The New York Times Does Energy Storage

From The MANHATTAN CONTRARIAN

Francis Menton

If you’ve been reading this blog lately, you know that the mythical transition to an energy future of pure “green” wind and solar electricity faces a gigantic problem of how to provide energy storage of the right type and in sufficient quantity. To make the electrical grid work, the wildly intermittent production of the wind and sun must somehow be turned into a smooth flow of electricity that matches customer demand minute by minute throughout the year. So far, that task has been fulfilled largely by natural gas back-up, which ramps up and down as the sun and wind ramp down and up. But now governments in the U.S., Europe, Canada and elsewhere say they will move to “net zero” carbon emission electricity by some time in the 2030s. Natural gas emits CO2, so “net zero” means that the natural gas must go. The alternative is energy storage of some sort.

Clearly, it is time to start figuring out how much energy storage we’re going to need, and of what type. Indeed, it is well past time to start figuring that out. If our government were even slightly competent, and also serious about “net zero” electricity by 2035, it would by this time have long since put together detailed feasibility and cost studies and demonstration projects showing exactly how this is going to work. Naturally, they don’t have any of that.

So how can this problem be addressed? One approach, discussed multiple times previously on this blog, would be to collect detailed data on hourly electricity usage and also hourly production from existing wind and solar facilities, and use that data to create a spreadsheet that will reveal information like how many gigawatt hours of storage will be needed, how long the energy must be kept in storage, over what period the energy will be discharged, and how much this will likely cost. Examples of such exercises have been reported multiple times previously here, most recently, for example, in this post of January 14, 2022.

But if that’s how you would approach this problem, then you don’t think like a progressive. To get some insights into the progressive approach, we turn as always to the New York Times. The Times has not up to now devoted a lot of its precious time and attention to this energy storage issue, but it so happens that they broached the subject in a substantial article that appeared yesterday on the front page of the business section, headline “Energy Fixes Exist. But They Need Money.” (The online headline is different.). The bylines are Eshe Nelson and Adam Satariano.

You can get the gist from the headline itself. The high status people like Times reporters and government functionaries have decided that the planet must be saved; and they assure us that “fixes exist.” It is now up to someone else to put up the money so that the low status people can do the menial task of working out the details.

The Times articulates the problem as follows:

The problem: how to make wind and solar energy available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even if the sun is not shining or the wind not blowing.

And how do we know that the “fixes exist”?

Solutions are available if given a financial boost, experts said.

Aha! — It’s the usual Times resort to the famous un-named “experts.” None of these experts are either named or quoted in this piece. Nor is there any mention of such issues as how many gigawatt hours of storage might be needed to back up the U.S. grid if powered only by wind and sun (the calculation in the January 14 post came to about 250,000 GWHs), or of how much that might cost, or whether batteries that can do the job can be produced, or are technologically feasible, to store energy for months on end and discharge it over the course of more months. Instead, we learn, for example, about the travails of Jakob Bitner’s battery company, VoltStorage.

VoltStorage needs “significantly” more money to develop its new battery technology, Mr. Bitner said. In 2020 and 2021, the company raised 11 million euros, or $12 million. Now, it is trying to raise up to €40 million more by this summer. “Even though we had great early-stage investors from Germany and Europe that keep supporting us, it becomes very hard to raise the tickets we need right now,” Mr. Bitner said, referring to individual investments.

So if this company and its technology are so promising, why aren’t investors lining up for the chance to put up money? According to the Times, it’s because those stupid venture capitalists have turned their attention to making a quick buck on the latest worthless fads, while the planet suffers.

Venture capitalists, once cheerleaders of green energy, are more infatuated with cryptocurrencies and start-ups that deliver groceries and beer within minutes. Many investors are put off by capital-intensive investments.

Could it be that the smart investors take a look at these proposed new battery technologies and immediately realize that they cannot deliver the necessary storage at affordable cost, or that they cannot meet the tests of being able to store energy for months and discharge over the course of months? Those possibilities are not mentioned here. After all, “experts say” that “solutions are available.”

