behe­moths of yore, and pilot projects are underway.

A good many of these designs orig­i­nated from basic con­cepts devel­oped in the 1950s or 1960s, but their refine­ment and com­mer­cial deploy­ment is being dri­ven in large part by our inabil­ity to con­struct large projects,” Slay­baugh says.

Dif­fer­ent reac­tors have been designed for dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, Slay­baugh observes, employ­ing var­i­ous fuels, coolants, and con­fig­u­ra­tions. Some “breeder” reac­tors could even burn their own byprod­ucts, greatly reduc­ing radioac­tive waste.

What’s the pri­or­ity?” Slay­baugh asks rhetor­i­cally. “Eco­nom­ics? Pro­vid­ing high-​​temperature heat, or bal­anc­ing renew­ables on the grid? Min­i­miz­ing nuclear waste? A com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent goals? These new designs can be stan­dard­ized or cus­tomized and scaled for the site and require­ments, and all involve con­sid­er­able engi­neer­ing to ensure safety.”

Some of the reac­tors will be large enough to power a city, or sev­eral cities. “And oth­ers will be teeny,” Slay­baugh says. “Those will be per­fect for remote mil­i­tary bases or research facil­i­ties, say Antarc­tica or the Arc­tic. You’d elim­i­nate sev­eral major prob­lems with one of these very small reac­tors. Think of the logis­ti­cal dif­fi­cul­ties involved in get­ting diesel fuel to an arc­tic base, not to men­tion the heavy pol­lu­tion it pro­duces and, of course, the CO² that’s emitted.”

Fis­sion tech­nol­ogy also has some pro­found advan­tages over renew­ables, she says. “There are real lim­its to how many solar farms and wind tur­bines we should or even can build,” she observes. “A lot of mate­ri­als are required for their pro­duc­tion, and a lot of min­ing is needed to get the nec­es­sary ele­ments. And these facil­i­ties tend to have very large foot­prints. I’m actu­ally wor­ried that we’re going to see a strong solar and wind back­lash as peo­ple really start to under­stand all the impacts.”

Every energy source has strengths and weak­nesses, con­tin­ues Slay­baugh, “and we need to have sophis­ti­cated con­ver­sa­tions on what they are and where each can best apply. Ulti­mately, my view of fis­sion is that it’s a nec­es­sary tool that we must use in con­junc­tion with other avail­able tools to get the job done as well and as quickly as pos­si­ble. No sin­gle solu­tion is going to work for all scenarios.”


At this point, we know what we must do to turn things around. Even bet­ter, we have the tech­nolo­gies and tech­niques to do it. But we need to deploy them.

Reduc­ing car­bon emis­sions is not the com­plete solu­tion to global warm­ing, say sci­en­tists. To really get a han­dle on the prob­lem, we’ll also need to remove exist­ing CO² from the atmos­phere and sequester it per­ma­nently in the ground. One option, direct air cap­ture (DAC), is the basis for a small but grow­ing indus­try: Cur­rently, there are about 20 DAC pilot plants oper­at­ing, in total cap­tur­ing and seques­ter­ing around .01 mega­ton of atmos­pheric CO² annu­ally. Accord­ing to the Inter­na­tional Energy Agency, that stor­age could grow to 60 mega­tons a year by 2030, assum­ing large-​​scale demon­stra­tion plants pro­ceed apace, cur­rent tech­niques are refined, and costs drop as the tech­nol­ogy scales.

But those are a lot of assump­tions for min­i­mal ben­e­fit. Granted, a 60-​​megaton mass of any­thing is impres­sive. But from a climate-​​change per­spec­tive, 60 Mt is neg­li­gi­ble, given energy-​​related car­bon emis­sions hit an all-​​time high of over 36.8 bil­lion tons in 2022. Many researchers think there are bet­ter options, and we don’t have to do any­thing to develop them because they already exist. They point to nat­ural car­bon sinks: forests, wet­lands, grass­lands, and, most sig­nif­i­cantly, the oceans. These nat­ural sys­tems are part of the Earth’s car­bon cycle, which absorbs and releases about 100 giga­tons of car­bon a year. A plan­e­tary mech­a­nism of that scale might seem more than ade­quate to han­dle car­bon emis­sions, and it would, if atmos­pheric CO² only orig­i­nated from nat­ural emis­sion points such as vol­ca­noes and hydrother­mal vents. As noted recently by MIT pro­fes­sor of geo­physics Daniel Roth­man, nat­ural sources con­tribute ten times more car­bon to the atmos­phere than human activ­i­ties, but it’s the anthro­pogenic car­bon that is push­ing the cycle over the edge. The planet can’t process the extra atmos­pheric car­bon back into a sta­ble earth­bound state fast enough.

