Report On The Status Of The U.S. Energy Storage Project


Francis Menton

As you likely know, on April 22, 2021 the “United States” “set a goal” of reaching “100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.” You know that because on that date (Earth Day!) President Biden issued a press release so announcing, although the document does not inform us how Biden was able to commit the “United States” to such an ambitious goal by the device of a mere press release, without any sort of affirmative action from the Congress, let alone any consultation with you.

Previous posts here have noted that there is a rather gigantic obstacle to achieving the goal of “carbon free electricity,” namely the need for vast amounts of energy storage to transform wildly-fluctuating intermittent generation from the wind and sun into steady 24/7 electricity supply. For example, this post from January 14, 2022 reported on calculations by a guy named Ken Gregory as to how many gigawatt hours of storage would be needed to balance a fully wind/solar-supplied grid for the United States assuming consumption at 2020 levels. (Mr. Gregory’s calculation was in the range of 250,000 GWH, with a cost in the hundreds of trillions of dollars.) And this post from March 27 reported on various jurisdictions (California, Australia, New York) hurtling toward a “net zero” future without ever bothering to calculate how many GWHs of energy storage they would need or how much it will cost.

But clearly the people committing us to these goals have to know that a fully wind/solar and fossil-fuel-free electricity future requires lots of energy storage. After all, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that wind and solar produce nothing on a calm night. And indeed, if we look around at what our government is up to, we find considerable activity on the energy storage front. But there is an almost complete disconnect between, on the one hand, current efforts of small research grants and pilot programs to investigate which of various new technologies might work, and, on the other hand, a multi-hundred-trillion dollar total transformation of the entire energy economy that will supposedly be accomplished within the next 13 years using technology not yet invented let alone demonstrated at scale.

Here are just a few examples of what is currently going on our there in the energy storage world:

  • The federal Department of Energy has a big program going on called the Energy Storage Grand Challenge. An article from Energy Storage News, September 24, 2021, gives a comprehensive update. Central to the program will be constructing a new research center where various alternative strategies for what they call “long duration” energy storage will be investigated for feasibility. Thus it does appear that they have at least figured out that to make a wind/solar-supplied grid last through a year, you are going to need storage that can hold thousands of GWH of charge for many months on end. Lithium-ion can’t do that. But ESN notes that not only do the “long duration” technologies not yet exist, but the research center to investigate them doesn’t exist yet either, nor has construction begun. From ESN: “The DOE is also helping to get a US$75 million long-duration energy storage research centre built at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is expected to open by or during 2025.” So maybe we can start this basic research some time around 2025.
  • And what potential technologies will be investigated? In the same article from ESN, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm weighs in: “Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm famously expressed a view earlier this year that flow batteries are “good for grid storage,” and these enthusiastic words appear to be carrying over into action.” Hey, Secretary Granholm went to the Harvard Law School, so that makes her at least as qualified as I am to opine on what kind of storage the U.S. should acquire to store, say, 250,000 GWH of energy for six months. ESN reports that Granholm’s DOE has thus just awarded some $18 million in grants to four entities investigating various aspects of these hypothetical “flow batteries.”
  • In the somewhat less mythical category, here is an article from ESN just out today on the subject of zinc batteries, with the headline “e-Zinc raises US$25m to begin commercial pilot production of long-duration storage.” You only have to read a little of this to realize how totally remote from the needed capabilities these technologies currently are. “The [zinc battery] technology is being touted as a means to replace diesel generator sets in providing backup power for periods of between half a day to five days. . . . That ability to discharge at full rated power for several days potentially would take it past the capabilities of other non-lithium alternatives like flow batteries. . . . However, e-Zinc is yet to move beyond the pilot stage.” The technology to discharge at full rated power for more than “a few days” is not even at the “pilot stage.”

None of these articles, or much else from the Department of Energy, will give you much clue as to how much the deployment of any of these technologies might cost. But doing some searching today, I have dredged up a July 2019 document from the Department, with the title “Energy Storage Technology and Cost Characterization Report,” written by K. Mongird and a bunch of co-authors. This piece attempts to make cost comparisons among a large group of potential energy storage technologies, and to give cost projections for each as of 2025. The technologies are sodium-sulphur, lithium ion, lead acid, sodium metal halide, zinc-hybrid cathode, and redox flow. The authors actually attempt an honest assessment of costs, including not just the capital cost of acquiring each type of battery, but also the costs for the power conversion system (converting from AC to DC and back), the “balance of plant,” and “construction and commissioning.” The cheapest of the technologies in this analysis is lithium ion at $362/kwh, with the difference between that figure and the less-than-$200/kwh that Tesla currently charges consisting of the conversion, BOP, and C&C costs. But keep in mind that lithium ion technology only carries about 4 – 8 hours of discharge capability.

The second cheapest here is the zinc technology, at $433/kwh. Recall that Mr. Gregory calculated a storage need of about 250,000 GWH for the U.S. to back up a wind/solar system providing just the current level of electricity usage. Multiply by the $433/kwh, and you get approximately $108 trillion. If you’re planning to electrify all automobiles and home heating and cooking, you can at least double that figure. And this is the technology where they are hoping to demonstrate 5 days of discharge capability, against a need of more like 6 -12 months.

Read the full article here.

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Tom Halla
April 8, 2022 10:09 am

Knowing someone’s plans rely on vaporware tends to give one doubts about their motives.

william Johnston
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 8, 2022 6:04 pm

Motives? Or sanity.

Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 10:19 am

I was on the front lines of energy storage research for a decade. Even got a ~$2.5 million grant from the Naval Research Labs. My technology breakthru worked, but involved only supercaps. BIG breakthru: cut cost by 30%, improved energy density by 40%, power density by 100% (doubled). A very fundamental patent granted. Nothing anywhere close to that in any battery lab anywhere.

There is literally as of this writing no energy storage solution that even comes technically close to meeting renewable storage grid requirements. NONE. Let alone economically. And electrochemistry (battery science) has been a field of research since Alessandra Volta in the 1700’s. There is literally NO chance of a major new breakthru in that science.

Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 10:48 am

And in other high technology breakthrough news from Griff’s go-to source (The Independent) –

Reply to  Mr.
April 8, 2022 5:10 pm

Is griff the micro-cavity donor or receiver.

Joao Martins
Reply to  Mr.
April 9, 2022 2:39 am

griff, were you born so dumb or is it an acquired phenotypic characteristic? Do you stll believe Santa puts presents in your sock on Xmas eve?

Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 10:49 am

“…were finally able to prove the concept of superabsorption by building several wafer-like microcavities, filling them with organic molecules, and charging them with a laser.”

Oh yeah, gonna be an economical battery real soooon…..

Rud Istvan
Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:10 am

Well, I tracked this down. The paper appeared in Science Advances v10n2 on 14 Jan 2022. Unfortunately for grid storage, the maximum energy stored in this micro cavity experiment was exactly 0.184 eV. An eV is an electron Volt, defined as one electron increasing one volt. And electrons are REAL tiny. It takes just over E+18 of them to make up just one coulomb of electricity, which if flowing in a conductor over one second at 1 volt produces one ampere of current.

For those not into quantum physics or elect4ical engineering, the quantum battery stored exactly 0.29 E-19 joules of energy!

Not quite ready for the grid, Griff. You should do basic due diligence on articles like this before outing yourself as scientifically ignorant.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 11:39 am

Rud, Griff just got a bit confused about which link he meant to post.

He was actually researching how to keep sex toys charged up for longer, which was the other link from The Independent that I posted above.

Still, if a battery technology succeeds in keeping sex toys charged for long periods, surely that same technology would be adaptable for use as utility scale power storage?

Batteries are just batteries after all . . .

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Mr.
April 8, 2022 12:02 pm

. . . well, excluding those times when they spontaneously ignite and burn with such intensity that even deluges of water cannot extinguish them.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 2:43 pm

Yeah, but that will never happen when we have millions of them and they each hold far more power and we are discharging them at a rate that will power the entire electric grid.

