Two short articles of interest in The Economist. One describes the nascent attempts to conceive and build a network of high-voltage DC power lines across Europe, which would enable wind and solar to play the role of baseload power. The other is about compressed-air storage. This is nifty, but confusing:

Meanwhile, General Compression, a small firm based in Attleboro, Massachusetts, is taking another approach. Its windmill compresses air directly. This has the advantage of eliminating two wasteful steps: the conversion of the mechanical power of a windmill into electricity and its subsequent reconversion into mechanical power in a compressor. But an air-compressing windmill, while fine for storing energy, cannot transmit electricity directly to the grid.

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Why compress air just for the hell of it? Gar, you out there? Explain this.

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