Giant rechargeable batteries could soon be installed across Britain to help power wind farms and solar panels

From The Daily Mail

  • The business secretary Greg Clark is expected to announce the plans this week
  • The batteries will help wind and solar panel farms supply during high demand
  • Government announced £246million fund for greener energy solutions in April

By Mail Online Reporter

Speaking to the Sunday Times, he said: ‘We get 14 per cent of our electricity from intermittent sources [such as wind and solar] . . . but this intermittency does add costs.’

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The business secretary Greg Clark is expected to announce plans this week to install the batteries near wind and solar panel farms to help the energy resources continue to supply households when demand increases.

Chris Hewett of the Solar Trade Association told the newspaper: ‘Installing batteries alongside solar power would reduce overall costs to the electricity system and allow the country to have cheap solar at the heart of its power system.’

This comes after Mr Clark pledged a £1 billion investment called the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in April.

The cash will be poured into cutting-edge technologies over the next four years into a variety of sectors including healthcare and medicine, clean and flexible energy, robotics and artificial intelligence.

A total of £246 million was pledged towards greener energy solutions, including batteries for ‘clean and flexible energy storage’.

Read more:  Giant batteries to store green energy | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

Original Story Here.

HT/Perry

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210 thoughts on “Giant rechargeable batteries could soon be installed across Britain to help power wind farms and solar panels

      • It’s either stupidity or madness ….. the end result isn’t beyond doubt though…. Little effective choice between terminally stupid and insane really…..

      • Ye have little faith. I’ve inspected their plans and they will undoubtedly achieve their goal.

      • No ignorance there. The bureaucrats and politicians know exactly who will get the money (which corporations) and exactly how much of that money will be returned to the politicians, who can then campaign to get re-elected for the next round of graft and corruption while keeping their government helpers in place. (Look at Solyndra, $535,000,000.00 disappeared into the ether, without any investigation, millions to the Democratic politicians, and just enough to some key Republicans to hold off the investigations.) Without their sponsors re-election the GREEN bureaucrats will lose their jobs.

        The graft and kickback cycle for campaign donations, etc. for solar and wind is coming to a close if they cannot find a way to fool 51% into thinking renewable energy is working. Batteries balancing the input loads of those intermittent sources allow the moronic media (Marx’s useful idiots) to continue telling the masses that it is working. YES WE CAN save the earth.

        It IS a conspiracy. Why do you think it appears that all of the GODS are aligned against Trump? Because they are. He is trying to break this same cycle in the US. Why all the bankers in his administration? Because they know where the money is, where the channels of corruption flow. I just hope he starts vetoing the continuing spending resolutions. I think he signed the last one to give congress a chance to do SOMETHING positive. If he does, the veto will probably be overridden by the DC IN crowd making for a very interesting 2018 election season. At least 19 Republicans senators and 96 Republican house members would need to vote for the override. ALL house members MUST face re-election. MANY of the senators would be up within the next 3 years. I know American voter’s memories are short, but that short, I hope not.

        If the veto is not overridden, then Trump can decide who to lay off, and he may not let congress give back pay to bureaucrats, and possibly not let them be rehighered at all. (YOUR FIRED!) I think the first go round was Trump giving the swamp a chance to change their ways. Judges will try to run the government, but at that point, Trump may just say NO by closing the courts FIRST. The Judiciary was created by Congress and must be funded by the congress. Trump can decide there is no money for the frivolous courts. It could be a very interesting time in our history!

        I hope I am right about a continuing spending resolution veto. If not, the US will be looking at what the UK is dealing with shortly.

    • Right Leigh. Total. First they say solar and wind will produce cheap reliable energy.
      Recent history teaches that they cannot by the nature of their expense and their intermittent nature.
      Now the Warmunistas never admit these facts. Then out of nowhere comes a statement such as this:
      “The batteries will help wind and solar panel farms supply during high demand.”
      Is the first mile in the journey to the truth and an admission that renewables cannot and will not produce adequate electric power?

      • Leonard Lane, it is just possible it is the first mile in the journey to the truth.

        It would certainly help if somebody forces them to define in advance precisely what these batteries are going to do, and when, and at what cost, under which laws. Too many policy-makers are still being duped by vague promises of green deliverance. Vague promises that are never met, yet cost an arm and a leg and allow the guilty to squirm away from responsibility for failures. Failure that were predicted by sensible people. Sensible people who were ignored.

        Perhaps some of the policy-makers might “get it” a bit more if they were asked to explain why, if they are so marvellous, these expensive batteries couldn’t also be used to store electricity from conventional generators. Or if the presence of such batteries means that erratic wind/solar will no longer be given preferential grid access to sell their subsidised product. The green-dream almost always snaps under reasonably detailed public questioning. It’s a shame that most of the traditional press is now wholly incapable of the minimum.

      • While these wind and solar are producing their ‘cheap reliable energy’, they are now magically also going to be concurrently charging batteries for when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine. Which part of their output will be diverted for this, or is this a new previously hidden capacity of these power unicorns? Maybe they will just double down on their numbers – whole new farms just charging batteries.

    • That’s because it was in the Green manifesto – and the Greens have infiltrated the Civil Service (DEFRA and BEiS, particularly) and they are getting (weak) Conservative Ministers to carry out heir wishes. I’d do a Reagan on ’em: Sack ’em all.

  1. Well at least they have noticed the issue. But when people use language like “cheap solar” you’ve got to worry. Have they really done their sums on this giant battery plan? Or is it all talk and wishful thinking.

  2. ” reduce overall costs to the electricity system and allow the country to have cheap solar at the heart of its power system.”
    In UK ?!
    Man is a grand total fool maximus

      • Just imagine what the used car market for electric Teslas is going to be about six years out when they are all sporting worn out batteries for the new owner to worry about.

