Study: Avoiding blackouts with 100% renewable energy

From STANFORD UNIVERSITY and the “pie in the sky dreams” department comes this study

Stanford engineers develop a new method of keeping the lights on if the world turns to 100% clean, renewable energy

Researchers propose three separate ways to avoid blackouts if the world transitions all its energy to electricity or direct heat and provides the energy with 100 percent wind, water and sunlight. The solutions reduce energy requirements, health damage and climate damage.

BY TAYLOR KUBOTA

Renewable energy solutions are often hindered by the inconsistencies of power produced by wind, water and sunlight and the continuously fluctuating demand for energy. New research by Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, and Aalborg University in Denmark finds several solutions to making clean, renewable energy reliable enough to power at least 139 countries.

illustration of solar array, wind turbine and hydrogen storage unitsStanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson says a new study shows that it is possible to transition the entire world to 100 percent clean, renewable energy with a stable electric grid at low cost. (Image credit: Getty Images)

In their paper, published as a manuscript this week in Renewable Energy, the researchers propose three different methods of providing consistent power among all energy sectors – transportation; heating and cooling; industry; and agriculture, forestry and fishing – in 20 world regions encompassing 139 countries after all sectors have been converted to 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Jacobson and colleagues previously developed roadmaps for transitioning 139 countries to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050 with 80 percent of that transition completed by 2030. The present study examines ways to keep the grid stable with these roadmaps.

“Based on these results, I can more confidently state that there is no technical or economic barrier to transitioning the entire world to 100 percent clean, renewable energy with a stable electric grid at low cost,” said Jacobson, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “This solution would go a long way toward eliminating global warming and the 4 million to 7 million air pollution–related deaths that occur worldwide each year, while also providing energy security.”

The paper builds on a previous 2015 study by Jacobson and colleagues that examined the ability of the grid to stay stable in the 48 contiguous United States. That study only included one scenario for how to achieve the goals. Some criticized that paper for relying too heavily on adding turbines to existing hydroelectric dams – which the group suggested in order to increase peak electricity production without changing the number or size of the dams. The previous paper was also criticized for relying too much on storing excess energy in water, ice and underground rocks. The solutions in the current paper address these criticisms by suggesting several different solutions for stabilizing energy produced with 100 percent clean, renewable sources, including solutions with no added hydropower turbines and no storage in water, ice or rocks.

“Our main result is that there are multiple solutions to the problem,” said Jacobson. “This is important because the greatest barrier to the large-scale implementation of clean renewable energy is people’s perception that it’s too hard to keep the lights on with random wind and solar output.”

Supply and demand

At the heart of this study is the need to match energy supplied by wind, water and solar power and storage with what the researchers predict demand to be in 2050. To do this, they grouped 139 countries – for which they created energy roadmaps in a previous study – into 20 regions based on geographic proximity and some geopolitical concerns. Unlike the previous 139-country study, which matched energy supply with annual-average demand, the present study matches supply and demand in 30-second increments for 5 years (2050-2054) to account for the variability in wind and solar power as well as the variability in demand over hours and seasons.

For the study, the researchers relied on two computational modeling programs. The first program predicted global weather patterns from 2050 to 2054. From this, they further predicted the amount of energy that could be produced from weather-related energy sources like onshore and offshore wind turbines, solar photovoltaics on rooftops and in power plants, concentrated solar power plants and solar thermal plants over time. These types of energy sources are variable and don’t necessarily produce energy when demand is highest.

The group then combined data from the first model with a second model that incorporated energy produced by more stable sources of electricity, like geothermal power plants, tidal and wave devices, and hydroelectric power plants, and of heat, like geothermal reservoirs. The second model also included ways of storing energy when there was excess, such as in electricity, heat, cold and hydrogen storage. Further, the model included predictions of energy demand over time.

With the two models, the group was able to predict both how much energy could be produced through more variable sources of energy, and how well other sources could balance out the fluctuating energy to meet demands.

Avoiding blackouts

Scenarios based on the modeling data avoided blackouts at low cost in all 20 world regions for all five years examined and under three different storage scenarios. One scenario includes heat pumps – which are used in place of combustion-based heaters and coolers – but no hot or cold energy storage; two add no hydropower turbines to existing hydropower dams; and one has no battery storage. The fact that no blackouts occurred under three different scenarios suggests that many possible solutions to grid stability with 100 percent wind, water and solar power are possible, a conclusion that contradicts previous claims that the grid cannot stay stable with such high penetrations of just renewables.

Overall, the researchers found that the cost per unit of energy – including the cost in terms of health, climate and energy – in every scenario was about one quarter what it would be if the world continues on its current energy path. This is largely due to eliminating the health and climate costs of fossil fuels. Also, by reducing water vapor, the wind turbines included in the roadmaps would offset about 3 percent of global warming to date.

Although the cost of producing a unit of energy is similar in the roadmap scenarios and the non-intervention scenario, the researchers found that the roadmaps roughly cut in half the amount of energy needed in the system. So, consumers would actually pay less. The vast amount of these energy savings come from avoiding the energy needed to mine, transport and refine fossil fuels, converting from combustion to direct electricity, and using heat pumps instead of conventional heaters and air conditioners.

“One of the biggest challenges facing energy systems based entirely on clean, zero-emission wind, water and solar power is to match supply and demand with near-perfect reliability at reasonable cost,” said Mark Delucchi, co-author of the paper and a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “Our work shows that this can be accomplished, in almost all countries of the world, with established technologies.”

Working together

Jacobson and his colleagues said that a remaining challenge of implementing their roadmaps is that they require coordination across political boundaries.

“Ideally, you’d have cooperation in deciding where you’re going to put the wind farms, where you’re going to put the solar panels, where you’re going to put the battery storage,” said Jacobson. “The whole system is most efficient when it is planned ahead of time as opposed to done one piece at a time.”

In light of this geopolitical complication, they are also working on smaller roadmaps to help individual towns, many of which have already committed to achieving 100 percent renewable energy.

Additional co-authors of this paper are Mary A. Cameron of Stanford and Brian V. Mathiesen of Aalborg University in Denmark.

-30-

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Latitude

If wishes were unicorns……

billw1984

Isn’t this the guy suing other scientists for showing his previous paper was crap?

OweninGA

I do believe you are correct.
I bet this work is up to the same standard as that.