No doubt when we are making them as fast as possible and the effort requires a legion of people that have never done this kind of work, they will be far higher in quality and hence safer.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 10:21 pm

As if… slave labor ever really cared anything about the end product, Nicholas.

You have identified at least one fly in the ointment.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2022 12:01 pm

Obviously, you forgot the end your post with “/sarc off”.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 10, 2022 7:01 am

I figure I am well known enough that anyone who is here even occasionally knows how I feel.
But to be on the safe side, I make sure it is clear that either I am kidding, or I am the worst of the worst of the climate demented.

IOW, yes, I forgot to add that.

All the best.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 11:45 pm

I think you’re using that sex toy wrong 😉

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Redge
April 9, 2022 12:04 pm

No, I ALWAYS buy alkaline or Nicad batteries for that purpose . . . NEVER, EVER lithium-ion.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 1:06 pm

But … but … but … the news said it was real!

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 10:46 pm

Hey, that only means having to scale up the technology by 36 orders of magnitude in order for it to store two weeks of standby energy for the U.S. Thirty six – that’s nothing! In 5 years, I’ll have lived twice 36 years, and it has sure gone by fast!

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:39 am

Where I can I buy a home computer based on the “quantum computing” breakthrough announced a decade or so ago?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 4:52 pm
Reply to  Scissor
April 8, 2022 8:10 pm

Quite real! Only $2,500.00 per qubit. Side trip to Excel and Amazon – if it follows Moore’s “law,” you’ll be able to match the price point of today’s computers real soon now – like in 2060. (Hey, you’ll be powering it with your home fusion generator, right?)

Hope you’re a lot younger than I am…

Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:59 am

Interesting scientific project, but about as much use as fusion power if you are trying to find an engineering solution to intermittency. In the form of an installable product. Sounds like its a ten year possibility.

You are, lets say, PM of a country like the UK. Are you going to bet on this being available by the time you get your 20,000 offshore turbines installed, and your gas generation shut down? And your EVs and heat pumps installed too?

Get real!

John Bell
Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 12:02 pm

Whenever the word QUANTUM is used…my BS detector flashes yellow. BEEP! BEEP!

Reply to  John Bell
April 8, 2022 12:34 pm

As indeed it should. This is exactly the sort of “breakthrough” that people w/o any background in R&D love to tout. As best I can tell from the actual paper this result requires femtosecond visible frequency laser pulses to get the “superabsorption” to occur – to me, as an erstwhile laser spectroscopist, nothing about appears practical outside of a laboratory anytime soon.

Reply to  John Bell
April 8, 2022 2:32 pm

Mine flashes with ‘Blockchain’

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  John Bell
April 8, 2022 3:27 pm

Yes, 99% of people have no idea what the word really means. When “quantum” is attached to something, it implies that the gizmo must be really really really really important/advanced.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
April 8, 2022 10:28 pm

Ahhh… so that’s why Taco Bell is introducing Quantum Quesadillas.

Ya gotta admit, it does sound really, really cutting edge.

Who is going to settle for an ordinary grilled cheese tortilla after that?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  H.R.
April 9, 2022 12:09 pm

Well, it does beg the question if the quantum entanglement associated with that quesadilla collapses in the stomach or closer to the exit of the alimentary canal.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  griff
April 9, 2022 12:13 am

The source article in “Science Advances” is here:

Superabsorption in an organic microcavity: Toward a quantum battery”
It takes an unimaginable leap of faith to go from this interesting research work to grid-scale storage in any meaningful timeframe. Practical fusion power by 2050 is more believable and we’ve been working on that for more than 60 years already.

Clearly Griff believes that little piggies will be flying around his house any day now.

But it seems the UK government has similar comical beliefs with regard to grid scale storage.

Reply to  griff
April 9, 2022 1:37 am

Yes he is back with some retardly over-optimistic link that might save us in 100 years 🙂

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 4:59 pm

There is literally as of this writing no energy storage solution that even comes technically close to meeting renewable storage grid requirements. NONE. Let alone economically.

Sums up the current state of play very succinctly-
Grid-Level Energy Storage And The Challenge Of Storing Energy Efficiently | Hackaday

That’s a foreign language to folks like griff who hang their tinfoil hats on the constant dribble of some latest taxeater breakthrough while the actual boots on the ground in short run lithium battery storage tech runs into resourcing shortages and climbing prices. The leftist hive mind always means well but struggles to do well because they can’t comprehend the meaning of tradeoff with marginal cost and marginal benefit-
California food waste law proves heavy lift in small towns as fuel costs spike (
It’s always one great big averaging slush fund for their tiny brains.

Rick C
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 5:07 pm

Rud: Obviously you foresaw that a major improvement in energy storage would be hugely profitable. Likewise every major battery producer making batteries for every conceivable purpose from hearing aids to industrial forklifts to EVs have spent much of their R&D budgets on trying to find ways to improve capacity, stability, energy density, and cost. There have indeed been incremental improvements and the batteries available today are certainly much better than those produced 2 or 3 decades ago. But there has been no major break through that would result in the quantum increase in capability or reduction in cost needed to make wind and solar energy viable.

No government has the power to command that a new technology be created to solve a problem and no amount of money can make the impossible happen.

Reply to  Rick C
April 8, 2022 7:58 pm

Didn’t such things happen regularly in the Soviet Union?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Rick C
April 9, 2022 1:36 am

Rick C,
There seem to be fundamental barriers for some processes like battery outputs that can be loosely traced to what we know of electrochemistry. It is similar to the barrier to output from solar panels. Or to the energy that can be taken from burning a ton of coal.
These barriers cannot be overcome by wishful thinking. Also, it is hazardous to imagine that Moore’s law of ever-increasing efficiency can be applied to other than a tiny number of examples, like transistor-type devices. (Moore’s law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.)
The heart of the matter is, how does the community convince policy makers to avoid ignorance in science, engineering, economics, mathematics, etc.?
Geoff S

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Rick C
April 9, 2022 5:12 am

John Bell’s BS detector just flashed.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 9, 2022 12:09 am

There was some hope with Fluoride Battery systems (Frauenhofer Institute) which talked about 30 times higher energy densities than Lithium ion batteries and around 6 times lower than that of gasoline. Recent improvements ( however wrt. to cycling bring them back to similar energy densities as Lithium-Ion. That Lanthanides (rare earths) are being used is however more or less just shifting the problem (rare Lithium, Cobalt -> rare Lanthanides, Nickel).
There are enough rock solid arguments to refute the whole CAGW narrative (Happer & Wijngaarden) and recently Christopher Monckton showed a fundamental calculation error which is also present in all models, resulting in a massive overestimation of ECS. It would just make more sense to maintain our business as usual scenario, maybe improving pollution in some cases, but retaining our current efficient and reliable energy systems. That Green New Deal nonsense has to stop, and the not yet wasted money put to better use.

Willem post
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 9, 2022 4:20 am

Elon Musk likely knows more about REAL WORLD battery system pricing than just about anybody, including various pontificating academic sorts, such as Mongird, who stated li-ion, grid-scale, battery systems will be at $362/kWh, delivered as AC, by 2025.

That estimate is off-the-charts BS.

Elon Musk just increased his Megapack prices by 24.5% to about $550/kWh, delivered as AC, for 2022

Those Megapack prices likely will much greater in 2025, due to higher inflation rates, higher bank interest rates, and higher battery materials prices.

willem post
Reply to  Willem post
April 9, 2022 4:34 am



This article has five parts

Turnkey Capital Costs of Site-specific, Custom-designed, Utility-grade, Grid-scale Battery Systems
Academic articles often assume low turnkey capital cost of battery systems at about $350/kWh, delivered as AC.

Such articles do not mention if that cost covers the entire battery system site, including step-up and step-down transformers.

The 2022 price is 24.5% greater than the 2021 price. 

The 2025 cost likely will be much higher, due to increased inflation, increased interest rates, and increases in materials prices, such as of Tungsten, Cobalt, and Lithium.

comment image?itok=lxTa2SlF

NOTEAfter looking at several aerial photos of large-scale battery systems with many Megapacks, it is clear many other items of equipment are shown, other than the Tesla supply, i.e., the cost of the Tesla supply is only one part of the total battery system cost at a site.

