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Meanwhile, in rural India...

...some rather wonderful things are happening.

This is one of the five Global Jet Watch observatories (conducting seriously advanced research by Oxford University into black holes), distributed around the world so that one is always in darkness.

The research has an educational spin-off. The India observatory (like most of them) is situated in the grounds of a boarding school. In this case the school was founded by the Indian Government in order to give bright children of rural families (the majority of whom are first-generation literates) a formal education. Before bedtime, the children can operate the telescope for themselves; after bedtime, the research programme takes over operation from Oxford by remote control.

Since both the research and the education programme need a clean and reliable electricity supply, a generous donor funded Operation Solar Farm, a low-tech combination of solar panels and energy storage, plus a conversion of the observatory to run on noise-free DC electricity.

And so “these children... learn something rather amazing: how energy gathered from our nearest star by day is available each night to help them explore distant stars across our galaxy.”

Many thanks to Oxford Physics Science News for the source article.

“Renewables + Energy Storage = The Future”

Actually, the future is arriving at ever-increasing speed.

The combination of plummeting prices for solar panels and rapid advances in large-capacity energy storage (batteries, flywheels and others) means that the chief obstacle to variable renewables (unpredictable wind and solar) is being removed.

Much (but by no means all) of the drive to the future is being led by Tesla, whether in homes with attractive solar roofs and domestic batteries (click the image for details)...

...or massive battery storage for power grid substations (click the images for details)

...while China is developing the use of flywheels for grid energy storage (click the image for details)
...and there is accelerating development of other forms of energy storage

Although Trump appears to be doing his best to destroy his (and our) environment, by what appears to be vindictive, greedy and counter-productive stupidity, he is losing his attempts in the face of the enlightened self-interest and common sense of many states and cities, a recent example being the Kentucky coal company that plans to build the state’s largest solar farm, employing former coal miners.

As Dylan wrote and sang, the times they are a-changin'.

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