Arizona solar canal project aims to save water while making power (Loz Blain, November 23, 2023, New Atlas)

Not only will the solar panels generate up to one megawatt of power for the Gila River Indian Community, they’ll also provide shade for the water below, helping keep water in the canals rather than letting the baking desert heat evaporate it away. Viewed as a solar farm, it should be considerably cheaper, since no land needs to be acquired.

Furthermore, the water will help cool the panels, increasing their efficiency and creating a ~3% boost to power production, according to Professor Roger Bales, who wrote about the California project for The Conversation in 2022. In a study published in 2021, Bales and his team argued that “covering all 4,000 miles of California’s canals with solar panels would save more than 65 billion gallons of water annually by reducing evaporation,” while generating up to 13 GW of renewable energy in a distributed fashion that could cut down on transmission losses.


Case for gas as transition fuel falling apart on both economic and environmental costs (Rachel Williamson, 27 November 2023, Renew Economy)

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) today released financial modelling that shows Australia’s LNG projects did not generate value for shareholders.

The report, “Australia’s LNG growth wave – did it wash for shareholders?” analysed returns from Woodside’s Pluto project, Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone projects, the three east coast LNG plants supplied by coal seam gas, Inpex’s Ichthys project and Shell’s Prelude.

It found these projects collectively eroded $US19 billion of shareholder value by requiring extra investment for running 35 per cent over budget and behind schedule, according to data from Rystad.

Only Gorgon has delivered a positive return to shareholders – the report did not specific how much but says it has achieved an estimated 10 per cent Internal Rate of Return.

Across the LNG industry, cost overruns and delays will see the industry deliver a negative $US1.8 billion return to shareholders, compared to

None of the projects are delivering returns that meet the cost of capital – even in the boom times, says ACCR lead analyst Alex Hillman.


World’s 1st electric flying passenger ship could ‘revolutionize how we travel on water’: Candela’s 30-passenger P-12 will enter Stockholm’s public transport network in 2024, slashing a 55-minute commute to just 25 minutes. (Keumars Afifi-Sabet, 11/25/23, Live Science)

The world’s first electric flying passenger ship has completed test flights in Sweden and will now enter production ahead of its introduction into Stockholm’s public transport network in 2024.

The Candela P-12, designed by Swedish tech company Candela Technology AB, is 39 feet (12 meters) long,runs on a 252 kilowatt-hour battery and can carry up to 30 passengers.


‘Breakthrough battery’ from Sweden may cut dependency on China: Northvolt says new lithium-free sodium-ion battery is cheaper, more sustainable and doesn’t rely on scarce raw materials (Alex Lawson, 21 Nov 2023, The Guardian)

Europe’s energy and electric vehicle industries could reduce their dependency on scarce raw materials from China after the launch of a “breakthrough” sodium-ion battery, according to its Swedish developer.

Northvolt, Europe’s only large homegrown electric battery maker, has said it has made a lower cost, more sustainable battery designed to store electricity which does not use lithium, nickel, graphite and cobalt.


America’s greenest state is deep deep red (Catherine Boudreau, Nov 21, 2023,, Business Insider)

Deals like Davis’ have made Texas — America’s oil capital for more than a century — the top producer of renewable energy in the US. The state has long generated the most wind power and is second only to California as a solar-energy producer. While fossil fuel still reigns supreme in the state’s energy mix, wind and solar account for a growing share of the total. As of October, wind and solar met between 25% and 41% of Texas’ energy demand, depending on the month, according to data from the state’s grid operator ERCOT. Add in nuclear power, which doesn’t produce greenhouse-gas emissions, and green energy met upward of 50% of the state’s demand in some months.

The rapid rise of green energy in deep-red Texas couldn’t come at a better time: The state’s population is growing and the strain on the electrical grid is only getting more intense. But the boom has also triggered a Texas-size showdown: Gov. Greg Abbott and a group of his fellow Republicans in the state legislature launched a campaign to prop up fossil fuels and penalize renewables, arguing it would make the grid more reliable. Critics aren’t convinced that subsidizing fossil fuels will solve the state’s electricity crunch.

The high-stakes battle for Texas’ energy future is a microcosm of how tricky America’s green transition is shaping up to be, especially when politics are involved. Slowing down renewable energy could cost Texas in the long term, both economically and socially. Billions of dollars of public and private investment are pouring into low-carbon industries. Meanwhile, the US is already losing billions to deadly climate-fueled disasters that scientists warn will get worse unless the world rapidly shifts away from fossil fuels.


Do electric cars pose a greater fire risk than petrol or diesel vehicles?: the first in a series exploring the myths and realities surrounding EVs (Jasper Jolly, 20 Nov 2023, The Guardian)

“All the data shows that EVs are just much, much less likely to set on fire than their petrol equivalent,” said Colin Walker, the head of transport at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit thinktank. “The many, many fires that you have for petrol or diesel cars just aren’t reported.”

Fires can start in several ways. Car batteries store energy by moving lithium ions inside a battery cell but if cells are penetrated or if impurities from manufacturing errors cause short-circuits, then unwanted chemical reactions can start “thermal runaway”, where cells heat up rapidly, releasing toxic and flammable gas. In petrol cars, fires can start via electrical faults causing sparks or if the engine overheats because of a fault in the cooling systems, potentially igniting flammable fuel.

In Norway, which has the world’s highest proportion of electric car sales, there are between four and five times more fires in petrol and diesel cars, according to the directorate for social security and emergency preparedness. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency this year found that there were 3.8 fires per 100,000 electric or hybrid cars in 2022, compared with 68 fires per 100,000 cars when taking all fuel types into account. However, the latter figures include arson, making comparisons tricky.