And what do these “investors” say when confronted about their hesitancy to invest in new energy storage projects? You won’t be surprised:

[I]nvestors say government policy can help them more. Despite climate pledges, the regulations and laws in place haven’t created strong enough incentives for investments in new technologies.

What “government policy”? Well, to start, the government needs to suppress the existing industries that produce the carbon emissions:

Industries like steel and concrete have to be forced to adopt greener methods of production, Mr. Boni, the 360 Capital founder, said.

And as in essentially all Times pieces, it’s only a question of time before we get to the demand for government funds to subsidize the project:

For energy storage . . . and other large-scale projects, the government should expedite permitting, cut taxes and provide matching funds, said Mr. Fadell. . . .

Don’t worry, in New York Times world the government has infinite money.

Read the full post here.

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Tom Halla
April 23, 2022 10:15 pm

Rube Goldberg is a relevant reference. Most Political Science majors act as if Moore’s Law applies to all technology they do not understand. Of course solar and wind can show that sort of improvement?

observa
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 24, 2022 12:15 am

Yes energy and storage doesn’t work like that and so much for the climate changer’s belief that it does as the alarm bells sound for them-
BMW joins Toyota in denouncing a fully electric future – Drive
Musk says mine lithium and mint money – PM – ABC Radio

Lithium battery tech has reached developmental maturity coupled with manufacturing economies of scale with gigafactories. Essentially the sector has plumbed the cost bottom and is now staring at resource shortages with rising consumer pricing. There’s simply no way lithium battery production can satisfy electrification of transport let alone making solar and wind dispatchable.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  observa
April 24, 2022 2:01 am

“If someone cannot buy an (electric vehicle) for some reason but needs a car, would you rather propose he continues to drive his old car forever?” Mr Zipse (BMW).

Along with cost many people would not want to be seen in something so ugly.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 24, 2022 10:12 am

And so positively identified with socialist planned economies. Think East German autos on a grand scale.

Last edited 2 months ago by Dave Fair
william Johnston
Reply to  observa
April 24, 2022 6:12 am

This whole proposal appears to me to be a stunning example of capitalism at its purest. That is: the market place will determine winners and losers”. The only question being when will the proposers run out of other peoples money.

George Daddis
Reply to  william Johnston
April 24, 2022 7:57 am

If everyone would use the term “free market economy” instead of the word Karl Marx invented (“capitalism”), the answers to this and similar issues becomes obvious.

ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  George Daddis
April 24, 2022 6:29 pm

They’re not exactly the same. In a free market economy, there are no monopolies, which can only be enforced with the help of government. Likewise, in the US, the Government determines which products will be winners and which will be losers using regulations and taxes. Gas guzzler taxes and subsidies for electric cars are examples of governments determining winners and losers. Wind turbines vs coal-powered electric plants are another. Too Big To Fail is another example. These examples do not exist under Free Market Economies, but they certainly do under capitalism.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  observa
April 24, 2022 7:18 am

Yes. The IEA foresees potential worldwide shortages of lithium and cobalt as early as 2025. The EV revolution, more and more wind turbines, and battery storage to back up unreliables are already on the ropes as the vast scale of additional mining for the minerals required becomes apparent.

The EU,for example, does virtually no mining for the necessary minerals and so faces either reliance on China or increasing local mining in the face of the opposition of all its unreliable energy zealots.

DaveinCalgary
Reply to  observa
April 24, 2022 8:32 am

The quotes from the BMW CEO about people holding onto older, less efficient vehicles so clearly demonstrate the difference between people who govern, and people who work. The CEO is used to thinking about actual consequences and being brutally honest about every possible downside of his actions because his company depends on it. He can’t afford to arm wave at negative outcomes or skip out on uncovering unintended consequences.

He also seems to understand that life is about limited choices and economizing those choices. Something few if none of the western government placeholders understand much to the downfall of everyone. Econ 101 seems to be a mystery to the ruling class.

MarkW
Reply to  DaveinCalgary
April 25, 2022 11:10 am

When the EPA first started passing laws regarding power plant emissions, they grandfathered in existing plants. However they had a rule that if there were major changes to the plant, they had to come into full compliance with the current regulations. Small changes did not trigger this rule.