        A new (this month) model 3 Tesla can get a 130 mile recharge in 30 minutes at a Tesla fast charge station. That’s a two hour freeway driving range. so you get the use of your car for 80% of its total time of ownership; the rest belongs to Elon Musk.

        G

    • oops, and then I read about the floating wind tower! The next big thing will be to put a motor on the tower and sail along at twenty knots when the wind isn’t blowing to still generate electricity. They seem to be moving from ignorance to insanity to … and all with other people’s money.

  3. Well, what could possibly go wrong with a giant battery? Aside from potentially exploding. Or leaking into the water table / nearby streams or rivers. Or bursting into flames, pumping all kinds of toxic materials into the local atmosphere. Or……

      • Well, you don’t have to remove them. Just leave the toxic waste where it is and dig a new hole in the ground for the next battery.

      • Some kinds of batteries last a very long time, nickel-iron (NiFe) being an example. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nickel%E2%80%93iron_battery

        Eventually, but not today, coal and oil will be gone. Before then it will become scarce and needed for aviation and shipping where long extension cords are unsuitable.

        It is reasonable to start to roll out municipal batteries in some places to get the ball rolling.

  4. … “So this intermittency does add costs” …

    Like giant batteries? Paid for by what, printing extra money? Taxing the public? The implications are nearly oxymoronic: intermittency adds costs, so lets spend money buying giant batteries to mitigate the costs?

    Facepalm.

  5. There’s a simple basic question that I haven’t seen anyone answer: does the world have enough raw materials to make all these grid scale batteries?

    • Raw materials ? like in money ? 2x 28 volt aircraft batteries cost the department I work for $7,000.

    • I think the current technology of choice for grid scale batteries is probably Sodium Sulfur. Cheaper than Li-ion, high energy density, cheap readily available materials. Low self-discharge, etc. There are actually a few hundred mW of these in use here and there. But I doubt the British have worked out the number and cost of batteries they are going to need.

      And I’m sure there are going to be some folks who are not going to be ecstatic about batteries full of molten sodium anywhere near their back yard.

    • There’s a simple basic question that I haven’t seen anyone answer: does the world have enough raw materials to make all these grid scale batteries?

      Nope. The two Stanford physicists hired by Google to solve the renewables problem–and give Google the edge on clean energy–quit after four years saying it was impossible. They calculated the costs and materials. Said It couldn’t be done. Reported in the IEEE, Nov. 2014.

    • Yes but there is a catch. ALL of those materials presently reside in the ground.

      And the greens won’t allow anybody to take ANYTHING out of the ground.

      g

  6. As I have noted before, the “renewables” industry advocates act as if Heinlein’s Shipstones are not fiction, that energy storage is practical and available. The plot hook in “Friday” is that such a technology would be so valuable that the cartel controlling it would control the economy in general. Note to Roger Sowell and Griff==>Shipstones are still fiction.

  7. Do these people even think about what they are saying? Let’s do some back of the envelope figuring. You get 10 watts of power from your solar panels for 8 hours during the day. You need 10 more watts for the next 8 hours, i.e. evening. Then you need 5 watts for the next 8 hours, i.e. overnight. So you end up needing 15 watts of charging power to the batteries during the day. In other words, You need 2.5 times the solar panels you need during the day. Real economic. But wait, the meteorologists screwed up, and there is no sunshine tomorrow, so no power to customers during the day and no charging power for the batteries either. What else could go wrong?

    • Worse than that. In June at London, there are more than 16.5 hours of daylight. In December, less than 8. Further, the sun is much lower in the sky in December (~15° vs ~60° in June). You either have to build enough solar capacity to get you through days in December, or enough storage capacity to hold surplus energy for 6 months. Good luck with that one.

      • And in the UK, more power is used in the Winter than in the Summer. Peak demand is say around 6pm on December to February days just when the sun is mot shinning.

        It is crazy to design a system when peak inefficiency is coincident to peak demand on the system. No engineer would design such a system.

      • You miss my point. Make it 10×10^10. You still need at least 2.5 times the original number of cells just in order to cover the times the sun doesn’t shine each day. And that doesn’t begin to cover the days when the sun doesn’t shine.

    • You left out the power factor hit on your efficiency. The batteries don’t charge and discharge without controls and regulators…. all of those safety devices that the greenies will mandate have a price in consumption as well.

      • And don’t forget the internal resistance of the battery. The loss on charging scales as the square of the charging current. Typically you lose 5-10% on charging, but it can go up to 50% with rapid charging.

  8. The UK energy, environment and transport Government departments must be in the clutches of Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth, that is why all these idiot green group think ideas and proposals come forward. When Cameron was PM and he had Owen Patterson as environment minister and he fought back against the green blob, Cameron sacked him. PM May has now just put a load of green idiot ministers in charge of these departments so there is little hope any sanity being applied.

    • Not in their pockets I judge: but terrified of them, and feel compelled to appease. The skeptics don’t terrify anybody: no marches, petitions, twitterstorms, no lobbyists…

  9. At least they’re rechargeable batteries. Imagine the landscape littered with giant dead batteries. Of course even the rechargeable batteries wear out so it’s only a matter of time.

    • > the rechargeable batteries wear out <
      And then they are recycled. They will not litter the landscape.

      • They will be recycled using the energy from the solar arrays.

        Then the solar panels and associated controllers will wear out and be recycled using the energy from the solar arrays.

        Kind of like a perpetual motion machine.

      • marty: Don’t get out much in the real world, do you? Do you have any idea how many 1lb propane tanks are laying around because some landfills charge to take them? Any idea how many air conditioners, fridges, and freezer are tossed out because the fees to dispose of the “properly” are outrageous. Unless the batteries garner a very, very large fee for returning and recycling, the landcape will be littered. Absolutely.

      • They are not currently recycled. It’s a fantasy promoted by climate advocate journalists, and believed by a gullible public.

