More Focus On The Impossible Costs Of A Fully Wind/Solar/Battery Energy System

Reposted from the MANHATTAN CONTRARIANFrancis Menton

It should be glaringly obvious that, if we are shortly going to try to convert to a “net zero” carbon emissions energy system based entirely on wind, sun and batteries, then there needs to be serious focus on the feasibility and costs of such a system. The particular part of such a prospective system that needs the most focus is the method of energy storage, its cost and, indeed, feasibility. That part needs focus because, as wind and solar increase their share of generation over 50% of the total, storage becomes far and away the dominant driver of the total costs. Moreover, there is no clear way to identify some fixed amount of storage that will be sufficient to make such a system reliable enough to power a modern economy without full backup from dispatchable sources. This also should be glaringly obvious to anyone who thinks about the problem for any amount of time.

And yet, as recently as a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like the entire Western world was racing forward to “net zero” based on wind and sun without anyone anywhere giving real thought to the problem of the amount of storage needed, let alone its cost, and let alone whether any fixed amount of storage could ever fully assure complete reliability. A retired, independent guy named Roger Andrews had done some calculations back in 2018 for test cases of California and Germany, which had showed that at least 30 days’ of storage would be needed to back up a fully wind/solar system. Andrews’s work showed that storage costs just to be sufficient to match actual wind/solar intermittency patterns for 2017 would likely cause a multiplication of the cost of electricity by something in the range of a factor of 14 to 22. But Andrews did not even get to the point of considering how much storage might be needed in worst case scenarios of lengthy winter wind or sun droughts.

And then Andrews died suddenly in early 2019, and nobody immediately took up where he left off.

But then a few weeks ago I discovered at Watts Up With That some new work from someone named Ken Gregory (again, a retired, independent guy — funny, isn’t it?), who produced a spreadsheet for the entire United States again showing that about 30 days’ storage would be needed to back up a fully wind/solar system. (Cost for the storage, assuming all energy use gets electrified: about $400 trillion.)

And now, some others are getting into the act. And none too soon. A guy named Roger Caiazza has a blog called Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York. Caiazza, as you might by now have guessed, is another independent retired guy. In the past few months, he has turned his attention principally to the energy transition supposedly getting underway here in New York State, as a result of something called the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (the Climate Act). The Climate Act created a gaggle of bureaucracies, and the end of 2021 saw those bureaucracies utter something they call the “Scoping Plan,” laying out how New York is going to go from its current energy system to the nirvana of electrification of everything together with “net zero” emissions by no later than 2050.

The Scoping Plan is a massive document (some 330 pages plus another 500+ pages of appendices) of breathtaking incompetence. The basic approach, summarized by me in this post of December 29, 2021, is that designated “expert” bureaucrats working for the State, themselves having no actual idea how to achieve “net zero” from an engineering perspective, will get around that problem by simply ordering the people to achieve the “net zero” goal by a date certain. Then, presumably some engineers will magically emerge to work out the details. The thousands of people who put this thing together apparently do not regard proof of cost or feasibility as any part of their job. As to the key problem of energy storage to achieve “net zero” goals, the Scoping Plan, in nearly 1000 pages of heft, never even gets to the point of recognizing that the MWH (as opposed to MW) is the key unit that must be considered to assess issues of cost and feasibility.

For the past many weeks, Caiazza has been putting out one post after another ripping the Climate Act and the “Scoping Plan” apart, piece by piece. But for today, I want to focus on one post from January 24 titled “Scoping Plan Reliability Feasibility – Renewable Variability.” This post considers the implications of dependence only on wind and solar power, particularly as to how much storage would be needed with such a system, and without remaining fossil fuel backup, to achieve necessary system reliability.

Rather than creating a spreadsheet for annual wind and solar generation, in the manner of Andrews or Gregory, Caiazza takes a different approach, which is simply to consider a worst-case scenario. (For this purpose Caiazza draws on a January 20 piece from a guy named David Wojick at PA Pundits International.). The beauty of considering the worst-case scenario is that the math becomes so simple you can do it in your head.

So here is the scenario considered by Caiazza. Your mission as the State is to deliver 1000 MW of power continuously with complete reliability, but with only the wind and sun to provide the generation. How much generation capacity do you need, and how much storage do you need? And how much will it cost? (New York’s average current usage is about 18,000 MW, and by the time everything is electrified that will be at least 60,000 MW, so we can multiply everything by 60 at the end to see what the cost implications are for the State of New York.)

First what is the hypothesized worst case? To make the math simple, Caiazza hypothesizes a solar/storage only system, and a five day winter period of overcast, followed by two sunny days to recharge before the next such worst-case 5-day sun drought.

The required battery capacity is simple. Five days at 24 hours a day is 120 hours. To supply a steady 1,000 MW that is a whopping 120,000 MWh of storage. We already have the overnight storage capacity for 16 hours so we now need an additional 104 hours, which means 104,000 MWh of additional storage.

But the 120,000 MWH of storage assumes that you charge the batteries up to 100% and discharge them down to 0%. Real world batteries are supposed to only range between about 20% and 80% charge for best performance.

The standard practice is to operate between 80% and 20%. In that case the available storage is just 60% of the nameplate capacity. This turns the dark days 120,000 MWh into a requirement for 200,000 MWh.

I might throw in that solar panels don’t produce at full capacity for anything close to 8 hours on even the sunniest winter day, but who’s quibbling?

Now suppose that in this worst-case scenario we only had two days to charge up since the last 5 day drought:

Two days gives us 16 hours of charging time for the needed 120,000 MWh, which requires a large 7,500 MW of generating capacity. We already have 3,000 MW of generating capacity but that is in use providing round the clock sunny day power. It is not available to help recharge the dark days batteries. Turns out we need a whopping 10,500 MW of solar generating capacity.

That’s right, it’s not just that you need 200,000 MWH of storage, but you also need more than ten times the “capacity” of solar panels as the mere 1000 MW that you are trying to deliver on a firm basis, just to deal with this worst case scenario to deliver 1000 MW firm through one bad month in the winter.

For cost of storage, Caiazza takes what he calls a standard EIA figure of $250/MWH for the batteries. At this price, 200,000 MWH would cost $50 billion. Then there is the cost of the solar panels. Here, Caiazza has a standard EIA figure of $1.3 million per MW. For the 10,500 MW capacity case, that would mean $13.7 billion. Add the $50 billion plus the $13.7 billion and you get $63.7 billion.

And that’s for the 1000 MW firm power case. Remember, fully-electrified New York State is going to need 60,000 MW firm. So multiply the $63.7 billion by 60, and you get $3.822 trillion. For comparison, the annual GDP of New York State is approximately $1.75 trillion.

Caiazza points out that the state’s Scoping Plan gives necessary storage costs for the new wind/solar/battery system in the range of $288.6 to $310.5 billion. These figures are about 10 times lower than we just calculated. But Caiazza attempts to find in the Scoping Plan the assumptions on which these numbers were calculated, and he can’t find it. Neither can I. Maybe some reader can take a crack.

The reader may find that Caiazza’s $3.8 trillion figure for New York State seems remarkably small relative to the number calculated by Gregory. Gregory got about $400 trillion for the U.S. as a whole. New York representing about 7% of the U.S. economy, that would mean that the cost of the storage piece for New York would be closer to $30 trillion than $4 trillion. The difference is that Caiazza is calculating the cost of just getting through one “worst case” week in the winter, while Gregory considers the cost of trying to get through a whole year where energy needs to be stored up from the summer to get through the whole winter.

One final point. Suppose that, based on even a few decades of meteorological data, you determine that this five day winter sun drought is the true worst case scenario, and you put together a system on that basis. OK, what now happens when one year you get a six day drought? By hypothesis your fossil fuel backup has been dismantled and is no longer available. Does all power then just go out on that sixth day? Remember, this is the dead of winter. People are going to freeze to death. So are you going to keep the fossil fuel backup around just for this one day that might occur only once every few decades? If so, how much of the fossil fuel backup capacity do you need to keep? Think about that for a second. The answer is, all of it. In the 60,000 MW firm power requirement scenario for New York State, you will need 60,000 MW of available fossil fuel capacity to cover that one day when the batteries run out. Dozens of major power plants, fully maintained, and with fuel at the ready, capable of being turned on for this one emergency day perhaps once every twenty years.

Or you can try to avoid that by building yet more solar panels and more batteries so that you can get through a six day sun drought. But what happens when you get a drought of seven days?

Read the full article here

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February 4, 2022 6:03 pm

For the record, David Wojick did most of the work. I just adapted his work to the New York situation. Thanks to David.

Scissor
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 4, 2022 6:58 pm

A slice of NY style pizza will be around $180 plus tax.

dave g
Reply to  Scissor
February 5, 2022 12:21 am

Another $125 to heat it up.

jChaney
Reply to  dave g
February 5, 2022 7:08 pm

And another $75 to actually bring it to you

Rich Davis
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 5, 2022 5:25 am

There’s a simple reason why it takes almost 1000 pages to not explain how one state in the USA can achieve net-zero. It’s not feasible, and they know it.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Rich Davis
February 5, 2022 7:37 am

To paraphase Winston Churchill: The length of this proposal defends it well against comprehension.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 5, 2022 3:52 pm

Rud, there is a very good reason why you have to keep going back over half a century to quote a leader of major stature and intelligence. Look what you have to choose from in today’s gaggle of politicians.

Rick C
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 5, 2022 10:31 am

Thanks Roger. I’ve done similar analysis just based on renewable electrification of my own home using solar or wind plus battery storage. The results are consistent with yours if scaled to state or national level.

One factor not considered in the whole “Net Zero by 2050” fantasy is that neither wind nor solar nor batteries last even 20 years. So every wind turbine solar panel and battery mass storage facility that is built by 2030 will need to be decommission, disposed of and replaced between 2030 and 2050 and then at least 5% of such facilities will need replacement annually in perpetuity.

The fact that the state of New York issued this scoping plan without any mention of Watt-Hour storage requirements/costs demonstrates that the planning is in the hands of incompetent imbeciles. I will say that having had some experience with the technocrats employed by NYSERDA I’m not surprised.

Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 5, 2022 12:37 pm

Thanks Roger, but your adaptation took at least as much work as my original development of the method, probably more since I did not have a huge nonsensical report to wade through. I mostly just stared out the window at nothing.

What you are doing is what really needs done, namely to confront these absurd “planning” documents. In particular, many utilities develop so-called Integrated Resource Plans to justify spending big bucks on wind and solar. The more they spend the more they make. These need to be challenged as wildly unreliable.

Zig Zag Wanderer
February 4, 2022 6:11 pm

This is what I’ve been looking for, and trying to figure out myself.

When will we get proper costed plans for all of these fantasy net-zero goals? Why do sceptics have to do it, for free, instead?

It’s a complete crock.

I must say, my head is reeling a bit from all the figures. What I would like to know is 2 things to be able to chuck at alarmist trolls:

How much generating capacity is required to fully replace each MW of existing reliable generating capacity.

How much storage is required compared to existing generation capacity.

This second isn’t the correct units, because we dont need it now, so don’t have it. It also obviously depends on how much you’ll need at each location, which would differ according to climate. A simple chart of typical requirements would help.

If we had that, we would use it for every single location, just by plugging in a couple of numbers.

Last edited 3 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 4, 2022 6:51 pm

The problem is that each location has a different set of renewable resources and I don’t think we have a really good way to figure out what the worst case availability of those resources is.

AndyHce
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 4, 2022 8:49 pm

A few years ago someone I know was boasting that Iowa was showing the skeptics that wind power generation really is The Way. Iowa was going big on installing wind and had no problems because of it. I took a look at official state production figures. I don’t know what has changed since then.

80% of Iowa generation capacity was coal
Wind was the major part of the other 20%
Wind was, at that time, producing a bit less than 10% of grid usage, meaning its capacity factor was less than 50% that of the coal plants.
One tidbit of information was a division of wind capacity factor over the 6 coldest months of the year vs the six warmest months.
cold was 48%
warm was 16%
So for the best case, without massive long term storage charge during the winter, to meet summer requirements, installed wind would have to be a bit more than 6 times its nameplate capacity (of however many MW Iowa needs every day). But actually more to meet peak needs and store enough for summer doldrums.

If someone develops an adequate storage system in a form that could store its input energy for six months or more, a large wind generation overbuild would still be needed so enough winter generation could be stored for summer use,

Is it common for wind to regularly vary that much over the course of the year?

Derg
Reply to  AndyHce
February 5, 2022 1:20 am

And Iowa now looks terrible. All I see is blight on its landscape.

Ron
Reply to  Derg
February 5, 2022 1:59 am

And how long do these things last? What’s the cost to start replacing or maintaining the current and increasing numbers of turbines?

Spetzer86
Reply to  Ron
February 5, 2022 5:17 am

I think the claim is 20-25 years, but historic builds go from 13-20 with decreasing output almost every year. Most aggressive build plans for wind turbines would just never stop.

roaddog
Reply to  Ron
February 5, 2022 2:31 pm

A substantial new wind farm was constructed along I-80 on the west side of Cheyenne about 18 months ago, completed about August of 2021. In December one of the nacelles caught fire and burned; and a week ago I drove by the installation and a crane was at work on another, with the entire blade complement disassembled. Whatever anyone tells you about maintenance requirements for wind turbines, the reality is that it is much higher.