A particular power plant had plans to replace an aging steam turbine with a new, more efficient one. In previous years, other plants had made similar changes without triggering the full compliance rule.

In comes Jimmy Carter and his new EPA warriors. The new administration informs the power company that from now on, upgrading turbines is enough to invoke the full compliance rule. The company takes a look at the cost of full compliance, and decides that the old turbine should be able to last for another couple of decades.

The geniuses at the EPA were no doubt congratulating each other on finding a way to force a major clean up of this older plant. Instead they wound up with a whopping dose of nothing. Instead of getting an assured small increase in efficiency, along with a corresponding decrease in over all emissions, they killed the whole project.

In a similar vein, I was reading about a Democrat candidate for congress who wants to raise the minimum wage to $30/hr. She figures that a single mother with 3 children would need $30/hr to “survive”, so that’s the income she’s entitled to.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  observa
April 24, 2022 10:16 am

Do the Net Zero folk know that global lithium reached an all time high production in 2021 of … wait for it… 100,000Mt!

Now there is excellent resource potential, particularly in DRCongo (world’s largest deposits) and in Brazil where most production is by small artisanal (garimpeiros) at present. I did a ‘due diligence’ for a company in 2018 and the prospective ground extends in a belt over at least 400km long from N Minas Gerais to mid Bahia in the Brazilian Highlands paralleling the Atlantic. However, exploration, metallurgy, feasibility, financing, infrastructure …forget about 2035 and 2050 on the scale envisioned.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 24, 2022 2:10 am

You nailed it! They fell in love with their ideas & never bothered to think it through.
It’s “Three Stooges stupidity”! Soy-tainly! NYUK, NYUK, NYUK!!!

Last edited 2 months ago by Old Man Winter
TonyL
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 24, 2022 3:48 am

Over the past couple of days, I made up some NASA and NOAA temperature plots, if you are interested in them.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  TonyL
April 24, 2022 9:17 am

Sure, why not. It’s the good stuff!

TonyL
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 24, 2022 9:48 am

Here you are. The first one.

NASA-Special.png
TonyL
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 24, 2022 9:49 am

And the second.

NOAA-Special.png
TonyL
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 24, 2022 9:53 am

As you can see from the plots:
DOOM! We Are DOOMED!!!

{or something}

Que up Top Ten Reasons we no not take it all deathly seriously.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  TonyL
April 24, 2022 3:53 pm

Thanks again. The graphs are some more of the “yawn, boring” flat-
liner data that send the Alarmists ballistic- they have no perspective.

I went back to your original graphs & copied the ones you added since
then. Thanks! It took me 1/2 hr to find where I stored the first one. Right
now, I’m ~ three days behind in reading & must spend a day organizing
my computer.

It’s obvious they fell in love with alternate energy & never bothered to
see if it was viable as the storage problem needed to be solved
BEFORE they even began actually installing it! So now they’re having
to rely on “miraculous” breakthroughs to save the day- sheer
desperation after they totally blew it! (Maybe they were mesmerized by
this fact: Every hour, the sun radiates more energy onto the Earth’s
surface than is consumed globally in one year.)

Even though I think alt NRG’s totally unnecessary, I looked at how
viable it is & they’ve made a lot of moronic mistakes. If you look at
solar & wind potential maps of Europe, it makes no sense to put in
solar anywhere N of the Alps. For wind, Ireland, the UK, & the shore-
line of the Continent from the Baltic to W France, as well as the S of
France make the most sense. Right now, the UK has a 50/50 mix of
the two whereas a 20/80 solar/wind would have been much better!!!
At least France got it right on solar! (I got the French power graph,too.
I’m including the Eur wind potential map- hard to find.)