This deficit is exac­er­bated by the fact that we’re degrad­ing our car­bon sinks even as we’re pump­ing more CO2 into the sky.

The eco­log­i­cal ser­vices car­bon sinks pro­vide are really price­less,” says John Harte, a pro­fes­sor of the Grad­u­ate School in Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group. Harte, who con­ducted pio­neer­ing work on the “feed­back” effect a warm­ing cli­mate exerts on nat­ural car­bon cycles in high-​​altitude mead­ows, observes that car­bon sinks were poorly under­stood 35 years ago.

But we now know they absorb 18 bil­lion tons of CO2 a year. Real­is­ti­cally, we should be putting more of the money we’re devot­ing to the devel­op­ment of car­bon seques­tra­tion tech­nol­ogy into enhanc­ing nat­ural car­bon sinks. At the very least, we need to stop their degradation.”

Harte’s work in the Col­orado Rock­ies entailed arti­fi­cially heat­ing plots of land and track­ing changes in veg­e­ta­tion types and car­bon seques­tra­tion rates. In plots that weren’t heated and expe­ri­enced cli­mate change in real time, he found that wild­flow­ers dom­i­nated, cycling large vol­umes of car­bon into the soil dur­ing the short alpine grow­ing sea­son; when the plants died back each fall, the rate of car­bon stor­age dropped off dra­mat­i­cally. But as Harte warmed spe­cific plots over a period of years, woody shrubs replaced the flow­er­ing annual plants ear­lier than on non­heated land. These slower-​​growing plants sequestered car­bon at a much slower rate than the wildflowers.

The ‘money,’ the car­bon, in the bank account shrinks,” says Harte. But after about 100 years, you begin to see div­i­dends. “The car­bon com­ing into the soil from woody plants is stored longer, so you even­tu­ally still have car­bon in the soil.”

The goods news: This sug­gests nat­ural sinks could be man­aged for opti­mal stor­age. But if emis­sions remain high, they’ll strain and ulti­mately over­whelm the seques­tra­tion capac­ity of the sinks, negat­ing their value.

If cli­mate change con­tin­ues, if we don’t cut back on emis­sions,” says Harte, “there’ll be no way to buffer the effects.”

And really, that’s the crux of the whole issue. At this point in the cli­mate change cri­sis, we know what we must do to turn things around. Even bet­ter, we have the tech­nolo­gies and tech­niques to do it. But we need to deploy them. That means every­thing: solar in all its forms, from rooftop pan­els to orbital microwave arrays; wind tur­bine farms, both on land and at sea; fusion reac­tors; fis­sion reac­tors; micro­grids; mas­sively dis­trib­uted stor­age sys­tems. And we must enhance, not debase, the nat­ural sys­tems that sequester car­bon. We need to plant many more trees and man­age work­ing forests more sus­tain­ably, cal­cu­lat­ing car­bon stor­age as a prod­uct equal to or exceed­ing board feet of lum­ber. And we need to pro­tect the great­est car­bon sink of them all: the ocean.

I’m ter­ri­bly wor­ried about the trend toward seabed min­ing,” says Kam­men. “It’s the least reg­u­lated of all the new fron­tiers, some very large com­pa­nies are push­ing it, and it’d be absolutely dev­as­tat­ing. If we don’t stop activ­i­ties like that and if we don’t use all the sus­tain­able energy options that are avail­able, we are risk­ing extinction.”

That may not be a very opti­mistic note to end on, but then, opti­mism only gets us so far, doesn’t it? What we need now is grit and determination.

A Fruitvale Microgrid Could Inspire Resiliency if Approved

A Fruit­vale Micro­grid Could Inspire Resiliency — if Approved

by | May 16, 2023

Inspiration TeamA Con­trib­u­tor from our Next-​​Gen Inspi­ra­tion Team

For the orig­i­nal, click here.

Two dozen homes in Oakland’s Fruit­vale neigh­bor­hood are band­ing together to give their block a first-​​of-​​its-​​kind sus­tain­abil­ity makeover. The EcoBlock, a UC Berke­ley research project col­lab­o­rat­ing with the com­mu­nity, aims to afford­ably retro­fit urban neigh­bor­hoods to have smaller car­bon foot­prints and more reli­able energy.