George T
Reply to  Derg
February 5, 2022 4:48 am

No kidding! I have family in Urbandale. Left one morning early, it was dark on the way back home. Approached Stuart, IA and thought I was entering the Twilight Zone. The flashing red lights were rather eerie. So much for star gazing.

John Bell
Reply to  George T
February 5, 2022 6:19 am

OMG look at air view of south of Stuart, Iowa, there are many dots in the corn fields of wind mills going up, that is sickening.

Reply to  AndyHce
February 5, 2022 5:14 am

Wind does vary that much over the course of the year in the mid-latitudes. Keep in mind that the big problem is getting enough wind and solar energy during the worst case (really hot or really cold) peak load periods. The problem is that those periods are usually associated with high pressure systems will low wind resources. Tony from Oz has been looking at wind production in Australia for nearly two years (https://papundits.wordpress.com/2022/02/05/australian-daily-wind-power-generation-data-friday-4-february-2022/) and has shown that the wind lulls occur over the whole continent at times.

Bob Hunter
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 5, 2022 11:18 am

Australia, has already shown the effects during a hot spell when the wind didn’t blow several years ago. The brown outs caused a number of senior citizens deaths when they had brown outs. Texas ice storm, depends which analysis one believes what the cause of the failure was. IMO, the ERCOT report was CYA.

Martin
Reply to  AndyHce
February 5, 2022 5:49 am

Many miss the point of “net zero” because we have become so used to seeing the world from a purely demand based perspective. The only possible way to get to “net zero” is to change to a supply based energy system – ie we have to adapt our lives and economies to suit the energy available at any given moment. This is the dirty little secret that our politicians cannot admit.

RichDo
Reply to  Martin
February 5, 2022 7:10 am

And by “we” they really mean “you”.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 4, 2022 9:39 pm

Why don’t the government agencies provide data showing that battery storage is forever too expensive? Because our government is corrupt. It’s not complicated. My calculations show that battery storage for a few days of cloudy and calm weather costs 10x more than the turbines and panels providing the electricity. Lithium battery storage will never be less than $200 kwh. Even if the batteries were free the site prep, enclosures, fire suppression, overload protection, switching and more plus labor and commissioning costs that much. It’s not complicated. It’s unworkable. N2N, Natural Gas to Nuclear with NuScale small modulars leading the way.

kzb
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
February 5, 2022 5:09 am

Why do you assume energy storage will be by battery?
Even if we do assume this, future grid batteries will likely be LPF (lithium iron phosphate) chemistry. These don’t catch fire, don’t use cobalt and nickel, and have much longer cycle life. In fact if the depth of discharge (DoD) figure is kept low enough, they will last almost forever, many tens of thousands of cycles.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  kzb
February 5, 2022 6:35 am

Will they be ready in time for commercial fusion?

MarkW
Reply to  kzb
February 5, 2022 9:35 am

And how much do they cost, just declaring that there is some miracle battery just over the horizon that will solve all our problems has been going on for 30 years.

PCman999
Reply to  kzb
February 6, 2022 12:02 am

Are they free?

Bob Hunter
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 5, 2022 10:11 am

One point not included, the shorter useful life of solar & windmill equip.
As well, this CDN Prairie boy whose Quebecois Prime Minister while shutting down CDN fossil fuels (ie 90% of Canada’s fossil fuels are on the Prairies) is under the mistaken impression Quebec Hydro will be supplying New York’s electricity in the future.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 5, 2022 12:31 pm

Not sure I understand your two questions, ZZ. But my simple case says to replace 1 MW of reliable capacity takes at least 10.5 MW of solar plus at least 200 MWh of storage. Note this is based on just 5 dark cloudy days. I am told the New England ISO has reported 12 cloudy days happening. That would bump the numbers up. In my original essay I mention other reasons to make it bigger. For example a 20% reserve. With wind 7 days is a better benchmark.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  David Wojick
February 6, 2022 1:12 am

Thanks. I’ll start with that.

W Browning
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
February 11, 2022 1:06 pm

NUCLEAR is the only answer at this point in time. It’s clean, safe, and getting even more so every year.

Tom Halla
February 4, 2022 6:25 pm

Most of the Greens must be technological illiterates, who somehow think Moore’s law applies to batteries and wind, and that requiring wind and solar will somehow make them viable.

Peter Farley
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 4, 2022 8:43 pm

It more or less does actually a modern wind turbine in 2000 supplied about 400-800 MWh per year. A modern onshore wind turbine supplies 17-25,000 MWh per year and the latest offshore machines, 70,000 MWh.
Similarly battery cost has been falling a compound 16% per year for the last decade and with sodium zinc and aluminium set to replace lithium in many applications cost will continue to fall.
If nuclear is so good why has China its great proponent only installed 4.5GW over the last two years and 222 GW of wind and solar

Mr.
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 10:53 pm

For how many years now has the “Great Leap Forward” with wind and batteries been just about to start?

tygrus
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 12:14 am

The grids doesn’t work with annual averages. The grids work with what’s available to meet every up & down of demand every minute, hour, day, week, month & year. Failing that you waste the excess and blackouts when demand cannot be met. It has to work on all time scales not just short time.
The grid has to be sized for the maximum possible during worst conditions. The wires from wind farms without colocated storage need grid connections to support 100% turbine capacity while they may only average 30% utilisation. The wind farms are sized based on their average then we add some extra for storage & losses.
When can we expect storage to be cheap enough to have 0% fossil fuel & not increase renewable power cost above fossil fuels (if they didn’t have to cope with intermittents)?

Joao Martins
Reply to  tygrus
February 5, 2022 3:12 am

The grids doesn’t work with annual averages.

Excellent argument!

Steve Reddish
Reply to  Joao Martins
February 6, 2022 7:18 am

Designing an electrical grid that provides power during normal weather only is like designing a semi-trailer cargo delivery system that runs only downhill.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 1:02 am

Peter,

last summer the U.K. had approximately two continuous months of very low wind generation. Assuming the impossible and the U.K. was powerd entirely by asynchronous (i.e. uncontrollable) wind generation just thirty days at an average of 30,000 Mwatts requires 900,000 Mwatt hours of storage. This is equivelant to 6000 of Mr Musk’s ‘giant’ (Media description) battery installed in Australia. Where is the manufacturing capacity required together with the raw materials to make such battery capacity. And that is for a relatively small U.K. grid.
Then that battery will need to be recharged by wind generation that has to meet normal demand and make up the battery charge.
It is a recipe for disaster.

Derg
Reply to  Iain Reid
February 5, 2022 1:22 am

They will need fossil fuels to keep the batteries charged.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Iain Reid
February 5, 2022 4:05 pm

Even the type of battery is stupid. Lithium’s light weight is it’s strength for mobile use. A much, much cheaper, but considerably heavier battery is perfectly fine for storage as a stationary unit. Vanadium ion, possibly manganese, pumped storage (where practicable – spent underground mines, suitable topography…) works fine.

Derg
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 1:21 am

The reason is Coal is cheaper

George T
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 4:55 am

Peter,
What I have been reading lately is China has been building coal fired power plants just as India has been doing. Coal is a no brainer for the Chinese. It’s what they know. Nuclear perhaps not so much. Nevertheless, we don’t want to be too hasty. The Chinese just might surprise us all with a “Go Nuclear” approach.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  George T
February 5, 2022 8:30 am

Yes, China has 1037 active coal power plants with a coal fired capacity of around 1050GW (about half of the global capacity) and has a further 250GW under development.

Most of that capacity has only been operating for a relatively short time and has decades of life still to come.

Mohatdebos
Reply to  George T
February 5, 2022 2:20 pm

I read an article in Heartland’s weekly that claimed China connected a pebble bed reactor to its grid. If correct it would mean China is ahead in nuclear also.

PCman999
Reply to  Mohatdebos
February 6, 2022 12:26 am

It’s a nice design, high temperature and modular, about 50% efficient (30% is usual for nukes) 2x250MWthermal reactors powering a 200+MW turbine. They plan on building a few sets together

PCman999
Reply to  George T
February 6, 2022 12:21 am

I think the Chinese are first going to develop and refine the nuclear tech before a huge build out. They have a fairly modern typical design with their own IP that they are building at home and abroad, but they are also working on demonstrations of thorium molten salt and high temperature gas cooled reactors and fast breeders too. Nuclear power is at the model T stage if that. Basically all reactors today, even new ones are obsolete. A proper evolved design would be twice as efficient because it would work at twice to three times the temperature of current reactors, and would breed its own fuel without need of enrichment centrifuges, and the fuel cycle would produce a fraction of the waste by transmutation.
Such reactors would be more economical than fusion reactors.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 6:41 am

Moore’s Law (not really a law) applies to cost as well as output. Are you saying that the latest offshore machines cost about 11.4% of a wind turbine in 2000?

paul courtney
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 6:57 am

Mr. Farley: Thank you for proving Mr. Halla’s point by providing the green delusion in real time.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 7:51 am

You could build a windmill that is capable of providing a million MWh, but when the wind doesn’t blow (or blows too much) it will be generating no power at all, and that is the problem the wind maniacs ignore: wind is unreliable and a modern economy cannot successfully function with such unreliability.

meiggs
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
February 6, 2022 7:00 am

It seems to be getting by fine with all the non-producers “working” from home…won’t be too long before they are only “working” when the wind is blowing…welcome to the modern economy…how long will it work we wonder?

MarkW
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 9:39 am

Why does these claims remind me of how the same people were always proclaiming the superiority of Soviet factories and industry?

PCman999
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 6, 2022 12:09 am

Based on how much useful power you get out of both sources, and that the nuclear plants will probably be in service 60-100 yrs, I would say the Chinese are building out wind and solar evenly with nuclear.

ih_fan
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 7, 2022 11:54 am

If nuclear is so good why has China its great proponent only installed 4.5GW over the last two years and 222 GW of wind and solar

If wind and solar is so good, then why is China building coal-fired plants as fast as they can?

Steve Case
February 4, 2022 6:27 pm

There’s the Dilbert cartoon of the flow chart with
one of the boxes labeled “Then a miracle happens”

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  Steve Case
February 4, 2022 9:05 pm

Not Dilbert. Sometimes attributed to Gary Larson, but actually from the New Yorker.

Jan de Jong
Reply to  Steve Case
February 5, 2022 2:27 am
Janice Moore
Reply to  Steve Case
February 5, 2022 11:24 am

comment image

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 5, 2022 11:31 am

And one more Sydney Harris creation (just for fun 🙂)

comment image

PCman999
Reply to  Janice Moore
February 6, 2022 12:32 am

Yes, exactly! The mistake was right at the beginning of the global warming/climate emergency mess when scientists abandoned their principals to push an ideology. The same can be said for engineers going along with the whole green mess and sustainability b.s. when they can calculate on the back of an envelope what a bunch of horse-poop the whole thing is, but hey, the pays good…

Janice Moore
Reply to  PCman999
February 6, 2022 12:33 pm

Very nice metaphorical use of that image, PCman999. Gotta admit that I didn’t see that — just thought it was funny.

February 4, 2022 6:28 pm

Francis an David, Your work has been very timely and of course brilliant. You two are great allies for the energy sane of the world..

Dennis
February 4, 2022 6:29 pm

Several years ago I read a comment about an Australian farmer who lived far from the electricity grid and paid over A$50,000 for a solar, wind and diesel generator system with battery storage, forklift truck batteries used.

The author pointed out how much cheaper it would have been to connect to an electricity grid if the property was not too far away from one, and even with the rising price of electricity it would be more cost effective.

Steve Case
Reply to  Dennis
February 4, 2022 6:42 pm

And many years ago I toured a house in Door County WI that was off the grid. The first thing the owner said was that although he was making it work, it was very expensive electricity. He had solar panels, a converter, golf cart batteries, and a rather expensive standby motor generator.

Everything in the house that could operate on gas was. The fact that various local government are beginning to ban natural gas makes the net zero BS even more insane.

Peter Farley
Reply to  Dennis
February 4, 2022 8:47 pm

I suppose that is why the electricity companies in Western Australia are disconnecting over 1,000 customers from the grid and supplying stand alone power systems with solar, batteries and a small diesel. The farmer pays the same price for power, but gets far better power quality and the power company saves on powerline installation maintenance and storm and fire damage. Both are better off. It is so successful that there next target is small villages

Old planning engineer
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 9:29 pm

A study was done a few years ago by the distribution planning department at SA Power Networks (South Australia) and it turned out to be completely uneconomic. Different folks, different strokes.

SWER lines (Single Wire Earth Return) are one of those things that engineers either love or hate. A lot of the cost of maintaining the SWER network comes down to how you treat the bush fire risk. Again a political decision.

StephenP
Reply to  Old planning engineer
February 4, 2022 11:52 pm

What is the bush fire risk on solar panels in OZ?
There must be quite a bit of vegetation growing around the panels which in a dry time could catch fire by lightning strike or other means.
This begs the question as to what effect does lightning have if it hits an array of solar panels.
Does it knock out just the panel it hits, or does it affect a wider area through the wires connected to the inverter and other panels nearby?