        Watch this 2016 interview with the world’s expert on rare earths and technology metals. Hell, just watch the first three minutes:

      • As part of my love of Landrovers and offroading, I used to travel around the counties I lived in in the UK cleaning up white class roads, byways and roads used as public paths (RUPPs) and I can assure you poeple do dispose of waste, much of it nasty and toxic like asbestos, lead acid batteries and all kinds of pots, tins and tanks and drums filled with anything from cooking/engine oil to paint. We volunteerd to do this putting ourselves and vehicles at risk. I knew of “fly tipping” the practice by builders disposing of building waste, but the other waste was an eye opener. When faced with a fee at a municipal refuse facility poeple will dump in the countryside. Seen it with my own eyes, but our work was never appreciated by ramblers and horse riders.

      • Have you ever seen a recycle operation that cost less than original manufacture..

        Eveready sells “recycled rechargeable batteries (NiMH). Gee whizz!! they contain 4% recycled batteries, and cost a whole lot more than un-recycled batteries; and they have a smaller ampere hour capacity than non-recycled batteries.

        So 96% of the battery is not recycled and ends up in a landfill.

        Do you think that the mines that are currently being operated, are actually dug up landfills made by some ancient aliens ??

        G

    • When you get into 100MW or GW “batteries”, you’re talking serious industrial facilities. The batteries will surely be rebuilt as needed. However, the need to take them out of service, take them apart, rework parts, etc, etc,etc, isn’t going to do wonders for cost.

  10. This is what I call doubling down on a failed idea. Since wind and solar cannot reliably provide the electricity energy needed, they resort to another horrible idea (batteries) in an attempt to fix the problems with the first failed concept.
    Why did they not foresee the inadequacy of the first idea, it was obvious to anyone who was thinking straight and clearly pointed out by knowledgeable engineers in the energy business, but they ignore reality based on a contrived obsession with CO 2.
    Looks like a recipe for another failure.
    Of course this does not even include the impact on the cost of electricity and the impact on those other than the elites.

      • Griff! Someone chinked your armor. Are you admitting that renewables are intermittent and thus unsuited for the job of generating electricity for the grid?

      • I can see you’re a “glass half full” kind of guy. It’s just as true to say that “batteries fill the dips in output from renewables”. Actually it’s more true, at least in the case of solar which has a calculable maximum output for any location, date and time-of-day. The actual could be less, down to zero for extended periods. And the real problem is you can’t fix a maximum duration for the “dips”, which makes it impossible to specify how much battery capacity you need.

      • Wrong Griff, THE GRID smooths out the spikes in the UK by accepting all power generated by the windfarms without reference to demand or to the unfavourable price discrepancy. Since wind satisfies less than 2% of total demand the grid is able to do this. Installation of batteries to smooth windfarm output would certainly benefit the grid but there is no incentive for windfarm operators to do this since the favoured status of their outputs enables them to sell to the grid no matter what. There is never a time when windfarms produce a surplus, their best effort so far produced about 50% of total demand in the UK, if memory serves. Therefor there is never a time when windfarm generation has the capacity to charge batteries.

      • @ Griff: Sure batteries can smooth the spikes, but a lot more wind and solar farms are needed. I don’t think it will be more than 50% until 2040. Btw. there are water, biogas, wood, and other sources to develop. keep patient, there is more to come.

    • Typical progressives. If it failed, double down because you just didn’t try hard enough the first time. Or it needs more money.

      • Sheri,.. You are indeed correct. You also inspired my brain bone with your second sentence.

        These people always seem to double down when it comes to other peoples effort, sweat, blood and sacrifice. So when they say you, we, society or government didn’t try hard enough the first, or second, or third time etc.,.. they really have no real world experience to fall back on. Lack of facing personal failure alone using their own money and “skin” keeps them living the life of a parasitic leach.

        Eventually after a great deal of destruction and suffering by others they panic when the funds dry up. Then they seamlessly project their bottomless ignorance onto everyone who “failed them”, announcing how intelligent and misunderstood they are. Eventually they wander off looking for other peoples money, and “love” somewhere else,.. especially somewhere where no one will recognize them.

        Thank you for the deeper insight and chuckle.

  11. Silly season. Massive virtue signalling going on.
    Govt doesn’t want a green fight right now.

  12. The UK already has some grid scale storage batteries… some already stacked at wind/solar farms.

    These are incredibly useful things… they have a very fast response time for demand/frequency response. They basically replace your peaker gas plant and spinning reserve. with UK National Grid having the ability to predict solar/wind availability in advance down to half hour periods, they just draw on these as wind drops off at an anticipated rate so gas plant doesn’t have to be ramped up quickly. So too for solar at the end of day: as solar falls off these take the strain – outside winter months they carry the load into the evening without firing other stuff up.

    The technology of power supply moved on – has no one here noticed?

    • Griff
      We are in the middle of summer the most productive period, but the solar today was 0.3GW of the total demand of about 30GW or about 1%.

    • Please tell us how much extra solar/wind capacity must be installed to keep the batteries charged in order to “fill in” for low output from solar/wind.

      Please tell the uninitiated how inverters powered from batteries can help frequency response on the grid. You might address what happens when two inverters (or more) are running out of phase on the grid.

      • “You might address what happens when two inverters (or more) are running out of phase on the grid.” Bad Things happen! (Arcs and sparks and disintegrating turbines)

      • Actually modern electronics can be a million times faster than the response times required to deliver power to an AC grid without any infighting. Out of phase inverters are just not a real hazard; no more likely than a floating log accidently getting sucked into the tunnel leading to a hydro-electric turbine, and seizing up the turbine.

        Don’t believe it has ever happened but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow at Grand Coulee Dam.

        Just saying.

        Yes there are some dumb things in energy systems; but electronics can be a lot smarter than most non-electronic things.

        G

      • G.

        You are assuming 100% reliability. I’ve been around electronics too long to expect that. With any luck you might just fry one inverter but you’re just as likely to see cascading effects among the remaining units.