Dur­ing its seven years in the mak­ing, the EcoBlock project has pushed through sky­rock­et­ing costs, per­mit­ting red tape, and com­pro­mises with Pacific Gas and Elec­tric. Although researchers antic­i­pated bring­ing upgrades to res­i­dents’ homes this spring, the lin­ger­ing effects of the pan­demic on sup­ply chains and costs are still hold­ing the project back. “Between COVID and infla­tion, our bud­get was just wal­loped,” says Therese Pef­fer, the prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor on the EcoBlock research team.

If the project is even­tu­ally imple­mented, the 25 Fruit­vale homes par­tic­i­pat­ing in the EcoBlock can look for­ward to improved air qual­ity, low­ered water usage, and greener energy with new effi­cient elec­tric appli­ances, air ven­ti­la­tion, water-​​recycling laun­dry, and a shared elec­tric vehi­cle. The EcoBlock cen­ters around a key piece of infra­struc­ture: a small, local­ized energy sys­tem known as a microgrid.

Screenshot 2023-06-08 at 5.10.36 PM

By con­nect­ing to solar energy, a micro­grid could pro­vide the neigh­bors with elec­tric­ity dur­ing black­outs or PG&E’s pub­lic safety power shut-​​offs dur­ing extreme weather events. And it’s been proven to work: In 2022, a micro­grid com­mu­nity in Florida kept the lights on even as mil­lions of homes lost power dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Ian.

The Fruit­vale loca­tion was cho­sen out of a pool of self-​​nominated blocks by the UC Berke­ley Research team, PG&E, and the City of Oak­land based on vul­ner­a­bil­ity, lev­els of pol­lu­tion, and the block’s posi­tion on the city’s elec­tri­cal grid.

Daniel Hamil­ton, the Sus­tain­abil­ity and Resilience Direc­tor for the city of Oak­land, says that choos­ing a less wealthy area of Oak­land was a pri­or­ity. “There’s huge poten­tial to help the front­line com­mu­ni­ties that are already suf­fer­ing the effects of cli­mate change and have fewer resources to do the work,” he says.

Also crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of the project, say Hamil­ton and researchers, are the inter­est and col­lab­o­ra­tion of res­i­dents. In 2019, with the sup­port of Peo­ple Power Solar Coop­er­a­tive, neigh­bor­hoods in Oak­land were invited to apply to be the EcoBlock. “The Fruit­vale site was the one where the com­mu­nity was most orga­nized and already most sup­port­ive” but still vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate impacts, says Hamilton.

Com­mu­nity liai­son Cathy Leonard, a long-​​time Oak­land native, says that the Oak­land EcoBlock serves as a micro­cosm for the rest of the city. Res­i­dents range in age from 1 to 80 years old, speak four dif­fer­ent lan­guages, and are of “all dif­fer­ent races and eth­nic­i­ties for a truly diverse block.” For the project, Leonard has orga­nized block par­ties and infor­ma­tion ses­sions for the Fruit­vale neighbors.

In order for soci­ety to really address cli­mate change,” says Leonard, “we have to worry about the homes that are already here.”

Screenshot 2023-06-08 at 5.11.09 PM

Since the project’s launch in 2015, the UC Berke­ley research team has had to over­come a series of hur­dles. The first site cho­sen failed due to neigh­borly dis­agree­ments. Then, while work­ing on the Oak­land neigh­bor­hood, the national cost of con­struc­tion sky­rock­eted. In 2020, the pan­demic came, bring­ing with it infla­tion and sup­ply chain issues. Some parts of the EcoBlock, such as a res­i­den­tial charg­ing sta­tion for the neighborhood’s shared elec­tric vehi­cle, are a first for the city of Oak­land and a stream­lined per­mit­ting process has not yet been estab­lished. Other reg­u­la­tions, such as state-​​wide build­ing codes, turn over reg­u­larly before the project can begin construction.

Although per­mits have been applied for, the project is in limbo while they are being processed. “I think the com­mu­nity mem­bers right­fully expected this to move much faster,” says Hamil­ton, not­ing the com­plex­ity behind EcoBlock, which has over a dozen part­ners and inter­sects with dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tory bodies.

