Small-scale, distributed generation resources must take the place of our Industrial Revolution-era grid

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A long line to enter a pharmacy in Austin, Texas during the Great Texas Faceplant of 2021. Source: Wikipedia

This article is one in a series investigating the importance of modernizing and decarbonizing the electric grid. If you want to understand the issue in context, see our article, Grid Modernization. For a look at an innovative company spun out of Stanford University’s labs that have developed a battery with tremendous potential for providing grid storage, please see our article, Enervenue: The Batteries We Need for Grid-Scale Storage. For a big picture view of why grid evolution is such an important topic, please see my article Texas Energy Failure: A Prelude Of What’s To Come.

Executive Summary


Climate change is a force multiplier. The Great Texas Faceplant of 2021 provides a prelude to what we can expect through the rest of this century.

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A flooded street in Austin after frozen water mains burst in the recent winter storms. Source: Wikipedia

My home state of Texas experienced a massive failure in public energy infrastructure during last week’s historic cold snap. This failure represents a prelude in two ways — one trivial, one profound.

First for the trivial…

The misery Texans are experiencing now at the hands of their aging electrical system serves as the perfect prelude to a deeply researched series of articles regarding Grid Evolution I have been working for the last few months.

(If you haven’t yet, read my backgrounder article about our past-paradigm grid.)

Speaking with global experts on grid modernization has convinced me that events such as…


A start-up is using emerging research into microscopic oxygen bubble-infused water to help crops improve resistance to climate change.

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Moleaer is working with NASA to test nanobubble irrigation in microgravity environments. Source: NASA

You can listen to this article on my SoundCloud station:

Capitalism vs. Climate Change: Moleaer’s Nanobubbles by Climate Solutions with Erik | Free Listening on SoundCloud

The Capitalism vs. Climate Change articles in this column focus on companies innovating in businesses providing solutions related to climate change Adaptation and Mitigation and climate Restoration initiatives. I am most interested in ARM investments in three broad areas:

(Read more about what I mean about these focus areas here.)

Moleaer (/Mo-Lee-Air/) is a wonderfully innovative company commercializing emerging scientific discoveries related to microscopic oxygen…


News about some of the most exciting ventures in the world: Xpansiv, PrairieFood, Carbon Engineering, and 1PointFive

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Humanity’s beautiful lifeboat. Source: NASA

This article is the first installment of my column’s new feature, ClimateTech Updates. In ClimateTech Update articles, I pass along the latest news about companies I have featured in previous columns.

The inaugural update covers:

Xpansiv

I wrote about this amazing company last August in the article Using Big Data And The Power Of Markets To Solve Climate Change.

Xpansiv gathers traceable production data to differentiate clean commodities from dirty ones, hereby empowering the free markets to decide what a low carbon footprint is worth. …


New research showing how plants react to increasing temperatures and CO2 levels suggests catalysts for climate change adaptation and mitigation businesses

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Fried flour tortillas may be worth more their weight in gold soon. Source: Wikipedia.org

You can listen to this article at my SoundCloud station:

Climate Catalysts: The Pairs Trade of the Century (2/9/2021) by Climate Solutions with Erik | Free Listening on SoundCloud

This article is the first installment of my column’s new feature, Climate Catalysts. Climate Catalyst articles highlight cutting edge research into climate science and its implication on economics and investing.

This month, we look at what I’m calling The Pairs Trade of the Century: Long flour tortillas / Short corn tortillas.

Executive Summary


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Serpa Solar Park built in Portugal in 2006. Source: Wikipedia.org

The year has started out very busy for your loyal correspondent, who has been interviewing experts on grid modernization, energy storage, and agricultural technology.

In the coming months, I’m looking forward to bringing you stories about some incredible organizations that are making progress in the fields of:

These organizations include Moleaer, LF Energy, Swell, sonnen, and KraftBlock with more to come.

I am shifting my focus to three main areas for writing and research over the next year:

Here’s…


The same supply chain that is saving our lives with vaccine is a main driver in the destruction of our ecosystem

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Modern warehouses are a critical component of our complex global supply chains

Watching video footage of vials of Covid-19 vaccines encased in dry ice and arriving at hospitals and retirement homes offers me a glimmer of hope for 2021. But having a vaccine does not mean an end to the pandemic — vaccines must be distributed to hospitals and injected into patients to do any good.

Because both the leading vaccines require subjects to receive two shots, humanity needs to figure out how to distribute two times seven billion people’s worth of vaccine to every corner of the world in a matter of months.

Thanks to advances in the art and science…


Lithium ion technology is great…for mobile devices. We need something different to create a cheap, dependable modern grid

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Serpa Solar Park built in Portugal in 2006. Source: Wikipedia.org

As I mentioned in my Grid Modernization article, our electrical system was originally designed to supply instantaneous power with essentially zero storage capacity.*

A structural inability to store power represents a critical bottleneck in the process of building a low-carbon electrical system. Renewable resources like wind and solar are naturally intermittent, and no one wants their fridge to stop working when the wind dies down.

Entrepreneurs read the word “bottleneck” as “opportunity,” so a lot of smart materials scientists have been working hard to leverage the leading battery technology — lithium-ion — to rehab our Industrial Revolution-paradigm grid with 21st…


The Biden Administration has a wonderful opportunity to make far-reaching infrastructure improvements that will fight climate change and have a good chance of garnering bipartisan support

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The present grid paradigm has reached its sundown. Source: Alexander Popov via Unsplash

Our electrical grid is a stunning example of human ingenuity and engineering. It spans hundreds of thousands of miles, is fed by thousands of production facilities, and serves hundreds of millions of customers. It is the largest machine ever built and one that empowers every computing, networking, and communications innovation of the Internet Age. (See also my article entitled You’ll Never Guess The Two Most Important Words In Tech Investing.)

As impressive as it is, the North American grid is showing its age. After all, it was built on a 19th century paradigm, its backbone was established before the 1929…


Mycelial networks sequester an enormous amount of carbon and provide other environmental benefits as well

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Suburbs in Dallas, Texas. Source: Wikipedia.org

Important Note to Readers:

I published the story below after having done due diligence on the company’s claims. The claims seemed well-supported by academic research and the company provided a third-party assessment of the company’s technology as it related to a trial with Cummins Diesel — a large, multinational company.

Within the past several days, mycologists have contacted me and my editors at another publication suggesting that the mycological community has concerns about the scientific claims made regarding NetZero’s mycelial orbs.

While I am attempting to sort through these issues and receive guidance from my editors, I am leaving this story up with this…

Erik Kobayashi-Solomon

Passionate about harnessing the power of the free market to solve humanity’s biggest adaptation challenge.

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