LdB
Reply to  StephenP
February 5, 2022 3:15 am

The risk would actually be higher on the powerlines bringing in the grid but on the flip side the powerlines would be more reliable.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  StephenP
February 5, 2022 3:22 am

Lightning caused substantial damage to an 18 acre solar “farm” here in Massachusetts- behind my neighborhood. I saw a crew replacing several dozen panels. I was told when it was built a decade ago that the panels are in arrays. If one panel is damage the entire array goes down. Perhaps the lightning surge passes through the entire array? No surge protectors on the panels?

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 12:04 pm

Quite a few ways lightning can damage PV systems. Modules have bypass diodes that are intended to prevent or minimize damage that can happen when a module is partly shaded. If the lightning destroyed any of these and they failed to a short, the module is ruined. Lightning could also just destroy an entire module by burning, melting components, etc.; because modules are connected in strings to raise the output voltage, removing one module in the string would remove the entire string from the system.

LdB
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:13 am

Yeah right

https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2022/02/04/western-power-switches-on-australias-largest-microgrid/

Key points
-3 years late
-$15M for 1500 customers AKA $10K per customer of taxpayer money

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:19 am

“The farmer pays the same price for power, but gets far better power quality”

The same price? Who pays for the maintenance? Does it really cost the same or is it heavily subsidized by everyone else? How is the power better?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 7:13 am

Joseph, a good marketing team can make anything look good to the Farleys of the world.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 5, 2022 7:28 am

I’d rather just be on the grid- so I don’t have to ponder solar panels, batteries and a generator- this is going backwards. Modernity used to mean less to worry about- yuh, I just want a line coming in my house so I don’t have to think about that stuff.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 6, 2022 12:09 pm

We live out in the boonies in Nevada, USA. We are on the “grid”, which means we lose power a minimum of 3 times a year for 12 to 18 hours and constant power surges. When you’re this far out, you have miles and miles of single fault failures due to idiots crashing into power poles, lightning strikes that take out transformers, and California practicing their weird form of forestry – burning everything in sight. We’re low on the priority list for repairs because we represent such a small number of customers. Unfortunately, we have now amended the state constitution to go 50% renewables, which means the grid will become even more compromised. Being on the grid here means you have to think about that stuff or you lose AC/lights during the summer, which can be very hot, and heating/lights in our very frigid winters. (Furnaces don’t operate without a fan to distribute the heat they generate.) In all cases of power loss, the garage doors no longer function, so you can’t run into town and rent a room. Water pressure is gone within a few hours (pressurization tanks are electrically driven) so no showers.

To mitigate that, we have propane-powered whole-house generator, and everything of value in the house is on their own over-sized UPS. No guarantees, but a lot less likely to be without the comforts of home.

I had to pay for my mitigation. The WA farmers didn’t. And both of us still have a monthly payment to the electric company. Here in NV, you also pay to have power strung to your property. We paid US$45K eight years ago to get it to the edge of our property – more to get it another 0.75 miles to our house.

The farmers in WA are getting a great deal from the sounds of it.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  ex-KaliforniaKook
February 6, 2022 1:38 pm

Mike Edwards below added clarification. I no longer feel jealous – if the farmers aren’t getting as good of a deal as Mr. Farley indicated.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 6, 2022 12:19 pm

The farmer pays the same price for power…” means the power company is on the hook for supplying power. No product/service – payment stops in most jurisdictions of the planet.

To be clear: the power company is on the hook for maintenance.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 7:56 am

“diesel”
The tacit admission that solar is rubbish and has to be backed up by something that actually works: fossil fuelled power.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 8:00 am

What happens in 20 years time when the solar panels and batteries are knackered? Who pays for the (very expensive) replacements?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
February 5, 2022 8:13 pm

That’s pretty obvious: everybody else.

MarkW
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 9:56 am

Got any links to this imaginary data?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  MarkW
February 5, 2022 4:52 pm

Gullibility is really the impossible enemy to defeat when trying to convince someone that they have bought into a narrative. They actually think you never came across the explanation they provide. They are ‘educating’ you. Look at the links provided by the links of such folk as griff.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  MarkW
February 6, 2022 12:30 pm

Mark – I usually agree with everything you write. At last, you made me non-redundant. You assume the data is imaginary. It may not be. Living out in the boonies (see post above) I am a little jealous of the deal WA farmers are said to be getting.

4 Eyes
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:10 pm

You owe a response to LdB’s comment about it being a $10,000 cost to the taxpayer. There’s a limit to other small scale setups if they cost the taxpayer $10,000 a pop.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:24 pm

Mr Farley, you are misrepresenting the WA installations like the one in Kalbarri.

The Kalbarri project is most certainly not disconnecting customers from the grid.

What it is really doing is helping to provide more reliable power in a situation where a long overland connection to the grid is unreliable and of limited capacity. There are 1,500 customers in this town. The system is claimed to have 1MW of solar and 1.5MW of wind and 2.0MWh of battery storage. I make that 1.667KW generating capacity per customer and 1.333KWh of storage. Sounds on the meager side to me – they had better not try switching on their kettles at the same time. The storage capacity is especially limited.

But as an article talking about the system says: “The smart system is connected to the grid and will be able to reverse power flows overnight when stored energy is insufficient to meet demand and disconnect from the larger network should a fault occur.”

So, in reality they still rely on the grid. They expect the batteries to run out. And all this for a mere $15M – $10K per customer. (PS – not clear what costs this money actually covered)

A real off-grid solution would have to be quite a lot bigger than this to provide reliable power. The system on the Scottish island of Eigg is truly off-grid, but there, the “reliable backup” is provided by diesel generators rather than batteries. Even then, there is a strict limit to the power each customer can use (5KW), which basically means that even cooking must be done without electricity – forget heating. Natural gas, anyone?

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  Mike Edwards
February 6, 2022 1:35 pm

Thank you, Mike. Your clarification makes a lot of sense to me. I thought it was an awfully sweet offer (at someone’s expense, of course). I no longer feel envious.

TonyG
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 6, 2022 10:41 am

“The farmer pays the same price for power, but gets far better power quality and the power company saves on powerline installation maintenance and storm and fire damage.”

I wonder how many people making claims like this actually live with the power sources they’re talking about?

Thomas Fowler
February 4, 2022 6:48 pm

In addition to what is said here, the author doesn’t mention that solar panels, windmills, and batteries have a limited life, on the order of 20-30 years (offshore is lower). So just about the time that we get to net zero in 2050, it will be necessary to replace all the hardware, so maybe doubling the figures here is in order. Nor does he mention the issue of availability of the raw materials needed for all the equipment, including the batteries. I’m a STEM professor, and I try to make my students think through problems such as this, rather than regurgitate the poorly thought-out drivel from the news media and others who should know better.

Dennis
Reply to  Thomas Fowler
February 4, 2022 7:13 pm

That operating life cost factor is rarely mentioned, for example that one coal fired power station is usually written off for accounting purposes over 50-years however with repairs and maintenance could continue to 80-years and beyond.

And the cost of replacing solar and wind equipment includes dismantling, disposal and replacing or repairing the foundations.

AndyHce
Reply to  Thomas Fowler
February 4, 2022 8:53 pm

The art of the con involves being able to know the proper moment to take the money already stolen and disappear, before the con becomes painfully obvious.

Mr.
February 4, 2022 6:49 pm

Back in the ’80s our uninterruptible battery power supply for our computers used to flash a message along the lines of –
MAINS POWER DISCONNECTED – SHUT DOWN NOW!

So we got a few minutes to exit all open programs and do an orderly shutdown before the batteries drained and shut themselves down.

Which, as I understand grid batteries now, is pretty much all that still happens, except that the UPS is now just holding up the current grid power until a shutdown / changeover can be effected.

We’re still talking minutes of uninterrupted mains power, not hours or days?

Joel
Reply to  Mr.
February 4, 2022 7:33 pm

The big battery farms currently being installed publish their MW output for a four hour period. I believe that is going form 100% to 0% charge. In the real world you get 1/2 of that.

Chris Hanley
February 4, 2022 6:51 pm

All the costs for solar PV and wind plus batteries are recurrent every 15 – 25 years.
The EROEI ratio for wind is around +5 while for solar PV at the latitude of NY State the number is negative i.e a net energy sink.

Last edited 3 months ago by Chris Hanley
Peter Farley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 4, 2022 9:08 pm

The EROI for wind in New York State is between 50 and 100 because a new wind turbine usually recovers the embedded energy in 3-6 months and with about the same maintenance budget per MW of a coal plant will last about 25-35 years.
Imperial College London calculated that the EROI for solar in the UK was about 12 in 2016 and it has improved since then as solar panel efficiency has improved. As the annual solar irradiance in New York state is around 1,400kWh/sq m vs 800kWh/ sqm in England, please explain how the EROI for solar in New York could be negative.
All the costs are not recurrent, because most of the cost of permitting, design, civil works and grid connection which in many cases can total half the cost can be re-used in a repowering. At current rates of cost decline that means at best the refurbishment costs will be 25% of the new build. If you do a Discounted Cashflow allowing for the cost of money refurbishing after 20 years means that the total cost over 40 years is about 5-7% higher than if the original assets had lasted 40 years

Climate believer
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 11:28 pm

“The EROI for wind in New York State is between 50 and 100 because a new wind turbine usually recovers the embedded energy in 3-6 months”

Can you offer any proof of what you say there?

Derg
Reply to  Climate believer
February 5, 2022 1:26 am

Just believe 😉

MarkW
Reply to  Climate believer
February 5, 2022 10:00 am

I’m suspecting that he is talking about the generator alone.

MarkW
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 10:00 am

Your claims regarding EROI run counter to every calculation I have ever seen.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 8:25 pm

Here are two references to Ferroni et al. (2016):
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516301379 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421517302914
There is a physics boundary to the efficiency of solar PV (34% of photons into electrons) and currently when new they are about 3/4 of the way to that boundary.
If solar PV is not a net energy sink in NY State it is very close to it and in the long-term can never support a developed economy.

Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 5, 2022 9:32 pm

PFarley
[IIRC] From Vaclav Smil’s 2017 book “Energy & Civilization” concerning
the EROI for wind: ~ “as high as 20 but usually less than 10”.
btw for solar:~ “less than 2” and biofuels: <1.5.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Chris Hanley
February 7, 2022 7:42 am

It’s quantum physics and the probability of an photon energizing an electron to a level that can cross the p-n junction energy barrier in the photovoltaic cell. It’s the same way a transistor works.

Chris Morris
February 4, 2022 7:12 pm

I think your battery costs in an intermediate calculation are out. I always thought it was $250/kWh

Ian
Reply to  Chris Morris
February 4, 2022 10:02 pm

Correct. I have 48kWHr of lead acid batteries and replacement, excluding labour would be about $20,000 ($Au). In my sums, that would be approx $420/kWHr. So allowing for bulk purchasing and a great deal of discount, $250/KWhr, ($US), sounds about right.

However…. the total stated is correct, (the text is incorrect). The sum required is still about $50B for the 200,000MWHr storage, (to provide 1000MHWr supply).

Reply to  Chris Morris
February 5, 2022 11:01 am

You are right there is a typo there

kazinski
February 4, 2022 7:21 pm

Excuse me, but there is one problem with those costing estimates: there is no existing technologically feasible solution to storing that much power.

Now you might be able to manage it, by making hydrogen, storing it somehow, and then you have a carbon free dispatchable power. But your conversion efficiency going from electricity to hydrogen and back is likely only going to be 50%.

But you will never be able to store 1% of the power you need with batteries, and you’ll be replacing them every 10-20 years anyway.

philincalifornia
Reply to  kazinski
February 4, 2022 7:56 pm

Correct, and the hydrogen systems you mention are currently in operation, primarily in Japan where they use ammonia and a catalytic system that cycles between toluene and methylcyclohexane. Ammonia is more efficient, but yuk, need I say more? The efficiencies are a bit higher than 50%, but better overall than compressing to liquid hydrogen for transport and piping.

I wrote a few comments on this on the New Mexico hydrogen thread but, if you want me to collate those references, I will over the weekend. I’m an industrial organic chemist working in a peripheral field and I have to know this stuff.

Reply to  philincalifornia
February 5, 2022 11:04 am

The Scoping Plan placeholder for zero-carbon dispatchable resources is green hydrogen. Any references would be useful for comments on the futility of that magical solution.

philincalifornia
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 5, 2022 5:51 pm

I’m sorry, I’m not qualified to answer fully that big picture question right now. For the zero carbon angle, ammonia has no carbon so that’s net zero and for sustainable carbon atoms for the MCH/toluene system, see my answer to michael hart below. The point is that this method, in my opinion, has to be a better method of energy storage than batteries, and the Japanese have it working now. The economics seem to work by recycling the MCH back to toluene and shipping back to the catalytic hydrogenation source. Strange, because toluene is up to 7% in gasoline to get the octane rating up but, hey ho, they know the economics of their business. Check this out:

https://www.chiyodacorp.com/en/service/spera-hydrogen/innovations/

and this:

https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/review20/h2058_ahluwalia_2020_p.pdf

MCH is a cycloalkane too, in fact the #1 such compound in surrogate jet fuel studies, so check this review out from the US Navy:

https://chemistry-europe.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/cssc.202002326

I think this one has legs.

