Batteries Not Included In Renewable Fantasy Plans

Posted: November 21, 2018 by oldbrew in ideology, opinion

Some home truths for renewable energy worshippers, especially those in power, to grapple with. But they probably won’t.

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

The political fantasy of 100% renewable electricity is sweeping the nation. Governors and mayors, towns and cities, and whole States are vying for who can get there first. California’s 2045 target date was recently topped by Colorado’s incoming Governor’s announced target of 2040, just 21 short years from now.

This 100% goal sounds so good politically that it is irresistible. Clean energy for everyone. Unfortunately, converting America to 100% renewable energy is completely unrealistic as engineering, which means we are headed for big trouble. Committing to the impossible is a truly bad plan.

The problem is batteries, which we never hear about when these grand plans are announced. Batteries are not included, even though they will be needed in impossible quantities. Here are the simple facts which dare not be mentioned.

While there are “utility scale” battery systems, their national total is virtually zero compared…

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  1. Curious George says:

    The problem is energy storage – not necessarily batteries. An attractive alternative is hydro. California has a topography ideally suited for hydro. Simply build a 100 m tall dam across the Golden Gate. You will get an enormous storage. A beneficial side effect is a flooding of San Francisco, Sacramento, and a substantial part of the Central Valley, thus reducing California’s population and carbon dioxide emissions.

  2. oldbrew says:

    Ah yes, reducing the demand will reduce the need for supplies. Genius 😎

  3. MrGrimNasty says:

    The UK seems to believe that the grid can be balanced with smart meters and electric cars used as buffers! Completely insane.

  4. oldbrew says:

    Fuel vaporises when used but batteries don’t. Soon enough the dead ones will be piling up.

  5. dscott says:

    I find it interesting that there is no discussion on electrical power consumption by batteries… Are people really that gullible to believe you can recover 100% of the power out that you put in? Really? The back of the envelop calculations failed to cover an extra 30% electrical generation needed to offset this loss. Storage is not free.

    BTW, pumped hyrdro storage is similar in it’s power consumption, around 70% recovery rate. It only works because the cheap electricity produced off hours is more than paid for financially selling it at peak hours.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    The cycle for a Tesla Powerwall claims 88% in/out. Should you want to convert from or to AC then there are further losses, so 30% loss seems a good estimate.
    Also there are rising losses when the temperature drops below 10℃ or goes above 30℃ – although I would suggest that the latter case is less of a worry in the UK (unless the predictions of the Gullible Loonies actually happen).

  7. ivan says:

    You can have all renewable energy or all reliable energy, pick one – you can’t have both since they are antagonistic to each other.

    I have friends that live in the Pyrenees too remote to have a power line installed so EDF installed one of their solar units which is supposed to give 5 days autonomy but it doesn’t. About 6 years ago I installed a 15 kW diesel generator, 2 3kW 230v AC inverters and a bank of deep cycle lead/acid batteries to augment the solar array. I had to get the EDF installer in to add the solar to this setup and for that time it has been working without problems except that EDF wanted to charge for the electricity that the diesel generator supplied as well as that supplied by their solar panels – we did get that sorted out but it took time.

    As I say you can have either but if you opt for renewable only you will have problems if you don’t have reliable backup.

  8. gbaikie says:

    It has to be done with hydro-power- if serious you talking about building a huge amount of hydro dams.

  9. gbaikie says:

    Btw, Which countries produce the most hydroelectric power?

    But related to it’s population, it’s not nearly enough. It’s similar to US.
    If vaguely serious you would be increasing US or China by factor of 3

  10. Gamecock says:

    If you have intermittent generation of electricity, AND you want to have electricity all the time, and you want it centrally produced, batteries are not backup to generation. Generation is backup to generation. Batteries don’t generate.

    Batteries are a non sequitur.

    But people keep talking about them. The idea is, “If we just had the right batteries . . . .”

    If you had the right batteries, 100% renewables is still not viable.

  11. TonyfromOz says:

    The problem with batteries is that they are not power generation, and that has been mentioned here.

    You need the ‘original’ power generation in place if you are to have batteries.

    Then, you either:

    (a) Use the power as it is being generated, or

    (b) use the same generated power to charge the batteries for use at a later time.

    You cannot do both.


  12. oldbrew says:

    Tony – exactly. If the overall power generation is falling short of total requirements, batteries won’t solve the problem.

    For example, summer-generated solar power can’t be stored until winter. This is obvious stuff but are the powers that be bothered about it?

  13. Gamecock says:

    Battery capacity is finite. Weather dependent renewable generation outages are indeterminate, and potentially unlimited. Equals limited backup for unlimited outage.

  14. oldbrew says: reports:
    Labor outlines its energy policy: batteries to subsidise solar power storage for households

    High power prices are a crushing Aussies. Now, the man who wants to be our next PM has a plan to cut power prices by 60 per cent.

    Labor calculates the scheme would triple the number of battery systems in Australian households compared to current numbers.

    It will argue “the massive boost” will also help manufacturers scale up production and reduce their costs, in order reach the goal of one million households with battery systems by 2025.
    – – –
    When the battery expires, will the State subsidise the next one, and the one after etc.?