Among the red tape, the EcoBlock has had to con­tend with per­mit­ting and reg­u­la­tions by PG&E, which has a monop­oly on util­ity man­age­ment in the Bay Area. “I would say every step for­ward has been a bat­tle against the iner­tia of slow-​​moving util­i­ties,” says Dr. Daniel Kam­men, the co-​​principal inves­ti­ga­tor for the EcoBlock.

Energy researchers say that while micro­grids are a promis­ing solu­tion to an unre­li­able United States energy sys­tem, they are still uncom­mon. “Util­i­ties are in no rush to pro­mote clean energy that’s dis­trib­uted, and not in their con­trol,” says Kam­men. ”Which cer­tainly might be an out­come of a world full of microgrids.”

Orig­i­nally, the researchers envi­sioned giv­ing the res­i­dents a mas­ter meter, allow­ing them to “island” the block’s micro­grid from the city’s grid, for truly self-​​managed solar energy. “PG&E did not like that,” says Pef­fer. Instead, each home is now planned to be equipped with its own solar meter, that feeds into the city’s energy sup­ply as well as the EcoBlock microgrid.

Screenshot 2023-06-08 at 5.11.41 PM

PG&E has two pro­grams for defray­ing the costs of micro­grids. The Com­mu­nity Micro­grid Enable­ment Pro­gram pro­vides up to $3 mil­lion towards PG&E-related costs of installing a micro­grid. A forth­com­ing Micro­grid Incen­tive Pro­gram has $200 mil­lion of fund­ing from the Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion and is antic­i­pated to be launched jointly by PG&E and other regional util­i­ties across the state in early 2023.

Paul Doherty, a spokesper­son for PG&E, says that the EcoBlock is not eli­gi­ble for this sec­ond pro­gram as it is not, “‘vul­ner­a­ble to out­ages’ by our def­i­n­i­tion, not in a high fire-​​threat area, and not in our worst per­form­ing cir­cuits list.” Accord­ing to PG&E, out of the three dozen com­mu­ni­ties cur­rently apply­ing for micro­grids, only one — The Red­wood Coast Air­port — has received fund­ing through their incen­tive programs.

With the help of the Tut­tle Law Group hired by the UC Berke­ley researchers, the EcoBlock res­i­dents have formed a demo­c­ra­tic com­mu­nity asso­ci­a­tion through which they will co-​​own their micro­grid, which includes a solar-​​power bat­tery stor­age system.

This agree­ment gives the UC Berke­ley researchers a 5-​​year run­way to study the suc­cess of the project and pro­vides clear guid­ance on what hap­pens if a prop­erty changes hands dur­ing that time. The EcoBlock research team will track the resiliency of the micro­grid to black­outs — which can be trig­gered by extreme heat, rain, or cold — to inform energy pol­icy in California.

In terms of adap­ta­tion, “two extremes exist today,” says Kam­men. “We do good green things one home at a time, or we attempt too much at once.” With just one block, the EcoBlock team strives for an achiev­able exam­ple of upgrad­ing our cities to be greener, kinder places to live.


AP: Leaders gather in Paris to accelerate wringing more out of every ounce of fuel


For the orig­i­nal, click here.

As 30 energy envi­ron­ment and trade min­is­ters plus 50 CEOs assem­ble in Paris for the 8th inter­na­tional con­fer­ence on energy effi­ciency, the Inter­na­tional Energy Agency is urgently call­ing for greater invest­ment in energy effi­ciency for fac­to­ries, cars and appli­ances to meet inter­na­tional cli­mate goals.

The agency touted recent global progress: A The new IEA report released Wednes­day says that demand for energy is grow­ing, yet emis­sions are not grow­ing as fast. Effi­ciency is increas­ing every year as tech­nol­ogy improves, and last year that increase was twice the aver­age of the pre­vi­ous five years.

We’re at a real junc­ture where more effi­cient, more clean, more afford­able tech­nol­ogy is start­ing to dom­i­nate,” said Brian Moth­er­way, chief of energy effi­ciency at the IEA, dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Tuesday.

Elim­i­nat­ing wasted energy is the most afford­able way to bring goods and ser­vices to the peo­ple who need them — while slow­ing green­house gas emis­sions — the main dri­ver of global warm­ing, energy experts say.