The EIA, an Agency of the US Department of Energy 

The Energy Information Agency, EIA, has collected turnkey capital costs and operating data of the energy sector for many decades.
The EIA surveys cover various battery types, not just Li-ion.

The first EIA report was issued in 2017, and covered grid-scale battery system in use for all of 2015

The most recent EIA report was issued in 2021, and covered grid-scale battery systems in use for all of 2019

The EIA projects about $500/kWh by 2025, based on trends.

However, high inflation rates, high interest rates, and high materials costs will increase the average costs/kWh for 2021, and later years. 

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 10, 2022 9:48 am

As a reference point, back in 2017, a Tesla Powerwall cost over $10,000 installed, and holds 14 Kilowatthours of energy.
That comes to over $700 to store each ten cents worth of electricity.
But the cost has reportedly gone way up since then, and in fact Tesla can no longer make enough of them to sell them by themselves. You can only get one as part of a solar panel package

April 8, 2022 10:31 am

But clearly the people committing us to these goals have to know that a fully wind/solar and fossil-fuel-free electricity future requires lots of energy storage

Indeed they do, which is why the UK govt just funded 24 pilot long term storage projects to the tune of £6.7 million.

Ron Long
Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 10:37 am

griff, the total energy storage cost is “hundreds of trillions”, your 6.7 million pounds is a mosquito fart in a tornado.

Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:03 am

That’s a lot short of Gregory’s $108 Trillion times UK/US population ratio. Face reality Griff, only nuclear sorta works for CO2 reduction, electric home heating, everyone drives electric golf carts…infrastructure costs will about quadruple everyone’s utility bills…and a significant part of the economy is going to use combustible liquids forever….

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 8, 2022 2:49 pm

“In order to save the planet from imminent thermageddon, you will pay me the sum of one hundred and eight…trillllllion dollars”!
“Muhah, muahahahahahahahahahaha!”

“But Dr Evil, that is more money than exists in the entire world!”

“Be that as it may. Nevertheless, you WILL pay me, by next Friday close of business at the latest…I am taking the weekend off and need to get out of town ahead of traffic”

Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:12 am

Indeed they do, which is why the UK govt just funded 24 pilot long term storage projects to the tune of £6.7 million.

No, they don’t.

Think about it – our politicians have committed our nations to ending fossil fuel power generation, but with only half of the equation solved for what takes the place of those decommissioned power sources.

Our governments are throwing money at experiments while we’re in the middle of trying to transition to “fossil-fuel-free” power generation. That’s like ordering a new car, being given a delivery date a month away, and finding out with two weeks left until pickup that the manufacturer just started building a prototype engine that is supposed to be in your new car.


Reply to  ih_fan
April 8, 2022 2:03 pm

And the day you pick up the new car, you’re committed to moving cities, for work. And you’ve got a bike, with a flat tyre ….

‘Idiots’ is being very kind.
Unnecessarily kind, perhaps.


Reply to  ih_fan
April 8, 2022 3:01 pm

I heard it described as the Government ordering you to ride a Unicorn, and promptly shooting your horse.

Reply to  Davidf
April 8, 2022 4:06 pm


Rick C
Reply to  Davidf
April 8, 2022 6:22 pm

Good one.

It’s like building a 100 story skyscraper without elevators.
It’s like opening a bridge to traffic that only goes half way across a river.

Reply to  ih_fan
April 8, 2022 8:18 pm

Say that it only costs the same as the Manhattan project (just for the technology development, not rolling it out). That’s just shy of £30 billion.

Guess they really aren’t all that serious.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  writing observer
April 9, 2022 5:19 am

And the Manhattan project used existing science to build 3 devices that blew up leaving no physical remains.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
April 9, 2022 12:38 pm

Existing science?
All they did was build three devices?
Tell me you have a superficial and flat out wrong idea about important things but are arrogantly sure you know what you are talking about, without telling me you have a superficial and flat out wrong idea about important things but are arrogantly sure you know what you are talking about.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  writing observer
April 9, 2022 12:41 pm

Is that inflation adjusted?
Besides for that, once upon a time government got a good price on stuff.
Now they pay 10 to 100x what anyone else can get the same product or service for.
Bring back the Golden Fleece awards.
People used to be scandalized when their tax money was spent carelessly and with no regard for fair value.

Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:19 am

6.7M/24 = $279K each on average. That will buy you basically a pile of rocks, a goPro camera and some thermometers on Amazon. That is a huge commitment by the UK gov’t.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:44 am

Bureaucracies around the world, notably those of the USA and UK, are famous for pouring money into funding projects that go nowhere. The amount of money being spent thusly is a secondary, perhaps even tertiary, consideration.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 1:13 pm

I could give you a long list of expensive failed projects at NREL and Argonne. At least my work with NRL was both real and successful. I made the scientific breakthru theoretically, then mathematically, then funded proof of principle at CAER—all on my own nickel and with about $100k of additional lab equipment comprising a rotary tube furnace, knife mill, and jet mill. The NREL funded CAER and itself to make hundreds of functioning supercap prototypes so we could shake down all the operating parameters for the next scaleup to pilot line production of my nanocarbon material.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 1:56 pm

Congratulations for standing out in a field of many! (And I do mean that sincerely.)

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 5:19 pm

I think our good Dr. Istvan also has a dairy farm, in Wisconsin, is it?
So, not only is he outstanding in his field, he is also no doubt at times out standing, in his field!

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 5:44 pm

It feels a bit lonely. How many conferences have I gone to to explain the math and experimental results, only to be greeted by disbelief since what they were taught and believe what just objectively wrong? Hundreds. My ‘sin’ was starting ab initio as a math model pro knowing nothing about conventional supercap ‘physics’.
So read the complete peer reviewed literature, and it did NOT make sense. So I imagined what might, based on those many experiments. Then developed the proper math. Then funded proof of principle experiments. And was proven correct.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 9, 2022 12:12 pm

Rud, is anybody building them?

Dan DeLong
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 6:22 pm

I would like to see an honest effort describing pumped storage costs. There are thousands of ocean shores around the world that are mountainous. Thus, the lower storage area is the ocean, and the upper storage is a manmade lake on top of the mountain. Does anyone know of such a study? Things like seawater corrosion of pump and turbine need to be included. (insert photo of white cliffs of Dover)

Reply to  Dan DeLong
April 8, 2022 8:27 pm

Uh, no. About as environmentally sane as building the choppers and roasters. For one reason – contamination of the water table.

Which is why the pumped storage scheme is only being considered between two freshwater reservoirs.

Dan DeLong
Reply to  writing observer
April 9, 2022 2:36 pm

When I said “honest effort describing” that by definition includes the cost of not contaminating groundwater. Sewage ponds, waste dumps, and mine tailings ponds solved that particular problem decades ago.

Mike Edwards
Reply to  griff
April 8, 2022 11:54 pm

UK govt just funded 24 pilot long term storage projects to the tune of £6.7 million.”

Excuse my maths, but I make that about £279K per project. That is way less than chickenfeed and is way less than is paid out to a typical scientific research project. It will barely pay for a couple of research workers.

This demonstrates how unserious the UK government is about long term storage.

Reply to  griff
April 9, 2022 1:39 am

Key word for Griff … “pilot”

It isn’t going to save you Griff and we are coming after you … 800ppm here we come.

Don’t you love how prohibition policies work 🙂

Ron Long
April 8, 2022 10:39 am

I’m thinking of going with “energy squirrels”, those little critters that work for peanuts and run tirelessly in a spinning drum that powers an electric generator. Wait for it.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 8, 2022 8:11 pm

Peanuts will be costing more soon.

Reply to  Ron Long
April 8, 2022 8:28 pm

I’ve been trying to coax the squirrels in my back yard into the wheel for several months now.

They might be squirrel-brained, but they aren’t going for it.