The Dismal Science

Yes – they found basic errors in his work. When they pointed it out, in a peer reviewed paper, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the same prestigious journal that released Jacobson’s study, he freaked and sued them for libel ($10 million in damages).
The big disagreement was Jacobson’s use of hydropower, which backs up the proposed grid system by dispatching power when wind and solar can’t cover demand. Jacobson’s supplementary details list an installed hydropower capacity of 87.5 gigawatts for 2050, essentially the same as it is today. But elsewhere, he includes a chart showing 1,300 gigawatts of hydropower dispatched, which is roughly 15 times the installed capacity. The modeling error makes the entire system fall apart. Jacobson described this as an “intentional assumption.” His idea is that the annual flow of water through U.S. hydropower facilities has to be held constant, but it is possible to increase the power by upgrading turbines at existing dams.This explanation, and associated costs, do not appear anywhere in the original article or its supplement. But Jacobson says he explained his thinking to the journal, they went ahead and published a critique of the hydro modeling anyway. Jacobson says that amounts to a false claim.
As a person who has actually worked on such projects, Jacobson’s assumption and explanation was ….childish, and displayed a basic misunderstanding on how hydro power works, and the potential for upgrades. I’d say, if we were lucky, we might squeeze out another 10 GW from the existing hydro system. That only leaves us around 1200 GW short of our goal.
I’d have peruse the paper thoroughly, but given the fact that Jacobson previously beclowned himself, first by his poor modeling and assumptions, then filing a lawsuit when challenged, my guess the new paper will show similar deficiencies.
I think the problem with Jacobson is fairly basic – he sets forth with a conclusion (100% renewable power is both feasible and desirable) and then tries to fit the data to the conclusion. When you have decided your conclusion, you are prone to making elemental mistakes in logic and math as part of your analyses.
My observation is fairly simple 1) if 100% renewable power is both feasible and desirable then certainly some country or state will implement such a system. So far no one seems to think it can be done, except on a small scale. 2) Penetration of renewable power into the marketplace gets exponentially more difficult the closer you get to 100% renewable. Because of that, it is easy to think, after the first 5 or 10 or 30%, that the rest will be easy. It is much more likely that it will be hard, very very hard. And very costly. And probably unnecessary – I am perfectly happy with a system that is 60-80% renewable, and that would likely accomplish most of our goals.

icisil

Funny comments about the guy in this tweet. Might have to click on the date to see them.
https://twitter.com/MITEnergyConf/status/958052964656173056

Bryan A

I believe that a large part of his Hydro Assumptions lay in his belief that they would be able to Add Additional Hydro generators to existing facilities. One major problem to this non-solution is that it takes additional water supply to turn the additional turbines. Most Hydro facilities are designed with the amount of water behind the dam as a major factor to release rates needed to turn the generators over a period of time. If you quintuple the generator count, you also quintuple the amount of water flow to produce electricity. This effectively causes the water behind the dams to drain 5 times faster so the dams would only be able to produce power for 20% of the time they normally would or run out of water 5 times faster. (Glad I proof read this, I missed my “o” in Generator Count”. Dangerous misspelling)

MarkW

I would assume that when they built the dam, they sized the tube that carries water from the dam to the turbines based on the number of turbines being built at the time.
To add more turbines, they would need to increase the size of that tube.
I’m guessing that at most dams, this will not be easy or cheap.

joelobryan

Mr Dismal, thanks. Nice analysis. However i take exception to your 60%-80% goal as feasible. as you point oit it gets exponentially more difficult as you go from 10%-20%-30% etc. Add to the dispatchable spiinning reserve that the grid operator must maintain and the costs to the consumer and economy skyrocket.. And without dispatchable backup (fast spinup or spinning) then blackouts are certain during heavy loads periods.
But back to Jacobsen, it is my opinion that someone (with a sizeable investment agenda and portfolio) must be paying him nicely to publish such easily rebutted junk.

Bear

Someone suggested solar to replace the power in Puerto Rico. Image what would happen to their grid with even a cat 3. Power lines wouldn’t be a problem because there would be no power generation left.

Ben of Houston

Even if they could quindectuple the flow of water through hydroelectric dams (Sue me, I never get to use that word), there’s the problem of flooding downstream. You would literally be opening the floodgates to near-disastrous levels. The devastation would be horrifying.

Bryan A

You would need to build a lower containment lake that pumps the water back into the dam during low cost times

The Dismal Science

Let me clarify – I would be thrilled to get to 60-80% renewable. Likely? Not really. Beyond 30% things start getting pretty ugly. Personally I think 100% is…insane. but I think 60 to 80% might be possible…barely.
Re. hydro power, there is about 10 GW we could get from powered dams, and perhaps another 10 GW from powered dams that are upgraded (more efficient new generates and what not). And that is pretty much it.
One thing Jacobson doesn’t get – renewable power is a lot like farming. Or gold mining. If I were to calculate out all the gold in the united states, and then assume it will all be someday mined, you’d say I am nuts – some of the gold (most of it actually) is not concentrated to be worth mining. or it is located in places I can’t mine, Or too deep. Actual recoverable resources are a much much smaller number. Jacobson always starts his calculations off from the size of the total resource, not acknowledging that a very large fraction of that resource will never be exploited.

TG

Dream on at our expense and peril. These Warmers are a danger to civilization and all aspiring human beings or as Unicorn brain PM Trudeau said all “People Kind”
PS – Effective Immediately – All Manhole covers are now Peoplehole covers. Coming soon to your home town!!!

hupeople?

Greg Woods

Michael Peopple?

Geoff Sherrington

Manhole covers? What we used to call pantyhose? Geoff

Joe- the non climate scientist

If Jacobson actually knew what he was talking about, most every utility company would be trying to hire him since his expertise would generate millions in profits for the utility company.
There would actually be an extremely high demand for his expertise

paqyfelyc

+1
another instance of “i don’t know how to do it, so I teach”

Bryan A

I thought there were over 205 countries in the world.
I guess he can supply 100% erenewable energy for 67% of the world. What about the other 33%

icisil

Calling all unicorns, much help neededcomment image

GoatGuy

Hey… Not quibbling too much, but the MTOE calculations are kind of wrong … or at least misleading. If for instance, 1 TOE is by definition, 41.868 GJ of thermal energy, computed with the 38% OECD “world average thermal energy plant” heat→electricity conversion, it is 4,419 GWh. This is a good reference point, since for the most part, we’re working with electrical power. Yes, there are process heating and other direct heating uses, but relatively small compared to electricity.
Working with that, 4,419 GWh/MTOE, then backward calculating the various other energy sources
1,000,000 T oil, 41.868 GJ/T, 38% Carnot conversion to elec… = 4,419 GWh 0.531 GW nuclear plant, 95% uptime/full production is 4,419 GWh/year630 ea, 2 MW wind turbines, 40%-of-full-power duty cycle. Wind caprice. 4,419 GWh/year6,835 ea, 295 W panels, 25% insol/weather/diurnal production, year average… 4,419 GWh/year.
That — at least to me — seems more rationally normalized. ESPECIALLY in a world-of-the-future (which is the point of this article) where we go 100% to renewable / storable / pipe-able. Just saying.
GoatGuy

MarkW

Another problem is that his model assumes that you can ramp up hydropower output on a moments notice.
This may be true for some dams, but not for all of them.
Many dams have recreational sites downstream from them. At such sites you have to put out a warning telling those downstream to get to higher ground before water flow can be increased.

higley7

The unbelievable complexity of attempting to make all of these unreliable or semi-reliable energy sources try to cover each other would make this overall system entirely unworkable and a net failure. We would be spending half our time repairing the multiple, complex, widely separated systems Just imagine the infrastructure!) and the other half of the time in the dark. No thanks.