Last edited 3 months ago by philincalifornia
Reply to  philincalifornia
February 6, 2022 5:41 am

Thanks

michael hart
Reply to  philincalifornia
February 5, 2022 1:31 pm

 “Ammonia is more efficient, but yuk, need I say more?…  I’m an industrial organic chemist” 

From one Organic Chemist to another, how can you not love the smell of pure ammonia?

Equally seriously, could hydrogen not be stored at bulk locations and energy be transferred via the grid? I’m playing devil’s advocate a bit here because I want to remain open to all possible solutions, while believing nuclear power is the only long-term answer.

philincalifornia
Reply to  michael hart
February 5, 2022 5:32 pm

Well, I’m not all-knowing on this topic, although I aim to be soon, but my understanding is that it’s the transport and storage that’s the issue.

Look at this paper …. from 1986, if you can believe that prescience:

https://www.technology.matthey.com/article/30/4/174-182/

Has to be way better than giving money to the phony-communists in China to rape and pillage the earth for Lithium. Just my opinion.

Another interesting fact – toluene and MCH can be made by enzymes/cells from sugars and cellulosic sources. You heard it here first.

markl
February 4, 2022 7:25 pm

All engineering 101 ignored by the alarmists. You don’t need a degree in science to engage in the AGW narrative but basic math and common sense will tell you the “cure” is the stuff of fairy tales.

Peter Farley
Reply to  markl
February 4, 2022 9:35 pm

Only if you can’t do maths. a solar farm in the middle of the US can generate about 160,000 MWh/square km and the land can still be used for grazing and horticulture. A modern wind turbine including permanent access uses about 300 square meters and generates about 17,000 MWh per year.
So for the US to replace its 2,500,000,000 MWh/y from fossil fuels with 50/50 wind and solar would require 1,250,000,000/ 160,000 =8,000 square km of solar shared with vegetables and sheep and 1,250,000,000/17,000 x300/1,000,000 = 22 square km for wind towers. To put that into perspective. There are coal mines in the US that are almost 50 square km and the US Golf courses occupy 8,000 square km, Weyerhouser alone owns 50,000 square km and sheep farmers use around 70,000 square km.
That is actually Engineering 101 for you, but reality is better than that, about half the solar will be on roofs, carpark canopies, highway medians etc and where it is used with agrivoltaics the shade and windbreaks actually improve farm output

Ian
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 10:06 pm

Peter,
After you have removed the sun from the land, what is going to grow underneath the panels to feed the grazing animals or harvest in the form of grain or vegetable matter for a more direct consumption?

How’s that for eng101, no sun, no plant life. Did you skip the class? I’m starting to think that you might have sent a cheque, (check), for your degree. Can you get your money back?

Mr.
Reply to  Ian
February 4, 2022 11:03 pm

I’m wondering how often those solar panels on highway median strips will have to have exhaust grime cleaned off.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Mr.
February 5, 2022 3:45 am

here’s the latest and greatest solar idea in Massachusetts- installing panels on the sound barrier walls built along Rt. 128 in the Boston area- of course the road mostly is north/south trending- and you wouldn’t put them on the north facing wall, I hope- I would imagine they’ll get pretty grimy as the traffic on that road is extremely heavy- mostly bumper to bumper all day

rte-128-noise-barrier-solar-panel-1643119455.jpg
Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 12:07 pm

This is called “Building-Integrated PV” (BIPV), the idea has been around for decades. Among other drawbacks, the odd orientations WRT to the sun reduce the power generation, increasing costs. On the building in this picture, the power goes to zero when the sun is west of the wall.

Last edited 3 months ago by Carlo, Monte
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Ian
February 5, 2022 3:40 am

There may be some sun between the rows of panels but if you’re a farmer, going up and down those rows trying to grow something isn’t going to be a desirable option. I saw a photo in Germany of a guy with sheep in a solar farm but the economics of agriculture is different in Europe- way higher population density and far less land- so all land is used more intensely. But even there I doubt much solar farm land is used for such purposes.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 5:10 pm

Probably you could dispense with solar, raise sheep on the land and burn them for renewable electricity.

Old planning engineer
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 10:08 pm

Some calculations to back up your claims would be useful. Its easy to make extravagant claims but if you wish to be taken seriously you need to show some working.

For instance – minimum capacity factors, diversity factor between solar and wind, storage capacity (MW’s and MWh’s). Without these its just hot air (pun intended)

Climate believer
Reply to  Old planning engineer
February 4, 2022 11:36 pm

Exactly, Mr Farley is drunk on wishful thinking.

MarkW
Reply to  Old planning engineer
February 5, 2022 10:07 am

It looks like he is day one, max power when the sun is directly overhead, and assuming the panels will produce this level of power 24/7/365 for years.

meab
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 11:01 pm

Laughable lie. Farm output will not be improved for most crops as most crops require full sun. There’s only a few that can grow in the shade – in part because crops are triggered to grow by the hours of sunlight, shade them for a substantial part of the day and most crops won’t germinate and grow and in part because plants need sunshine for photosynthesis.

Let me tell you my ACTUAL experience with solar. I lived in a town in the Southwest US where we got over 250 sunny days per year. The town decided to host an experiment with a solar farm on the decommissioned landfill. They built a 1 MW solar farm with a battery backup made from Sodium-Sulfur and lead acid batteries. They immediately found that it didn’t reduce energy costs as much as projected as the price of electricity is a function of the peak demand and the peak demand comes in the early evening when solar production is low (or zero in the winter). In addition, the batteries weren’t getting charged enough on monsoon (cloudy and rainy) afternoons to be able to rely on them. So what did they do? They added “smart wiring” to buildings and homes where people volunteered to have their A/C shut off when monsoon clouds built up in the afternoon. Unfortunately, my employer at the time volunteered the building I worked in. In the monsoon season (mid-summer), several times per week the A/C would go out for several hours and the building would get to the mid to high 80s. I couldn’t work in that kind of heat. Many people left early but I couldn’t do my job from home so I had to SUFFER. Because of that, I quit my job and took a completely different job (same employer) but in a different building where I had control of a wall-mounted A/C unit in my office that they couldn’t shut off.

Derg
Reply to  meab
February 5, 2022 1:31 am

AC is one of man’s greatest inventions. These looney ideas of wind and solar will bring us backwards.

Raven
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 12:20 am

Absurd argument.

According to the experts over at The Guardian *chortle*, North Antelope Rochelle is perhaps the world’s largest mine occupying about 100 square miles and produced 107.7 million tonnes (Mt) of thermal coal in the year ending in December 2012.

On an average day, 21 x 150 car freight trains full of coal leave North Antelope Rochelle bound for 80 power plants across the country.

How much energy would 100 square miles of windmills produce?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/10/-sp-the-real-story-of-us-coal-inside-the-worlds-biggest-coal-mine

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:35 am

“a solar farm in the middle of the US can generate about 160,000 MWh/square km and the land can still be used for grazing and horticulture”

I see many solar “farms” here in Massachusetts and not a single one is also doing grazing and/or horticulture. The 18 acre solar “farm” near my home was a gravel pit- when they built the solar- they didn’t bother to restore the soil so it’s bare sand- a few weeds grow there and that’s all. Most others seem to have some grass but no grazing/horticulture- despite this being a very densily populated state which imports most food from a great distance. You’d think that some farmer would use that land- but they don’t and I suspect it’s because the economics doesn’t work. Or maybe you have a better explanation.

MiloCrabtree
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 5:11 am

You make it sound plausible, but you’re just talking sh1te.

Don’t feed this troll, lads.

Last edited 3 months ago by MiloCrabtree
Tim Gorman
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 6:23 am

How do you get under the solar panels to prepare the soil, plant the crops, cultivate the crops to keep weeds out, and then harvest the crop? Hire undocumented immigrant workers in the US to do all the manual labor that will be required?

Those solar panels get *hot* when in direct sunlight. You’ll have to grow high temp resistance crops – and that doesn’t leave a big choice as to what to grow. Even most grasses go dormant in high temps.

How do you water any plants under the solar panels? Those panels usually don’t have drip holes spaced evenly enough to provide much water to whatever is underneath the panels.

How much area will actually be available under the panels? If you raise them up enough to allow implements to get under them then you need to build up the support structure to very high levels (think of the wind pushing on a long lever arm, the longer the lever the higher the force applied to the support). After beefing up the support structure how much land will be left over for crops?

Just some thoughts. Never meant to cover the entire gamut of problems.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 6:57 am

How do you get a combine under the solar panels? Are we going back to the 1400s for agricultural technology? We already dragged windmills from the 1400s.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 8:10 am

And at nighttime when the wind isn’t blowing?
Um……

MarkW
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 10:04 am

It can allegedly produce that much power during the middle of the day and only for the first year or two. Get away from the middle of the day, and power output goes down fast. Arrays start degrading as soon as they are hit by sunlight, with output going down 3 to 5% per year Beyond that clouds cut down power whenever they pass over head and snow can cut output to zero until it is cleared off.

I don’t know where the lie that the land under solar panels can be used for farming got started, but only someone who has never dealt with plants would believe it.
Growing crops in the shade? Are you completely delusional?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
February 5, 2022 6:11 pm

I teach at a rural high school. In today’s environment about half hunt and fish” the others think the food is frown in the back of the grocery. The ones that hunt/fish and deal with livestock aren’t squeamish at when dissecting and actually like it. The other half, well some barf, some will watch only, and the remainder won’t participate.

Farming? They are just old folks on big equipment that cause traffic problems!

4 Eyes
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:19 pm

Do the maths for covering the worst case which is the real enginerring 101

meiggs
Reply to  4 Eyes
February 6, 2022 7:54 am

I googled, lets say 13,000,000 million acres for solar plus another 2 million acres for wind..can anyone say “land grab?” I can assure you all other forms of power generation come nowhere near that amount.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 6, 2022 4:45 am

Mr Farley is wearing some heavily tinted green spectacles.

Figures for a solar farm in the middle of the USA are more like 110,000MWh/square km. It only gets higher than that in desert areas.

and the land can still be used for grazing and horticulture”

Horticulture? You have to be joking. You have clearly never seen a modern horticulture farm.

Rough grazing for some of the land – maybe, although since the panels make the land very hard to cultivate effectively, it is not going to be good grazing.

I’ve seen good agricultural land covered by solar farms, due to subsidies, and where there were once impressive crops of wheat and barley, there is now nothing – they don’t even graze sheep on the miserable grass cover between the panels.

As for the calculations relating to wind turbines, the less said, the better.

TonyG
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 6, 2022 10:49 am

where it is used with agrivoltaics the shade and windbreaks actually improve farm output

Have you ever actually grown anything? Let alone at farm scale? A statement like that is on par with “why grow food in the ground when you can just buy it at the store”

Tim Gorman
Reply to  TonyG
February 7, 2022 8:31 am

Windbreaks may actually improve farm output be preventing loss of topsoil (erosion). Shade? ROFL!!! Shade reduces growing degree day values. Most crops that I know of get hurt from reduced GDD values.

commieBob
February 4, 2022 7:28 pm

Right now, pumped hydro is the only practical grid scale storage.

Let’s be clear that I am not making any claim that large scale storage at the level we need is impossible. But it’s far more daunting than almost anyone realizes. It’s not a matter of “just” building up when the time comes. We could easily find ourselves ill-prepared and suffering insufficient energy supplies, intermittency, and a long, slow economic slide because we collectively did not anticipate the scale of the challenges ahead.

link

Prof. Tom Murphy, who did the calculations, points out that using the Great Lakes as a reservoir would be insufficient. And, as far as I can tell, he’s in no way hostile to renewable energy per se. His sense of reality is due to the fact that he has a record of successfully building his own equipment. (That used to be common for PhDs but apparently not so much lately.)

I can’t find the link but I seem to remember a calculation that to supply Great Britain, it would be necessary to use Scotland as a reservoir and it would take more concrete than the world can make in a reasonable time.

AndyHce
Reply to  commieBob
February 4, 2022 9:05 pm

I don’t know the efficiency of this but a Japanese company apparently finds it economically rewarding as they are implementing a system for manufacturer and transport.
https://www.chiyodacorp.com/en/service/spera-hydrogen/innovations/

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  AndyHce
February 5, 2022 3:51 am

no mention of the economics of this system on that web site

commieBob
Reply to  AndyHce
February 5, 2022 6:51 am

There’s a successful pilot project. I think it counts as some kind of breakthrough. One of the things that makes hydrogen nonviable as an energy currency is storage. That may be the solution.

I have watched a number of energy projects over the years. Even if they succeeded at the pilot project stage, they all eventually failed for one reason (usually economic) or another.