To help analyze solar & wind in the UK, I used these 4 sources. There
~ be similar ones in France as monthly & annual data hide all the dead
spots of production. It’s almost suicidal, creating situations of even more
desperation. Completely whacked!!!

https://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
https://gridwatch.co.uk/SOLAR
https://gridwatch.co.uk/WIND
https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/uk/london/historic (global)

The lowest I found for total production was on 3/28/22 @ 6am: 0.0933%
solar + 0.5640% wind = 0.6573% of a ~31GW daily avg. This was during
a long stretch from 3/21-29/22 where London had ~7 days straight & 8
of 9 days where the surface wind was <5mph & the other day ~11mph-
wind = ~11%; Glasgow- 8 days <3.5mph & 1 day ~9mph. Solar was <
5% UK daily avg (~5% * 31GW= 1.5GW) (wind, solar- ~14GW each)

Other interesting dates are: 2/8-12/15, 1/16-25/17 (smog worse than
Beijing). Wind needs 7-9mph to generate power & ~20 mph to reach
their rated capacity. Having done a lot of airdrop from 500′-1100′, the
slower the wind on the ground, the smaller the rate of increase as you
gain altitude. At low winds, 150′-600′ will only average ~+1-3 mph > the
surface; at 10mph surface, ~+3-5mph.

I haven’t been able to find any good sources on storage. One in 2016
had mentioned having 2GW (?) by 2020. They probably had to include
the 360Mw “pumped-storage” Ffestiniog Power Station in Wales- aka
the old reliable environmentalist unfriendly dam- to reach that goal!!! 😮

Here’s a weekly look at Yankee humor I haven’t read yet. There are >
700 responses, too. The homepage has some good articles from other
blogs on top. Enjoy!.

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/04/the-week-in-pictures-maskless-edition.php

EUwndpot.jpg
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 24, 2022 1:18 pm

What could possibly go wrong?

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another ian
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 24, 2022 2:19 am

We need to see Heath Robinson’s version too

John Hultquist
Reply to  another ian
April 24, 2022 8:49 am

He did a “table manners” drawing called Cold Comfort that can be seen on this site:
 https://www.prints-online.com/heath-robinson-humour/

willem post
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 24, 2022 4:11 am

It all comes down to, you cannot get blood from a stone.

The same is true for storage.

At present the OWNING AND OPERATING AND MAINTENANCE cost of a grid-scale battery system is about 50 c/kWh of THROUGHPUT, with the throughput based on a capacity factor of 0.5, as AC.

With increasing interest rates, and increasing inflation rates, and increasing materials costs, the turnkey capital costs of grid-scale and EV batteries will be increasing for at least the next FIVE years.

EXCERPT from:

BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital-costs-losses-and-aging

Financing and Operating and Maintenance Costs of Grid-Scale Battery Systems 
 
Any project has an upfront turnkey capital cost, and financing and annual operating and maintenance costs and periodic renovations, the same as a house, or a battery system. Some of the annual financing cost, O&M cost, etc., are listed below:
 
1) Financing costs, such as due to amortized loans or bonds, are assumed at about 6%/y for 15 years. This is a significant annual expense. This percentage likely would be greater in 2025 than at present, because increased inflation rates require increased interest rates. See Note.
 
NOTE:
House mortgage rates increased from about 2.8%/y in 2021 to 4.25%/y in 2022, and likely will increase in future years.
Bank loan rates for battery systems increased from about 3.5%/y in 2021 to about 5%/y in 2022.
https://themortgagereports.com/61853/30-year-mortgage-rates-chart

2) Owner’s return on investment of about 9%/y, which is a standard annual return utilities make on their investments. This is a significant annual expense. This percentage may increase in future years, to offset inflationary effects.
 
3) Battery system throughput loss of about 20%, which increases with aging, as measured from distribution grid or high-voltage grid, AC-to-AC. This is a significant annual expense. 
 
4) All other battery system operating and maintenance cost, including security, insurance, etc. The total is a significant annual expense
 
5) Subsidies, such as cash grants, tax credits, accelerated depreciation, loan interest deductions, waiving of state and local taxes, fees and surcharges, waiving of local real estate taxes, etc.
 
The intent of subsidies is to shift capital and operating costs from Owners to Others, by about 45%.

This enables the Owner to offer battery services at a much lesser cost/kWh of battery system throughput.