James Bull

My first thought on this daydream was it would require a world organisation and control of the grid and us little ones for it to work, meaning that even if it didn’t work we’d never hear about it.
James Bull

Auto

James Bull –
” . . . . meaning that even if it didn’t work we’d never hear about it. ”
Too right.
If it didn’t work [and it will not work], we will, at best, be in the dark, with the Net dead.
Worst case scenario – WE will be dead.
WE – ‘us little ones’ (beautiful phrase); not the global elites and their few hundred million slaves and concubines.
I certainly hope never to have to keep warm – even in South London – for a winter on renewables.
It’s dark a lot in winter.
And if the winds aren’t too great for generation, there may be a blocking high and no discernible wind at all, even during the day.
Auto – amazed at what unutterable piffle can be published!
[Is it because his middle initial is ‘Z’? So was John DeLorean’s – John Zachary DeLorean] [De Lorean?]

I think we need to separate the ‘Is it possible to achieve at any cost?’ from the ‘What will it cost?’
Is it possible? Yes. Arizona takes up 114,000 sq mi. With average insolation of about 6 KW per sq meter per day, that’s about 74,000 GW per hour average. Put in a 10% factor and you still have over 7,000 Gigawatts (per hour averaged over 24 hours).
As for storage, forget the batteries pipe dream. But you can store heat and you can store electricity through raising weight up a mountain (WUWT had an article on this). Storage might ‘use up’ half, so now you’re down to 3,500 GW.
Current US usage of electricity is around 500 GW. So, at least it is possible to generate the electricity, storing the excess until it’s needed. Possible – Yes. This is nice to know, since in a couple of hundred years we may run out of fossil fuels.
As to what it would cost, there are several possibilities, although I can’t imagine it being economically worthwhile in today’s real world.
(I think my numbers are correct. Please tell me if I’m wrong.)

rbabcock

I guess they live in the Matrix. Models, models based on models and more models creating a virtual reality. At current energy growth rates I think the entire land masses of the Earth will have to covered with solar panels to make this work.
But then, we only need to run air conditioning since heating will no longer be required anywhere, especially in the tropical north and south poles.

rocketscientist

My question on the modeling is why he felt it necessary to create fictional weather projections to determine how much energy renewables could be producing.
What is wrong with using existing weather data? not good enough?
Did his weather prediction model provide more sunshine, wind or rain?

DCA

According to models weather will become more extreme. Maybe he thinks he can harness all that energy from hurricanes and such.

Ben of Houston

Now, I will say he does need a model to find the worst case. I’ve been burned before by running on existing data and then finding that it wasn’t representative of how bad things can get.

It doesn't add up...

Good call. Modelled weather has an interesting habit of producing convenient spatial and temporal anti-correlations and lack of extended periods of low wind/clouds that don’t hold up with real weather data, which leads to a gross under-estimate of the amounts of backup capacity required. I found this looking at AEMO’s 2012/13 100% renewables study with input from RAM consulting, which has also been used as the foundation of much work by Blakers.
Still, I don’t suppose the data are available for proper examination.

sciguy54

A few years ago, I looked at actual data coming in from Germany’s energy efforts as there was quite extensive documentation being kept, in the best Germanic fashion. The numbers were discouraging, with long periods in which solar and wind combined for pitifully low output. The only real hope for 100% “sustainable” sourcing would have to rely on very-long-distance transmission lines.
Folks like Jacobson thought that undersea cables would be a rather straightforward solution for this need, I tried to point out that there are reasons why the US, Russia, and China are in a race to develop remote underwater vehicles and this is one of those reasons. But these academics don’t want to hear such objections. Meanwhile, national security types understand these vulnerabilities.

yarpos

Its just models, all the way down

Robert of Texas

ROFL
If we all work together, and we build renewables all over the world and connect them. and everyone cooperates and turns stuff off at the right time, and there are no glitches, and the weather is as we modeled it 35 years into the future, there are at least 3 scenarios where blackouts did not occur in our model over the time period we choose to run it over.
Wow! This is a breakthrough. Who knew that a person could just imagine technology to work exactly as they want it to with no issues, side effects, or breakdowns. Let’s implement this into ALL of our technology.
Sorry, but this is one of the dumbest articles I have ever read.

kaliforniakook

Ditto. Trite.

Bryan A

Tritto, Quadritto and Quintitto

JRF in Pensacola

And a Terrorist Hacker’s dream.

Malcolm Carter

So we develop a system that covers immense areas of land with expensive high maintenance eyesores and requires vastly expensive battery and pumped hydro backup and long distance inter-connectors – what could possibly go wrong? Looking at data from the highly renewable German grid you find many 4 to 7 day intervals in which solar and wind are producing less than 10% of the electrical and they are turning on their lignite plants. Imagine the costs of providing a weeks worth of backup battery or pumped hydro and then what happens if the wind dies again before the backup is recharged? When the power goes out people die. The inanity of the 100% renewable religion threatens all of our futures.

Pop Piasa

Odd that all the wind and solar promo pictures I’ve seen were shot in ideal weather. That doesn’t happen here very often.
If someone is trying to sell you any other outdoor functional item, they will most likely expound upon its ability to operate in all weather, day or night, for many decades. Merchants of the so-called renewables can only keep mum about the limits of their wares and promise breakthroughs in energy storage (someday) when those limits are cited.

Jim Gorman

The insanity is ridiculous. How does one maintain frequency and phase controls with 100% renewables. do these people not know how industry relies not only on power but controlled power where the frequency and phase are constant? Do they expect people to install converters and inverters and do their own controlling of electricity?

It doesn't add up...

Here’s a very simple example I have been working on recently, inspired by the work Roger Andrews has been doing looking at the practicalities of backing up high levels of renewables penetration with storage:
http://euanmearns.com/wind-and-solar-on-thursday-island/
Roger’s work can be found under this tag:
http://euanmearns.com/tag/100-renewables/

oeman50

1. Try installing the transmission lines to perform the interconnections needed. NIMBYs come out and swarm like a hive of bees to fight them.
2. Did you see the pictures of the solar farm in Puerto Rico post-Maria? Looked like a giant child stomped all over it.

Jim Gorman

How about when one country threatens to shut off an interconnector? Would you trust Russia to keep the power flowing?

jake

If this were written 20 years ago, there might be an excuse for an amateurish blurb. But not today. These researches should relocated to some luxurious place and write nothing. It would be cheaper than paying them for these silly research and resulting proclamations.

Tom in Florida

And when major storms hit…..

Ron

Without the use of fossil fuels major storms will be a thing of the past. It’s all there in the models!

Bryan A

AYUP, The sky would always be clear during the day with a breeze of 5MPH (8KPH) during the day. It would always rain at night and only over the watershed basins and aquifer zones with winds of no more than 10MPH (16KPH). The Arctic/Antarctic jets would always remain a non-undulating curve restricted to above 60deg N or S. Snow would only fall on Ski Slopes and Water sheds during Winter with 25′ per year on those places but only 2′ on any house. Sleet, Icing, Hurricanes, Tornados, Cyclones would never happen. There would be NO named storms, summer or winter as storms of that scale would never manifest.

Bryan

LOL
+1 would read again

Phil R

Bryan A,
You’re describing Camelot!

D. J. Hawkins

@Phil R;
“It’s true! It’s true! The Crown has made clear!
The climate must be perfect all the year!
A law was made a distant moon ago here,
July and August cannot be too hot.
And there’s a legal limit to the snow here,
In Camelot…”

Joel

Might work if there was only max 100 million population.