    • There is currently 3.2GW of power storage in the UK of which 2.8GW is pumped storage and the rest 0.4GW is a mix of batteries and others.

      https://www.r-e-a.net/news/new-data-shows-extent-of-existing-energy-storage-deployment-and-planned-projects-in-the-uk

      Batteries have a long way to go to make up the storage required and will require huge subsidies to build and install as they are not cost effective. So to put this into context…Govts around the world have been rushing in headlong into installing intermittent renewables and have only now woken up that this can not support a national grid so now they think they need storage to smooth out intermittency.

      As admitted by ministers, adding renewables to the grid has cost more, power prices have risen to pay for it and now the good old tax payer has to pay even more to put in power storage adding more price rises to power bills…and this is not even taking into account the relatively short lifespan of renewable power sources and batteries which will have to be replaced much sooner than a fossil or nuclear power station equivalent.

      Where is the sanity in all this? It just seems like Govts are making decisions on the fly and not planning ahead and we get to pay for it.

      An excerpt from the link above
      “The National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios 2016 forecast up to 18 GW of capacity (power storage) by 2040. The National Infrastructure Commission’s Smart Power report forecast that a combination storage, interconnection, and flexibility could save consumers up to £8bn a year by 2030 with the right policy framework.”

      There is lots of info here to digest. One is that 18GW of power storage capacity is still not enough and what happens between now and 2040? The other comment about “could save consumers up to £8bn” is a joke and probably written directly from a Green NGO policy statement. Is this “saving” after the many billions spent installing the new power sources and power storage in the first place? I would love to know how they calculate these savings, it can only be creative accounting. There is no way any of this is cheaper than installing some gas power stations that could power this country into the next century with relatively little GHG emissions as seen with the USA reduction in GHGs.

      Griff lives in fantasy land along with the politicians that believe this bunk.

      • 2016 forecast up to 18 GW of capacity (power storage) by 2040

        There is a BIG problems with UNITS. 18 GW is indeed “power”, but it is capacity, not storage.
        18 GW-hr is energy storage. and it is only 18 GW if you can DRAIN the battery bank in an hour.

        I can give you 18 GW of power very cheaply in a capacitor bank. Won’t last but a second, but the power is there.

      • What idiot wrote that “news story”? GW is a nameplate power measure, it doesn’t tell you anything about the actual storage capacity. And if you go back to the report it is based on:

        https://www.r-e-a.net/images/upload/news_415_REA_-_Energy_Storage_in_the_UK_Report_2016_Update.pdf

        You will find that about 2.8 of those 3.2 GW comes from pumped hydro, which can deliver their nameplate power during 6-24 hours. The rest is a mixture of batteries, flywheels, compressed air, liquid air, molten salt, you name it. Most of this stuff is experimental or proof-of-concept and they can deliver their nameplate capacity during from 50 seconds (for the flywheel) to a maximum of 12,5 hours for an experimental 0.1 MW (!) flow battery. Most are in the 1-3 hour band.

        By the way that flywheel is probably the only actually useful piece of machinery in the lot. It could really help stabilize frequency until you get your gas turbines or diesels up to speed when something nasty happens. Of course, if you don’t have enough diesels or gas turbines it is useless too.

      • “Griff lives in fantasy land”

        Griff is paid to spout propaganda for the ‘Unreliables’ industry.

      • Griff is not paid by anyone, nor a member of any green organisation nor any political party, lets get that clear.

        all the references I’ve given are on multiple websites and can be checked.

        I’m not in any fantasyland either: I’m reporting what electricity industry engineers are doing and the actual figures and conditions out there on the UK grid.

        Some posters here do not appear to be keeping up with the very many changes and new capacity in renewables around the UK.

    • Numbers Griff. How many, what capacity, what load capability, what technology, where? Then perhaps we can get into who funded them, subsidies, fast response incentives, life expectancy and so on. “Some grid scale storage batteries” doesn’t tell us much does it? Are fire services aware of their presence, how about those in the domestic built environment?

      While you’re at it, why don’t you add up all the diesel gen sets parked on the edges of industrial parks around the place, creaming off response incentives for standing idle too. Quite apart from the NOx/PM2.5 implications, the whole thing stinks of organised green patronage via the public purse as usual.

      • google it AJB – the information is all out there.

        all I’m trying to do is point out there’s already an established level of battery installs in the UK and a programme to take it further -and especially to shed some light on why and how it will be used.

        this isn’t some brainstorm by a green brain washed govt, it is an active development of strong progress in UK renewables.

        Yes, there are diesel parks out there… originally intended only for use when part of the grid cut out, they have been used for frequency response. But now batteries will do that job better with quicker response (and you might look at the contractual limits on how little those diesel parks are allowed to run)

      • I did Griff. As far as I can tell there’s a 10MWh proof of concept in Leighton Buzzard (completed in 2014) and a few Tesla Powerpack setups like the 500kWh one in Somerset. Nowhere near enough, not even in the right ballpark. One additional gas fired powerstation would way exceed the return we’ll get from this round of party bag handouts but here’s the BBC’s impartial CO2 exhaling village idiot back in Dec 2012 railing against fracking for no supportable reason as usual.

        And you’re missing the point. Those diesels get paid whether they’re running or not. It was and remains another green subsidy farming scam by city investment outfits on the inside track. This latest stunt has all the hallmarks of being another.

    • Griffie, your thought processes mimic those being ridiculed by commentors: Install redundant, hugely expensive batteries; “… they just draw on these as wind drops off at an anticipated rate so gas plant doesn’t have to be ramped up quickly.” Since we still need the gas peakers, why install batteries?

    • Have you apologised to Dr Crockford for slandering her yet, Skanky?

      Don’t you think it’s time you did?

  13. “Giant rechargeable batteries could soon be installed across Britain to help power wind farms and solar panels”

    To help POWER wind and solar? Aren’t wind and solar farms supposed to POWER batteries for when there is no wind and sun?

