New York Has No Idea Whatsoever How To “Decarbonize” Its Electric Grid


Francis Menton

Earlier this month, I had a post discussing New York’s so-called Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019, and the various steps taken so far to implement the Act’s stated goals. The main goals are 40% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in New York by 2030, and 85% by 2050. These goals apply not just to the electricity sector (which only accounts for about 25% of energy usage in the U.S.), but to the entire energy economy. My post relied substantially on the work of Roger Caiazza, who has written extensively at his website Practical Environmentalist of New York about the implementation plans for the Act currently under formulation by various state bodies.

The current status is that a series of Advisory Panels have been convened, each covering a particular sector of the energy economy, and tasked to provide advice and guidance as to how to “decarbonize” that particular sector. My prior post covered some of Mr. Caiazza’s comments on the work of Advisory Panels for sectors including Transportation, Industry, Agriculture and Residential. However, at the time of that post (June 3) Mr. Caiazza had not yet commented on the work of the most important Advisory Panel, which is the one dealing with the sector of Power Generation.

There are two reasons that the Power Generation sector must be considered the most important in the overall decarbonization plan. First, it is thought to be the easiest to decarbonize. And second, the decarbonization plans for the other sectors basically come down to requiring those sectors to be converted from using fossil fuels to using electricity. Decarbonize transportation? Require electric cars! Decarbonize residential buildings? Require replacement of natural gas heating and cooking with electric! And so forth. And the advisory panels also have recognized the pre-eminent importance of the Power Generation sector by assigning that sector necessarily more ambitious decarbonization goals than for the other sectors: for the Power Generation sector it is 70% by 2030 and 100% by 2040.

The Power Generation Advisory Panel made its recommendations in a meeting presentation, which took place on May 10. Mr. Caiazza commented on his blog on June 6.

The so-called recommendations evidence a truly astounding level of amateurism and cluelessness on the part of this Panel. It is completely obvious that these people have no idea how to go about “decarbonizing” the electrical grid, or whether that can be done at all. Indeed, the apparent attitude of the members is that the only thing lacking is political will, and therefore if the appropriate orders are issued by government bureaucrats, then the goals will be accomplished. It appears that not one moment’s thought has been given to the potential engineering difficulties or costs of completely revamping an electrical grid that has taken over 100 years of incremental engineering improvements to develop to its current state.

Start with the membership of the Panel. You would think that intimate knowledge of how the electrical grid works would be the most important pre-requisite for membership. But in fact the Panel was stacked with environmental activists with no knowledge at all of how the grid works. On a sixteen member Panel, there were representatives of New Yorkers for Clean Power, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, Vote Solar, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Public Utility Law Project, and the New York Battery and Energy Storage Coalition, among others. In the face of this crowd of activists, the New York ISO got exactly one representative. Caiazza comments:

In order to make power generation recommendations it is necessary to understand how the power system works and how planning affects reliability and affordability. Many of the members [of this Advisory Panel] did not want to understand and did not try to understand the technological challenges. Unfortunately, they were the loudest voices and their naïve insistence on speculative technologies has resulted in some risky enabling initiatives.

What Caiazza calls “some risky enabling initiatives,” I would call complete fantasy.

The big three problems with decarbonizing an electrical grid would be reliability, cost and storage. Each of those three is barely addressed at all in the Panel’s May 10 presentation, Rather than trying to deconstruct everything, let me focus on the issue of storage.

It is obvious to anyone who thinks about the subject for even a couple of minutes that an electrical grid powered almost entirely by wind and solar generating resources is going to need enormous amounts of storage to meet demand at times when the sun is not shining and the wind not blowing. The storage must be sufficient to cover many days of usage — indeed multiple weeks — and must also remain safely stored for many months between when the power is generated and when it is used. Consider for a moment a system powered mostly by solar resources. Generation from solar panels in New York could easily be triple in June as in December. In June, the day is longer; the sun is higher in the sky and therefore stronger; and there is less cloudiness. Therefore, a solar-powered system with no fossil fuel backup is going to need batteries that can store power in June — enough power to, say, run all of New York City for weeks on end — and save all that power all the way to December for usage.

Currently, no such massive-scale long-term storage technology exists.

The Power Generation Advisory Panel was made well aware of this issue at the outset. At its first meeting in September 2020 it was presented with the following chart by a consultant:

Winter Doldrums.png

The chart shows how historical patters of wind and solar intermittency in winter months could lead to a period as long as a full week when those resources would provide next to nothing to meet electricity demand. (Indeed, there could be several such week-long periods in the course of a full winter.). The consultant specifically pointed to “the need for dispatchable resources . . . during winter periods of high demand for electrified heating and transportation and lower wind and solar output.”

So how did the Advisory Panel deal with this issue in its May 10 recommendations? It does not specifically address the subject of the winter lull at all. The closest it comes in its presentation is a slide with the heading “Advances Needed for the Future”. The following text appears:

Long Duration Storage Technology

  • Focus State programs and funding on research and demonstration projects for the development of large scale and longer duration storage
  • Develop and expand a Storage Center of Excellence to mature and deploy new technologies on the grid for large scale testing
  • Attract and engage relevant parties in collaborative efforts to address the challenges unique to long-duration storage

In other words, they have no idea how it can be done, or whether it can be done, and nobody has even started working on the problem yet. But don’t worry, the electric grid will be 70% decarbonized by 2030, even with hugely increased demand from the likes of (mandatory) electric cars and (mandatory) electric heat in homes. Caiazza’s comment:

Long-duration storage is necessary so depending upon a technology that does not even exist in a pilot project is an incredible risk.

Read the full post here.

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June 27, 2021 6:24 am

In other words, they have no idea how it can be done, or whether it can be done, and nobody has even started working on the problem yet.

I’m sure this applies to all of the other jurisdictions with a “carbon zero” mandate.