April 8, 2022 10:44 am

Don’t forget governments live off tax dollars, so climate pledges are a lot like someone on welfare pledging 10 million $$ to charity…

Reply to  DMacKenzie
April 8, 2022 2:02 pm

… nevermind …

John K. Sutherland
April 8, 2022 10:47 am

They known not, what they do.

Reply to  John K. Sutherland
April 8, 2022 4:52 pm

But I will not forgive them

Willem post
Reply to  Dennis Topczewski
April 9, 2022 4:24 am

Vote the bastards out, en masse

April 8, 2022 10:51 am

Long life utility scale batteries have been coming now for longer than THE Second Coming.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Mr.
April 8, 2022 1:17 pm

The only utility scale commercial batteries are high temperature sodium sulfur. They are very expensive and have a service life of about 15 years. They do come in MWh modules. The installed cost is about $780/kwh. Wrote them and the grid storage scene up in essay California Dreaming in ebook Blowing Smoke.

Albert H Brand
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 2:50 pm

There is a company , Ambri, in Massachusetts that has produced a liquid battery which has no separators and relies instead on density of the constituents to keep them separated. High operating temperature. Interesting,maybe?

David Dibbell
April 8, 2022 10:52 am

Piles of coal and caverns full of natural gas suddenly seem like a pretty good storage option.

Chris Nisbet
April 8, 2022 10:52 am

Let’s say we did have some cheap/practical way to store all that energy. We’d also have to have some way to charge this monstrosity, yes? This would have to be in addition to all the wind/solar carpeting the earth to supply everybody else’s daily needs, yes?
I suppose that we’d want to charge this storage system in a reasonably short time, so it had enough energy stored up to cover the next calm weather event.
I wonder if there would be any part of the surface of the earth left uncovered by bloody solar panels and bird killers.

Reply to  Chris Nisbet
April 8, 2022 10:55 am

Picky, picky, picky Chris.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
April 11, 2022 10:05 am

That’s the “other shoe” dropping that you always hear about.

Joe Born
April 8, 2022 11:07 am

My rough back-of-the envelope calculations based on a year’s Texas wind suggest that even at only $80/kWh battery back-up would be exceedingly expensive.

Fig 7.png
Joe Born
Reply to  Joe Born
April 8, 2022 11:11 am

For what it’s worth, here’s a study of using hydrogen as back-up that assumes it would be pretty cheap.

Leonard Weinstein
Reply to  Joe Born
April 8, 2022 1:01 pm

New LiIon batteries last several thousand cycles (over 4,000 in some cases). A 1 kWh capacity battery for 4,000 cycles is 4,000 kWh delivered power (ignoring losses) over life time. At $80/kWh, this is 80/4000=$0.02/kWh delivered added cost. This is actually a reasonable level of cost added. However, $80/kWh is far lower than present, so may not be possible to achieve. One problem is lack of enough lithium or some other materials to make enough batteries to do the required job. Also, solar and wind are more expensive than commonly quoted when all factors are included.

Joe Born
Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
April 8, 2022 2:45 pm

You raise a question that I ignored because, quite frankly, I’m not knowledgeable about battery life.

As you can see in my post, I figured that at a battery price of $80/kWh the optimum configuration for a battery-only-backup system would be 69 hours of storage. That is, the storage would cost $80/kWh × 69 hours = $5520/kW of average system load. 

I was assuming all-debt financing at 4.3% over 30 years, which is 6% per annum. So that worked out to $5520/kW × 6% ÷ 8766 hours = $0.038/kWh, and I considered this optimistic because I didn’t account for charge/discharge loss. Obviously, one reason I came up with nearly twice your value is that I included the time value of money—and perhaps my finance rate was high. (I might also point out that we’re really dealing with wholesale prices, so these numbers may be more significant than our speaking in terms of kWh instead of MWh makes this seem.) 

Be that as it may, here’s the question. I didn’t take into account the possibility that the batteries would last longer than the 30-year life I was (generously) assuming for the turbines. Of course, 30 years is nearly 11,000 days. But for this much storage the batteries wouldn’t cycle every day. So, although I haven’t tried to figure this out, I’m guessing they’d go through the equivalent of significantly less than 4,000 cycles in 30 years.  
Still, isn’t there something more than the number of cycles that affects longevity? I’m not really entitled to an opinion on this issue, but to me 30 years seems like a long time.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Joe Born
April 8, 2022 5:00 pm

Batteries go bad from passage of time, not just charge and recharge cycles.
They are nothing like an inert brick.
There are chemicals in there, and reactions happen, things crystalize, atoms and molecules diffuse…who knows what else.
The main point is, this is being sold as the forever from now on solution.
And the amount of money to make this stuff is way beyond ruinous…it is more money than exists in the value of everything we have ever built put together.
And all of it wears out rather quickly for things that are critical and permanent infrastructure.
There is so much energy stored inside one of them, that they have a habit of bursting into flames, and burn so hot they cannot be extinguished, and burn for days before they go out.
How far apart are we gonna space them?
When we have millions, how many will be burning at any given time if one in ten thousand ignites from time to time?

Managing the charging and discharging will all by itself be a monumental task for a power pack that is replacing every single nuclear, coal, nat gas, and other type of power station in the whole country.
Do we put them near the power generating source, or near the places where the power is used?
How fast do they need to get recharged so as not to be in a situation where we have no power because we could not get them recharged fast enough?
If it is enough battery for 25 days, we obviously cannot take 25 days to charge them…it would have to be way faster than that.
Recharge and discharge rates I think are among the factors that can cause them to burst into flames.
So, we have x amount of generating capacity to power the country for one day night cycle, storing enough by day and when windy and no clouds or snow cover.
To add enough extra above that amount to charge up a large drawdown during a sun and wind drought, we have to have multiples of X amount of additional generating capacity.
What multiple?
Will we be OK if we take five days to recharge 25 days worth of battery power?

That seems like a long time to recharge.
But 5 five day recharge time for 25 days of battery power, will mean having, just for the recharge function, at least 5 times more turbines and panels that what we need to run the grid!

And power demand is tricky.
It is never constant, and demand can ramp up to a very high level very quickly.
It will almost never be in balance with real time generation, which depends on random wind potential shifts, clouds moving in over the panels, snow covering them, sunsets…etc…
But demand varies on a completely separate set of factors, and may at times be extreme, such as widespread very cold or hot weather, for example.
Power is lost with every transition from AC to DC, from line current to battery storage and back the other way again, and from DC back to AC.
And transmission losses will be huge when we have to site generation where we can find sun and wind, which has nothing in common with where we need the most power, which by the way will be shifting from one part of the country to another continuously, and may be very unpredictable and at times highly concentrated in a few areas.
Moving power over thousands of miles is a whole other ball of wax from doing it over hundreds of miles.

Then there is the whole issue with synchronizing a large number of separate sources into a grid with no spinning power sources.
And if it crashes and we need to restart?
I seem to recall it is impossible to restart a grid when there is only panels and turbines…

I am guessing the engineering challenges to plan out all of this, and to anticipate margins of safety and extra capacity in such a system, ahead of time and with all of the constraints, will be flat out impossible for numerous independent reasons.

Joe Born
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 5:36 pm

I agree with most of your observations; I seriously doubt that large-scale battery storage will ever be practical, although technologies have surprised me before.

One thing, though: at least if I understand what you’re saying, I don’t see the charging-rate problem that you do. Charging could be pretty gradual, as Fig. 5 from my post suggests.

Fig 5.png
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Joe Born
April 8, 2022 6:59 pm

I did not check on the relative max charging rate vs discharging rate, and was only using the five to one ratio to illustrate the need for a huge extra amount of turbines and panels just to recharge the batteries quickly.
Is there even enough wind capacity on our corner of the planet to install enough?
And panels…80% of world production comes from China.
Besides for the implications of that scary fact, is the fact that there will be lots of people allover the world wanting stuff that there is not enough of for everyone who wants it.