  14. Given that solar power in winter in the UK only generates about a quarter of the power in summer, we would have to have enough batteries to store enough power in summer, to last us through winter.

    • Except that wind power works best in winter and the batteries accept power from any source…

      but storing power for long periods/in expectation of providing power for days is not what these are about…

      They are for demand/frequency response, peak demand and covering the period when renewables are (predictably) ramping down to allow gas power to come online. They replace spinning reserve.

      • “when renewables are (predictably) ramping down”

        Sure. Weather reports are 100% reliable. We all know that. And renewables never fail for any other reason. We all know that too.

      • After 30-plus years experience in providing reliable electric service, I can confidently say that Griffie couldn’t find his a$$ with both hands.

      • Griffie, if renewables ramp down “predictably”, why don’t we just fire up the gas power a few minutes earlier instead rather than messing with batteries and stuff? .

      • Except that there is not supposed to be “spinning reserve”. The problem here is that you are trying to have it both ways. Either Wind and Solar are the primary sources of power, in which case you do need 6 moths worth of storage, or they’re secondary sources – in which case they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

    • Griff:
      “Except that wind power works best in winter”

      Except that the coldest UK winter periods typically have high air pressure and near zero wind speeds, for several days sometimes. 100% thermal needs to remain.

      • The chosen solution was to replace closed coal plants with a few MW of standby diesel generators, churning out sky high priced electricity, and volumes of toxic fumes.

    • Griff

      Really!!

      In the UK, we had 2 winters in a row (I think it was 2009/10 and 2010/11) which were 2 of the coldest winters on record. one was said to be a 1 in 30 occurrence, and the other a 1 in 100 occurrence, and during these exceptionally cold winters a blocking high sat off the UK and there was all but no wind for a period of about 4 to 6 weeks.

      I recall monitoring the wind generation each day, on average it was about 3% of nameplate capacity, a few days it managed 8% of nameplate capacity and on a lot of days it was less than 1% nameplate capacity.

      In these exceptionally cold conditions probably more energy was being consumed (to heat oil turn the rotors etc) than was being produced.

      In these conditions although the skies were generally sunny, the days are short and the angle of incidence means that little solar power was being produced and certainly not coinciding with peak demand 6pm to 8pm In December, January and February.

  15. I offer my apologies to you all as I live in South Australia where we (rather, our Labor Government using our money) are leading the world with the biggest battery on our power grid.

    Your lemmings are starting to follow our lead.

  16. Only a government entity could approve an electrical generation scheme requiring two systems instead of one and then call it cheaper.

    • Actually three…Renewables(unreliable) , batteries (time bombs) and Fossil Fuel (reliable backup)…

  17. India, embracing LFTR, is moving into the first world, while GB transitions into the third. Justice is far from blind!

    • Brings to mind the prescient vision of Miguel de Cervantes “Of the good fortune which the valiant Don Quixote had in the terrible and undreamt-of adventure of the windmills.”

      • pochas94. Great comment and devastating to the renewables for thee but not me crowd of subsidy seekers. Most penetrating, devastating, and truly funny comment I have heard in a long time. Please keep it up! Onward Rosinante!!

  18. How are vast amounts of lithium batteries and PV panels that have to be treated as toxic waste at end of life, clean?

      • Fossil fuel are need to create them, quite frankly you will never create enough power out of them to make up for the fossil fuels used to create them, almost all renewable is spending two dollars of fossil fuels worth of energy to create on dollar of non fossil fuel, It quit simple it all a huge waste of money and does nothing to reduce co2 emission. It a shell game you greenies buy into. Lastly co2 emission are a moot point in climate change, they don’t do enough to really change anything. It look like the real forcing per doubling are either 0 to 2C, at 2C per doubling you cannot change the climate to make much difference, at best we would warm the climate to about were the climate temperature was 8000 years ago and it at present day rates of usage it would take about 8000 years if not longer.

  19. Well…. I think they must research more on efficiency of solar panels, bio mimicry, supercaps and stuff, this is gonna cost more, but is more feasible.
    :)

  20. This is not about the environment. In this case, money has no meaning. Remember: CO2 up, sperm count down. Greens only want to increase their ability to reproduce.

  21. “batteries” do not create power, they store it. In order to charge the battery AND supply power to consumers, you would to at least double the capacity (and double the cost) of “renewable energy”…No need to do that with “Clean Coal” !!

    • The UK has shut down most of its coal power plants and will close all of the by 2025.

      During the months April through September, coal provides hardly any power.

      • Despite closing coal plants and conversion of some to other fuels, primarily natural gas, coal generates more electricity in the UK (2015) than wind and solar combined.

      • Of course the Drax Power station (once coal fired) now converted to burning wood chips shipped in from the USA and still producing similar real emissions to coal but as seen here are considered zero carbon. What a joke.

        https://www.ecowatch.com/chatham-house-biomass-study-2288764699.html

        “Currently energy companies are cutting U.S. forests and producing wood pellets to export to EU markets, claiming that biomass fuel is clean and renewable. These exports are driven by generous EU renewable energy subsidies that erroneously reward all forest biomass as “carbon-neutral”—equivalent to non-polluting sources like solar and wind energy. In other words, when counting carbon pollution at a biomass power plant, EU regulators treat the discharge from the smokestack as zero carbon, even though biomass combustion releases carbon emissions at levels comparable to fossil fuels.”

      • But that was not the case in 2016 R Shearer when wind on its own generated more than coal…

        https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-uk-wind-generated-more-electricity-coal-2016

        “The UK generated more electricity from wind than from coal in the full calendar year of 2016, ….The milestone is a first for the UK and reflects a collapse in coal generation, which contributed just 9.2% of UK electricity last year, with 11.5% from wind. The coal decline saw its output fall to the lowest level since 1935.”

      • “But that was not the case in 2016 R Shearer when wind on its own generated more than coal…”

        Carbonbrief… Oh good grief…

        You get dafter and dafter, Skanky.