Reply to  PaulH
June 27, 2021 7:53 am

Planned Population (e.g. Parent/hood) is a Choice: demos-cracy dies in darkness. Also, the Sardine Effect will further reduce their anthropogenic carbon footprint. That said, we have now… decades ago crossed over into the Twilight Fringe. Progress!

Reply to  PaulH
June 27, 2021 8:06 am

It seems to me that plans to “de-carbonize” for whatever reason is weakening us (the West) in favor of more dictatorial controlled systems. As history teaches us that gaps in perceived power structures will be filled with malignent intent, I see problems…..

Reply to  PaulH
June 27, 2021 8:31 am

Perhaps they don’t want to know. California is famous for passing “aspirational” regulations and when those aspirations cannot be met with current technology they simply attach a price to the shortfall from the objectives (related to carbon emissions mostly) and collect revenue. That’s how California justifies taxing the poor for their heat and fuel to needed live in a modern economy and pass it up to wealthy investors, electric car owners and home owners with rooftop solar. Honestly, I suspect its an insidious to gentrify the state.

Reply to  PaulH
June 27, 2021 9:11 am

“…..nobody has even started working on the problem yet…..”
Not quite true, engineers have worked on the problem for decades, but politicians don’t like their answer, which for electrical generation starts with the word “nuclear”….

Reply to  PaulH
June 27, 2021 9:49 am

Words to live by:

“Everything looks easy when you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Reply to  Duane
June 27, 2021 2:01 pm

Yes, or MY version of it: “Everything is easy to the one who doesn’t have to DO it!’

June 27, 2021 6:26 am

depending upon a technology that does not even exist in a pilot project is an incredible risk”

Ya think???? That really sums up the whole thing right there. You can’t estimate a cost for something that doesn’t exist. You can’t estimate how hard it is to manage or where best to locate it. Develop this storage idea and implement at grid level for the largest metropolitan area in the USA in less than 9 years?? Sounds like a good idea. Wonder if anyone’s working on their rat problem yet?

Reply to  Spetzer86
June 27, 2021 6:54 am

Wonder if anyone’s working on their rat problem yet?

I think that they are already in charge.

Bryan A
Reply to  Spetzer86
June 27, 2021 7:15 am

Where best to locate it?..
Southern end of Manhattan

The Battery

Reply to  Bryan A
June 27, 2021 9:25 am

Right next to the tide gauge showing little change in sea level rise for 150 years.

Reply to  BobM
June 27, 2021 1:52 pm

comment image

Even on Gilligan’s Island, they knew enough to check the stick in the Lagoon. (lol)

Reply to  Spetzer86
June 27, 2021 9:55 am

Actually, the astounding ignorance of the decarbonizers goes far beyond the notion that they are depending upon technology that does not yet exist.

Lots of things have been depended upon to eventually exist, and then sooner or later, they did exist.

Like the atom bomb, for instance.

But there has to be an underlying theory and basis of experimental knowledge that pre-existed, upon which it made at least some sense as something within the realm of the realistic. Such was the case was the atom bomb, whose underlying theory had been in development for decades prior, resting upon the works of such brilliant physicists as Neils Bohrer, and Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Leo Szilard, and many others going back to the late 19th century.

But “decarbonizing the world” is built only on unicorns and wishes, not the hard work of developing theories and then turning them over to the engineers to turn into reality.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Duane
June 28, 2021 4:48 am

The atom bomb wasn’t developed in a vacuum as the only hope to win the war. The Allies pursued multiple avenues. Curtis LeMay was busy burning down Japan one city at a time with napalm, an invention that came about with a puzzling discovery, then engineering work to make it a weapon. The invasion of Japan was imminent but would have killed many more soldiers and civilians.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
June 28, 2021 8:58 am

The United States government depended upon making the atom bomb a reality because they were convinced that if we didn’t someone else would. The Germans were the most likely, followed by the Russians. Because if our enemies got it before we did, were going to be in deep trouble.

As it turned out, both the Germans and the Russians were far behind us.

In any event, the Feds spent what was in the 1940s an astounding pile of cash – $2 billion – to develop the a-bomb.

And then when it proved out at the Trinity test side in July 1945, the President and his national security leadership depended upon that bomb to force the Japanese into surrender. And it did.

LeMay thought his firebombing of the cities of Japan was going to force the surrender, but all of the documentation of the actual deliberations and actions of senior Japanese leadership indicated that they were prepared to commit national suicide in a last ditch defense of the home islands. It was the emperor, Hirohito, in direct response to the two a-bomb blasts on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, who forced his military junta to surrender

Therefore, it really was the a-bomb that forced the Japanese surrender in August 1945, rather than forcing the US and our allies and the Japanese people to endure another year plus of the bloodiest warfare in world history.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Spetzer86
June 28, 2021 4:22 pm

If you care about maintaining an adequate power grid for the next decade, it’s a non-credible plan. If you only care about the next election, it’s a great strategy.

June 27, 2021 6:28 am
John Bell
Reply to  John Shewchuk
June 27, 2021 6:34 am

One wonders if they have refrigerators?

Reply to  John Bell
June 27, 2021 6:44 am

Unfortunately, the “little” people have nothing to refrigerate – only the very few ruling elite have that luxury. Life there is VERY dire — which is what will happen under zero-carbon.

Reply to  John Shewchuk
June 27, 2021 2:03 pm

Yep, if they don’t have FOOD then they don’t NEED refrigeration, right?

Reply to  IAMPCBOB
June 27, 2021 2:58 pm

You need someplace to stick the dead.

June 27, 2021 6:32 am

my anecdotal experience from living entirely on solar / wind electricity is that my cost for storage is four times the cost of generation .( and I would like more lithium storage ). I suspect the price for adequate grid storage could well be 10x the price of generation , if possible at all

Reply to  garboard
June 27, 2021 7:58 am

You can purchase socially responsible, carbon offset storage in the Cloud.