This makes the use of batteries look politically more palatable.
 
Any shifted costs are paid by Others, i.e., ratepayers, taxpayers and added to government debts

No cost ever disappears, per Economics 101
 
General comments regarding grid-scale battery systems:
 
1) All-in cost about $700/kWh, delivered as AC, in NE, in 2019, with little prospect of a significant decrease. 

2) Last at most 15 years, if operated between 15% full and 80% full, and in a temperature-controlled enclosure.

Some experts claim operation between 20% full to 80% full is more prudent to achieve 15-y life, with less aging

3) Age at about 1.5%/y (the capacity loss would be about 25% in year 15)

4) May catch fire, i.e., high insurance costs. This is a significant annual expense
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/high-costs-of-wind-solar-and-battery-systems

Last edited 2 months ago by willem post
Slowroll
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 24, 2022 9:35 am

I’ve heard that Moore’s law claim from some warmistas. I point out that Moore’s law applies to information storage. There is no lower limit to the energy or size needed to store bits of information except the ability to detect a miniscule electrical change of state. Storing power however, cannot be downsized because of the first law (and second) of thermodynamics. If you need 5000 foot – pounds of work to move something, you need to store its equivalent in some form, whether chemical or mechanical. There is no free lunch of size reduction. Physics allows no blivets.

Erik Manuon
Reply to  Slowroll
April 24, 2022 11:01 am

I beg to differ in that “the ability to detect a miniscule electrical change of state” is indeed the lower limit and a fairly significant one as well. We’re probably only one or two orders of magnitude from that limit. Contrast with the early Newcomen engines with an efficiency of a fraction of one per cent circa 1770, which is only a bit over two orders of magnitude from the theoretical limits of a heat engine.

TBeholder
Reply to  Tom Halla
April 26, 2022 12:05 am

Why wouldn’t they? If something does not work, “it needs more funding” covereth a multitude of sins.

Phillip Bratby
April 23, 2022 10:31 pm

The BBC works in the same way. Its reports are full of phrases like “experts say”, “scientists say” and environmentalists say”. They also love to use the phrase “some people say”. These people are never identified.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 23, 2022 11:01 pm

One of them is Justin Rowlatt’s wife. Some of the others are from Greenpeace

another ian
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 24, 2022 2:09 am

My mother used to refer to “The great anonymous they”

Old.George
Reply to  another ian
April 24, 2022 2:34 am

And “common sense” is what “they” say.

observa
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
April 24, 2022 4:20 am

These people are never identified.

Well they could mean the leader of the free Green world-
Joe Biden’s ‘Earth Day gift to America’s enemies’ (msn.com)
They actually applaud the ramblings of an old man that’s lost his marbles rather than calling for a doctor? No wonder Putin saw his opportunity.

Scissor
Reply to  observa
April 24, 2022 6:08 am

A man decided to end his life on earth day. It saddens me that the mentally disturbed in particular are being lead astray.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10746635/Man-50-suffered-critical-burns-lighting-fire-Supreme-Court-building.html

Independent
April 23, 2022 11:09 pm

Just the typical propaganda techniques from one of the titans of our domestic propaganda industry, the NYT. Of course they don’t want to deal with the numbers – those show without a shadow of a doubt that what they are suggesting is physically impossible! What they want is, as ever, to enable political power and wealth for the people they work for (left-wing Democrat Party types).

Derg
Reply to  Independent
April 24, 2022 6:05 am

Don’t forget uni party members Mitt, Liz….

Rick C
Reply to  Independent
April 24, 2022 9:29 am

Why does anyone think these anti-energy zealots are the least bit concerned about maintaining electric power 24/7/365? No need to solve the intermittentcy problem – just ration electricity from wind/solar when it’s available. Who needs electricity when they’re sleeping? Refrigeration is a luxury – our ancestors lived without electricity after all. In the future you will own nothing and only have electricity a few hours a day and you’ll be happy. That’s what the elites believe. Of course they’ll have gas backup generators and big batteries because you need reliable power when you’re in charge.

eo
April 24, 2022 12:53 am

We must not forget that we are dealing with politicians who could not understand and feels no need to understand natural sciences and its applications. Just like the reductions under Kyoto Protocol, “net zero” could be attained easily and without any hassle –simply change the definition and coverage of what is “net zero” .