MarkW

They are working on that.

Look, the equation is dead simple: if it’s cheaper than fossil fuels, companies will queue up to do ir. So just put that idea out there, and make sure you can handle the flood of applicants. Best of all, you won’t need any subsidies. So just go for it – but not with my money.

ResourceGuy

This is unsustainable energy if it requires a trillion dollars in tax credits off the tax due amounts of green greed.

Overall, the researchers found that the cost per unit of energy – including the cost in terms of health, climate and energy – in every scenario was about one quarter what it would be if the world continues on its current energy path. This is largely due to eliminating the health and climate costs of fossil fuels. Also, by reducing water vapor, the wind turbines included in the roadmaps would offset about 3 percent of global warming to date.

And they paid for it claiming to find a “health and climate cost” of fossil fuels greater than that replacing ALL of the world’s current electrical grid AND fossil-fueled transportation network AND manufacturing systems!
But, you see, instead of mythically just increasing the power generation capacity of every dam now built worldwide (as was done in the first study), they “found some other ways” …. which are cleverly NOT detailed.

Dave Kelly

Heh, you beat me to it.

commieBob

That’s where they lost me.
If they engage in that kind of funny accounting on the cost of energy, they’ve cooked the books elsewhere too.
Even if they say that the energy will cost a quarter as much, your actual bill will be four times as much.

MarkW

As our trolls keep telling us, it doesn’t matter how much it costs, because when it costs a lot, people will use less and this drop in use keeps their total expenses down.

commieBob

MarkW February 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm
As our trolls keep telling us, it doesn’t matter how much it costs, because when it costs a lot, people will use less and this drop in use keeps their total expenses down.

Nope. Consumption goes down so the companies increase prices to maintain profits.

One way for utilities to keep their profit margins as consumption falls is to increase fixed charges, which users pay regardless of how many kilowatt-hours they consume. link

MarkW

That only works if you are government created monopoly. Otherwise your competitors will undercut your prices.

D. J. Hawkins

@MarkW;
That pretty much doesn’t work anywhere, as electric utilities are government regulated monopolies. Every time PSEG wants to raise their prices in NJ they have to go before the NJ Board of Public Utilities. Every. Single. Time. They may still get the rate increase, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

Bear

Happened with our water system in Maryland. They said they’d have to increase their capacity if we didn’t conserve our water usage. People did conserve water and they raised our rates because “we weren’t using enough water”.

MarkW

Water is a government regulated monopoly. Where it isn’t a government owned monopoly.

Bob Burban

Imagine a commercial operation feeding scrap steel into electric arc furnaces running 24/7 using only wind and solar power sources.

kaliforniakook

SA has been testing that. Looks likes those operations are moving out.

J

It could only be true in someone’s imagination.
You can never tun an advanced economy (semiconductor FABs and steel mills) in unreliable intermittent energy.
How big is the battery that can run an arc furnace? What does that cost?

OweninGA

OK,
hmmmm
My imagination is seeing a ruined foundry with half finished slag solidified in the core because the wind died during a night time run. Not optimal…

OweninGA

My imagination is seeing a ruined foundry with half finished slag solidified in the core because the wind died during a night time run. Not optimal…

And, one week later, the same thing happens.
And 5 days later, the same thing happens.
But that’s OK. The semi-conductor fabrication shop across town lost its “controlled atmosphere” dust and pollen filters the same three times. They can’t start back at all. Lost 2 months production and retesting time.

Seems like a scene from “Atlas Shrugged”.

Dave Kelly

Or an aluminum pot or, for that matter, a silicon furnace.

Geoff Sherrington

Do,
It is sad that we knew about frozen potlines and power failures and how to avoid this, 50 years ago.
Then ignorance started to erode wisdom and people built what should not be built.
Why? Why? Why? Geoff

joelobryan

Jacobsen is also the author of the PNAS paper on renewable energy that got thoroughly rebutted by another group in PNAS. The rebuttal was so thorough a dismantleing of Jacobsen methods, it has led him to sue the other group and PNAS in an attempt to get a retraction. WUWT threads have extensively covered this story.
What is clear IMO is that Jacobsen, funded by Tom Steyer funded groups, needs people to believe his rubbish.

joelobryan

Furthermore, Jacobsen’s flawed use of civil engineering threatenes to do to public works engineering the same thing that climate science has done to science.

DonM

Engineers think about liability. Sometimes you can find a young stupid engineer to stamp some shoddy scary crap that has been cobbled together for political reasons, but eventually you run out of stupid engineers.

DCA

That’s good point Don. I wonder if Jacobson is even a licensed professional engineer being an academic. If he is would he stamp his work and accept liability? He will be 85 in 2050.

joelobryan

I doubt seriously he is a PE. A PE would risk losing his license over such junk that his peers would sanction him.

D. J. Hawkins

@DCA
It appears he is not licensed in California. Try looking up here:
http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=ENG&p_qte_pgm_code=7500

DCA

“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach” and “Those who can do. Those who can’t bully.”

Nigel S

Thanks, about to make the same point when I spotted yours. Interesting in view of the previous post on academic freedom and censorship.

markl

‘…The group then combined data from the first model with a second model…..” what a bunch of wishful thinking crap. There is no reality in this paper at all.

Hivemind

But notice the use of a group to avoid any one person having to take responsibility.

oeman50

I really like the model that can predict the weather in 2050-2054. I wonder how he verified that model?

Dave Kelly

Yep. If he really wanted to “proof” his grid reliability study he’d have used as series of historically documented weather patterns, cited the weather data sources, and compared his results to actual electrical system dispatch as a baseline. But then that would have underlined the infeasibility of his hydro assumptions. For example, the unpredictability of annual hydro generation due to seasonal variations in rain fall and the need to plan for that substantial variation.

Dale S

If “consumers would actually pay less”, as claimed, there is no need for intervention — market forces will naturally drive towards the lowest cost solution. Although I doubt the vast damages claimed for coal-burning particulates (especially in countries like the USA with significant emissions regulation), and suspect their damages from electricity-generated-climate-change are at least as speculative, I have no objection to cost-effective use of unsubsidized renewables.
Pity the press release didn’t summarize the path of how a particular well-known region (say, within the US) can accomplish the miracle of providing reliable baseload power for less money with 100% renewables.

ossqss

Sooooo, wind and solar currently provide less than 1% of global energy needs per the IEA. Soooo, back in the caves to burn your wood and dung, for everyone, is the solution!

Mike Smith

Stanford is in California, right? Have these dreamers not noticed that the price of electricity in CA, with all of their lovely wind, solar, geothermal and the rest, is double that of the nation as a whole.
It’s a fact the world over: he who has the most cheap renewables, has the most expensive electricity!