I do not think anyone will be able to accurately determine ahead of time the worst case scenario for sun and wind droughts and how that relates to the required battery capacity.
One would have to begin, it seems to me, with some idea of how often it will be tolerable to have no battery power left and then have not enough sun and wind to run the grid. IOW, how often can we tolerate having no power, and how long might we have no power in a worst case scenario?
The national security implications alone are off the chart.
Power fails, everyone’s food all spoils…no communication, no ability to travel, sweltering, freezing, boredom because nothing to do.
Hospitals? Obviously no matter what, some things will need to have not only back up generators, but enough fuel on hand to cover any possible outage interval, or people die. Lots of people.
And how much fuel is that?

I think that over just the past couple of years, some places in Europe and GB found themselves in wind droughts that were far beyond the scope of what had been determined ahead of time to be the worst case scenario.
How long was the longest one? Weeks I think.
And short and long ones turn out to be more common that the “experts” had anticipated could possibly occur. Imagine that…what a shocker.

I think Tesla’s superchargers are charging up the batteries in those cars very quickly. But I am not sure if they can do so for the entire battery capacity.
I could be wrong, but I think they need to avoid ever discharging them all the way, and I suspect fast charging is best not used to top them up to 100%, but I do not know for sure.

One thing is for sure: If we ever did wind up using batteries to power literally everything we use have that uses any energy, we will need to have it figured out with a large margin for error how fast they can deliver power when there is no wind and it is dark out, and how fast we need to charge them back up after a large drawdown to avoid disaster.

On the other hand, this is all academic, because it is obviously impossible to ever do any of this, for numerous separate reasons, starting with all of the reasons we are considering here on this thread and in the headline article.

What I am hoping is, that what is going on right now with rapid energy cost inflation, and the resulting outrage on the part of the electorate at the prospect of this going on and on not just for a long time but forever, with no upper limit in cost discernable, will cause voters to throw out a gigantic number of the elected officials who are seen to be responsible.

The politicians know this, and are already calling for short term increases in production while also speaking of maintaining the medium and long term plan to eliminate all gas and oil production.
The thing is, there will never be a time when it will be acceptable to stop production, because even slowing it below the rate of usage causes prices to instantly spike.
And the energy companies are paying close attention to the words and intentions of the party in power. No one is going to invest in expensive projects when the White House has, can, and will cancel even projects that are far along and have already cost billions.
So supply will likely only increase by any large amount when another party is in power, since no matter what FJB says, he cannot be trusted whatsoever, not for a minute and not as far as one can spit.
Even then, projects that cost billions and take a period of time that is longer than an election cycle, will be looked at with a serious stink eye by potential investors.
It seems to me that the Warmunist party will only abandon this insanity as their major policy goal when they know they cannot win an election until they do.
It is not clear if that will ever happen, or if sufficient numbers of voters even understand what is going on clearly enough to not turn around and vote back in the party of civilizational suicide.
For one thing, it is not only elected politicians hell bent on ending reliable and affordable energy…it is countless bureaucrats, and powerful money managers, and bankers…

Will runaway inflation and a wage price spiral do the trick?
Years long stagflation?
Deep and long recession?
Or will it take some sort of calamity?
A military one, or a famine?
Unthinkable numbers of people freezing and/or starving to death?

We are way deep in uncharted waters, and here be dragons.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Leonard Weinstein
April 8, 2022 2:58 pm

We can get big fans which run on diesel generators to blow a whole bunch of wind at the turbines whenever the real wind dies down, and we can light up the solar panels with giant floodlights that we can power with portable propane generators.
For the Ivanpah type of solar collectors, we will use the standard natural gas method to run the thing when it is not sunny enough.

Reply to  Joe Born
April 8, 2022 2:34 pm

Why waste money on intermittent and low energy density wind?

Build a nuclear plant and move on?

Danley Wolfe
April 8, 2022 11:12 am

This is the full article… comment made at Francis Menton’s website… “Companies typically budget discretionary funds for long-term research on unproven technology … we used to have a couple of persons doing long range speculative research with budgets at a couple hundred thousand bucks each. Nothing on the scale of the U.S. Energy Storage Project (with hundreds of millions of dollars). What is the likelihood of developing a storage of more than a few days of energy. A more likely approach would be to construct a massive water storage facility on top of Mount Everest to store potential energy … but this would need to add antifreeze to prevent the water from freezing … and could only supply electricity to Tibet and other nearby central Asian countries. But big government will throw your taxpayer money at projects with little likelihood of succeeding.  Needs to be “realistically managed” based on expectations. ?? 

April 8, 2022 11:15 am

Notice just about all energy storage is chemical (splitting molecules apart and putting them back together), which while does work to some extent, will never provide the energy required outlined in the article above. In fact, even the same process of burning fossil fuels will in time need a replacement as the resources become more scarce.

The only way to solve our energy problem will be nuclear, so why don’t we just get on with it? Installing windmills, solar panels and batteries to back them up is a fools errand. We as humans are just plain really, really stupid at times.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  rbabcock
April 8, 2022 1:26 pm

We could, but 3rd Gen is very expensive. Vogtle 3 and 4 and the new Finnish reactor from France prove that.

I think the better strategy is to forget ruinables (insurmountable problems) and go with CCGT with service life over 40 years. With shale fracking, there is no danger of running out any time soon and places that don’t have it can import LNG.

During that 40 years, really engineer 4th Gen concepts like small modular PWR and T or U molten salts. Select a couple of the best, and build them to shake all the bugs out. Then go nuclear with one or more 4G designs of known build and operate costs.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 2:25 pm

NuScale is moving ahead with its modular reactor. FLR is a buy-and-hold just for their ownership in NuScale. You also get LNG build-out exposure. 4th Gen reactors are about a decade away. There is no doubt in my mind that CCGTs are the bridge to the nuclear future of energy.

It just boggles my mind that people actually believe CO2 concentrations are a problem. The myth of CO2-driven climate change is driving the western world into economic ruin. Its all very sad.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nelson
April 8, 2022 3:01 pm

And to think, it used to be hard to imagine how people ever got crazy enough to buy tulip bulbs for as much as a house cost.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 3:25 pm

Mostly on board, although would like to see more coal-fired generation in the mix, as coal reserves are vast and natgas is a much better fuel for decentralized space heating.

jeff corbin
April 8, 2022 11:21 am

A conventional SCMES providing a cubic meter of magnetic flux with a density of 10 T has an energy of 40 MJ (11 kWh), the same than 40 m3 of water at 100 m high. It takes an e-car 33.3 kWh to go 100 miles. (,be%20cold%2C%20very%20much%20cold.). As you can see current SCMESs’ are far too large and too expensive as the Next Gen Battery for houses or cars. SC R&D is fervently underway, (basic R&D with a focus on Quantum computing not solving energy needs). Yet there is a growing interest in SCMES for cars but we are decades away unless the R&D information is being suppressed, which is highly doubtful. Then again, I don’t trust the internet for information about emerging tech. It would be better to source an expert at Bruker Corp or MIT for a long range assessment of the viability of SCMES as the next Gen Battery. Currently. market research for the SCMES industry costs about $5,000-$7,000 a pop. Tesla keeps teasing us with Battery Day which stimulates rumors of graphene batteries…. sells stock eh?

Gordon A. Dressler
April 8, 2022 11:36 am

Joe Biden’s April 22, 2021 press release declaration of reaching “100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035″—with no details given as how to do such—is very much along the line of Pharaoh’s (as played by Yul Brynner) statement in the movie The Ten Commandments:
“So let it be written, so let it be DONE!”
(see the video clip at . . . it is iconic!)

April 8, 2022 11:56 am

250000 gigawatthours equals 250E12 watthours.
Converts to 900E15 Joules or 900E9 MJ or 900E3 GJ
If LiOH chemistry can hold about 250 watthours per kilogram, then the mass of that battery would be around 1E12 kilograms, or 1 gigatonne.
Guarantee that the charge efficiency of the LiOH battery system would be less than 1.