Aside from the dubious carbon credits generated under the various schemes in the Kyoto Protocol, the major reduction is on change of the definition of sequestration and quantity of carbon dioxide sequestered. Towards the end of the Kyoto Protocol life, the national communications have large and abrupt reductions in their “net emissions” because of the change in the definition of sequestration and hence the sequestered quantities. Countries with very vocal climate change proponents added a footnote in very small font to explain the unusual change in “net emissions” in their national communications otherwise it is simply ignored.

If it could be done for “net emissions” why could not be done for “net zero” ?

michel
April 24, 2022 12:54 am

Spot on, as usual.

And its the correct and only effective approach: don’t argue about climate, argue about policy.

The only effective objection to the masses of idiotic and fantastic schemes which are being proposed and adopted in the name of climate is that, on their own terms, they don’t work.

The simple and decisive objection to the move to intermittent wind and solar for the electricity grid is not that there is no global warming. There isn’t, but you can argue all day about that and get nowhere, and you will be lost in a swamp of what’s happening to coral or polar bears, and whether the latest storms were due to global warming, and what the proxy record shows…

The simple objection, which can be stated in simple quantitative terms, is that its impossible to do. Because of storage. There is no way to provide enough storage to make intermittent power generation work to supply constant demand.

Francis Menton is doing a great service by pointing this out clearly and simply, and by citing the quantitative studies which put it beyond doubt. The challenge is for people who believe it can work to specify a few parameters. Take a country, state how much power it currently uses. Then say how much storage it will need to run normally if all the power comes from wind and solar, in that particular geographical location.

You immediately see it cannot be done. It can’t be done by NY State, it can’t be done by California or the UK. It especially cannot be done by the whole world at once, which is what the theory says needs to be done.

The rhetorical tactic which you have to avoid when arguing about this is the move from CAGW theory to automatic endorsement of a policy without any scrutiny of the policy on its merits. A variant of this is to accuse anyone skeptical about the merits of wind and solar of being, on that account, a ‘denialist’. Denialism is now not just refusing to accept that CAGW from human CO2 emissions is a well founded scientific theory. It is also extended to any skepticism that huge investment in renewable power generation is the solution.

For instance, typical story in the Guardian, Ars Technica, NY Times or on the BBC will be another dire story supporting the theme of the climate emergency or crisis or whatever. These stories are then cited to justify erection and subsidy of huge wind farms, with no further scrutiny, and particularly no mention of the fact that the power they supply is intermittent.

The only way to make headway against the madness is to focus attention on the policies, and Francis is doing that very effectively. Whether or not there is a climate crisis, renewables are not going to supply a fit for purpose grid. The attempt will lead to financial and social disaster. That can be shown quantitatively to any rational person in a few lines.

In my experience, when you do this with the hysterically alarmed, you get a quasi hysterical reaction of despair. The reaction comes from deep belief in the crisis, and the response is to say, well we have to do something. What would you do, is the question.

The response to this is that whatever you advocate has to work. There is no sense wasting huge amounts of money and energy on doing things that don’t work. Do anything but that. Do research, build sea walls, set up study groups. Whatever. But do not insist on trying to run a modern grid on intermittent sources of generation without having any way of providing the storage required to make it work.

Its an argument that does get through. The belief in catastrophic warming is so deep that its impossible to question. The argument that wind doesn’t work, when shown in numbers, does get through. The task is to get it through to politicians.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  michel
April 24, 2022 1:16 am

On the other hand there are any number of studies showing that the USA can be powered completely by renewables. Have a look at:
https://www.vox.com/2015/6/9/8748081/us-100-percent-renewable-energy
for one example. So a simple blanket assertion that renewables can’t work is just not good
enough.