Dave Kelly

Expense is not something they worry about in the Palo Alto/Menlo Park areas surrounding Stanford University.
Nor are they so confident of the reliability of solar and wind assets to use these assets locally.
You see, the Palo Alto/Menlo Park/Stanford area (like most of the San Francisco (SF) bay are area) is powered primarily with natural gas. The occasional the “biofuels” combustion units can be seen thrown in here and there is in for appearances sake — as is a single commercial solar unit located within San Francisco itself (The 4.5 Mw Sunset Reservoir North Basin solar plant). But naturally those nasty looking, nosily, and unreliable wind mills are no-where in sight.
Berkeley, powered by natural gas only (The 28 Mw PE Berkeley plant), suffers from the same level of hypocrisy.
This is easily seen by simply looking at EIA’s energy state profile interactive map for California and zooming into the Bay Area. (See here https://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=CA).

Curious George

At a glance I did not find in the study how exactly to avoid blackouts. Such an important result should have been given a better prominence.

MarkW

He’s assuming that when the sun and wind stop blowing in Miami, you can increase hydro-electric production in Seattle to make up for it.

Use of the term “blackouts” appears to be totally misleading. The paper seems to only be concerned at best with matching supply and demand in real time. The cost, challenges and complexity of running a transmission grid that maintains frequency, supports voltages and provides “Essential Reliabiltiy Services” from asynchronous intermittent resources appears to have been neglected entirely. The paper seems to be only concerned with having enough power in MW to meet load. How we get that power reliabilty disperesed across the grid is a huge question mark (or falsley assumed non-problem).

oeman50

Excellent point. Avoiding blackouts requires detailed models of the grid with all of the power sources, transmission lines and loads included, and then running a contingency analysis every 15 minutes.

ResourceGuy

Who will light all of the millions of candles, immigrants?

Hivemind

Illegal immigrants would be paying people smugglers to get them out of the country.

Musk’s flamethrowers?

ResourceGuy

Has EPRI been silenced or what?

EPRI is drinking the kool aid. No electric utility wants to show that the emperor has no clothes lest they be labeled as deniers.

Dave Kelly

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) is financed by a many utilities and its financing structure tends to lead to a watering down conclusions critical of renewable assets in documents provided to the public.
To understand why this occurs you have to understand how EPRI’s research activities are financed. EPRI research is financed in topic related “programs” with each program financed solely by utilities interested in specific the topic. So, for example, utilities with heavy with mature coal assets tend to fund maintence-related “programs” critical to keeping ageing coal assets running while utilities with State mandated renewable mandates tend to fund the renewables programs.
While those companies in States with renewable mandates need to know just how bad the situation really is, they are reluctant to have their names associated with any criticisms made publically. Not withstanding the appearance of cowardice, I sympathize, because the State rate-setting boards these companies have to deal with are packed with radical leftist nut cases.
To get the an unfiltered assessment, you either have to be a paying member of a specific program or be wiling to pay a substantial sum for specific studies after the research is complete (If paying members agree to release the data for a fee). When your a paying member, its best to take good notes during the periodic program updates so you know what didn’t go into a report AND to insist that data covering unfavorable characteristics be included in the confidential reports paying members will see.
In addition, to ensure the industry gets the information it needs, there a informal gentleman’s agreement whereby publicly released statements are vetted take the sharp edges off politically incorrect criticisms. This is not to say the information provided to the public is not true or that unfavorable information is withheld – it is simply worded in a “neutral” tone or simply “hinted” at in the summaries provided to the public.
Also keep in mind that the companies in each “program” pay substantial sums to finance the research programs and are not keen to have business critical-insights given to utilities that did not finance the research. So there is a bit of keeping things “close to the vest” unless paying members have a common interest in seeing the full story gets out.

oeman50

As its name states, EPRI is a research organization that supports all forms of power generation, including renewables. It is not an advocacy group. Now EEI is an advocacy group, but they also have members that are embracing renewables so they would not come out against them.

Dave Kelly

Concur with the view that EPRI is “not an advocacy group”. Moreover I’d add, having dealt with EPIR for over 30 years both as a researcher and as a financer of EPRI research programs, that I’ve never seen them ever drift into advocacy, act unprofessionally, or intentionally mislead anyone .
If anything, in my view, they take extraordinary pains not to engage in advocacy or even provide the appearance of engaging in advocacy. So, while there have been points when I’d have wished they aired their conclusions more forcefully, I also recognize the reasons why they didn’t.
EPIR has to carefully walk the line between the business they are in (research and development) and where their research conclusions should be used to influence policy in the political arena. Keep in mind that the various parties that fund EPRI are a diverse group and frequently have very different views of how EPRI’s research results should be interpreted. Moreover, keep in mind that Federal Law prohibits competing companies from colluding and these joint ventures are an natural magnet for accusations of crossing the legal lines. So, EPIR and its members take extraordinary measures to ensure there is not even the appearance of anything that could be construed as collusion or joint influence peddling.
For the record, and in the spirit ethical discloser, please note that (prior to my retirement) I’ve periodically been a voting member in a number of EPRI’s research programs involving (but not limited to): Advanced coal technologies, power plant maintence, coal gasification, carbon sequestration, clean air technologies, generation & capacity planning/forecasting, chemical co-production, renewable technologies, and green house gas issues.

Bruce Cobb

Ivory tower climate cuckaloos at work, spewing total nonsense.

Amazing what you can do with models. Color me very skeptical. Economical, efficient, virtually fail-safe, doable in 15 to 30 years, healthy, green, non-polluting, etc., etc. . . . Wow!
Seems to me that all you need to implement one of these options is an absolute dictator with the ability to assign all resources, including humans in all phases of life.

icisil

Pielke’s graphic above proves that 100% renewable even by 2050 is impossible. At current energy usage it would require the installation of one 1.5 GW nuclear power plant, or the equivalent in solar/wind, per day until 2050.

It doesn't add up...

If you look at the BP world energy statistics, you find that fossil fuels share of total primary energy declined by 0.5% in 2016 (85,5%) over 2015 (86.0%). At that rate, it would take over 150 years to eliminate.

These folks are not energy experts. If they were, they wouldn’t speak as though the only choices are “continue as usual” or renewable energy. They also claim renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuel only if the (unknown.unknowable) health and climate change costs are included. In other words, they can’t claim anything. And the idea that we will reach 2050 with only those primitive renewable energy generators producing carbon free power is also as energy ignorant as it gets. Small modular molten salt nuclear reactors can produce power cheaper than any renewable power generator, especially so when side effect costs are included for renewables to render them reliable
(which batteries CANNOT do) . No changes to the existing grid are required. Those reactors are safer, have a environmental footprint that is a tiny fraction of renewables and can act as peak load generators as well as baseload generators.
These reactors will commercialize after 2020 and replace everything that produces power. You heard it here, folks

I wish the proponents of these schemes would dumb it down for me. Just show me how to make steel with only renewables. If they can make that case I will listen to the rest.

AussieBear

+10

Jonathan Griggs

Translation: They made up some numbers that balance the equation in their favor and then tried to use clever wording to hide those numbers.
Reality will have a different story to tell.

Extreme Hiatus

Is this real? “the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy”
The “Precourt” institute – where this guy just launched a court case for challenging his silly work???

MarkW

There’s also Postcourt, sometimes referred to as jail.