Peter Farley
Reply to  commieBob
February 4, 2022 10:18 pm

Fortunately since Prof Murphy did the calculations the world has changed. People figured out that even a reliable nuclear grid needs at least double its annual average annual capacity to supply peak power with an adequte reserve for outages. For example recently France’s 63 GW of nuclear could only supply about 49GW when peak demand was 85 GW so to guarantee 85GW it would have needed at least 85 x 63/49 = 110 GW when average demand over the year is 51 GW
That is why the US currently has 900GW of despatchable capacity to supply an average of 410 GW, and yet it can still have blackouts.
So if you build a wind and solar system to supply an average of 900 GW, on the worst day evidence from the Australian grid shows it will still supply an average of about 450-600 GW across the country. Combined with existing hydro/pumped hydro at an average of 50 GW, On the lowest wind solar day where demand averages around 580 GW you would need about 900-1,000 GWh of backup. In the worst week wind and solar output is typically 50% higher than the worst day so maximum backup required will be about 3,000-3,600 GWh, most of that will be thermal storage, and small changes in state of charge of vehicle batteries, fuel at waste to energy or biomass plants etc.
Now lets assume we have totally electrified economy which needs 3 times as much storage that is still less than 15,000 GWh vs Prof Murphys calculation of 336,000 GWh. To have a totally electrified economy we will also have 200m EVs with an average capacity of 60 kWh. If the average actual storage drops across a week from 42kW h (70% of capacity) to 30 kWh (50% of capacity) that will provide 2,400 GWh, so the total new static storage is about 3% of Prof Murphy’s calculation and that is assuming that you close down all existing nuclear, biomass, geothermal etc which currently provide 15,000 GWh/week.
Net result is that you will still probably have an additional 15,000 GWh of backup, batteries, hydrogen, thermal storage etc. but investment in renewables will be reduced by 15-20%

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 6:36 am

across the country.”

You left an important cost factor out of your calculations. How much will it cost to build a totally redundant, highly interconnected grid to get that dispatchable electricity to where it needs to go? You won’t be able to do it today with any existing grid since they are not designed for that kind of operation. I haven’t run the numbers but my guess is that you’ll never get the ratepayers/taxpayers to fund that kind of cost.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 9:46 am

You make several references to Australia but then talk about 200m EVs. Is everyone in Australia going to have 8 EVs each?!

MarkW
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 10:13 am

As I’ve said before, you can hide a lot of sins. The biggest being the fact that grids don’t run on average power, they require the power sources to supply what is needed, right now. Wind and solar are incapably of doing that and relying on them increases cost and decreases reliability.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
February 5, 2022 6:28 pm

Something you also never see is any adjustment for reactive loads. Currently the utilities attempt to control it at the source but you still get varying power factors in the distribution. That increases the needed supply but is never included.

michel
Reply to  commieBob
February 5, 2022 2:14 am

It was ‘Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air’, and I think it was the Lake District and Wales that had to be made into reservoirs. Not sure about the concrete, but certainly would take a lot!

KentN
Reply to  commieBob
February 5, 2022 9:40 am

This hydro power storage scenario is good to look at closely. Not because it is practical, but because one can envision how difficult it would be. It also uses existing technology, pumps and generators and cement. Let’s calculate how much water needs to be stored in upstate New York to provide power to NYC for a few weeks. Then look at a map and decide which land needs to be taken by imminent domain. Then don’t forget to install enough generation to run the pumps while supplying the grid. Then do the same for LA and Houston, and Miami and San Francisco. Some of those areas are flat, and much more water needs to be stored because storage is only 50 feet up. As indicated by Prof Murphy, we would need to create many new large lakes. Just pick a spot and move everybody out of the way. It gets very real when the spot is your own land, or favorite wilderness.

PCman999
Reply to  commieBob
February 6, 2022 1:01 am

The Great Lakes are already a reservoir for the Ontario and NewYork hydro plants, like at Niagara Falls and the one near Cornwall. The Niagara Falls installations also have their own mini-reservoirs, that can store extra water at night, when power isn’t needed as much, to help with meeting demand during the day when they might be limited in how much water they can take from the Falls – because they have to keep the tourists happy.

John Pickens
February 4, 2022 7:33 pm

It should be remembered that the supposed purpose of the Net Zero by 2050 program is to reduce CO2 emissions. Yet the creation off all of these solar, wind, battery, and interconnection systems will necessarily consume far more fossil fuels than if they were never produced. Emit less CO2, ban net zero by 2050!

Peter Farley
Reply to  John Pickens
February 4, 2022 10:37 pm

It should be remembered that facts matter. None of what you say has any basis in fact. For example lets assume that the entire cost of a battery was embedded energy, at $500/MWh that is $500 worth of energy, but the battery over its life will store and supply at least 600 MWh/MWh of capacity or $30,000 worth of energy. Even with 10% roundtrip losses that is $27,000 from a $500 investment.
Similarly a 17 kg $150 solar panel over its life will supply over its life about 10-25 MWh (fixed tilt high latitude vs tracking midlatitude). Clearly the energy used to make and deliver the panel cannot exceed its cost of $130 or less than 2.5 MWh.

Then we come to wind turbines, according to Siemens who make gas turbines and wind turbines there is about 8-10,000 MWh embedded in a 4 MW wind turbine. In the US new wind turbines have about a 44% capacity factor so a 4 MW wind turbine generates 10,000 MWh in 4,000-5,500 hours, with a 25 year life its EROI is 40-50. However if it is made in Scandinavia Spain or Germany where 60-70% of electricity is fossil free and 35% of steel is made without coke, and installed in a high FF jurisdiction like Texas or Australia its CO2 reduction is up to 100 times its embedded CO2.

Ian
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 1:28 am

Storage costs, as noted in the above texts are closer to $500/kWHr installed.

The last time I was installing Siemen’s gas turbines they were made in China, European fabrication ended a long time ago. Only the software was European. Guess what, they use coke and fossil fuels both to make the coke and to power the furnaces and every layer of fabrication, including shipping to your destination.

Want to redo your sums and tell us how good it all is?

For info, as a general rule of thumb, the smaller the turbine, (or any other generator), then the more waste energy, it leaks through the surface area of the unit rather than into the media that does the work. Smaller volumes have more surface area per unit volume. For a more economical fuel consumption get a bigger power plant. Are you sure you did some further education, eg eng101?

John Pickens
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 1:37 am

Siemens, who you quote, got out of the solar panel business because it couldn’t compete with the Chinese. And if wind, solar, and batteries were such a great monetary investment, where are the wind, solar, and battery producers using only their own power systems to manufacture more of the same? Please give me at least ONE example. I’ll wait….

Rusty
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:41 am

You’re going to need some very big batteries and some truly massive solar farms to grab and store all that energy in a British summer so it can be used 6 months later at 7pm on a very cold and dark winter’s evening.

Solar contributes nothing for 2 months of the year in winter.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 6:46 am

Once again, you leave out huge cost factors. Batteries just don’t float in mid-air, they have to have infrastructure associated with them. Not just support infrastructure but inter-connect structure, maintenance infrastructure, access infrastructure, spare parts infrastructure, and last but not least electricity transport infrastructure, including DC-AC converters and just plain *wire*. You’ve left out all the real-estate taxes that must be paid for all of this, all of the right-of-way costs, all the insurance costs (is all of this going to be self-insured?).

All of this goes into an actual engineering study. It’s not apparent that you’ve ever done any real-world engineering study where your continued employment depends on getting it *all* correct.

meiggs
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 6, 2022 8:37 am

Yeah, my paycheck depends on getting it *all* right…if not, no worky, no money…meanwhile my phd sis has never had a real job and has not worked for years…but she knows more than me cuz she watches tv, think we may have some crapademia woven into this thread…looking at the large land grabs here during this discussion has been a light bulb moment for me…when the gov came here in the 30’s and started building large hydro projects the land owners were given a little money for their land whether they wanted to sell or not…what they were NOT given were dividends from the power produced every decade since…it will likely be the same with solar and wind land grabs or do we have a kinder gentler gov these days?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 7:07 am

Batteries do not “supply” any energy. You put energy in and you pull out a little less at a later time.

roaddog
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 2:46 pm

I’m delighted to learn that steel can be made without coal. When did the formula change, or are all laws of physics now flexible?

R K
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 3:23 pm

Peter,
It is obvious you don’t know too many facts about electrical energy. It is stupid to try and store very large amounts of electrical power because of basic physics. What is trying to be stored is voltage and converting it to chemical energy inside the battery and then transferring it out again from DC power to AC power – a very wasteful process.
Power delivered in mains grids comes in two forms, active power and reactive power. Wind and solar cannot produce much reactive power or introduce it into the grid where it is needed, close to large power users where it is needed for voltage control and to transform power. I suspect you don’t know anything about reactive power and it’s vital part in 3 phase AC power transmission – the lack of which causes blackouts.
Wind turbines around the world suffer gear box and bearing failures well before their design life of around 20 years. They cannot be designed for against vertical stresses and all makes and types have some sort of failure around the world after about five years, data for which is hidden by the manufacturers, but insurance underwriters are well aware of the problem.
All solar and wind generators are capable of being totally destroyed by severe thunderstorms and hurricanes, have limitations from adverse temperatures, strong winds, snow, ice, hail and extreme heat. They also cannot increase power when the system is put under load as their power source cannot be increased suddenly like a thermal power station. It is obvious you don’t have much comprehension of how electrical energy is generated and transmitted.

PCman999
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 6, 2022 1:11 am

Everything John Pickens said was true – because of the huge build out of inefficient solar, wind and storage over the next 30yrs to support net-zero, including the insanity of trying to replace current electricity demand plus home heating demand in some places, carbon emissions will be through the roof in the coming decades – in contrast to the last decade where emissions in the west were basically flat due to the increase in natural gas use at the expense of coal – and flat at the expense of millions of high paying factory jobs moving to east Asia.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Pickens
February 5, 2022 3:58 am

If we stayed with fossil fuels- but increased efficiency through the entire system- production and use of the energy, I bet the carbon emissions could be reduced substantially. That possibility is seldom mentioned. That might be a lot cheaper than converting to clean and green and just as effective or almost as you note, assuming there really is a climate crisis, which I doubt. The fact that there still is some valid doubt- the risk that it’s a false crisis also needs to be factored into the economics of this gigantic endeavor.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 5:27 am

Similarly if we went to hybrid vehicles instead of battery electric you would get emission reductions and vehicle with fewer issues. Not good enough for the zealots though.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 5, 2022 5:32 am

right- we should first aim for maximum efficiency- which is a good thing even if there isn’t a real climate crisis- save on resources and energy- nothing at all wrong with that- there have been improvements in efficiency in recent decades- not sure how much more there might be- worth examining

H.R.
February 4, 2022 7:45 pm

“More Focus On The Impossible Costs Of A Fully Wind/Solar/Battery Energy System”

If something is impossible, it won’t be done.

That doesn’t stop maroons who don’t know the meaning of ‘impossible’ from going ahead anyhow.

lynn
February 4, 2022 7:57 pm

Don’t the batteries have to be replaced every ten years ? Where are the costs for that ?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  lynn
February 5, 2022 6:48 am

Don’t forget to add in the recycling costs (if they can be recycled at all).

Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 8:37 pm

I know this probably won’t be published, but if you neglect hydro and wind particularly high productivity offshore wind and and then assume there will be no solar production on cloudy days then you are bound to get stupid answers.
The US currently has 900 GW of dispatchable capacity to supply an average of 480 GW of load, so if it installs enough wind and solar to supply the equivalent of 900 GW on the worst day wind and solar will still supply half the load, so the idea that you need 5 days storage and 500% overcapacity is just bonkers

Old planning engineer
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 9:58 pm

The issue is the variability of the resource over time frames of a day or so. Short term variations can be addressed quite neatly (and relatively economically) through the use of batteries, it’s the longer term droughts caused by continental blocking highs that cause the need for massive over investment in wind / solar generation. In South Australia a capacity factor of between 7% and 9% is applied to the installed name plate generation to estimate the contribution of diversified wind under those conditions. How much over capacity you actually need is an extremely complex calculation as it depends on both the location of the resource, the short term availability of the resource at that location, transmission capacity linking the resource to the load and the temperature dependency of the load. Averages wont do. Note that the first two elements are basically unknowns. Note that engineers have struggled with just the last two elements, both relatively straight forward, as witnessed by the number of back/ brown outs such as New York of a few years ago, South Australia in 2017 and Texas last year..

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 10:13 pm

so your plan is to have 1800 GW of capacity for 480 GW of load? Duplicative and unnecessary. Insane.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
February 5, 2022 4:03 am

especially given that most of us here don’t think there is a climate crisis- so all this engineering talk is a waste of time

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 10:22 pm

Foley,
Why then are isolated test cases like King Island, Tasmania, completely and utterly failing to do without fossil fuelled electricity,?
You have to learn from practical demonstrations that theory can disappoint.
Geoff S

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
February 5, 2022 6:29 pm

Going beyond 2/3rds wind and solar is really hard and expensive.

Ian
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 4, 2022 10:24 pm

Peter, the estimates are conservative, you should reasonably expect a large blocking weather pattern to obscure the solar panels with low cloud AND have no wind for periods in excess of 5 days. It might not happen in the first year, it might not happen in the second year BUT it will happen within the lifespan of the grid. What is the solution then? Turn off the power to the users?