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  garboard
June 27, 2021 8:07 am

Relative to the rest of Canada, Alberta has excellent wind and solar resources. Nevertheless, at today’s prices, sufficient battery backup for wind and solar would cost two TRILLION Canadian dollars (about US$1.5 TRILLION). And that’s before replacing the 90% of the energy in the province that is not provided by electricity. And that’s for about 4.3 million people. Impossible squared.

True Cost of Wind Solar Alberta | Friends of Science Calgary

June 27, 2021 6:36 am

NY power supply does not have to come entirely from NY.

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 7:44 am

1) Shut down in state production and import instead, for the sake of green virtue signalling.
2) In doing so, hurt your grid reliability.
3) Make your grid dependent on other states. (Side note: Because of RGGI, all your neighbor states are attempting to export their generation as well. Some even want you to do their generation for them.)
4) Incur larger line losses due to the longer transmission distances. (Note: this means more fossil fuels burned, not less).
5) Increase costs all around, without decreasing fossil fuel usage.

Perfect, we have a winner!

Kevin kilty
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 7:49 am

But it still has to come, at times, from a dispatchable source.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
June 27, 2021 9:55 am

Hydro Quebec has spent 4 decades building hydro dams nameplated to supply NYC….and its dispatchable….but NY has to build the virtuous renewables out to justify increased utility rates before they substitute cheaper hydro to consumers. There is a long game going on.

Reply to  DMacKenzie,
June 27, 2021 2:02 pm

hydro Quebec drowned indigenous cultures in exchange for green energy

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 7:54 am

Correct! It’s Someone Else’s Problem and Fault when they don’t give NY enough power…

David Kamakaris
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 8:10 am

Griff, you are a true blue progressive. Your only concern is getting a warm, fuzzy feeling from your misplaced concern about climate change by posting your ridiculous talking points here. You support fully the misguided measures being forced upon us to supposedly mitigate these misguided concerns. Then when (notice I said when) they turn out to be an unmitigated disaster, it will be someone else’s fault and someone else’s responsibility to fix it.

You and your ilk are something else.

John Hultquist
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 9:04 am

NY power supply does not have to come entirely from NY. ” Griff – 6/27/21

 Displaced coal miners and oil drillers can run diesel generators to shine lights on solar panels in the Pine Barrens of NJ, then send the electrons into The City.

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 9:25 am

True. Everybody (except Texas) who goes green winds up dependent on imports for its energy needs. Look at the UK and CA.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 9:57 am

I read of construction plans for a virtuous carbon-neutral power plant in Cloud Cuckoo Land, that famous US state bordering NY.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
June 27, 2021 12:07 pm

Cloud Cuckoo Land, that famous US state bordering NY.

Could be VT, MA, CT, NJ, or PA. They all qualify. All, including NY are part of RGGI, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (PA membership pending).

In the future, please specify which Cloud Cuckoo Land you are referring to.
Thank You.

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 11:12 am

You point out the fatal flaw in the renewables ponzi scam. Once markets saturate enough with unreliable power, there is nowhere to draw reliable dispatchable power from and the system collapses.

Reply to  icisil
June 27, 2021 3:08 pm

According to griff, the fact that Germany can rely on French nuclear reactors and Polish coal plants proves that Germany’s renewable power won’t destabilize Germany’s grid.

Mark Kaiser
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 12:23 pm

I have to agree with griff on this one. Saharan solar power comes to mind.

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 1:04 pm

Why should other people have to put up with eyesores and destruction of their environment. Fill up Central Park with solar panels, and have wind turbines lining the shorelines.

Reply to  Lrp
June 27, 2021 1:18 pm

Those urban canyons are pretty windy at times. String windmills up between the buildings and let it rip.

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 2:05 pm

That’s true! It could also come from the UK, right Griff?

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 2:06 pm

Actually New York City has stringent restrictions on the amount of electricity that can be imported as a result of a previous blackout. Realists begged the Climate Action Council and the advisory panel to get a briefing from the NY Reliability Council during the process. Allegedly there will be a presentation this summer – after the recommendations. This will end badly.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 2:29 pm

So, you admit renewables can’t supply all the power a 21st century society needs. Glad you agree that renewables are hopeless.

Reply to  griff
June 27, 2021 3:03 pm

If everybody de-carbonizes as you have been advocating, then the fact that NY has the ability to rely on other people’s unreliable power sources makes no difference.

Everyone else is facing the same problems that NY faces and they won’t have any power to sell.

Reply to  MarkW
June 27, 2021 5:42 pm

Memories are short. California’s debacle in about 2001 or 2002, and Texas this year are two big examples of what happens when the suppliers don’t have supplies to sell.

Jeffery P
Reply to  griff
June 28, 2021 7:02 am

Yes, that makes them bigger fools and hypocrites. But what do you expect? Self-awareness, like understanding the laws of math and chemistry, are not part of the green mindset.

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
June 28, 2021 2:24 pm

Well it certainly won’t be coming from Uber Green California either, they can’t even generate their own needs within state. Where will New York turn that won’t already be looking elsewhere for THEIR energy needs that Wind and Solar can’t meet?
Manhattan alone, to meet their needs with Solar (current electric generation, replacing gas cooking with electric, replacing gas/fuel oil heating with electric, Transportation, And Battery Backup recharging) would require covering an area the size of Connecticut with panels.
This is based on N.Y., N.Y.s current usage and relative requirements to replace current Gas usage times the area and actual annual generation of Topaz Solar Farm.

June 27, 2021 6:45 am

Ahhhh it’s so nice to live in NYS, where our leaders are clueless and the smart folks are leaving

June 27, 2021 6:47 am

Maybe they should start by decarbonising their sugar intake.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland
June 27, 2021 8:09 am

Yes, excess carbohydrate consumption is a first-order forcing of metabolic dysfunction and progressive prices in the health care industrial complex. Separately, there are carbon breeder “reactors” and vegans are a first-order forcing of [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] global warming. Emit less.

Reply to  n.n
June 27, 2021 2:10 pm

Make that ‘eat less, emit less’, right?