From the abstract …
WWS [Wind, Water and Solar] requires ∼42.5% less energy …
I look forward to reading about how switching to WWS will require less energy. I’m pretty sure my eight watt LED lights will continue to use eight watts.
Further, WWS social (energy + health + climate) costs per unit energy are one-fourth BAU’s [Business As Usual].
Here is where the big savings comes from. WWS will prevent and/or reduce “global warming” and “pollution” thereby cutting health care costs by reducing and preventing illness. More speculation.
Abstract here.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148118301526
The full version of this important and earth-saving article is available for $34.95.

If they sent me $100 I would gladly buy and read the paper. Why $100? – Well I need some remuneration for my wasted time.

HDHoese

What is so evident about the abstract, and I have read thousands in several subjects, is that it is a sales pitch. Back in the drought of the 50s and I am told also in the 30s, there were these rainmakers.

Don K

Because people will simply hibernate on evenings when the wind isn’t blowing. With the OTA TV transmitters off the air, the Internet down, and no electric light, what else is there to do other than sleep?

Auto

Don K
With the OTA TV transmitters off the air, the Internet down, and no electric light, what else is there to do other than sleep?
Birthquake!
Auto

oeman50

This sounds like the bogus “social cost of carbon” BS.

South Australia is the leading test-case for this sort of insanity. As ‘renewable’ sources of power take over in South Australia, the cost of electricity rises inexorably, industry moves out and relocates interstate or overseas.

John in Oz

South Australia and the National Energy Market for all of Australia is a prime example of how this would not work. We cannot get our State/Federal governments to agree on how the system should work, never mind expecting 100+ individual governments to work together in harmonious, joyful, happy-clappy nirvana.

Patrick MJD

Recently, operating theaters in a hospital in Adelaide, South Australia, lost power. More of this to come as South Australia goes full stupid on renewabeles.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-07/power-failure-at-royal-adelaide-hospital-disrupts-surgery/9406270

justadumbengineer

so if I use all renewable energy, I will have actually less out of pocket expenses because I will have health savings and climate change savings? The energy in kwh will be more but my doctor will be cheaper? Hows that work? how do I see personal savings in climate change costs? I’m just trying to figure out in what scenario I’m going to see 75% reduction in costs? Will my taxes go down? How will society save money or reduce costs, how will that be given back to the users and how and in what for will I actually see more dollars in my pocket.
That’s all assuming that there are actual, real, defineable health and climate savings if we go all in for renewable energy.
Cause if that all works, renewable energy is reliable and can provide my electricity even when its dark or the wind stops, and if businesses don’t just get cut off due to lack of power and we can all save 75% in the combined energy, health and climate change costs…..lets do it!
Just show me the money.

the scheme relies on us paying money today to reap the benefits in 2050.
32 year payback on investment. comes will an ironclad no money back guarantee.

Pompous Git

“32 year payback on investment. comes will an ironclad no money back guarantee.”

Hi ferd; good to see you’re still around injecting some common-sense.
One thing to watch out for in all these renewable energy scams is they never compare the return on investment in RE to the return if you invest in something else. As an example, when I compared investing in solar PV to investing in the stock market, it took 18 years for $10,000 invested in solar PV to break even. By that time a $10,000 stock market investment would have generated ~$40,000 of income. This result was predicate on the feed-in tariff remaining constant. Since then the FIT has fallen to less than half.

MarkW

If you borrow money to install the system, it won’t generate enough money to pay the interest on the loan.

brians356

Squaw Valley / Alpine Meadows ski complex (Tahoe) claim they will be “100% renewable energy” by December 2018. Because Tesla battery. Yet today they admit the get 75% of their electricity from natural gas.

justadumbengineer

ok, good for them. How will they charge the tesla battery? How much per kwh does nat. gas cost and how much per kwh will the combined tesla battery and assumed wind/solar power charging cost?
Will their net energy costs go up or down, or stay the same between the two options (1) natural gas or (2) solar energy costs plus battery costs?
Its great to say they are 100% sustainable but if lift tickets go up to pay for the extra costs then the consumer gets to pay for their virtue.

John Smith

Global energy use is about 18 TW = 18,000,000 MW = 24 million wind turbines (3MW turbine at average of 25% of capacity). A 3MW wind turbine costs about $5m, so total cost would be about 120 TRILLION DOLLARS just for the turbines. That is TWO TIMES all the money there is in the world.
And then there’s all the rest of the infrastructure for energy storage, transportation, etc…

DonK31

I’m not from Missouri…but close enough. Don’t tell me. Show Me. Start with Berkely, then Oakland, then San Francisco. If you can do those then I’ll listen.

He’s from Stanford. Start with Palo Alto.

DonM

Start with all of the emergency services in the bay area. Convert all to “renewable” (without buying exceptions from someone else), including the fire boats & helicopters, and I’ll start to pay attention.
Get the Coast Guard off hydrocarbons and I’ll be impressed.

Better stock extra life jackets (PFDs) and lifeboats. You may wait long!

Wayne

“Overall, the researchers found that the cost per unit of energy – including the cost in terms of health, climate and energy – in every scenario was about one quarter what it would be if the world continues on its current energy path. This is largely due to eliminating the health and climate costs of fossil fuels. ”
“Health and climate costs” = fudge factors added to fossil fuel costs

Curious George

It is a true and tried method of “adjustments”.

Article: “cost per unit of energy – including the cost in terms of health, climate and energy – in every scenario was about one quarter what it would be if the world continues on its current energy path. This is largely due to eliminating the health and climate costs of fossil fuels.”
I’ve seen that sort of BS before. Here’s another example:
How Large Are Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies? by David Coady, Ian Parry, Louis Sears, Baoping Shanga, World Development, Volume 91, March 2017, Pages 11-27.
It is astonishing how blatantly dishonest the propaganda is. The “subsidies” of fossil fuels which Coady et al totaled up in their paper, like the “costs” in Jacobson’s dishonest accounting, aren’t actually subsidies at all, according to any dictionary. Instead, Coady’s “subsidies” represent the authors’ assessment of the value of governments’ failure to tax fossil fuels by as much as the authors think they ought. This is from the abstract:

Undercharging for global warming accounts for 22% of the subsidy in 2013, air pollution 46%…

Of course that’s ridiculous. Both papers are pure, peer-reviewed, pseudo-scientific, 100% pig manure.
With a high enough mythical “social cost of carbon” you can make almost anything appear to be cheaper than fossil fuels. But the reality is that the human health and environmental costs of fossil fuels are both negative, in striking contrast to the human and environmental costs of the “mitigation” strategies advocated by these charlatans, which are enormous.
Scientific American once called anthropogenic CO2) from fossil fuels “the precious air fertilizer,” because it is so extraordinarily beneficial to plants. Here’s what it actually does to the Earth’s environment:
https://www.sealevel.info/greening_earth_spatial_patterns_Myneni.htmlcomment image
Do you see that broad, green swath over central Africa? That’s the Sahel retreating, at the southern limit of the Sahara Desert. National Geographc reported about it in 2009 (though they managed to avoid mentioning that CO2 is the cause):

Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.
The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan. …
“’Before, there was not a single scorpion, not a single blade of grass,’ he said. ’Now you have people grazing their camels in areas which may not have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. You see birds, ostriches, gazelles coming back, even sorts of amphibians coming back… The trend has continued for more than 20 years. It is indisputable.”