Simple statistics applied to historical weather observations can be used to determine a mean and standard deviation, selecting for any criteria from the observations that you wish. For dams, you look for rainfall and runoff. Whilst you might only have 100 years of stream data you can sensibly determine a 1:500 year event with an acceptable degree of uncertainty. 10 year of data might not provide enough confidence in the prediction and hence you would need to add a large ‘factor of ignorance’, (for the bits that just didn’t show up in the data sample). Of course, as time continues to goes by, you append more data to the set and you keep recalculating the forecast design event, if it is bigger than your earlier value, then you need to enhance the dam’s capacity or spillway, etc.

Forecasting for sunlight is simple. Winter sun at a specific latitude can be forecast with high precision and then you subtract for clouds, fog, dirt, etc. The maths is simple, you just need as much data as you can get your hands on stretching back from the present. The distribution will most probably be an ‘F’ distribution, the procedure is well known and in frequent use in multiple industries.

If you have the data mean and the SD you can forecast how frequent a failure of your criteria will occur. eg is 1:10 years long enough? Is one in 20 years? What if the failure results in a black start for the grid, can you imagine a winter with no electricity for maybe 3 days. That is a probable outcome if the worst case occurs.

Now what factor of ignorance/safety would you apply to prevent people freezing to death in their homes or industry, (like aluminium smelters), from closing? Is 5 days of cloud enough?

Reply to  Ian
February 5, 2022 5:32 am

Very good response. I am working on the historical analysis of wind and solar resources problem. Hopefully I will be able to do an article on that sometime.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Ian
February 5, 2022 6:59 am

I have a small solar panel I use to charge my backup battery for my amateur radio station. I track the output of the solar panel 24/7/365. I can assure you there are multiple instances per year where there is no output from the solar panel for 3-5 days at a time, usually in the spring and fall although we do get some in the winter (like the past week). BTW I live in the state of KS and my experience is not much different that most places above the Mason-Dixon line!

My point is that one year of data will be enough to let you size your real-time power generation capacity as well as your required backup capacity.

I would also point out that using averages is a losing proposition. Averages only work if you have a fully dispatchable system, which the US certainly doesn’t have. The TX blackout wouldn’t have happened if a fully inter-connected, nation-wide, dispatchable grid existed today. You can talk about the US needing X amount of power generation but it is meaningless if you can’t feed MA with power from CA when MA is dark and CA isn’t, or when the wind is calm in IL but not in TX.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 5, 2022 12:15 pm

Not to mention transmission losses…we need superconducting power lines now!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 4:01 am

quick question, Peter, do YOU live next to a solar or wind “farm”? If not, would you like to? Because if the world goes clean and green, many people will be living next to them. So, those of you who push this idea should volunteer to live near such a facility to show us that it’s not so bad- so please send us a photo of your home right next to such a facility

Bill Toland
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 5, 2022 4:19 am

Peter Farley, you are living in a fantasy world if you think wind and solar power can possibly supply all of a country’s electricity without gigantic and utterly unaffordable battery storage.
Take Scotland as a real world example of how absurd this is. Solar farms in Scotland have a capacity utilisation rate of just 1% in Winter. On average, Scotland is a windy country. So if you use the average wind speed in Scotland, wind power looks reasonable as a power source. However, the average wind speed in Scotland disguises huge variability. In the last week, it has been very windy in Scotland due to a succession of storms. However, Scotland also regularly experiences windless spells of days at a time. During one of these windless spells in Winter, Scotland produces effectively zero power from wind and solar. The amount of battery storage required for one of these periods would utterly bankrupt Scotland, assuming that it could be done at all.

http://euanmearns.com/solar-pv-potential-in-scotland/

PCman999
Reply to  Peter Farley
February 6, 2022 1:21 am

How do you supply 900GW on the “worst day” when the wind isn’t blowing in the evening? You could have a billion GWs and still the rotors will be still and the panels cooling in the twilight.

People need safe, reliable 365/24 power, not Rube Goldberg schemes designed to make BigGreen cronies rich off mandates and subsidies.

Chris Hanley
February 4, 2022 8:41 pm

Not counted are the costs to upgrade the grid and the costs of a new road transport fleet, zero emission heat pumps, retrofitting the building stock etc. all within the next 20 years or so.
The Plan apparently offsets around $300b for supposed future benefits from avoiding economic damage from climate change even though NY State emits only ‘4/10ths of one percent of global GHG production’ 😂.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 4, 2022 9:22 pm

Another issue with battery storage technology often left out of the discussion is the maximum discharge rate. As the charge level decreases so does the maximum discharge rate. Just because your battery storage system contains 4 GWh does not mean you can draw 1 GW for 4 hours. Even pumped hydro has this limitation — as the reservoir level drops so does the energy of each cubic meter of water along with the maximum flow rate to the turbines.

So it isn’t enough to size a storage system that contains enough energy to bridge periods of no wind/sun; it must also support a discharge rate equal to the maximum demand.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 5, 2022 6:24 pm

In practice the first problem is that you will end up with far larger surplus levels of generation than can be readily stored. The constraint soon becomes how much is worth storing, not how much do you need to redeliver to meet maximum demand. There will be large scale curtailment. This chart shows the effect of rising wind capacity against a ~32GW average level of demand (but calculated on actual hourly demand over a year)

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/nZM72/1/

Are you going to invest in inverters that you only use 1% of the time, or in battery capacity that only gets charged once in a blue moon? If you add more wind capacity you can make better use of a more limited battery and inverter capacity, and given the relative cost there is a strong incentive to build more generation and curtail – at least until curtailment eats too far into marginal wind generation.

PCman999
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 6, 2022 1:37 am

Overbuilt wind only works if if you had a high powered grid spanning the whole continent, say North America. And even then their are lulls that will affect huge areas and that’s when rolling blackouts start.

It’s the 21st century, let’s use high tech like gas turbines, super-critical coal, and nuclear for the modern world. Return the wind farms and solar parks back to nature and leave the fish and whales undisturbed from offshore wind.

meiggs
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 6, 2022 8:52 am

In other words…let them eat cake?

Randle Dewees
February 4, 2022 9:28 pm

Am I missing something here?

“For cost of storage, Caiazza takes what he calls a standard EIA figure of $250/MWH for the batteries. At this price, 200,000 MWH would cost $50 billion. ”

250X200,000 = 50 million

Randle Dewees
Reply to  Randle Dewees
February 4, 2022 9:31 pm

I think this is supposed to be 250K. $250 hardly buys you a decent car battery these days

Reply to  Randle Dewees
February 5, 2022 5:34 am

It is a typo – 250 K is correct

Brad-DXT
February 4, 2022 10:55 pm

The Scoping Plan is a typical government boondoggle where some politician’s nephew heads up a committee to tell someone else to make something happen.
Everything is easy if all you do is tell someone else to do it.

meiggs
Reply to  Brad-DXT
February 6, 2022 8:54 am

We’ve done the easy part…we’ve talked about it…

Vincent Causey
February 5, 2022 12:39 am

Something wrong in the figures. He gives the cost of battery storage as $250 per Mw Hr. I’ve looked up battery prices for Solar system backup and a LiFePO4 300 Ah battery is about $2500. Since the US system is at 110v, then 300 Ah = 300 x 110 = 33 Kw Hrs. This gives price per Mw Hr of $75,750. Obviously, you can allow the price for giant commercial systems to be a lot lower than domestic, but 300 times lower?

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Vincent Causey
February 5, 2022 3:34 am

Vincent, I’m with you.
Our man Peter has lost a few decimals….

Lets go China and buy a battery.
At the present time it has to be ‘Lithium’ and for considerations of both safety and longevity it has to be LiFePO4 chemistry.
LiFePO4s have epic cycle lives (claimed up to 6,000) and much lower fire-starting propensity

Albaba will supply, and in quantity… here’s a nice battery, picked at random..
https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/High-stability-and-power-grade-A_1600342648414.html

Its a battery made of 4 cells and 85GBP gets you the four cells to make a 12.8Volt battery at 310AH

Nobody in their right mind will operate it at 100% duty cycle so we say 70% max cycle to get us, hopefully a 6,000 cycle lifetime – we de-rate to 220Ah
Nest we lose at least 5% charging and another 5% discharging

So we have 12.8Volts at 200Ah = 2,560Wh for 85GBP
Lets call that 3.32 pence per Watt-Hour
or
33,200GBP per MWh

To move them from China and get them installed somewhere, ideally out of the way of any sheep ##, we can easily double that number.
If Government Mandate is involved, multiply by a factor of ten
(I have experience, I am not joking here. Am I Shirley, you tell ’em)

(Really scare the pants off yourself and work that out for a replacement battery (£30,000 for 80kWh) for a Tesla car – I get something near 400,000 GBP per MWh
And THAT, is Government Mandate (Read= Tyrannosaurus-Boris Diktat) at work – see the factor of ten+ that Shirley told you about?)

So where did Peter F get $500 per MWh number from – because if that’s right, what exactly are we all arguing about here?

## Sheep are not the Sweet Little Butter Wouldn’t Melt Bundles of Fluff you fondly imagine them to be.
And anyway, what is your Typical Eco Warrior Vegetarian/Vegan gonna do with a sheep?

Sheep are monstrously destructive little shits. Period.

In fact, cast your eyes around the globe and see all The Nice Places where solar panels would, ostensibly, work really well.
i.e. All the large deserts around this world.

In cahoots with their cousins, goats, sheep created those places.
Your solar panels, out in a field, haven’t got a hope in hell.

Last edited 3 months ago by Peta of Newark
CWinNy
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 5, 2022 2:19 pm

A proposal to build a 10MW solar farm included using sheep to keep brush from growing around the panels and shading them. Sheep don’t eat much brush, goats do. But, goats will climb on the panels. So, what actually happens is weed whacking and Round-Up (or other herbicides). Run-off not good for those trying to farm downhill.

meiggs
Reply to  CWinNy
February 6, 2022 8:58 am

plus all the C not sequestered by the now dead plants sacrificed to save the planed…priceless I am sure

Reply to  Vincent Causey
February 5, 2022 5:35 am

Typo – Should be $250 per Kw

Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 2:59 am

“But Andrews did not even get to the point of considering how much storage might be needed in worst case scenarios of lengthy winter wind or sun droughts.”

Or, God forbid, a war!

meiggs
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 6, 2022 8:59 am

The chins will be ready for that…speaking of land grabs…

Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 3:07 am

I only wish every politician in America and every clean and green enviro would be forced to read this article.

Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 3:10 am

What about the “sunk costs”? That is, many billions have been spent to build the existing power structure and much of that will be prematurely shut down. So that needs to be counted also as a cost to arrive at green nirvana?

4 Eyes
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 5, 2022 3:53 pm

Joseph, this is the way they work. Continuous scope creep so, at a project level, NPV can never be worked out. They just justify the individual bits on a simplistic basis and never evaluate the full picture, because, of course, voters would reject outright any plan that was going to cost taxpayers $100 trillion – $400 trillion. In other words they are downright deceptive.

PCman999
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 6, 2022 1:44 am

In the real world all the existing infrastructure will need to be maintained to back up the idiot plan to shift electricity generation to 100% renewable fairy tale power, and the insane plan to ‘electrify everything’

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  PCman999
February 6, 2022 3:09 am

We need to find politicians with the guts to stand up and say “enough with net zero- it’s all wrong – and when I’m elected I’m going to fight against it as my main priority”. Trump said it’s all a hoax and they hated him for saying that.

meiggs
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 6, 2022 9:17 am

Whatever happened to that Trump guy btw?

willem post
February 5, 2022 3:12 am

EXCERPT from:

HIGH COSTS OF WIND, SOLAR, AND BATTERY SYSTEMS IN US NORTHEAST
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

Any transition from fossil fuels to low-CO2 sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass, could occur only when the low-CO2 sources are: 1) abundantly available everywhere, and 2) at low-cost, say 5 to 6 c/kWh, wholesale, and 3) as reliable as fossil fuels, 24/7/365, year after year. 

This article presents the all-in cost of wind, solar and battery systems in the US Northeast.
Table 1 shows the all-in cost of wind and solar are much greater than reported by the Media, etc.

Much of the cost is shifted from Owners of these systems to taxpayers and ratepayers, and added to government debts 

PART 1

Cost Shifting from Owners to Ratepayers and Taxpayers
 
The owning and operating cost of wind, solar and battery systems, c/kWh, is reduced by about 45%, due to subsidies. However, because no cost ever disappears, per Economics 101, the subsidy costs are “socialized”, i.e., added, in one way or another, onto:
 
1) Rate bases of utilities, i.e., paid by ratepayers
2) Taxpayers, by means of extra taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills and fuel bills
3) Government budgets
4) Government debt
5) Prices of goods and services, other than electricity
 
If the subsidies had to be paid by Owners of wind and solar systems, the contract prices paid to Owners would need to be:

– At least 19.3 c/kWh, instead of 11 c/kWh, for large-scale solar
– At least 15.5 c/kWh, instead of 9 c/kWh, for ridge line wind. See table 1 and URL
 
Shifting Grid Costs
 
Many small-scale solar systems and/or a few large-scale solar systems on a distribution grid would excessively disturb the grid, especially at midday. Battery systems could counteract those output variations. 
 