Other countries could very easily be powered entirely by renewables. NZ and Iceland being the most obvious examples. They have plenty of geothermal resources, hydro-power as well as lots of coastline for off-shore wind. On top of which they are sparsely populated so the power requirements per km^2 are low. Australia could also go 100% renewable thanks to its large potential for solar power.

aussiecol
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 1:27 am

Australians are waking up to the fact that fossil fuel power generation is still needed to back up unreliable renewables. Which makes the fanciful claims of renewable energy being cheaper bulls**t

Scissor
Reply to  aussiecol
April 24, 2022 6:05 am

Reliable backup is needed and fortunately available.

Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 3:17 am

Australia could also go 100% renewable thanks to its large potential for solar power.

Don’t they have night time in Australia?

Mark
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
April 24, 2022 4:49 am

Too far south for that kind of reality …..!

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
April 24, 2022 5:46 pm

And seasons…

20210418 South Australia.png
Andrew Wilkins
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 3:24 am

That article you quote is really funny. Its suggestions for back up when wind and solar aren’t present is:

“storage for excess heat (in soil and water) and electricity (in ice, water, phase-change materials tied to CSP, pumped hydro, and hydrogen).”

Excuse me, I need to go and get a tissue as I’ve been laughing so hard I’ve got to wipe the tears from my eyes.

b.nice
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
April 24, 2022 4:32 am

Yep its pure anti-science, anti-engineering nonsense..

… straight out of a low end sci-fi Mills and Boon !

But that’s what their grannies read to them at bed time.

Ebor
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
April 24, 2022 6:41 am

But the lead author’s from Stanford so, ergo, it’s sensible and you’re just a denier!

MarkW
Reply to  Andrew Wilkins
April 24, 2022 7:24 am

It really doesn’t take much to impress Izaak. Assuming he actually bothered to read the paper in the first place.

michel
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 3:34 am

Your link contains the following:

Second, there’s energy storage. Interestingly, the authors mostly eschew stationary batteries, which they dismiss as too expensive (though they include electric vehicle batteries). Instead they prioritize “storage for excess heat (in soil and water) and electricity (in ice, water, phase-change materials tied to CSP, pumped hydro, and hydrogen).”

and goes on to say

The upshot of this is that to meet most energy demand with wind and solar, you have to radically overbuild electrical generation capacity. To wit: the authors estimate that total US energy demand in 2050 will average 2.6 terawatts. To produce that much energy, they propose building power plants with a total of 6.5 TW of capacity. By way of comparison, the US currently has about 1.2 TW of installed electric generation capacity, so this plan would involve expanding generation capacity fivefold in 35 years.

Here’s what that would require:

… 328,000 new onshore 5 MW wind turbines (providing 30.9% of U.S. energy for all purposes), 156,200 off-shore 5 MW wind turbines (19.1%), 46,480 50 MW new utility-scale solar-PV power plants (30.7%), 2,273 100 MW utility-scale CSP power plants (7.3%), 75.2 million 5 kW residential rooftop PV systems (3.98%), 2.75 million 100 kW commercial/government rooftop systems (3.2%), 208 100 MW geothermal plants (1.23%), 36,050 0.75 MW wave devices (0.37%), 8,800 1 MW tidal turbines (0.14%), and 3 new hydroelectric power plants (all in Alaska).

That will meet average demand. Then you need 1,364 additional new CSP plants and 9,380 50 MW solar-thermal collection systems (“for heat storage in soil”) “to produce peaking power, to account for additional loads due to losses in and out of storage, and to ensure reliability of the grid.”

Its impossible. Energy storage is to come from something we know not exactly what. And its unquantified how much storage.

And it would be futile even were it possible, because for the world to do this…. China….?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  michel
April 24, 2022 4:55 am

It simply doesn’t matter how much you overbuild generation capacity if that generation capacity isn’t dispatchable based on demand.

When it is dark in the US it is dark from the east coast to the west coast. No solar power being generated. When it is dark in the US wind energy also reaches a minimum. Little to no wind power being generated.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what your generation capacity is. It could be infinite when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing and it won’t matter when it is dark. Generated power would still be effectively zero.