Petrol energy density is around 46 MJ per kilogram.
So about 900E15 divided by 46E6 Joules equals 19.5E9 kilograms
At 800 kilograms per cubic meter, that would be 24E6 cubic meters.

Just crude oil in the ground has about 40 gigajoules per cubic meter.
So the volume of crude oil needed to match the battery would be only 22500 cubic meters.
That’s about 142 thousand barrels

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  bwegher
April 8, 2022 2:05 pm

The US used 3.8 trillion kilo watt hours of power in 2020.
Check my math, but I think that is 3,800E12 watthours.

So, 250 battery vs 3800 usage.
About enough for 1/15th of the needed power for a year.
In 2020.
But we are not using power for cars on any large scale.
And we use gas and oil for heating and cooking in most places.
And the buildout in question seems like it would require we turn our country into the largest mining and refining and manufacturing economy to ever exist…by possibly orders of magnitude.
So we are really talking about a battery backup for a power requirement far higher than what we used in 2020.
Anyone know how to estimate how much power we need to replace all combustion of FF with electricity?
Consider also that we currently make most of our power near where it is used, so transmission and distribution losses are lower by far that they will be when we have to move the power from where the is a lot of sun and wind to our large cities etc.

How many people will we need to be miners, machine operators, factory workers, refinery workers, power grid construction workers, electric car factory workers, road builders for all the new infrastructure and mining roads, junk yard personnel to scrap and recycle all the cars and trucks and heavy machinery we will no longer be using…on and on…?

And the same ones foisting all of this are squarely against a single new mine anywhere for anything, EVER!

I seem to recall Willis E wrote about his calculations for how fast we would need to be adding nuke plants to replace all of our FF power with nuclear by 2050.
I am fuzzy on the number he came up with, but my sense of it was that it was many new ones EVERY WEEK!
And those would be easy and smaller in number by far than doing the same with devices that try and gather diffuse energy.

It becomes very obvious no one who is talking about doing this net zero malarkey has ever spent any time gaming out any of the math…let alone logistics, for even the obvious parts of the whole ridiculous not-even-a-plan.
Are all of those people high?

Actually, it is impossible none of them have realized the truth of the matter.
At least some of them are definitely evil liars.

And backing way up…all of this is for a non-solution to a non-problem invented by people who have never been correct about anything, and based on the idea that another half of one degree of warming is literally the end of the world?

And even that idiocy is based on accepting with no evidence that a tiny amount of CO2 controls the temperature of the whole planet, even though we have all of the evidence from all of earth history (even their own ice cores!) that CO2 cannot possibly control much of anything except how fast or slow stuff grows?

The scope of this mountain of horseshit is hard to comprehend even for someone who knows all of the separate ways the warmistas are insanely wrong and stupid liars!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 2:27 pm

Anyway, I got a little sideways on my original point, which is that in order to build the batteries and cars and turbines and panels and everything else, we will need so many new mines and factories, all of which can only be operated using fossil fuels because at this point intermittents are about 3% of our power supply…we will need to use hugely MORE fossil fuels to do this buildout than we currently use.
While turning our country into continent sized open pit strip mine and industrial factory hellhole.
So we kill all the birds and bats while destroying our environment, and we all become miners and smelting factory workers while we go broke trying to afford an electric car with power prices skyrocketing, all while finding and burning more gas and oil and coal than ever while we simultaneously stop using any of them at all, so we can uselessly reduce emissions while China and India and the rest of the developing world increase their emissions my more than we have ever created, all because of a mistaken belief we will die if it gets a wee smidge warmer even though none of that we are doing will have any effect at all on global weather, and by the way it might be about to get cooler and icier for 30 or 40 years, even if we do not have one of the several overdue volcanic eruptions that will cool the planet by far more than a half a degree.

I think we need to have some elections to decide if we are really this collectively stupid or not.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  bwegher
April 8, 2022 2:37 pm

So the volume of crude oil needed to match the battery would be only 22500 cubic meters.
That’s about 142 thousand barrels.”

My first thought was, wow, that is a lot of battery and not a lot of oil.
But think for a second…if the battery is equal to the total electricity usage for 1/15th of a year for the whole country.
I do not think we can make 25 days worth of power for the whole country with the energy contained in 142K barrels of oil.

April 8, 2022 12:05 pm

I have one word, nuclear.

jeff corbin
Reply to  Bob
April 8, 2022 2:07 pm


Reply to  jeff corbin
April 8, 2022 2:35 pm

Sure…it works.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  jeff corbin
April 8, 2022 2:52 pm

To paraphase again what a French Nobel physics winner said about fusion:
”It is a pretty idea. We put the Sun in a box. The only problem is, we do not know how to make the box.”

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 8, 2022 5:52 pm

Hey…I know!
We can just use the actual Sun.
We only need to cover the entire NE quadrant of Colorado with solar panels, then build out a giant new grid to transmit and distribute the power.
Hmmm…we are gonna need some batteries for when it is dark or cloudy or it snowed more than a dusting.
We will need the entire population of Central America, and 37 million squeegees to keep them from getting too dusty.
We will have to have a warehouse the size of the Southeast quadrant of Colorado to store back up panels in case there is a giant hailstorm in Northeast Colorado, or a tornado. They get them every year, but only rarely do they cover all of NE Colorado with baseball sized hail. Last time was the day after we got done installing the last of the solar panels.
We will have to back up the panels with a Texas sized wind farm, and back that up with several Wisconsin sized ones for when a cat 5 hurricane comes blasting into Texas…

Oh, wait…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 6:00 pm

Oh, yeah…we will also need to add 37 million squeegee buckets to the shopping list, and the entire yearly flow of the Colorado river to fill up the buckets with squeegee water…
Anyone writing this down?
We would not want to forget anything, or forget not to not think of anything important.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 8:36 pm

Covering NE Colo. with PV will require donation of most of the productive farmland in the state, but who needs to eat?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
April 8, 2022 10:33 pm

Hey, Elon said it…I am just the messenger.
I was thinking about how hard it was just to remove the wildlife from the area where Ivanpah was built…in the middle of the most God-forsaken middle-of-nowhere barren desert imaginable.

But 25% of the entire state of Colorado will not be that big a deal to find and relocate every last bird and animal out of, right?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 9, 2022 5:41 am

Well Dementia Joe is working on it right now. He’s getting the entire population of Central America into Texas so they can be trained for the high tech solar panel maintenance jobs.

Reply to  jeff corbin
April 8, 2022 3:27 pm

Fusion if you can do it, fission until then.

April 8, 2022 12:07 pm

They said we had 10 years to save the planet…. in 1989

They say a lot of things. Their idea of a genius is Michael Mann

Dave Fair
Reply to  fretslider
April 8, 2022 1:20 pm

Michael Mann was a genius at selling his fake paleo climatology to the eager UN IPCC politicians. We are going on a quarter of a century and such fraud continues to infect CliSciFi. They even have a bogus hockey stick in AR6.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Dave Fair
April 8, 2022 4:39 pm

Jerry North, a climate modeler at Texas A&M, said that modelers were euphoric when they saw Mann’s hockey stick paper in 1998.

He said their models were telling them of a precipitous rise in temperature with CO₂ and here now, with Mann’s work, was the proof.

Climate modelers’ enthusiastic adherence was primary in the acceptance of Mann’s fall work. Their support powered him right through the investigations into the fraud and the grant money at stake assured his acquittal.

Of course, their models produced physically meaningless temperature projections, but the modelers were (and remain) not sufficiently trained to know that. And may not have cared, anyway.

Your deep state observation below now applies to science as well.

Reply to  Dave Fair
April 8, 2022 8:32 pm

It doesn’t take a genus at selling when the product is already eagerly awaited.

Coeur de Lion
April 8, 2022 12:08 pm

“100% carbon pollution free” and you know they are lying

April 8, 2022 12:10 pm

How far down the energy department chain of command must we go to locate an experienced E E or licensed civil engineer? Is there anyone in the communication section that can discriminate between stupid statements and real scientific prose?