Unfortunately, the news is not all good. In the United States, there are now about 50 million acres devoted to growing Roundup-ready, monoculture corn, to make “renewable fuel,” to reduce fossil fuel use. That’s more than the combined land area of the nine smallest U.S. States — land which could otherwise be wildlife habitat.
Similar campaigns are displacing wildlife and subsistence farmers from their farms in the tropics, to make way for giant monoculture palm oil “renewable fuel” plantations.
It’s not just wildlife dying, either. The human body count is piling up — not from climate change, of course, but from misguided efforts to mitigate climate change.

“Poverty is a death sentence.” –the Climategate whisleblower

Most obviously, “the war on coal” impoverishes people in coal mining States like West Virginia, where huge numbers of them are now out of work.
But “renewable energy” boondoggles also impoverish everyone forced to pay their exorbitant cost. They cause thousands of people living “on the edge” to sometimes have to choose between eating and staying warm.
Either choice can be deadly. In Europe, where there have been enormous price hikes for energy because of “renewables” scams, “energy poverty” is killing tens of thousands of mostly-elderly people:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fuel-poverty-killed-15000-people-last-winter-10217215.html
What’s more, most of the energy used to produce solar panels, and much of the energy used to produce wind turbines, came from soot-belching, coal-fired power plants in China, and most of the energy replaced by these devices would have been produced in clean power plants with state-of-the-art “scrubbers” in North America, Europe & Australia.
So, Chinese workers get emphysema, American workers get to collect unemployment (until it runs out), and people like Mark Jacobson and David Coady get to feel self-righteous. Such a deal… not.

Jerry Henson

“Health and climate change costs included.”
I haven’t been to Beijing since since 1999. When I was there, it had the dirtiest air
I had ever seen, absent US forest fires.
Pictures from the China olympics and research indicate that the city has gotten much
worse. Particulate is soo bad that they advise travelers not to wear light colored
clothes. Yet life expectancy in Beijing continues to rise.
Beijing life expectancy nears 82 years – Xinhua | English …
news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-02/29/c_135141376.htm
Feb 29, 2016 · BEIJING, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) — Life expectancy in Beijing rose slightly from 2014 to reach 81.95 years in 2015, according to an annual report by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.
What health and climate change cost?

MarkW

Most of the pollution in Beijing isn’t coming from power plants anyway.

stephana

Didn’t the UK convert the Drax power station from coal to wood pellets so they could burn the eastern united states forest’s instead of coal? That is considered renewable energy, if the forests grow fast enough.

icisil

Yes, that’s part of the renewables confidence game. Wood pellets produce 15-20% more CO2 than the coal they replaced, but CO2 emissions from wood pellets are not included in total CO2 emissions for Britain because wood pellets are considered renewable by EU rules. So they say going renewable has reduced CO2. Total scam.

Patrick MJD

What also is not factored in emissions is the emissions from machinery used to harvest wood and create pellets nor is the emissions from the ships used to transport them to the UK. Total scam indeed!

jclarke341

This is of no concern for me, because I have a study based on a computer model that projects that I will be living on an idyllic planet about 20 light years from here by 2030. Like the models in the study above, my model does not bother with minor engineering problems (like traveling faster than the speed of light), because such concerns are truly beneath the superlative, academic nature of my being. I will fund this voyage with the proceeds of never having to hear about another idiotic horrible ‘solution’ to a non-existent problem from a disconnected-from-reality professor who thinks he knows how the rest of the world should be; which, of course, is priceless.

Jack Roth

Jclarke, that was excellent!! Best summary of situation ever! I may need to borrow part of that, hope you do not mind.

etudiant

The calls for some practical demonstration of these claims appear reasonable.
Australia would be an excellent test site, a small relatively clustered population, lots of open spaces and plenty of sun and wind. Admittedly, hydro is less available, but that should not be a show stopper.

yarpos

Happening right now in South Australia. The good people of the State of South Australia have have volunteered to be the renewable crash test dummies for the world.

Hivemind

Please don’t treat the people of South Australia like a joke. Their government is already doing that.

Auto

yarpos:
“The good people of the State of South Australia have volunteered to be the renewable crash test dummies for the world.”
Ummmm.
“The good people of the State of South Australia have volunteered to be the crash test dummies for the world.”
FIFY
Auto – sad, as I am sure many South Australians are decent folk. But – no, not renewable . . . . .

It doesn't add up...

In a good year, out of total generation fo about 250TWh Australia produces nearly 20TWh of hydro (mainly in Tasmania, but also from the Snowy scheme). There is also the Snowy 2 scheme (2GW generation/350GWh storage), and a number of other opportunities in pumped hydro – although probably only another 200GWh of PHES storage that can be developed at halfway reasonable economic cost.

Pumped storage is a worthwhile goal, but it’s also a Holy Goal (er, Grail) that is all too often unobtainable and unsustainable.
For pumped storage to work “naturally” without artificial fuels you need those unique attributes of downstream AND upstream of Niagara Falls. Unlimited clean, useable water upstream NOT limited by season, ice cover, time of day, fishing or enviro restrictions such as minimum flow, maximum flow, or refill due droughts. Floods have to be “manageable” – All of ANY maximum possible floods (even tsunami’s or mudslides and avalanches) have to be able to be safely and controllably bypassed by the downriver hydro suction and generator tunnels. For example, fresh clean water river flow in the US south, US far west, and US southwest are often REQUIRED to be dumped out of dams regardless of the need for future or current drinking water, future or current irrigation, actual dam heights and actual stored water levels, future or current power needs, and future flood reserves BECAUSE certain fish in the tidal pools downriver “might be” affected by low or restricted fresh water flows from the drinking water lakes. Lake Eire, at least so far, has an inexhaustible water supply that is at a usable-constant lake water height.
2. You need room for the stored water lake; and that lake MUST be several hundred feet (dozens of meters) ABOVE the generator discharge INTO a suitable river that can accept the flow at irregular intervals. Even at Lake Eire, the enviro-Indian rights-ecologists fiercely fought the lake, canals, tunnels, and dams. Regardless of what you may think of their opposition to flooding traditional burial grounds, they did bitterly fight the new lakes and dams.
Third. The stored water lake, must be below the source water lake by enough meters (dozens of feet) to ensure nature flow to refill the stored water lake. If you cannot find such a location of “natural refill” such as Lake Eire, then you MUST be able to ALWAYS ensure generated power is available from ?????? sources cheaper than the power you are going to “sell” when you discharge the stored water lake.
Easy to “wave your hands” and claim “we will use cheap energy at night”, “we will use daylight solar power to refill the lake and discharge it at night”, or “we will use wind power to generate the pumping power so we can use the stored lake hydro power when there is no wind” …
But the pump in-efficiencies, hydro generator in-efficiencies, generator inefficiencies (wind or solar or fossil or nuclear), transmission inefficiencies, and water flow inefficiencies require you generate 20% MORE power to generate and power and pump and move the water than you get back out of the water flowing downhill.
Any one of those problems makes pumped stored difficult to realize in practice and design. All three means there are very, very few pumped storage sites worldwide.
A worthy Grail, but only the pure and innocent will “Chose Wisely.”