Jan de Jong
June 27, 2021 6:57 am

The article misses step 1: what are the requirements for the future energy supply. Maybe it’s not intended or expected to work?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jan de Jong
June 27, 2021 7:26 am

Precisely Jan! You win the prize.

Cars and buses are to be replaced with bicycles and walking. In winter, intermittently available power will “probably” allow most people to keep their homes above freezing or at least the sub-freezing periods won’t usually be long enough that their pipes always burst. We could solve the bursting pipes problem by draining them automatically if the temperature drops too low. In summer, a vegan diet generally requires little to no refrigeration. So no problem at all.

Need I go on?

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 27, 2021 9:19 am

There won’t be any running water if the pumps don’t work because there is no electricity. Problem solved.

Rich Davis
Reply to  starzmom
June 27, 2021 9:23 am

There’s a lot of static pressure in storage tanks. We’re talking cities here. No private wells allowed. The rural areas will need to be evacuated and given back to nature.

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 27, 2021 1:20 pm

I am going to guess the skyscrapers have pumps, somewhere. They have to pump the Delaware River water over the mountains too. And you are right on the rural areas.

Rich Davis
Reply to  starzmom
June 27, 2021 4:29 pm

Yes of course. They will fill the storage tanks with their pumps when the power is on. But the water pressure is maintained by gravity (water flowing downhill).

Some days or weeks there won’t be water because there hasn’t been any wind or solar power to refill the tanks. Of course everyone will maintain jugs of emergency water for the dry times.

Don’t you see how much better this will be? After that, maybe the temperature will be a few hundredths of a degree cooler. Well, it would be, except that China and most of the world will emit much more than we reduce. Still we must do our duty.

Reply to  Rich Davis
June 27, 2021 5:45 pm

It is just going to be terrific. Or not.

Reply to  Jan de Jong
June 27, 2021 8:25 am

The related step, also for the most part ignored by the advisory panel, is that if you are assuming the energy will be supplied by wind and solar is to determine just how much is available in the worst case. The winter wind lull in the figure in the post does not represent the worst case combined wind and solar resource example over say ten years. Failure to figure that out means a Texas style blackout is inevitable. Worse – what happens when there is an ice storm?

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
June 27, 2021 11:02 am

Correct. And it can creep up on you. A few months of below par performance, and your storage is a lot emptier than it should be when the really bad spell hits, assuming you have it in the first place. So you have to fill it before that happens, which means you need even more of it…

I’ve done work look at 30+ years of hourly data renewables data based on refactored weather observations. The storage needs are quite alarming, and come with all sorts of costs – they only pay off one year in 30, so the effective cost of stored energy is enormous. There are likely to be substantial maintenance issues and added losses from storing over such long periods – round trip losses escalate.

You can get part of the way by limiting storage and having gross excess production that you spill or curtail at times when renewables are operating at higher capacity. But the storage options become more and more uneconomic the longer the required duration and the lower the frequency of turnover. Grid batteries turn over roughly twice a day when used for ancillary services in terms of the total charge throughput. Seasonal stores are just once a year. That only works for hydro that depends on snowmelt, as in Norway. In reality you are left needing dispatchable capacity to cover the full amount of peak demand if you are not going to let costs escalate to the ridiculous.

June 27, 2021 7:09 am

Getting to Carbon Neutral.

Nobody knows what that means.
Nobody knows how to get there.
Nobody is in charge.

We are planning … planning to fail.

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  rovingbroker
June 27, 2021 7:45 am

I’m betting it will be mostly creative bookkeeping as already on display with corporations that are already making the claim.

Douglas Lampert
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
June 28, 2021 2:19 pm

Georgia power is advertising 0 carbon natural gas sales because they have offsets. The ads do not mention what the offset is.

Just print indulgences and use normal power. Sounds like a good solution to me.

Reply to  rovingbroker
June 27, 2021 8:17 am

In one realization, a multi-trillion dollar carbon offset indulgence and redistributive change infrastructure project where the 1% are enriched and demos-cracy carries the debt for Green effect.

Jason S
June 27, 2021 7:21 am

Of course this is completely infeasible. Those who are orchestrating this movement know that all too well. In fact, that’s the whole point. For the last 100 years, global politics and power structure has been all about ownership and access to energy sources. If you control the resources, you have the power (pun intended). They want there to be a significant shortfall of supply. Why? Because if there is not enough for everyone, then we must make sure that the resource is distributed “equitably”. Who will do that you ask? Why, them of course. So if you are a business, part of an industry, or part of a group that doesn’t meet their standards..”no soup for you”. They can now remold the world as they see fit. This is right out of the Marxist playbook. Take over a critical resource, and use it make everyone bend a knee.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Jason S
June 27, 2021 11:05 am

I’m never quite sure why they think they would be immune from the rioters.

Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
June 27, 2021 1:22 pm

The rioters are among the groups that will get power.

Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
June 27, 2021 1:24 pm

consider the past five months in Washington D. C.

Reply to  Jason S
June 27, 2021 12:18 pm

The de-carbonization bit is just code for getting rid of human life, which is the new mantra of Marxism. Just to use the word de-carboniztion is an assault on all life forms on the good Earth. When I hear people use this phrase, I know they are either ignorant or evil, or both.

June 27, 2021 7:26 am

Attract and engage relevant parties in collaborative efforts to address the challenges

And switch off their electricity supply.

June 27, 2021 7:28 am

“depending upon a technology that does not even exist in a pilot project is an incredible risk.”

Not at all. Risk is the term we apply to certain kinds of probability calculations. Here there is no probability of success (0.000% in round numbers). So we do not even talk of “risk” as it is undefined in this case.

Everybody on this Advisory Panel babbles about developing the “technology”. But develop the technology from what?