        Why don’t you quote a really authoritative source such as “The Beano”?

        Apologised to Dr. Crockford yet?

  22. Having a bit of a mental block here… are the batteries to be a source of power when panels and fans are not working? Or are the batteries to help the fans and panels operate to produce power?
    Can the rechargeable batteries be charged when fans and panels are producing power which is being transmitted else where? Can the batteries be charged when fans and panels are not operating? How can the batteries be charged when fans and panels are not operating?
    What would Beanie and Cecil think of this?

  23. Interesting.
    Wind and solar barely reach the break even point for energy production, producing as much energy as it took to make them. Add in the energy cost of manufacturing the batteries, and the whole enterprise goes energy net-negative.
    People are talking more and more about batteries saving the world, with respect to “renewable” generation, but I have not seen any updated energy balance calculations.
    I wonder why?

    • Because it is easy to show that batteries cost more to build than all the energy they can store in a lifetime.

      Take the money it costs to buy a battery. Buy electricity instead. You will be able to buy more electricity than the battery can store in its lifetime before it must be replaced. And that is before you start to pay for the electricity to charge the battery.

      • Come on. Solar and wind are “free”. You can’t get any cheaper than “free”. The only cost is the battery to store all that free energy, right? This is the magical thinking that lies behind the green economy knuckleheads.

    • Because “ye Musky Big-Battery Man” has stupefied politicians across the world. After all, if the USA is dumb enough to subsidise everything he produces, it can’t be bad, can it?

  24. And half of the US think they have a problem with Trump.

    Try this side of the pond folks, things can get worse!

  25. Tesla powerwall 2 is warranted to hold 37800 kwh . which is equivalent to 37800/33= 1145 gallons of gasoline. At current price of gasoline that is 1145*2.50 = $ 2864 worth of gasoline. But the powerwall 2 costs 3 times that to buy, and that doesn’t include the electricity to charge it.

    In other words, even the most modern battery costs more to buy than all the energy it can store in its lifetime.

  26. Having some experience with storage batteries, I am anticipating much amusement to follow.
    Imagine, these same persons who have fallen for the Emperors New Clothes…these batteries being the accessory ribbons,these same people are going to set regulations with respect to Safe Utilization of these devices.
    The blind leading the blind, into electrochemical catastrophe.
    So as usual Good Enough For Government, will now create a genuine environmental danger, in their efforts to solve an imaginary environmental threat.
    The Iron Law of Bureaucracies marches on.
    Or in old english, the parasite grows until it consumes all.
    Of course the Ministeries of Truthiness and Unicorn Flatulence will spin the destruction,deaths and toxic results as, Urban Re-development.

  27. A typically 8D 200 ah battery cost about $200 and is at best good for 2400 kWh of power. (200 ah * 12v * 1000 cycles / 1000 wh/kwh).

    Which is about $84 worth of electricity at wholesale price of about 3.5¢ per kWh. As such it would be much cheaper to buy energy from the grid than to store it in a battery.

    • Yes but you not using fossil fuel to produce the electricty /sarc The reality is it take more energy to produce the batteries than they will every store in it life time, a net loss, it takes more CO2 producing energy to make the battery/wind/solar power station than said battery/wind/solar power station will ever be able to produce and yet the greens believe they great because the power they produce do not use fossil fuels, the greens never look behind the curtain and see what really powers these boondoggles. which is fossil fuels.

      • Batteries sound big.

        Tesla announced that it won a contract for the “largest li-ion battery project in the world”. It will deploy a 20 MW/80 MWh Powerpack system at the Southern California Edison Mira Loma substation.

        until you realize that is the same energy as 50 barrels of oil.

    • But ferd, you should know by now city life has nothing to do with battery life (or CO2 for that matter). It’s about monetary return on investment. Greenuption on the other hand is subsidy farming with a little help from our wonderful shmucks in government.

      If you check some of them out, conflicts of interest couldn’t possibly come into it of course. Rip off consumers at large for energy, grab their assets and build battery coup city housing for later rent. Agenda21 anyone?

      “A total of £246 million was pledged towards greener energy solutions, including batteries for ‘clean and flexible energy storage’.” But of course, now what’s that all About.

  28. Err, based on these tin-pot examples to date?
    http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/resource-centre/storage-case-studies

    “£1 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund … poured into cutting-edge technologies over the next four years including healthcare and medicine, clean and flexible energy, robotics and artificial intelligence.”

    So it’s a party bag handout. One hopes those divvying out the funds will talk to actual engineering expertise (as opposed to green washed administrative wonks in institutions) and avoid throwing even more public money at idiot green pipedreams. Given we have FRS party trick clowns like King and May still floating around on diesel fumes in the background, somehow i doubt that’ll ever happen.

    Funny business as usual then; more green cow patties to avoid stepping in outside the London circus tent. Roll-up, roll-up – get your Kool Aid here.

    • Subsidies are never needed for items the market demands. I own a significant part of a company that makes a unique bracket for industrial use. It eliminates welders in a part of the construction process. Instead of going to govt for subsidies, we have folks offering us cash for a small ownership percentage. Every mechanical or structural engineer that sees it gets very excited. I think they may get wood.

  29. However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at results.
    –Winston Churchill

  30. And this should be chiselled into the stone lintels of the main entrance of wherever elected representatives gather to foist their silliness on their hapless citizens, in whatever language is appropriate to the region:

    Government needs to recognize that where genuine understanding is limited, committed belief in the prevailing misunderstanding does not constitute genuine expertise, nor can truth be conjured by modelling ignorance with a computer.
    –Walter Starck

    Apologies if it is not an accurate quote.

    • Steve

      Might be time to reconsider something like this

      “Oath of allegience to kings of Castille (Spain)

      We who are as good as you, swear to you, who are no better than we, to accept you as our king and sovereign lord, provided you observe all our liberties and laws, but if not, not.