It doesn't add up...

I am all too aware of the economics and conditions required to make pumped hydro work. What turns out to be the real killer on the economics of storage is when you move from being able to turn the storage over daily, to having to keep it full to cover seasonal variations, or longer spells of unfavourable weather that may occur rarely, but often enough to cause major problems if you can’t keep the grid going (at a minimum, rotating power cuts). In Australia and Chile there are some opportunities to use depressions atop seaside cliffs as an upper reservoir for a pumped storage scheme. Here’s a look at a real proposal in Chile, and how it might be expanded:
http://euanmearns.com/how-chiles-electricity-sector-can-go-100-renewable/
But few countries are as conveniently endowed with areas of desert they can sacrifice at seaside cliffs. Even so, the economics of this highly favourable site look challenging. Better not flood the Lithium salt pans…

Hmmmn. Egypt has the Qattara Depression conveniently deep and only a 80-odd kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea. Have to guage water evaporation rates against water flow rates to see if one-way flow might work. That idea has been discussed for a while.
Doubt Israel would get permission to flood the Dead Sea from the Med though.
And California’s Death Valley would be off-limits to flooding by distance.

usurbrain

How about building several (As many as could be placed there without affecting navigability) Undershoot Water Wheel generators under each and every bridge on every major river throughout the US. No dams, lots of Green Jobs, and lots of dependable electricity.

It doesn't add up...

RACook:
For California, look instead across the border to Baja:
http://euanmearns.com/how-californias-electricity-sector-can-go-100-renewable/

When wind shuts down it does so over large areas Many people and papers have show this.
https://ontariowindperformance.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/chapter-3-1-powering-ontario/

yarpos

No problem, the smoothly integrated and diverse virtual grid takes over, seamlessly sourcing power from batteries, hydro, micro grids, solar thermal, and ranks of diesel/gas generators. What could possibly go wrong? They will build gas factory complexity and wonder why its fragile.

Larry Hamlin

This “study” attempts to address only one of the many reliability issues of renewables that being the non-dispatchability of these resources. The “study” fails to address other critical electric grid reliability and stability issues including system regulating margin, spinning reserve, standby reserves, frequency control, voltage control and system synchronization control none of which can be supplied by the non synchronous generators which are used by renewables.

Jim Gorman

These people are not Electrical Engineers they are Civil Engineers. No idea of how the grid work or what users expect!

The same Jacobsen suing the peer reviewed authors that thoroughly debunked his previous fantasy paper. This professor is as bad news as Mann.
But, in a way, very useful for skeptics. Shows how warmunists have really lost the plot line.

hunter

Ok, I thought it was the same cretin.
Wow, what chutzpah he has.

Neil Jordan

“For the study, the researchers relied on two computational modeling programs. The first program predicted global weather patterns from 2050 to 2054.”
Are their “computational modeling programs” able to predict weather from today to next week, 2018?

Auto

Neil,
You and I both know the answer to your query is ‘No.’
Certainly, in the UK, three days out is about as far as forecasting – rather than guessing, or saying “There is one chance in three of higher than average doo-dah; one chance in three of below average doo-dah; and about a fifty percent chance of average doo-dah.” – will get you.
‘Doo-dah’ – rain, sun, temperature, moon-beams, snow accumulation, wind, unicorn flatulence and the rest.
A week out – in the UK – is still not possible.
In Singapore, and some other places, a week may be good [albeit with a little charity].
“The first program predicted global weather patterns from 2050 to 2054.” – GIGO.
Certainly over a third of a century!
Auto.

Earl Rodd

We often talk here about models and the real world not matching. This paper seems to be about models, which can be a valuable way to consider a lot of possibilities at minimal cost. But the real test is the real world. I think of the state of South Australia. Continuous power has been a problem there with their heavy dependence on wind power. The authors need to find real examples to verify their model – but in the climate world we continue to see that the money and press goes to those who write ever more models, not to the tedious work of verifying models.

MarkW

They seem to be assuming that we have developed room temperature super conductors.
The problem with the “wind is blowing somewhere, the sun is shining somewhere” scenario is that where the wind is blowing and the sun is shining often is not the same place where electricity is needed.
As a result they are planning on shipping power hundreds or even thousands of miles from where it is produced to where it is needed. They are not calculating transmission losses into their projections.

NorwegianSceptic

But on *average* the “wind is blowing somewhere, the sun is shining somewhere” – and AGW proponents are very good at averaging!

MarkW

I wish AGW proponents were at least average.

Fast, good or cheap, pick any two.
Electrical grid no different from any other large project. Trying to optimize for everything doesn’t work.

MarkW

The biggest insanity is that the same people who are demanding more renewables, are also dead set against all hydro-electric power and try to have it removed whenever they can.

Tom in Florida

You know, way back in the 60’s visions of the future were about domed cities with perfect weather control, perfectly clean air and water with air cars that had no emissions. People didn’t seem to work and had everything they needed. What the hell happened?

TDBraun

We were supposed to have thriving colonies on Mars by now also.
Somebody dropped the ball.

Indicator of some thumbs on scales? “Overall, the researchers found that the cost per unit of energy – including the cost in terms of health, climate and energy – in every scenario was about one quarter what it would be if the world continues on its current energy path.”

I wonder who’s payroll he is on? Someone is definitely greasing his palm.

joelobryan

Tom Steyer

hunter

Sounds like “The Music Man” for the 21st century.
There are no large scale tidal power generators. And none are likely.
The delusion that wind power is actually working is persistent but still dekusional.
The paper appears to be very circular in its,rationalizations.
And there are no large scale storage technologies…so other than the unphysical nature of the solution the authors offer to a non-priblem, it is pretty much ok, I guess.
https://youtu.be/LI_Oe-jtgdI

It doesn't add up...

Tidal power is in any event highly cyclical – not only the not quite twice daily tide with its shifting times, but also the substantial variation every lunar month between spring and neap tides. So you need a fortnight’s storage to even it out for a start.

Crispin in Waterloo

“This solution would go a long way toward eliminating global warming and the 4 million to 7 million air pollution–related deaths that occur worldwide each year, while also providing energy security.”
There are no bodies to count, that 4-7m figure is so inexact as it is because it is an estimate based on an estimate based on an estimate based on an estimate based on an estimate of an estimate. Six levels deep. No kidding. Plus, the speaker pretends that electricity generation causes deadly air pollution. Air pollution is a risk, not a cause of death.
Bring out the BS button.

hunter

watch out, the author sues those who dare to disagree with him.

TDBraun

The article implies that two of his scenarios will utilize a large-scale storage technology. If he has one that works, he should give some details on that, because it would be world-changing. But it no info is given, and it seems to be an assumption that one will be developed. That’s cheating.

MikeN

So he deals with the critiques about too much hydroelectric capacity by dropping that solution, and perhaps even the underground storage at solar plants. But did he deal with the corresponding demand side issue?
In the paper, he suggests that factories and other industrial consumers would change their consumption to match when the power is available. So for example, the factory will demand all it’s power over one hour instead of 10 hours.