Wind and solar systems could not be connected to any grid without the peaking, filling-in and counteracting services of the CCGT plants, i.e., shutting down CCGT plants, and artificially diminishing/obstructing their gas supply, advocated by pro RE folks, would not be an option for decades, if ever, because of the high costs of site-specific, custom-designed, utility-grade, grid-scale battery systems.

Costs not paid by wind/solar Owners:
 
– The cost of extension/augmentation of electric grids to connect widely distributed wind and solar systems
 – The cost of services rendered by other generators, mostly CCGT plants, which counteract the variable, intermittent outputs of wind and solar, 24/7/365
 – The cost of battery systems to stabilize distribution grids, due to variations of the solar and wind system outputs
 
Shifting Owning and Operating Costs
 
The combined effect of cost shifting, determined behind closed doors, increases a project’s annual cash flow, i.e., “left-over-money”, to provide an ample profit for the RE system Owner.
 
RE system Owners are happy, having the “ears” of friendly politicians, saving the world from climate change, and claiming: “See, my project is profitable and competitive”, while everyone else gets hosed.
 
1) Grants from various sources, such as the VT Clean Energy Development Fund
2) 26% federal investment tax credits, plus state FITs. Tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the taxes GMP pays on profits
3) 100% depreciation over 5 years; the normal for utilities is 20 to 25 years. Write-offs reduce GMP taxable income
4) Deductions of interest on borrowed money. Interest deductions reduce GMP taxable income.
5) Various O&M payments are often waved, such as sales tax, fees, property tax, school tax, municipal tax, etc.
6) RE system Owners sell their output at two to four times NE wholesale rates
 
EXORBITANT “ALL-IN” ELECTRICITY COST OF WIND AND SOLAR IN NEW ENGLAND
 
Pro RE folks always point to the “price paid to owner” as the cost of wind and solar, purposely ignoring the other cost categories. The all-in cost of wind and solar, c/kWh, includes:
 
1) Above-market-price paid to Owners 
2) Subsidies paid to Owners
3) Owner return on invested capital at about 9%/y
4) Grid extension/augmentation
5) Grid support services, including fees for:
 
– Capacity availability (i.e., plants are fueled, staffed, kept in good working order, ready to produce on short notice)
– More frequent plant start-up/shut-down

6) Future battery systems

Comments on table 1
   
– Vermont legacy SO solar systems had greater subsidies, up to 30 c/kWh paid to owner, than newer systems, about 11 c/kWh
– Wind prices paid to owner did not have the drastic reductions as solar prices.
– Vermont utilities are paid about 3.5 c/kWh for various costs they incur regarding net-metered solar systems
– “Added to the rate base” is the cost wind and solar are added to the utility rate base, used to set electric rates.
– “Total cost”, including subsidies to owner and grid support, is the cost at which wind/solar are added to the utility rate base
– “NE utility cost” is the annual average cost of purchased electricity, about 6 c/kWh, plus NE grid operator charges, about 1.6 c/kWh
for a total of 7.6 c/kWh. 
– “Grid support costs” would increase with increased use of battery systems to counteract the variability and intermittency of increased build-outs of wind and solar systems.
 
NOTES:
1) NE wholesale grid price averaged about 5 c/kWh or less, starting in 2009, due to low-cost CCGT and nuclear plants providing at least 65% of all electricity loaded onto the NE grid, in 2019.
 
– Wind, solar, landfill gas, and methane power plants provided about 4.8%
– Pre-existing refuse and wood power plants provided about 4.6%
– Pre-existing hydro power plants provided about 7.4%
– The rest was mostly hydro imports from the very-low-CO2 Canada grid, and from the much-higher-CO2 New York State grid

2) There are Owning and Operating costs of the NE grid, in addition to utility wholesale prices. 
ISO-NE pro-rates these O&O costs to utilities, at about 1.6 c/kWh. 

3) NE charges are for: 
 
Regional network services, RNS, based on the utility peak demand occurring during a month
Forward capacity market, FCM, based on the utility peak demand occurring during a year.

willem post
February 5, 2022 3:15 am

EXCERPT from:

BIDEN 30,000 MW OFFSHORE WIND SYSTEMS BY 2030; AN EXPENSIVE FANTASY  
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/biden-30-000-mw-of-offshore-wind-systems-by-2030-a-total-fantasy
 
The Biden administration announced on October 13, 2021, it will subsidize the development of up to seven offshore wind systems (never call them farms) on the US East and West coasts, and in the Gulf of Mexico; a total of about 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030.
 
Biden’s offshore wind systems would have an adverse, long-term impact on US electricity wholesale prices, and the prices of all other goods and services, because their expensive electricity would permeate into all economic activities.
 
The wind turbines would be at least 800-ft-tall, which would need to be located at least 30 miles from shores, to ensure minimal disturbance from night-time strobe lights.
 
Any commercial fishing areas would be significantly impacted by below-water infrastructures and cables. The low-frequency noise (less than 20 cycles per second, aka infrasound) of the wind turbines would adversely affect marine life, and productivity of fishing areas.
 
Production: Annual production would be about 30,000 x 8766 h/y x 0.45, capacity factor = 118,341,000 MWh, or 118.3 TWh of variable, intermittent, wind/weather/season-dependent electricity.
 
The additional wind production would be about 100 x 118.3/4000 = 2.96% of the annual electricity loaded onto US grids.
That US load would increase, due to tens of millions of future electric vehicles and heat pumps.
 
This would require a large capacity of combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants, CCGTs, to cost-effectively:
 
1) Counteract the wind output variations, MW, aka grid balancing
2) Fill-in wind production shortfalls, MWh, during any wind lulls
 
Such lulls occur at random throughout the year, and may last 5 to 7 days in the New England area.
 
These URLs provide examples of similar wind/solar lull conditions in Germany and New England
 
High Costs of Balancing the Grid with Increased Wind and Solar

The ANNUAL grid balancing costs are entirely due to the variations and intermittencies of wind and solar, because the OTHER power plants have to operate far from their efficient modes of operation, 24/7/365. They experience:
 
1) More up/down production at lower efficiencies, which have more Btu/kWh, more CO2/kWh
2) More equipment wear-and-tear cost/kWh, due to up/down production
3) More-frequent plant starts/stops, which have high Btu/kWh, high CO2/kWh
 
Increased wind and solar also requires:
 
– Increased hot, synchronous (3,600 rpm), standby plant capacity, MW, to immediately provide power, if wind/solar generation suddenly decreases, or any other power system outage occurs.
– Increased cold, standby plant capacity, MW, to provide power after a plant’s start-up period. 
 
When wind and solar were only a very small percent of the electricity loaded onto the NE grid, those balancing costs were minimal, sort of “lost in the data fog”
 
When wind and solar became a large percent, those balancing costs in the UK became 1.3 BILLION U.K. pounds in 2020, likely even more in 2021, 2022, etc.

Those balancing costs should have been charged to the Owners of wind and solar systems, but, in reality, they were politically shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and government debts.
 
Those balancing costs are in addition to the various government subsidies, which are also politically shifted to taxpayers, ratepayers, and government debts.
 
Now you all are finally beginning to see just how wonderful wind and solar have been, and will be, for your pocketbook.
 
Energy systems analysts, with decades of experience, saw this mess coming about 20 years ago, but all-knowing legislators and bureaucrats ignored them, because they were pressured into aiding and abetting the harvesting of federal and state subsidies for RE businesses.
 
Turnkey Capital Cost: The turnkey capital cost for wind systems, plus offshore/onshore grid extension/augmentation would be about 30,000 MW x $5,000,000/MW = $150 BILLION, excluding financing costs. Biden’s excessive inflation rates, about 7% at present, surely would increase that cost.
 
Area Requirements: The 8-MW wind turbines would be arranged on a grid, spaced at least one mile apart (8 rotor diameters), about 1 sq mile per wind turbine. The minimum sea area requirement for 30,000/8 = 3,750 wind turbines would be 3,750 sq miles, or 2,400,000 acres
 
Electricity Cost/kWh: Based on the real-world European, mostly UK and German, operating experience in the North Sea and Baltic, such highly subsidized wind turbine systems:
 
1) Last about 20 years
2) Have high maintenance and operating costs, due to the adverse marine environment
3) Produce electricity at an “al-in” cost of about 2.25 times NE wholesale prices. See Appendix
 
The “all-in” wholesale prices of the offshore electricity of new systems are calculated at about 17 c/kWh, without cost shifting and subsidies, and about 9 c/kWh, with cost shifting and subsidies. The shifted costs and subsidies would result in:
 
1) Increased tax burdens on taxpayers
2) Increased household electric rates on ratepayers
3) Additions to federal and state government debts.
4) Additional burdens on the owners of traditional generators, because their power plants have to counteract the wind output variations, 24/7/365; the more wind (and solar), the greater the electricity quantities involved in the counteracting, plus their plants have to spend more time on standby, and are required to have more-frequent start/stops. See URLs and Appendix

NOTE: These rates compare with the average New England wholesale price of 5 c/kWh, during the 2009 – 2022 period, 13 years, courtesy of:
 
1) Abundant, domestic, natural gas-fueled CCGT plants, that have: 1) low-cost/kWh, low-CO2/kWh, extremely-low particulate/kWh
2) Domestic, uranium-fueled nuclear plants, that have low-cost/kWh, near-zero CO2/kWh, zero particulate/kWh
3) Long-lasting hydro plants, that have low-cost/kWh, near-zero-CO2/kWh, zero particulate/kWh
 
NOTE: Cost shifting and subsidies have not yet affected NE wholesale prices, because the percent of new RE (mostly wind and solar) on the NE grid is very small, after 20 years of subsidies.
The image shows the negligeable “contribution” of wind + solar to the NE grid load, during 2021, after 20 years of subsidies!!
 
Wind and solar became significant in Germany and Denmark after more than 20 years of subsidies, resulting in:
 
– Politicians excessively allocating RE costs to households, thereby greatly increasing household electric rates.
– Politicians keeping industrial rates artificially low for international competitiveness reasons (a hidden trade subsidy). See URL

willem post
February 5, 2022 3:19 am

EXCERPT from:

COST SHIFTING IS THE NAME OF THE GAME REGARDING WIND AND SOLAR 
http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

Regarding wind and solar, cost shifting is rarely mentioned, identified or quantified. Those costs, as c/kWh, could be quantified, but it is politically expedient, using various, often far-fetched reasons, to charge them to:
 
– Directly to ratepayers, via electric rate schedules, and/or added taxes, fees and surcharges on electric bills
– Directly to taxpayers, such as carbon taxes, user fees and surcharges.
– Directly to federal and state budgets and debts
 
Per Economics 101, no cost ever disappears.

Eventually, the various shifted wind and solar costs, plus direct and indirect wind and solar subsidies, would increase the prices of energy and of other goods and services.

Efficiency and productivity improvements elsewhere in the energy sector, and other sectors of the economy, may partially, or completely, offset such increases.

However, wind and solar subsidies would divert capital from other sectors of the economy, which likely would result in fewer improvements in efficiency and productivity in these sectors.

LIFECYCLE COST ANALYSIS OF EXISTING AND NE ELECTRICITY SOURCES

This report uses publicly available data to estimate the average levelized cost of electricity from existing generation resources (LCOE-Existing), as compared to the levelized cost of electricity from new generation resources (LCOE-New) that might replace them.

The additional information provided by LCOE-Existing presents a more complete picture of the generation choices available to the electric utility industry, policymakers, regulators and consumers.
https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/IER_LCOE2019Final-.pdf
 
Existing coal-fired power plants can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $41 per megawatt-hour, whereas the LCOE of a new coal plant, operating at a similar duty cycle, would be $71 per MWh.
 
Similarly, existing combined-cycle gas power plants (CCGTs) can generate electricity at an average LCOE of $36 per MWh, whereas the LCOE of a new CCGT gas plant would be $50 per MWh.
 
Non-dispatchable wind and solar impose a cost on the dispatchable generators which are required to remain in service for peaking, filling in and balancing, 24/7/365, to ensure reliable electricity service.
 
Non-dispatchable means the output of wind and solar depends on factors beyond our control (the wind blowing and the sun shining) and cannot be relied upon for peaking, filling in and balancing.
 
Wind and solar increase the LCOE of dispatchable resources by reducing their utilization rates without reducing their fixed costs, resulting in a levelized fixed cost increase, i.e., higher c/kWh.
 
This report estimates the “imposed cost” of wind generation at about $24 per MWh, or 2.4 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

The CCGT plants compensate for the erratic outputs of wind and solar by inefficiently ramping up and down their outputs at part load, and inefficiently making more frequent starts and stops.

All that decreases annual production of CCGT plants, adversely affects their economic viability, increases Btu/kWh and CO2/kWh, and increases wear and tear, all at no cost to the wind and solar multi-millionaires. 

This report estimates the “imposed cost” of wind generation at about $24 per MWh, or 2.4 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

This report estimates the “imposed cost” of solar generation at about $21 per MWh, or 2.1 c/kWh, if CCGT gas generation performs the peaking, filling in and balancing.