      J.H Elliot, “Imperial Spain”

  31. I can do no more than join you all in wailing and teeth gnashing.
    Utter, utter, utter, utter 12-bottles-short-of-a-dozen technical & economic innumeracy.

  32. If you took a poll of real engineers as to using batteries for this, would you get most of them to agree that this is folly? Would the green believers then bow down to that consensus as they so arrogantly demand that we should do about their climate change consensus?

  33. For those who don’t live in the U.K. a “gregclark” is slang for congenital idiot.

  34. Might I suggest also employing pixie dust and unicorn farts as a back-up power source for when the sun refuses to cooperate? Oh, and hamster wheels would be good too.

    • Large hamster wheels with innumerate politicians inside them. Released only after a gigawatt hour of effort for a 5 minute break.

  35. If you are a UK taxpayer I suggest you write a letter to Greg Clark, cc Theresa May, your chosen newspaper, the BBC and one copy to your solicitor and hold the ministers personally responsible for the stupidity involved in wasting your money on something which makes no engineering or economic sense.

    After a few dozen letters we should have some good publicity which will get some useful supporting responses from knowledgeable engineers / economists.

  36. Buy solar panels and get cheap electricity while the sun shines. Play double or nothing with batteries and the electricity gets cheaper!

    Marketing science has achieved the nirvana that 97% utter bulldust sells. The 3% truthy bit is just that the sun shines, part of the time.

  37. Call me cynical, but what is to stop anyone from charging the batteries off the fossil fuel grid at night, at mandated low rates, and discharging the batteries during the cloudy days at high prices?

    I think this is just another version of the diesel powered spotlights shining on Spanish solar panels at night to reap the higher mandated “green” power generation rates.

    • There never will be a rechargeable super battery because however much you twiddle with electrode materials, geometry etc etc you are still limited to reversible redox reactions within a narrow temperature band and the elements in the periodic system. There is only so much energy per pound that can be squeezed out by moving around valence electrons at room temperature.

      A “super battery” will need some completely new physics.

      • Search has only started, but it is well worth seeing through, providing the references to global warming and the CO2 are ignored.

      • @Vukcevic: “well worth (?!?) seeing through.” ??

        “Worth” is the key word. It is an economic issue. There is only so much money and it is important not to waste it following ephemera and unicorn farts.

        Go into any chemistry classroom worth the name. On the wall should not only be the Periodic Table, but the table of Electrochemical Potential. That EP table has not fundamentally changed in a century. The problem is one of engineering — to make what nature allows us to use into a package that is useful, safe, and affordable. But if nature doesn’t allow more, it is not worth looking for that which isn’t there.

      • Thanks for your comments.

        “well worth seeing through (the video link ) providing the references to global warming and the CO2 are ignored.”

      • @Vukcevic. … Ah ! … Yes, the documentary is well worth seeing through.
        Battery technology on the grid?.. as Steve Adams posted above:

        However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at results.
        –Winston Churchill

    • Vukcevic’s video link is a 52 minute Nova (PBS) show from Jan 2017 “Search for the Super Battery.” It is good. It looks at the problems and how big the problems really are.

      Particularly the part (26:30-30:35) about Li-Ion Battery catastrophic failure and the (30:35-36:00) apparently much safer alternative (in R&D) of the solid polymer lithium metal battery from Ionic Materials. See also Motley Fool 2017.03.05 Ionic Materials

      Also I liked the (43:30 – 49:30 ) “Salt Water Battery” that eschews power density needed for cars, and looks at low cost per kwhr but ability to be massively scalable and non-toxic for grid support. Choose materials with an eye toward “Crustal Abundance => low cost potential and virtually unlimited supply. “Far less energy dense than li-ion” but far easier to manufacture by the ton.

  38. Gotta be something to do with this story..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40699986

    The maths are just mind blowing.
    They say consumers will save ‘up to £40B
    Fine..
    But, that is spread over all UK households (say 30M in number) and up to year 2050.

    Works out at ~£40 per house per year. So what. That Is Nothing.
    To get this largesse will require fitment of a Smart Meter.
    These *were* due to cost £344 each, about 3 or 4 years ago when first mooted. Cost now is region of £1,200 ea. Doncha just love Government accounting?
    (Householder/consumer/taxpayer pays – they are all the same people)

    But, get this, the saving comes from them being allowed to switch stuff off and on in your house.
    Supposedly ‘big’ things like washers, fryers, air-cons but, wait till 2040, and it’ll be the car – supposedly charging (not) up in your garage. And when the car is not charging, its intended to be discharging into the grid – as spinning reserve. Ain’t that a fact Griff?

    It is just so bad, so awful and all came from the notion that cold things make warm things warmer.
    Everyone ‘knows’ all about radiative GHG theory. They are sooo clever and well educated.

    OK. I ask, why were these super brain-boxes, the ones who understand so much thermodynamics, why wre they told by their (Australian) Government recently not to strike up the BBQ inside their houses.
    For fear of gassing themselves or burning the house down.
    Why did these super intelligentsia need to be told such a thing. What am I missing here?

    • The car as reserve grid battery is certainly much talked about – I think only one small trial in Germany so far.

      Do note ‘they’ get your consent to switch stuff off and there is likely to be payment to you for engaging in demand response.

      That’s how it works now for the large commercial operations managing refrigeration, heating and aircon – there is already a few GW of power managed like this in the UK.

      • This is already done in Florida for large loads such as refrigerator air conditioning, pool pumps etc., voluntarily and for a reduced bill. BUT a car that is discharging rather than charging may become a brick on the interstate on the way to work or on the now 2 day with hotel stop planned 600 mile drive. As normal not fully thought through.

  39. There’s a sucker born every minute (P. T. Barnum):

    Dewy-eyed ‘Pollyanna’ exuding adoration here happens to be the aptly named political leader of the state of South Australia Jay Weatherill.