Dave Fair
Reply to  DipChip
April 8, 2022 1:33 pm

I quit the Department of Energy at a fairly high level after eleven years because of the lies. I tell you from experience there is a Deep State and it wants to control you through official lies. No paranoia or conspiracy theories required: We’ve known since J. Edgar that the FBI is corrupt. We’ve known since Vietnam that the CIA is corrupt. We’ve known since Clinton (both of them) that the DOJ is corrupt. We’ve known since Greek and Roman times that all governments are corrupt. What more do we need to know to rise up against obvious corruption? The founding of the United States was a good try, but complacency and greed has degraded the effort.

Michael in Dublin
April 8, 2022 12:44 pm

When people are so ignorant that they believe a pilot project is no different from the first step in the production of a working, efficient, affordable and practical storage device they are deluding themselves. A friend, who spent his lifetime working with ceramics and researching brick making using various materials, told me how a pilot project baking 200 bricks in a small oven worked but when ramped up in scale failed miserably.

April 8, 2022 1:04 pm

To put it in perspective for folks that don’t pay attention to ‘details’ about things, I ask them how long their camper or trailer batteries will work for boon docking off grid, even if you have some solar available you might have on the flat roof of your RV. Which is great for 4-5 months of the year, (either side of noon for 5-6 hours) but almost useless the rest of the year.

Well, they say, might operate my sat TV and television for part of the night, and charge the cell phone if you lucky enough to be in cell range, but won’t run the Star Link dishy internet for long which draws an average 100 watts when not in snow melting mode. Forget about running the inverter to run the microwave for long, maybe re-heat last nights dinner for 5 min. And forget about the fridge which would take 250-300 watts.

That’s how simple this is to understand for the folks who actually use batteries, and is only a matter of scale between your RV and civilization. Batteries are great for a wee little bit of electrical power for some real low wattage, but if you are expecting to run your RV off of batteries indefinitely, then better have a lot of batteries and a gas or LPG generator. Solar does help, which I do have, along with some Iron Phosphate batteries, and a portable Jackery 1500 watt pure Lithium battery, but even then, you just get a few extra hours. Without a stable input of electricity from a generator of some type, you better not fall asleep with the TV and internet on overnight, or you wake up with flat batteries. And if they lead acid batteries, you just started ruining them.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Earthling2
April 8, 2022 1:38 pm

Been there, done that, got the aggravation. Wives and children don’t understand and just get mad at you.

Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 1:11 pm

Consider there is nothing close to any source of lithium large enough for this battery array.
And this is only the US, and only the grid…not all the other batteries in our devices and cars.
And the cost assumes the price of lithium to stay the same when we needed hundreds of times more than is currently mined on the planet…just for this country and just for this part of the plan…we need batteries for 250 million cars and light trucks, and all of our farming, mining, and constructions machines!
(The trucks used at mines are as big as a very large house.)

And then…how long do they last?
They will need to be replaced regularly.
My sense of it is, we could not build them fast enough to ever have a full array before the oldest ones wore out and needed replacing.
This is absolutely idiotic at every level.
Not the least of all the reasons is that many of us here identified this impossible to solve bottleneck the first time we heard about this plan to try to store electricity.

In short, no part of the idea is even possible, let alone feasible.
The materials to build and space to locate enough turbines, panels, batteries, grid infrastructure…and replace them before they wore out and failed…simply do not exist in the required amounts.
We would have to do mining on a scale never seen.
Probably many of the materials simply cannot be obtained no matter what in sufficient amount within the time window.

There is hardly any reason to list any of the many other things that are required that are simply impossible to do to make the idea work, since it literally cannot work.
Can Not.
It is not hard.
It is physically impossible.

Oh yeah, and it would require we junk all of what we already have.

Richard Page
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 1:46 pm

That’s all right, they’re working on that very last part first!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Richard Page
April 8, 2022 3:18 pm

If what you said here was intended as a joke, it would not be even slightly funny.
The fact that what you said is very literally true, is so mind boggling I cannot even think of any words to characterize it or describe how it all makes me feel when I contemplate it.

It is dizzying, nauseating, infuriating, it makes my mind go blank with feelings of helplessness and futility, alternating with trying to muster some sort of resolve to do whatever I can possibly do to help and stop it…

And then I think of all the young-uns who believe the end of the world is happening right now, and are overdosing, giving up on life, dropping out of school, making no plan at all to have a careers, kids, a partner, or anything…

How did the stupid people, jackasses who cannot discern sh!t from Shinola, come to be running things they literally know nothing about?
They are worse than when the Three Stooges were plumbers.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 3:50 pm

I changed my mind…if it was only a joke, it would in fact be funny.
Sorry about that!

Mike Lowe
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
April 8, 2022 2:34 pm

Has anybody told Biden? And if they did, would he understand? Or Harris? Or ???????????????

April 8, 2022 1:40 pm

Sure, there’s a storage problem, but an (even worse?) generation problem. Essentially impossible to achieve by 2035 or even 2050. I think Willis has had one of the best expositions of this.

Bright Green Impossibilities – Watts Up With That?

Pat Frank
April 8, 2022 2:51 pm

Joe Biden will reach “100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035″ the same way King Canute stopped the tide and Midas turned everything into gold.

And if he and the government ever try to forcefully impose that plan, they might find that Burnham Wood has come to Dunsinane.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Pat Frank
April 8, 2022 3:39 pm

What am I signing?” — Brandon

Carlo, Monte
April 8, 2022 3:24 pm

As I’ve written before, the DoE EERE program has been transformed into The Search For The Magic Battery since about 10 years now. The properties of this hypothetical are along these lines, as compared with all current batteries:

1—High energy density
2—Low mass
3—Low cost
4—High reliability
5—Does not degrade with operation
6—Easy to manufacture
8—High charge and discharge rates

There are few (if any) that can meet even one of these, they are all bad.

The Search will continue to eat up Federal research $$$s.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
April 8, 2022 5:33 pm

I wonder if there’s a physical law out there, something on the order of the Shockley-Queisser limit (pv solar) or Betz limit (wind), that might put the kibosh on this grid-scale battery nonsense.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 8, 2022 6:05 pm

Seems like it might not be too hard to discover…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 8, 2022 7:42 pm

I like that idea!
I think I am gonna give it a think.

A few years back, we had some authors who wrote about evaluating various ways to generate power according to a metric called “Energy Returned On Energy Invested”
IIRC, the calculations showed that for turbines, the EROEI number was something just over two I think…maybe 2.20?
Have to look and try to find that article.
I know I wrote a lot of posts on my Twitter page about it, but I do not know how to search my years old tweets.

Anyway, 2.2 is a factor that indicates that it is not worth it to build them if there are no subsidies or incentives to do so.
IOW, you cannot build and install a wind turbine using only the power obtained from a wind turbine.
The metric should include all energy used, from mining all of the materials, transportation, factories, installation including the concrete, and the roads and power lines.

It is impossible to have an economy based on a source of energy that cannot even replace itself over it’s life span.
Imagine if to mine coal and burn coal to make power, it took almost as much coal power as the mine and power plant was able to produce?

So, one possible approach might be the determine how much power it takes to make enough batteries to back up a turbine over it’s life span?

Or something like that.

April 8, 2022 4:44 pm

…”a multi-hundred-trillion dollar total transformation of the entire energy economy that will supposedly be accomplished within the next 13 years using technology not yet invented let alone demonstrated at scale…” using technology not yet invented That’s the best part. But then again they did that with cellulosic ethanol……

Reply to  Dennis Topczewski
April 8, 2022 7:12 pm

But, there will be no problem, none at all, as soon as we discover more stores of the magical unobtainium! 🙂 /sarc

April 8, 2022 5:40 pm

On the bright stide, oil prices are doubled and the delivered cost of most engineering metals are up 50% or more just this last quarter. Expect greater increases in costs of lithium, as well as plastics and resins, wood, and mineral-based construction material. Whatever the plan was, now double the estimated cost for finished products.
Top-down conversion of something as complex as a worldwide industrial economy can’t work.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  dk_
April 8, 2022 6:07 pm

One of the first things a technocracy needs is ‘crats who understand the techno…these political engineers couldn’t design a milk carton.