As a result, existing coal ($41), CCGT gas ($36), nuclear ($33) and hydro ($38) are less than half the cost of new wind ($90) or new PV solar ($88.7), if imposed costs were included.

NOTE: The imposed cost on ratepayers and taxpayers of various direct and indirect wind and solar subsidies are an entirely separate issue.
E

Tom
February 5, 2022 4:11 am

These citizen-scientists are to be commended for considering and then actually analyzing the issue of storage of renewable energy during the ‘good’ days, to use during the ‘bad’. It’s a subject pretty much ignored by the renewable advocates, and certainly by their lap-dog press. Bravo!

The required length of storage is a complex issue. Over-night storage is but a weak start on the journey. It seems logical to use batteries for this, but even the best of them lose charge over time. The referenced five-day storage requirement discussed seems practical, but what about seasonal variations, or even the biblical storage requirement for the ‘seven lean years’ of storage by building up resources during the ‘seven years of plenty’. That was a known problem several millennia ago. It can’t be ignored now.

This brings up an item that adds considerably more complexity to the analysis: energy distribution. It’s clearly not feasible to send electricity from Australian summers to Greenland winters using today’s technology. It is, at least theoretically possible to send it from Mexico’s deserts to Canada’s snowy midlands. It’s even more feasible to send it from Texas’ wind turbines to California’s nuclear energy deprived masses. I don’t even want to think about the political complexities of this!

Without the politics, though, moving energy around can reduce some of the storage requirements by generating it where it’s most practical. There was another discussion here about how much of sunny Spain’s surface would be required to provide power to Germany’s cloudy winters, especially now that Germany is shutting off its nuclear power plants. I’m quite sure many Spaniards might object to this.

How can distribution and politics be added to the already complex spreadsheets? Distribution, maybe. Politics???

kzb
February 5, 2022 5:00 am

There are a lot of things in this piece that are likely untrue.

  1. Solar panels still output power on overcast days.
  2. There is no inclusion of inter-state connectors in the analysis. I’d think it is very unlikely the wind is not blowing somewhere in the north american continent at any given moment. Crikey you even have different time zones for solar power.
  3. There is this recurring assumption that battery storage will be the storage medium. Whereas, certainly outside the USA, most are discussing pumped hydro and compressed air.
  4. An increase from 18,000MW to 60,000MW is probably an overestimate and takes no account of efficiency (e.g. insulation) gains or demand management. I’d guess 40-45,000MW is more realistic.
Reply to  kzb
February 5, 2022 5:48 am

Read all the comments. There are a lot of good points made in response to the posts of Peter Farley.

1 and 2 – Old planning engineer:
The issue is the variability of the resource over time frames of a day or so. Short term variations can be addressed quite neatly (and relatively economically) through the use of batteries, it’s the longer term droughts caused by continental blocking highs that cause the need for massive over investment in wind / solar generation. In South Australia a capacity factor of between 7% and 9% is applied to the installed name plate generation to estimate the contribution of diversified wind under those conditions. How much over capacity you actually need is an extremely complex calculation as it depends on both the location of the resource, the short term availability of the resource at that location, transmission capacity linking the resource to the load and the temperature dependency of the load. Averages wont do. Note that the first two elements are basically unknowns. Note that engineers have struggled with just the last two elements, both relatively straight forward, as witnessed by the number of back/ brown outs such as New York of a few years ago, South Australia in 2017 and Texas last year.

3 Both pumped bydro and compressed air storage need specific site characteristics. There aren’t that many locations where pumped hydro that we know works can be installed. Compressed air might work but again you need underground caverns.

4 It is not just the generation that is supposed to change. New York’s net zero target requires electrification of home heating and transportation. That increase in load is not going to be turned down much by efficiency or demand management because of the variability of resource demand over worst case periods. For example, the NY plan is to convert to heat pumps. Many are targeted to be air source heat pumps. The plan recognizes that you need backup heat because air source heat pumps don’t work when the temperatures are really cold. The electric alternative is resistance heat which is very inefficient. As a result for the worst case when people need heat the most the electric load is going to spike. I predict bad things will happen.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  kzb
February 5, 2022 5:49 pm

You may think it unlikely, but it happens that we get global stilling. Like this, just recently. Nowhere on land was wind strong enough for more than about 10% of capacity, except in Siberia.

Global stilling.png
John Furst
February 5, 2022 5:15 am

Author is right, but this simplified analysis will always be incomplete and low. Even with accounting for massive new mining and manufacturing.

Missing are the other requirements of electric service:
Generation to grid: massive land areas, infrastructure, maintenance, replacement of short-lived wind/solar/batteries.
Transmission lines, in electrically right places, with all the land and right-of-ways.
Substation siting and land acquisition at optimal grid interconnections, generation and distribution ends with transformers, capacitors, communications, switching, fault clearing, etc.
Distribution modifications, likely much more expensive than other components per kWh.

Plus the full amount of existing fossil fuel/nuclear/hydro generation for worse case ever.
Plus a large multiple of existing facilities if further electrification, with certainly much more distribution modification and additions.

Plus, to do all of above ( that took more than 100 years to build, modify, optimize, refine, and provide 24/7/365 reliable, available, on-demand electric service) include the time and costs of all the additional legal, contract, legislative, regulation changes, and hearings.

Whole concept is magical, imaginary, naive, fraudulent.
Just one item above “…is enough to prove me wrong.” Einstein

observa
Reply to  John Furst
February 5, 2022 7:16 am

Author is right, but this simplified analysis will always be incomplete and low.

Well I don’t see any mention of the extra power required at night to charge all the EVs that will supposedly be replacing all the ICE cars in New York at present. You don’t get much mileage out of moonlight and the mind boggles at the level of infantilism.

observa
February 5, 2022 7:05 am

It gets worse for them as the wind turbine manufacturers struggle to stay afloat-
WindAction | ‘Squashed in the middle’ | Ousted Siemens Gamesa boss says loss-making turbine OEMs paying price of cheap wind
Watch out for taxpayer bailouts coming in the event they’re going under as they’re rattling the milk bucket now.

SMS
February 5, 2022 8:13 am

No mention is made of the impacts of taking $400 trillion out of the economy. Wait! There is no way we can squeeze $400 trillion out of the economy. Impossible to do. And if one state like New York were to attempt to tax its citizens and industries at a rate sufficient to cover the cost of renewable storage, then everyone would leave; making the problem even worse. New York is on a fools’ errand.

Jan Smelik
February 5, 2022 8:40 am

Nice video to illustrate 100% ‘green’ energy is impossible:

.

Andrew Wilkins
February 5, 2022 8:44 am

Peter Farley has been on here peddling his windy wet dreams, but the bottom line is that the countries with the greatest percentage of their power generated from wind and sun have the most expensive energy in the world.
Peter doesn’t care if people are pushed into poverty, just as long as he can feel smug and carbon-free.

ih_fan
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
February 7, 2022 9:26 pm

the bottom line is that the countries with the greatest percentage of their power generated from wind and sun have the most expensive energy in the world

<sarc>

But…but…but…. It’s going to be too cheap to meter!

</sarc>

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  ih_fan
February 8, 2022 12:11 am

ROFLMAO
I’d forgotten about that little nugget of “wisdom” from the windmill wallies. Thanks for the reminder!

February 5, 2022 9:35 am

Seems like there’s a mad scramble for wannabe Peter Isherwell’s – the creepy ceo of BASH corporation in “Don’t Look Up” (played by Mark Rylance).

So energy policy is now to be decided by Garden Shed Guy come good – the mythical American hero-titan, or Russia’s Akaky Akakievich?

Well good luck with that fellow batt’lers.

I’m reminded of Napolean Boneparte’s advice: “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake”. Off to get some popcorn before the shops close

February 5, 2022 9:43 am

Or you could just build nuclear

https://youtu.be/raqxQr6pq2Q

Todd Nelson
February 5, 2022 11:45 am

The needed megawatts don’t take into account the electrical usage of all the buildings that will be forced to retrofit from gas heat and gas stove to electric, and all new construction will be electric only. But all that pales in comparison to replacing fossil fuel to power cars. I did these calculations only nationally, not for one state because I used the presidential claims as the basis. HIs claims to have only non fossil fueled vehicles on the road by 2035, are like, so many of his other claims, nothing but blatant lies. Americans use 400 MILLION gallons of gasoline per day and 131 MILLION gallons of diesel fuel per day. Gasoline produces approximately 16.6 kwh per gallon. 400 million gallons of gas is the electrical equivalent of 6 billion, 640million kilowatts of electricity, or 6 million, six hundred forty thousand megawatts, or 6,640 gigawatts. The largest power producer is a nuclear power plant which can produce up to 1 gigawatt of power. a gas turbine plant can produce up to 700 megawatts. Then we get to renewables which are woefully lacking in any kind of 24/7 reliability. For comparison, we will grant wind turbines that they will constantly produce 75% of max output 24 hrs per day, and the fact that each wind turbine will produce an average of 2.6 megawatts 24/7. To produce enough electricity to replace gasoline power with electric power to replace that 400 million gallons per day with wind energy will take 2,553,846 wind turbines. Let it be known there are 12,000 wind turbines in the world today. Solar gets even more impossible. At maximum power, which is about 4 hours per day, it will take 54,000 square miles of solar collectors to put electricity into all those cars. after that, solar power is done. I totally agree with all the storage calculations ,but we do not have now, nor do we foresee the inventing of any battery systems to just power cars at night, much less any kind of backup power in the near futures.
Most of my career has been in designing, building, and programming automation in anything from small to medium commercial projects to extremely high end residential systems, and megaychts. To my customers the motto has always been “the impossible just costs more”, but that motto doesn’t work here, because the technology simply does not exist
to make it work, yet. I did not put diesel into the equation because there is no existing storage technology that will practically replace the large diesel engines needed for large trucks, and other large machinery
The good thing is that CO2 has been proven, in new peer reviewed studies, to have no effect on temperature levels at all. The scam has been exposed, so we can get to work making machinery more fuel efficient of the sake of lowering costs without the added cost of pointless electrical storage and spending money to fight nonexistent “climate change”.

Greytide
Reply to  Todd Nelson
February 5, 2022 12:42 pm

Essential reading for the EV promoters. Excellent post.

Dean
February 5, 2022 4:19 pm

Recently I was paddling around Newcastle harbour marvelling that the claim to fame was it was going 100% renewables power from 2022 onwards. The port operates 24/7 and as I got a windbreak from following an outgoing Capesize attended by 4 tugs, I wondered at the navigation hazards associated with 4 tug boat electricity cables capable of going from the Inner Harbour to 2km outside the harbour entrance.

Apparently this feat is to be achieved by using some of the 60% of the output of the Bodangora Wind Farm in central NSW allocated to such big industry contracts.

Going into the Bodangora website, and doing some calcs from the statements revealed an interesting implied capacity factor. 113.2MW nameplate capacity was capable of powering 49,000 homes. I used 2020 NSW figures (amongst the most electricity hungry homes in Aust from the Australian Energy Regulator and got a capacity factor for wind of 28%.

Most of the studies I have seen use capacity factors for wind of at least 33%. The assumptions are based on best case sites. The capital cost required to do away with fossil fuels is massively underestimated just on the assumed capacity factors alone.

Last edited 3 months ago by Dean
Jim Gorman
February 5, 2022 5:34 pm

Has any qualified electrical engineer put his name on this New York plan?

jChaney
February 5, 2022 7:08 pm

Wouldn’t it ultimately be cheaper to spend the money to solve the fusion problem and not have to mess with wind and solar at all?

John Pickens
Reply to  jChaney
February 5, 2022 8:20 pm

If you’re thinking of going for fusion, you might as well just go with nuclear because:
1. Fusion emits neutrons, which will make the system radioactive.
2. Nuclear already works, so why wait for fusion, which is perpetually 20 year away.

Billy
February 6, 2022 9:08 am

Five day reserve? Five months would not be enough. Solar generation in the winter is insignifigant. Batteries cannot store if they are already full or supply when they are dead. To allow for the likely circumstance that they will not be in the needed state at the right times, another 100% redundancy would be necessary.
It is nonsense to assume that they will be empty when you need to store or full when you need to discharge. Weather just doesn’t work that way.

Last edited 3 months ago by Billy
February 6, 2022 2:47 pm

The required battery capacity is simple. Five days at 24 hours a day is 120 hours. To supply a steady 1,000 MW that is a whopping 120,000 MWh of storage. We already have the overnight storage capacity for 16 hours so we now need an additional 104 hours, which means 104,000 MWh of additional storage.”

When the grid failed in Australia, New York and Texas, a major problem was having a rock solid powerful generating source that could restart the grid.

None of the renewables have that capability.
I have my doubts that a battery or even a series of batteries have that capability.

Pragmatist
February 6, 2022 3:20 pm

The Australian east coast grid is faced with the same issue – except that it is the annual wind-droughts experienced every winter. The costs are laid bare in this report:
Decarbonised_Electricity.pdf (modelling.energy)

Ahh! but it does not suit the narrative so it is just ignored – and we will end up paying way more for energy than we ever should.

Jan Smelik
February 12, 2022 7:48 am

Not a real calculation of the costs, but a visual explanation as to why it will be impossible to base our western economies on windmills:

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