  40. Charles, I loved your headline:

    Giant rechargeable batteries could soon be installed across Britain to help power wind farms and solar panels

    I understand that in cold, still conditions, wind turbines draw electricity to keep vital components warm. I do not know the energy requirement for this purpose but I also understand it is not insignificant. Even so, I wondered if your choice of words “help power wind farms and …” wasn’t a Freudian slip?

    • “I do not know the energy requirement for this purpose”

      It is usually in the tens of kilowatt range, can be a lot more if you need to de-ice the blades.

  41. June 2013 WUWT had an article: Getting Energy from the Energy Store by Willis.

    Down in the comments I gave the figures that equated a 100 car coal unit-train = 1 GW-day as a nice convenient measure of grid scale energy quantities. That 1 GW-day of coal could in 2013 be mined at Black Thunder in WY and delivered to a power plant in St. Louis for $30/ton. or $0.3 million per GW-Day for 10,000 tons of coal.

    Back in the referenced article, I calculated it with a ClaytonPower 400Ah battery. at $60 billion.

    What then is the cost of storing 1 GW-Day of electricity in the latest Tesla batteries?
    Panasonc 18650 Power Density 0.254 KWhr/kg
    Tesla claim Cost per KWhr: 180.00 $/KWhr
    Panasonc 18650 mass per KWhr 3.94 kg/KWhr
    1 GW-Day 24,000,000 KWhr/GW-day
    Panasonc 18650 mass per GWDay 94,488 tons battery/GW-Day

    Cost of Panasonc 18650 $4,320 million/GW-day ($4.3 billion)
    So for electrical energy, 10.55 kg Li-Ion battery / kg coal (40% elec gen)

    Tesla Panasonc Li-Ion 18650 are about 12,000 times more expensive than an equivalent amount of coal. While you can reuse the batteries, you cannot reuse them 12,000 times.

    Furthermore, to replace that one unit train of coal, you need the equivalent of 10 unit trains to hold all the batteries to store that GWDay. Just imagine that mass of batteries parked somewhere. Now imagine one of those batteries going into thermal runaway or shorting out.

    • You didn’t add in the cost of a power plant to charge those batteries before use. That’s going to be over and above what you already need to supply. And, due to charging inefficiencies, why not just use the charging power to feed the grid?

      • Jim, you are absolutely right. To store that 1 GW-Day in a 1000 100-ton railroad hopper car of Tesla Batteries, you must FIRST generate a SURPLUS GW-Day of electrical energy — someway, somehow, at some cost of capital and operations. And the cheapest way to generate that GW-Day is — with a 100 car unit train of coal.

  42. ‘Installing batteries alongside solar power would reduce overall costs to the electricity system and allow the country to have cheap solar at the heart of its power system.”

    Quite the reverse, it would create the need for extra daytime generation from another source. To store power during the day when demand is high is bonkers. Solar PV’s role in supplementing higher daytime electricity demand is strongly limited by the greatly reduced daylight and sunshine hours in winter months in the UK.

    • but from April to October UK’s 10GW of solar capacity gives 6 to 8 GW of power every mid day – with 2GW plus from 8.30 to 6.30 pm at minimum. That’s equivalent to a coal power station.

      and in the winter the wind generation kicks in…

  43. Here we see solar panels, wind farms, and rechargeable batteries combine into a highly effective homeopathic solution to our man-made woes.

    Dilute stupidity by 10^200 and you get some mighty powerful intelligence.

  44. “…..cutting-edge technologies over the next four years……”

    The only cutting I can see is to whatever Surplus might have been achieved without this wasteful spend.

  45. But, but. in the short term, going long TSLA might make a bob or three?

    Or, would Shorting it (the stock, folks, not the batteries….)?

    These Green decisions are soooo hard.

  46. the headline makes ZERO sense it says the batteries will help power the solar panels and wind????? where will the batteries get that power? and why do either solar panels or a windmill need supplemental power/

  47. They have been working on load leveling batteries for decades. For them to be useful, they must be dirt cheap, efficient and long lasting. Pumping water uphill and regenerating electricity when running the water back down, is still the cheapest most efficient way storing energy. It is not always the most practical which is why a small percentage applications use batteries any way.

  48. Government announced £246million fund for greener energy solutions in April.

    This comes after Mr Clark pledged a £1 billion investment called the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in April.

    The cash will be poured into cutting-edge technologies over the next four years …

    Mr Clark made a special point of emphasising, “this is not a subsidy. No – really – it’s not. It’s an accounting device in which future wind-falls from clean energy are being invested backwards in time.

    But make no mistake – wind and solar are already the cheapest of all power sources and don’t receive any subsidies. At all. In fact, they never have! Honest! Soon, electricity from these natural renewables will be too cheap to meter.”

    • >Soon, electricity from these natural renewables will be too cheap to meter.”< This is precisely the argument with which Otto Hahn used to advertise nuclear power. As we now know this is not true. Even if the energy from wind an sun is cheap, the distribution and administration is costly. There will not be free energy for everybody.

  49. And what about the tens of thousands of houses that these wind farms are supposed to feed, Will they be putting a standby battery at the corner of every street?

  50. ‘We get 14 per cent of our electricity from intermittent sources [such as wind and solar] . . . but this intermittency does add costs.’

    So he’s really admitting the fan club got it wrong with these intermittents to date and Britons are now to get the real costs of fixing them?

  51. Decades of looking for the unobtainable – the large-scale energy storage (other than the pumped water) that is. But that looking can be profitable. For the recipients of the grants to do the looking, that form companies that eventually die. Where is: Aquion Energy? EnerVault? Ambri? LightSail Energy? Others will emerge, undoubtedly, get publicity, EPA grants and start-up money from naive new-rich, and die. Money provided by people that do not know the difference between energy and power.

  52. We already have great energy storing Products. They are called oil, gas, coal, uranium/thorium etc. and comes fully charged with energy!

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