Batteries are a wonderful technology, unfortunately inadequate for grid storage. At base, battery technology is based on the science of electrochemistry. Electrochemistry dictates what can and cannot be done.
Hydrogen storage is a plausible technology, but very expensive. At base, hydrogen storage depends on scientific disciplines within physical chemistry. This tells us what we can and cannot do.
Boron Hydride hydrogen storage. Governed by Boron chemistry. These are things we know.

The Point:
There is no science anywhere which points the way forward for grid scale energy storage. None.
So when people say “develop the technology”, we need to know which technology, based on what science.

This Advisory Panel was not interested in how things work now, and they demonstrate that they have no interest in what is possible and not possible.
A more clear case of Magical Thinking is hard to imagine.

Reply to  TonyL
June 27, 2021 1:46 pm

It looks as if the Emotional Age of the committee was about thirty-two.
32 Months.


June 27, 2021 7:30 am

In Stork We Trust to deliver at our convenience

June 27, 2021 7:34 am

When they say “Decarbonize” do they mean “De-CO2” and if so, what does that mean? No CO2 from cars and trucks? No CO2 from buildings? From construction? and etc.?
What exactly do they mean?

June 27, 2021 8:11 am

They mean exactly what you wrote. No CO2 from any source at all.
You must be relatively new here. When you first see what these “Green New Deal” type proposals mean, you are shocked, you cannot believe adults are actually proposing this.

True enough. Now know that they fully intend to throw as much taxpayer money at their utopian dream as they can. In concert with the spending, they are trying to force the issue by shutting down all current baseline generation capacity, and mandating electric cars, and no more natural gas heating.

Disaster Awaits.
California, Here We Come!

Itdoesn't add up...
June 27, 2021 11:07 am

If you want to get the idea, check out the interview on GB News with Roger Hallam, the founder of XR, also discussed here at WUWT.

June 27, 2021 7:34 am

“Therefore, a solar-powered system with no fossil fuel backup is going to need batteries that can store power in June — enough power to, say, run all of New York City for weeks on end — and save all that power all the way to December for usage.
Currently, no such massive-scale long-term storage technology exists.”

Has anyone worked out the size and cost of a ‘battery’ large enough for an average households daily needs in a city with say 25000 houses-say 100,000 people?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  tonyb
June 27, 2021 8:02 am

I worked out a little of this, the “mass” part, in an essay some weeks ago. The cost part depends on lots of things. For example, cost may decline as economies of scale kick in, but then will surely rise again as demand overwhelms supply for critical materials. But just the shear mass involved is only part of the problem, as I pointed out in that essay, and as TonyL summarizes above, part of the issue is “how the universe works.” For example, batteries depend on diffusion. Diffusion becomes a sluggish process as temperature declines. As a result batteries have neither the capacity nor discharge capability at 32F that they do at 90F. The “systems engineering” involved in completely reimagining the grid is daunting, and some requirements may be simply impossible.

Having 14 of the 15 members of a blue ribbon panel be ignoramuses prevents the panel from considering anything other than magic.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Kevin kilty
June 27, 2021 11:30 am

Batteries are hopelessly uneconomic for such a venture. Even using pumped storage on a grand scale, assuming you have the terrain for enough of it, is crippling in cost.

June 27, 2021 7:47 am

They could follow the Chinese model and flood a large tract of the New England area for Green effect. The hills are viable with potential energy.

June 27, 2021 7:55 am

Put Quomo and the demrats in charge – they will fix it.

Bob Cherba
June 27, 2021 8:16 am

I’m sure that all the scientists, engineers and technicians chosen on the basis of equity and diversity, with white supremacist math eliminated, will solve all the technical problems in a jiffy once the likes of AOC and the green new deal assume total power.

A suggestion: All the politicians, members of the CLCPA committees and their supporting organizations, and all the NYS employees should be guinea pigs for this power experiment. They and the NYS government buildings/offices (including the universities and schools) should have to implement all aspects of the CLCPA on the current time table — upgrade the insulation in their homes (They can do this at the same time they rewire and replace their gas range, water heater and furnace.); buy an electric car(s); install a heat pump, etc., etc.

The proponents of the CLCPA should be more than happy to demonstrate to the public at large how painless and cost-effective their plans will be. (Or maybe they should just limit the test to the Albany area at first. What could go wrong?)

Steve Case
June 27, 2021 8:29 am

A while I asked a very smart, runs a successful business, but a staunch Democrat, “Do yo really think the world’s economy can be run on solar panels and wind turbines?” His answer was a simple “Yes”

There’s really no point in putting facts under their noses. We are dealing with closed minds. Or in this case, maybe they know they don’t have an argument and stonewalling is a defense.

John Hultquist
June 27, 2021 8:57 am

nobody has even started working on the problem

I have read of about a dozen schemes that have been investigated with some having been implemented on a small scale. I don’t imply that these have been done in NYC.
– – concrete loaded RR cars on an incline;
– – hoisting weights into the air via a crane;
– – compressed air in caves (??);
– – spinning steel (flywheels);
– – molten salt;
. . .
– – rats on tread-wheel cages.

Actually, in NYC, an under utilized tall building could have thousands of treadmills on which members of the Climate Cult could pump out electrons while using up the stored energy in their otherwise useless selves. {Can I get Royalty payments?}

Mike Smith
June 27, 2021 9:01 am

Half the world seems to believe that Elon Musk or some other primadonna is going to work their magic and solve the problem of long term electrical energy storage overnight. I confidently predict it will not be solved in the next decade.

And if they do, I sure hope they don’t build it anywhere near my home!

Reply to  Mike Smith
June 27, 2021 9:28 am

Heck, Musk is heading to Mars. He ain’t dumb.

Julian Flood
Reply to  joel
June 28, 2021 5:51 am

Yes he is. Bezos is heading for the asteroids. _Bezos_ is smart.

June 27, 2021 9:02 am

I attribute much of this nonsense to the upbringing of today’s supposed “adults”.
As children, they said “I want” and they “got”. The “how” was never a consideration and neither was the “cost”. If you don’t get what you want, just sit down and throw a temper tantrum. That usually works.