Gov­ern­ment poli­cies that encour­age energy effi­ciency are dri­ving the trend. Japan has strength­ened laws that favor energy effi­cient build­ings. The Euro­pean Union agreed this year to reduce its total energy con­sump­tion by some 12% com­pared to its 2020 fore­cast, by improv­ing build­ings, heavy indus­try and pri­vate trans­porta­tion. The United States allo­cated a record 95 bil­lion dol­lars over ten years through the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act to increase energy effi­ciency in power gen­er­a­tion, build­ings and cars. And India passed impor­tant leg­is­la­tion to decrease the amount of energy used by homes.

Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives are crit­i­cal because they get big build­ings, they get big hous­ing projects, they get indus­try (and) they have to take it seri­ously,” said Daniel Kam­men, a pro­fes­sor of energy at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley who was not involved in the IEA report.

Accord­ing to the report, total pub­lic and pri­vate invest­ment in energy effi­ciency increased by 15% in 2022 to $600 bil­lion from the pre­vi­ous year. This year, invest­ment is expected to grow by only 4%, which Moth­er­way called concerning.

To limit global warm­ing to just 1.5 degrees Cel­sius (2.7 degrees Fahren­heit) and avoid severe cli­mate dis­rup­tion, the world needs to dou­ble energy effi­ciency for the rest of the decade. Annual invest­ment of $1.8 tril­lion is needed to make that hap­pen, the report says.

The tech­nol­ogy exists, we just need to pri­or­i­tiz­ing spend­ing, Philippe Delorme, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of Europe oper­a­tions for Schnei­der Elec­tric said in a press conference.

Experts not involved in the report agreed. “Gov­ern­ments should be doing more, whether that relates to appli­ance effi­ciency, cars or build­ings,” said Steven Nadel, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Amer­i­can Coun­cil for an Energy-​​Efficient Economy.

As far as growth in demand, elec­tric­ity saw the most growth, with oil and coal just behind. Demand for nat­ural gas saw an over­all decline.

Elec­tric vehi­cles and heat pumps grew in pop­u­lar­ity last year, adding to the demand for elec­tric­ity. Heat pumps effi­ciently wring energy out of the air, or more occa­sion­ally, the ground, and they pump heat either into or out of a build­ing depend­ing whether they are heat­ing or air con­di­tion­ing. Their sales increased ten per­cent glob­ally and nearly 40 per­cent in Europe last year. Elec­tric vehi­cles sales also grew, now mak­ing up 14 per­cent of all new car sales, and are on track for 18 per­cent of the new car mar­ket this year.

In many places, elec­tric­ity to heat homes and power vehi­cles still relies on fos­sil fuel energy that burns car­bon. But as util­i­ties build out more renew­able energy, emis­sions decline. That same progress is not built into gasoline-​​burning cars or homes that burn nat­ural gas for cook­ing and heat­ing. They will con­tinue to com­bust hydro­car­bons and release car­bon dioxide.

Some of the recent inter­est in energy effi­ciency world­wide has been influ­enced by fears of a global energy short­age caused by Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine.

Philippe Benoit, a researcher at the Cen­ter on Global Energy Pol­icy at Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity, said that in order to meet cli­mate goals, money needs to go into bet­ter energy effi­ciency even when there is no fear of energy scarcity.

The great­est inter­est in energy effi­ciency is often trig­gered by an energy sup­ply con­cern,” he said. “We need to get to the point where with­out even a poten­tial energy sup­ply cri­sis, that gov­ern­ments, house­holds and busi­nesses are increas­ing their invest­ment in energy effi­ciency. That’s what our cli­mate goal requires.”


Peter­son reported from Den­ver. Cost­ley reported from Wash­ing­ton, DC.


The Asso­ci­ated Press receives sup­port from mul­ti­ple foun­da­tion for cov­er­age of cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal pol­icy. The AP is solely respon­si­ble for all con­tent. For all of AP’s envi­ron­men­tal cov­er­age, visit https://​apnews​.com/​h​u​b​/​c​l​i​m​a​t​e​-​a​n​d​-​e​n​v​i​r​o​n​m​ent

Orig­i­nal arti­cle link:


Link to the IEA report:


Link to the paper used for the first fig­ure in the IEA analysis:

Screenshot 2023-06-07 at 7.53.17 AM

Amory B. Lovins, Diana Ürge-​​Vorsatz, Luis Mundaca, Daniel M Kam­men, and Joa­cob W Glass­man (2019) “Recal­i­brat­ing cli­mate prospects”, Envi­ron­men­tal Research Let­ters, 14 (12).–9326/ab55ab

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