Reply to  Carlo, Monte
April 8, 2022 7:53 pm

Free Bubble Up and Rainbow Stew all around!
I’m assuming you mean technocrats since glittering generalities and free stuff is at minimum bipartisan.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  dk_
April 8, 2022 8:30 pm

They do not seem to have taken into account that to do any of these huge projects, projects on the scale of replacing everything we have manufactured and built over many decades, and doing it with things that are more expensive and hard to get and make, will necessarily take a healthy economy that is brimming with excess power and raw materials, as well as a carefully conceived plan for how to make it happen without destroying the economy that allows it to be done.
So, having as a first step the shutting down the means by which our civilization is kept functioning, which is of course a stable supply of plentiful and affordable energy, it will become not merely hard but impossible to bring about the long term goal.
On top of that, if that first step disrupts everyone’s lives and livelihoods, if that first step literally ruins everyone’s life, no one will care about the plan to replace everything anymore, even if they did to begin with.
People are gonna care more about some vague, distant, and highly dubious threat to survival and prosperity, than they do about the harsh reality of an actual, immediate, tangible, and definite threat to survival and prosperity?
No, they will not. No way.
And when that vague and distant threat is seen for what is really is…nothing but a scare story from people who have proven to be completely dishonest and untrustworthy?
We may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  dk_
April 8, 2022 8:34 pm

They are gonna save us, no matter how many of us they have to kill to do it.

April 8, 2022 8:43 pm

Ken Gregory has a pdf of his work

Checking some basic numbers used in his work it looks to me that he is right.
If anything, he is a bit optimistic, but good enough. My calculation was in 2012 and has similar numbers. US48 grid electrical average base load was 475 gigawatts in 2012. Seasonal and regional differences may be more constraining, certainly for estimated peak loads. Grid scale backup using any battery tech would be excessively costly, and is highly speculative.
Total installed electrical capacity was near 1000 gigawatts in 2012.
Calculate the cost of 250 nuclear reactors at 4 gigawatt nameplate. At 4 dollars per watt, the cost would be 1 trillion dollars.
Replacing the US48 grid with wind, solar, hydro with battery backup would be at least two orders of magnitude more costly than nuclear.
Certainly hundreds of trillions of dollars. That’s an insane number considering the entire US GDP is 20 trillion annually.
250 nuclear reactors are a sane proposal, But not essential. Just build what is needed BAU.
The Ken Gregory paper has much more detail. Well worth the time to read over.

April 9, 2022 1:47 am

Griff is actually making, unintentionally, a very valuable contribution here.

What strikes most commenters about Net Zero and the alternative energy component of it is the impossibility of the alternative energy.

The most important objections people raise are, one the impossibility of achieving the sheer scale of the wind and solar installations needed in the time specified. Two, the size of the storage needed to make wind and solar usable, given their intermittency. Three, the cost of the project taken as a whole.

So in reply to pieces and comments where these issues are made clear, and in which the project is shown to be an exercise in futility, something that simply cannot be done and will not be done, and which will only produce an enormous engineering, social and financial disaster, we might expect defenders to produce some quantified reasons for their enthusiasm.

We might expect it from the policy makers and governments who are proposing to implement it. But we don’t get it.

What we get from Griff is much more valuable however. He keeps voicing the consensus that underlies renewable enthusiasm and enthusiasm for Net Zero in the Guardian, BBC and Ars Technica. And that is the view that we should just do it. Abolish conventional generation, move to wind, and all will work out.

Neither he nor the woke media have any idea how to implement it. In fact, one has the impression that the woke media has no writers who have ever implemented anything harder than changing a light bulb. And like Griff, when engineering reality is pointed out to them, they think its a reasonable answer in reply to point to speculative studies with very low chances of delivering prototypes decades from now.

What is worse is that ministers appear to have drunk the Kool Aid also. They are seriously proposing to abolish both the current automobile and current power generation without having any viable replacements to hand. Applauded by media and activists, and only criticized for not going faster.

What Griff does on every thread is exemplify the approach and the abilities that underlie this madness. They really do not understand that if you raise the demand for electricity by mandating heat pumps and EVs, that will increase the amount of generation you need. They don’t understand that you will have to have storage, huge amounts of it, and they haven’t even considered where to get it. They have not made any efforts to do prudent sizing or project planning, still less contingency planning to have a Plan B if things go wrong. They don’t have realistic costings for any of it.

And they have never stated the key thing: how much difference will it make to global temps, on their theories, if the UK (for instance) goes ahead with it?

Because that is the other point to take from Francis Menton’s pieces on this subject. Its not just the impossibility, and the prodigious expense. Its that after you have done all this, the effect on global temperatures will be zero.

China, for instance, is going to install this year about as much coal fired electricity generation as the UK has total generation from all sources. Next year it will install close to double that.

We have a political leadership which is in total denial of reality, getting information on a technical and engineering issue from a media which is staffed by liberal arts graduates who have never seen a project plan or a business plan or a scientific paper in their lives.

By putting this mentality on display every thread he posts in, Griff is actually performing an immense service. He makes clear the half wittedness that is guiding government, they really do have no idea what they are doing, and they really are going to take us off the cliff in the next ten years, unless somehow we manage to stop it.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  michel
April 10, 2022 7:37 am

Bravo, well said.
Better and in fewer words than my many comments.

willem post
April 11, 2022 6:31 am



This article has five parts

Here is PART 4

Oversized Battery and Cost of Absorbing Midday Solar Bulges
This part shows, in very simple terms, the REAL cost of battery systems per kWh of throughput.

Very often there is much crowing about battery revenues, but not about the: 

– Bank loan costs
– Owner’s return on investment
– Cost of subsidies

Assume for this analysis: Subsidies 45%; Bank Financing 50%; Owner Financing 50%

State governments require investors to have at least a 50% interest in such projects, i.e., “have skin in the game”
The battery primary purpose is to absorb a part of the midday solar bulge each day to avoid grid disturbances.
Some solar bulges are greater than others, which leads to an annual capacity factor of about 0.5
The annual throughput is about 1000 kWh x 0.5 x 365 cycle/y = 182,500 kWh/y
Battery system turnkey capital cost 1000 kWh x 1.25, oversize factor x $500/kWh, in 2025 = $625,000. See Note
NOTE: The EIA projected cost of $500/kWh for 2025 is assumed for this analysis.
The 2025 cost likely will be much higher, due to increased inflation, increased interest rates, and increases in materials prices, such as of Tungsten, Cobalt, and Lithium.

If the Owner hires someone to manage the project, that becomes a project operating cost
If the Owner decides to self-manage the project, that still becomes a project operating cost
Projects have many other costs during each year of their life
For analysis purposes, we will assume other costs at 15.00 c/kWh. See Notes

NOTE: Utilities that own grid-scale battery systems have the real numbers, which they do not make public, because they are “proprietary”

NOTE: The 15.00 c/kWh does not include the 18.40 c/kWh battery electricity loss. See Part 5

Payment to Owner on $312,500 at 9%/y for 15 years is $38,035/y, or 38035/182500 = 20.84 c/kWh
Payment to Bank on $312,500 at 6%/y for 15 years is $31,645/y, or 31645/182500 = 17.34 c/kWh 
Project costs are 20.84, Owner + 17.34, Bank + 15.00, Other costs = 53.18 c/kWh of annual throughput
Project revenues are (Subsidies 45% of 53.18 = 23.93 c/kWh) + 29.25, battery services = 53.18 c/kWh of annual throughput
If project revenues are insufficient, the Owner has to: 1) get more subsidies, 2) charge more for services, 3) reduce costs
All these issues are hatched out with detailed spreadsheets, behind closed doors, to end up with a deal between utility and Owner, that can be plausibly sold to the lay public, various regulatory agencies, and legislators 
As always, any costs not recovered by selling battery services are shifted from Owner onto ratepayers, taxpayers, and government debts.

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