We see this now in the Progressives demands from everything from the GND to “Social Justice”. Reality is such a nuisance.

Bruce Cobb
June 27, 2021 9:02 am

Maybe it should instead be called the “Climate Retards And Positively Preposperous Public Policy” (CRAPPPP) Act.

June 27, 2021 9:15 am

With the crime problem in New York, maybe there will be few people living there in 8 1/2 years. Or at least by the time this is implemented, there will be.

June 27, 2021 9:29 am

Didn’t someone calculate that to power NY City with unreliable electricity the entire state of Connecticut has to be seized and turned into nothing but wind and solar farms? Could be wrong, but sounds about right.

June 27, 2021 9:30 am

Speaking of NY power. Any word on how they are coming building the several thousand wind turbines they need to replace the power from the recently closed Indian Point nuclear power plant?

Reply to  joel
June 27, 2021 10:51 am

New Yorkers should mount or replace their buildings with wind turbines, construct a “Twin Windmills” in Manhattan to visibly celebrate their pride.

Reply to  n.n
June 27, 2021 11:36 am

“Twin Windmills” in Manhattan to visibly celebrate their Green pride, which is ironically a green pride.

David A
Reply to  joel
June 28, 2021 3:30 am

Is there any word yet on people noticing that the same people desperate to break the US energy production and grid,
( they KNOW it will make no difference to GAT) are the same people who brutally suppressed the true effectiveness of Ivermectin, HCQ, and Sunshine?

June 27, 2021 10:01 am

I have a brother living in NYC who tells me that he looks at the whole decarbonization of the grid problem like JFK’s call to send a man to the moon – in that the technology to accomplish said goal didn’t exist yet at the time either.
My answer to that is 1, Kennedy created a problem in need of a solution, and if that problem were to ultimately be deemed insurmountable then so what? Nobody gets hurt.
2, Decarbonization of New York’s energy grid by a set date is a “solution” to a non-problem (or, more to the point, a non-solution in search of a real problem) who’s very process has massive potential to inflict needless harm, suffering, financial decimation, and throwing the whole state (and surrounding region) into total unrecoverable chaos.

He just looked at me with a blank stare….

Reply to  Artiem2112
June 27, 2021 11:42 am

JFK’s call to send a man to the moon – in that the technology to accomplish said goal didn’t exist yet at the time either.”

This is exactly the problem I described above when I listed various energy technologies and the physical science they are based on.
It is true that in 1960 we did not have the technology to go to the moon. But the science was all laid out. The math and physics of orbital mechanics were well known. Theoretical trips to the moon were calculated in a hundred different ways. Some of those ways turned out to be possible. At the same time, rockets were flying. With the German V2, rockets went to war in 1944. By 1960 in the US, rocketry was advancing at an astonishing pace.
In short, going to the moon did not require some new science.

Back to Earth:
There is absolutely no science which supports grid scale energy storage. Period.
If you want to “decarbonize” the grid, you have exactly one option. You must replace all fossil fueled generation with nuclear energy generation. That is it. That is the option.
That this Advisory Panel did not consider nuclear at all means they are not serious, or they do not care about the havoc and destruction their edicts will cause.

Reply to  TonyL
June 27, 2021 1:27 pm

There is one other choice for the Advisory Panel’s failure to consider nuclear. They are too stupid. The other choices may also be true as well.

Reply to  TonyL
June 27, 2021 2:16 pm

During the “it says we gotta do this so we will go through the motions” public hearings the generation panel was shocked when many commenters argued that shutting down the Indian Point nuclear station was the worst possible action if they in fact wanted to reduce emissions. There is a mention for considering nuclear buried somewhere but it is never going to be included as viable option.

Reply to  Artiem2112
June 27, 2021 3:43 pm

The technology to send a man to the moon did exist when Kennedy made his speech. It just had to be supersized.

June 27, 2021 10:08 am

Importantly, they are getting a paycheck for all they don’t know and are brainstorming.

A lot of damage can be done by clueless know it all’s with an axe to grind.

Reply to  Olen
June 27, 2021 2:46 pm

anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about

Chris Nisbet
June 27, 2021 11:06 am

Western countries seem intent on putting all their eggs into one basket (electricity).

Smart Rock
June 27, 2021 12:00 pm

Now that the target dates being touted by our dear leaders are getting too close to ignore, the truth that they’ve been trying to hide is beginning to appear. The mask is starting to slip.

The decarbonized future will be a future where everything is always in short supply, starting with energy. That is how they will keep the population under their control. When everyone (except the dear leaders and their inner circle, and their billionaire cronies) is cold and hungry, they will be too busy staying alive to rock the boat.

And when you’re living in fear that you may say the wrong thing about climate, or ethnicity, or gender, or Ivεrmecτin, and you know that you will disappear if someone rats you out or if you forgot to switch your phone off, you will keep your mouth shut and your head down. And you will join spontaneous demonstrations of support for the dear leaders when they increase your electricity ration from 10 kWh to 12 kWh a week. While tying yourself in knots trying to remember – wasn’t the ration 15 kWh a week, only last month?

I really would like to think that I’m wrong, but I’m not exactly hopeful.

Gary Pearse
June 27, 2021 12:08 pm

“…advisory panels also have recognized the pre-eminent importance of the Power Generation sector by assigning that sector necessarily more ambitious decarbonization goals..”

Huge poker tell. You can safely go all-in on this one. The neophyte advisory brd. do indeed know something, as do top politicians, top activist heads and political climate scientists. They are really telling you that the transportation and shipping sector is the immovable elephant in the room.

This fossil fuel use sector is simply not going to be decarbonized even noticeably in this century.

Here is what is going to happen. We will continue research and development on nuclear/atomic energy processes and possibly new despatchable technologies for efficient, cheap electricity may pop up. Ultimately we will be going to electric vehicles for cars and trucks and most likely nuclear ships, maybe even mini thorium reactors in car for continuous electrification, or in garage for all electricity needs).