Australia’s Department of Defence funded EV FireSafe to look into the question. It found there was a 0.0012% chance of a passenger electric vehicle battery catching fire, compared with a 0.1% chance for internal combustion engine cars. (The Home Office said it was unable to provide data for the UK.)

Elon Musk’s Tesla is the world’s biggest maker of electric cars. It says the number of fires on US roads involving Teslas from 2012 to 2021 was 11 times lower per mile than the figure for all cars, the vast majority of which have petrol or diesel engines.


Piecing Together the Evidence: Open-Source Intelligence in Israel’s Gaza War: Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins breaks down his pioneering investigative toolkit (HENRY CARNELL, 11/24/23, MoJo)

What guidance would you give readers who are being flooded with this type of information? What does a well-investigated piece look like?

One issue over the last few weeks is, a lot of organizations that usually produce quite high-quality work on other issues have kind of tried to find answers where there may not be answers available. With the [Al-Ahli] hospital bombing, there are different versions of events, depending on which quite reputable organization you ask, and that’s a problem.

We’ve seen, for example, an analysis by one news organization that pointed towards the rocket being launched from Gaza. Another news organization analyzed the same videos and pointed to it being from Israel. Even good-quality news organizations are producing contradictory statements about the same footage. It’s not even an issue of disinformation around trolls and grifters. It’s a much bigger issue.

You’ve explained that it takes a while to get to the truth. What goes into a Bellingcat investigation?

If we’re talking about conflict incidents, like an airstrike that blows up a building, the first thing we’re trying to do is gather as much of the digital evidence that’s out there, like videos and photographs shared from the scene. Ideally, we try to find them from the original sources where they’re shared, but that’s sometimes not possible.

Once we have all that visual information, we do a process called geolocation, which confirms exactly where these images were taken. You can’t really trust an image from an incident unless you know exactly where it took place. Once you have that, you have a catalog of content of the incident. Then you put that into a timeline.

When you look at footage, you find other images of the same scene, and you start thinking, “What has changed?” You may start looking for munition debris, the shape of a crater, shrapnel spray, and other details like that. Establishing a link between that rocket fire and [an] explosion in the hospital is very important to do.

We also look at media reports and social media posts of witnesses talking about the incident—not to take them at face value, but to look at them and say, “What is consistent with what we’re seeing? What adds bits of information we can explore using visual evidence?” If someone says there was a rocket at the scene, or the remains of a rocket, then we’ll hunt for that through the imagery.

Using that process, [we’re] going back in time to the moment of the event to establish what happened—and, ideally, moments leading up to the event as well. And sometimes that’s possible. For example, we had one investigation into a supermarket hit by a missile in Ukraine. The actual missile in flight was caught by a CCTV camera just outside the building [in] two frames. From that, we’re able to identify the type of missile that was used. It’s piecing together all that evidence, understanding where it is in time and space, and using that nexus of information to start establishing facts and eliminating scenarios.

That’s not to say that if a claim is wrong, the opposite is true. That’s just to say that [the] scenario has been eliminated and we can move to looking at other potential scenarios, hoping that through that process of elimination, you come to one likely scenario—which isn’t always possible.

With the hospital bombing, there was a claim [that] it was a large Israeli bomb. The crater that was left was not from one of those kinds of bombs; it was from a different kind of smaller munition. I personally still don’t know if it was an Israeli missile or rocket or a misfired rocket from Gaza. But I can at least eliminate some of the scenarios. And as more information emerges, you can integrate that into your understanding of the events.



Based on “geographic patterns for EV ownership” within the DMAs, the study’s researchers concluded that peer influence is a significant factor in the rising number of EV purchases.

New York City exhibited the strongest example of this peer pressure, dubbed the “neighborhood effect,” as the researchers were able to narrow the study down to specific ZIP codes that showed disproportionate EV registration growth.

The study concluded with several policy suggestions that could help expand EV adoption. Increased word of mouth about EV incentives, greater opportunities for interaction with EVs, and bundling EVs with other clean energy practices could all catalyze further EV growth.

Drive one, buy one.


Four ways AI is making the power grid faster and more resilient: From predicting EV charge times to pinpointing areas of high wildfire risk, AI is transforming our energy network. (June Kim, November 22, 2023, MIT Technology Review)

AI’s ability to learn from large amounts of data and respond to complex scenarios makes it particularly well suited to the task of keeping the grid stable, and a growing number of software companies are bringing AI products to the notoriously slow-moving energy industry.

The US Department of Energy has recognized this trend, recently awarding $3 billion in grants to various “smart grid” projects that include AI-related initiatives.

The excitement about AI in the energy sector is palpable. Some are already speculating about the possibility of a fully automated grid where, in theory, no humans would be needed to make everyday decisions.


DARPA seeks AI-powered ‘autonomous scientist’ to help researchers: The agency wants to do for scientists what AI code generators have done for programmers. (ALEXANDRA KELLEY, NOVEMBER 20, 2023, Defense One)

“What we’re trying to do is replicate the success that we’ve seen for automatic code generation,” Alvaro Velasquez, DARPA’s program manager for Foundation Models for Scientific Discovery, told Nextgov/FCW, a Defense One sister publication. “Right now, software engineers and coders enjoy these tools from OpenAI and Microsoft that help automate the generation of code. We would like to come up with a tool that helps automate the process of scientific discovery.”

Ideally, DARPA’s autonomous scientist will be creative and learn to generate unique scientific hypotheses that take into account advanced aspects of experiments — like scaling and trimming costs — as well as providing skeptical reasoning. In its offer, which was released earlier this month, DARPA officials say that the final product should be “at least 10X better in scalability (problem size, data size etc.) and also in time efficiency.”