Dev of electric car has been all wrong. Should have started with cheap simple units without electric windows and the dozens of electric gizmos. Use the Henry Ford approach. Also look into electrified highways from which the car draws its power – then you have a 4000mi range! Etc.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 27, 2021 3:48 pm

Electrified highways are as dumb an idea as trying to use batteries to store months worth of electric power.

CD in Wisconsin
June 27, 2021 12:13 pm

“On a sixteen member Panel, there were representatives of New Yorkers for Clean Power, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, Vote Solar, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Public Utility Law Project, and the New York Battery and Energy Storage Coalition, among others. In the face of this crowd of activists, the New York ISO got exactly one representative.

Caiazza comments:In order to make power generation recommendations it is necessary to understand how the power system works and how planning affects reliability and affordability. Many of the members [of this Advisory Panel] did not want to understand and did not try to understand the technological challenges.”


I find it both amazing and frustrating that being an environmental activist today (somehow) qualifies you as a substitute replacement for physicists and engineers when it come to addressing issues involving the electrical grid and the generation of energy. This indicate to me that politicians (particularly on the left) have embraced the idea of treating energy and the grid as eco-religious matters rather than matters for properly qualified people in science and engineering.

This seems to reflect that environmental groups have the kind of clout in government that they should not have. If these groups reject nuclear as a replacement energy source for fossil fuels, they are at a dead end with their activist agenda. Historically, old technologies have been phased out only after superior qualifying technologies come into existence to replace them.

Thus, the brilliant light bulbs on this Advisory Panel are doing things bass ackwards, and they probably are too arrogant and egotistical to realize it.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
June 27, 2021 1:41 pm

They don’t know what they don’t know

That is the entirety of the problem here

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
June 27, 2021 2:22 pm

Industry representatives in NY universally ask the question: what about physics. No answer yet because this is all political theater

June 27, 2021 1:46 pm

This is how the Soviet Union worked. The party set impossible targets, no-oine dared to question them, and when the targets were not met the engineers were jailed or executed (often the same thing at different speeds) for ‘wrecking’.

Which is why, of course, the Soviet Union didn’t work, and why “de-carbonizing” can never work without nuclear power.

June 27, 2021 3:35 pm

Reduce demand (e.g. planned parent/hood). Lower expectations. Share responsibility. Purchase carbon indulgences. Wish upon a Rainbow.

June 27, 2021 3:53 pm

In other words, they have no idea how it can be done, or whether it can be done, and nobody has even started working on the problem yet.”

Yeah, but the donors will get to feel good about themselves and get virtue points to keep them cool in summer and warm in winter after all the conventional energy sources go dark. Meanwhile, the sponsors will find some new grift to keep up their lifestyles.

June 27, 2021 5:10 pm

There’s an awful lot of negativity in the responses here. It’s true that the intermittency problem is a major hurdle and that battery storage is not likely to be sufficient on a large scale, unless there is are major scientific breakthroughs in battery technology which doesn’t depend so much on the limited supply of certain metals, and which is more durable and/or cheaper.

However, there is a solution which the current state of technology can provide, and that is, a combination of battery storage and long-distance Ultra-High Voltage Direct Current power lines (U-HVDC), preferably underground.

It’s obvious that in any single location the sun doesn’t shine continuously, and the wind doesn’t blow continuously, and there are occasionally a number of days without any sunshine or wind at all. However, on a world-wide scale, at any given moment, day or night, there are many locations throughout the world when both the wind is blowing and the sun is shining.

Adding all these locations together, one gets the equivalent of a huge area of land, much larger than the entire USA, where the sun shines and the wind blows for 24 hours every day.
We have the technology to connect these areas with U-HVDC cables, but the expense of course would be astronomical. That’s the major hurdle; the economic cost of constructing hundreds of thousands of miles of U-HVDC cables, under ground and under sea.

Reply to  Vincent
June 27, 2021 7:27 pm

Multiple problems, the first is that even with UHVDC, you still get line loss. The longer the distance, the greater the losses. The second is that when wind dies, it often dies for areas that are hundreds to even thousands of miles wide.
You might be able to make your batteries a few percent smaller with this scheme, but at the price of adding a very expensive UHVDC distribution to a system that is already unaffordable.

Reply to  MarkW
June 28, 2021 1:46 am

The electricity loss from UHVDC lines over long distances are much less than the loss from AC lines. Typical for HVDC (as opposed to the latest UHVDC) is a 3.5% loss for every 1,000 km. I’ve seen figures as low as 1.5% loss per 1,000 km for the latest UHVDC lines.

There is an additional cost of converting the Direct Current to AC before it is used, but the main obstacle to the construction of long-distance, underground power lines, is the difficulty of getting permits for the use the land. That can sometimes take years of legal hassles.

An interesting project in its initial stages of development, is the proposal for Australia to export electricity to Singapore from a huge solar farm to be constructed in an arid region in Northern Australia. The electricity will be transmitted over land to Darwin, and then along a 4,500 km, submarine HVDC cable, to Singapore.

The details are at the following site:

“Situated in a Newcastle Waters cattle station halfway between Alice Springs and Darwin, the $20 billion plant will span over 12,000 hectares and generate 10 gigawatts of electrical power. Investors for the project, which is being run by Singaporean company Sun Cable, include billionaires Andrew Forrest and Mike Cannon-Brookes.

But it won’t be only Australians benefitting from this giant solar farm. Most of the energy will be transported all the way to Singapore.
Alongside the development of the solar farm, the world’s largest battery and longest submarine power cable will be constructed to export the electricity from Australian soil to Singapore.

The battery will be developed and stationed near Darwin, approximately 750km north of the solar farm. While a proportion of the power will be siphoned off into Darwin’s electricity grid, as much as two-thirds will be transported to Singapore via a 4,500-kilometer-long underwater cable known as a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) network.

Sun Cable is waiting on various approvals before the project can commence, which includes environmental assessments by the Northern Territory’s Environmental Protection Authority.

If it goes as planned, development will begin in 2023, the first energy will be produced by 2026, and the first export to Singapore will be by 2027.”

Reply to  Vincent
June 28, 2021 4:26 am

In a reply above I noted that one big need is an assessment of how much wind and solar energy is available for the worst case situation which I think will be the winter multi-day lull. The problem is that those conditions are associated with a very large high pressure system. How far out do you have to run your transmission lines and how often will that infrastructure be used? I bet very far and not very often.

Reply to  Vincent
June 28, 2021 6:30 am

Less than AC, but still greater than zero.
You fail to address the issue of additional cost, nor have you done anything to indicate how far out you have to go in order to find someplace where the wind is still blowing.
Additionally, where ever the wind is blowing, the output of those wind mills is going to be needed to provide power for those who live in that region. Your belief that they are going to have excess power to sell is little more than wishful thinking.

Reply to  MarkW
June 28, 2021 5:44 pm

Actually, you could exclude windmills entirely. Covering just a small portion of the deserts and arid regions throughout the world, with solar panels, including all the rooftops of all buildings in the suburbs and cities, could provide more energy than the entire world uses, converting all forms of energy use into kWh equivalent.

For example, if the entire Sahara Desert were covered with modern solar panels, the electricity generated would be around 20 times the current world-wide use of energy. Of course, covering the entire Sahara Desert is not sensible or practical. However, a proposal to build a number of very large solar farms around the world, in the various deserts or arid regions where the sun shines on most days, could provide more than enough electricity for everyone, provided we had a world-wide, international, UHVDC grid.

However, the initial cost of constructing such an international grid system would be huge and would require a lot of energy from fossil fuels, which is why such a plan would take many decades of gradual advances.

It will be interesting to see if the Singapore/Australian plan goes ahead.

June 27, 2021 7:10 pm

The joke is on you because they are experts at sending the bill to the feds with names like Superstorm Schumer or Sheldon Smuck.

navy bob
June 27, 2021 7:57 pm

There’s probably another factor at play besides abysmal ignorance. People who work in the government, or for the government as many of the green groups do under contracts and grants, have grown used to assuming that their internal processes, such as time spent emailing, phone calling, holding conferences and meetings, doing online research, writing reports, issuing decrees, etc, is the same as work like engineering, construction, manufacturing that builds actual physical objects. Of course it’s not at all the same, but they have spent their entire working lives in front of a computer, absorbed in tail-chasing bureaucratic process, and are unable to tell the difference.

Reply to  navy bob
June 28, 2021 4:28 am

Add in the NGO’s who have a vested interest in selling catastrophe who are pushing the agenda and the crony capitalists who stand to make a killing off this scam and you have a large, loud group with vested interests.

Christopher Fay
June 27, 2021 9:39 pm

The energy storage required does exist. It’s called coal.

Serge Wright
June 27, 2021 9:57 pm

The other possibility is that they do have an idea to reduce emissions by forcing society to adjust to living with intermittent electricity. By the time people realise they have been duped it will be too late.

June 28, 2021 12:03 am

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there”- Lewis Carroll.

June 28, 2021 12:50 am

Yes, quite so, its obviously impossible as soon as you think about what measures would be needed to deliver it.

And even if it were possible and were done, it would have so small an effect on national, let alone global, emissions that it couldn’t be measured.

So we have the usual combination. Activists are demanding that the local authorities do things that are both ineffective, technically and politically impossible.

They also refuse to have anything to do with planning implementation, I guess because they know that its impossible, but equally importantly because they want the current authorities to carry the can for the disaster that would result from any serious effort to do what they are demanding.

You see the same thing in the UK, with the notorious Climate Change Act.

The fact is that if a country or region wants to get to zero carbon, it can. But what it will require is huge social and economic change. The abolition of cars and highways, suburbs and malls. Walk, bike or take mass transit to work. Move the entire population into high density highly insulated housing with local shops, entertainment and workplaces. Think any US or UK city in about 1890, with Internet. Close down cities like Phoenix or Las Vegas. Also think the countryside in 1890 or earlier. Its got to be made petroleum free – no chemical agriculture, but rotating crops, mixed farming with livestock and cropping.

The fundamental dishonesty of the current Green movement is that it is unwilling to specify the means which are required to reach its supposed goals. Its unwilling to specify what must be done locally to meet the supposed local goals. And its unwilling to specify what must be done globally to meet the supposed global goals – mainly, for China and India and Indonesia to reduce their emissions by 90%.

Look at activist demands on race and gender for similar patterns of thinking and behavior. When it gets general, its called a cultural crisis.

June 28, 2021 4:31 am

Whenever Fascists try to explain how an electrical wind/solar grid can “easily replace” the current natural gas/coal/hydro/nuclear grid, I’m reminded of that hilarious cartoon with the punch line, “I think you need to be more explicit in step 2”……

comment image

June 28, 2021 5:43 am

First of all, so glad I got the hell out of NY almost 20 years ago.
2nd, what many fail to understand is that those thinking about ‘decarbonizing’ NY (or most other states) actually have little comprehension of atmospheric science or geological history. Beyond that, they actually believe there will soon be warm, snowless winters so solar on a mass scale is not only workable but necessary. What they don’t understand is that except for a few extremely localized events (such as the NW is experiencing this week with record heat), most of the warming in recent decades has been at the poles (the north pole in particular) & not in habited areas.

Jeffery P
June 28, 2021 6:59 am

Go nuclear.

Hutches Hunches
June 30, 2021 8:05 pm

Interestingly, this whole issue will morph into a crisis, dominated by 1) the extreme effects of a periodic weather event (heat wave, cold snap, hurricane or blizzard). 2 finger pointing as who to blame which will likely fall first on the utilities, Extensive calls for government funding to take care of the all the victims of a failed policy followed by the morphing of the original cause into another red herring cause that the trust fund babies that start this shit need to feel their lives matter.

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