Nor is it correct to size storage based on just overnight demand. Huge swaths of the US can be covered in clouds and snow for several days at a time. Storage capacity must be able to handle this as well.

It’s why so few homes exist today that are totally independent of the power grid. It’s difficult to build enough solar and wind plus storage in the space available to power a single family dwelling for several days. If you can’t do it for a single family dwelling how can you do it for the entire nation?

TonyL
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 4:20 am

Others got in first, ripping you a (much deserved) new one.
I just add a little bit.
1) Grid reliability. Your dear author at VOX relays information from his “expert” thay under his plan, the grid is “shown to be *more* reliable” according to a model which is coming soon.
“coming soon“.

OMG – That is funny.

COST – He forgot to address the issue. Must have slipped his mind.
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha.

william Johnston
Reply to  TonyL
April 24, 2022 6:39 am

Well gosh, it looked good on paper.

MarkW
Reply to  TonyL
April 24, 2022 7:27 am

Don’t you know that when government pays for things, they are free?

TonyL
Reply to  MarkW
April 24, 2022 10:07 am

Free to you, maybe.
I just happened to get *that* name. It works like this:
1) Govt: It’s FREE. Free to you, and Free to you, and Free to you too. Free, Free, Free.

2) Govt.: Oh dear, this is a big bill, but I know what to do.

3) Hey, there you are! Tony Taxpayer, get over here, I have something for you. There you go. Enjoy. I have more where that came from. Lots more. What do you mean “Please don’t bother”?

Reply to  TonyL
April 25, 2022 6:36 pm

And isn’t the original paper author Marc Jacobson the researcher that sued a subsequent report that absolutely shredded the assumptions MJ had made to get to 100% renewables? IIRC he lost and had to pay court costs…

b.nice
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 4:29 am

“Australia could also go 100% renewable thanks to its large potential for solar power.”

You are living in fantasy land, Izzak !

There is no way Australia could function on 100% renewables.

Firstly, there are probably enough manufacturing place to produce that much wind and solar , or the copper for the interconnects

Whatever you have been taking.. stop now, its rotted your brain !

b.nice
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 4:36 am

Furthermore, just imagine the number of diesel generators needed to back up the supply to say, Sydney, when there is no wind on a winter night.

Willem post
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 4:57 am

Germany, and all of Europe, are waking up to the fact, they cannot get on without Russian oil, gas, coal, for at least the next 3 to 5 years, because it takes that long to build up ADDITIONAL LNG infrastructures, which have a life of about 40 years.

It is pure nonsense to think the US could get along without fossil.

Millions of goods are made with fossil fuel energy, and have fossil fuel as part of their make up, such as plastics, and wonder drugs, and computer chips, and clothes, and skies, and tennis rackets, and shoes; the list is VERRRRRY long

It is a sheer folly to think wind and solar would be replacing fossil fuels for many decades

Last edited 2 months ago by Willem post
Graemethecat
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 5:16 am

That august publication Vox, read assiduously by all serious mechanical and electrical engineers…

Meanwhile, back in the real world, in 2014 Google asked its top engineers and economists to examine the feasibility of replacing all fossil fuels with Wind and Solar. Their unequivocal conclusion was that this would be absolutely impossible.

william Johnston
Reply to  Graemethecat
April 24, 2022 6:43 am

I guess Vox has replaced Mad magazine as required reading material for The
STEM crowd.

Dave Fair
Reply to  william Johnston
April 24, 2022 11:05 am

Hey! Early on I learned ALOT from Mad Magazine. Don’t equate it to trash Leftist propaganda like Vox.

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Fair
April 25, 2022 11:13 am

I learned to be skeptical of those in power.

paul courtney
Reply to  Graemethecat
April 24, 2022 2:45 pm

Mr. cat: Thank you for the reminder, Google is gonna step in any second now and cancel Izaak for spreading disinfo.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 5:20 am

Hey Iz, where are you going to get all the copper and lithium?

Jupiter?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 5:33 am

Here are two points from the paper.

“* Promote more public transit by increasing its availability and providing compensation to commuters for not purchasing parking passes.

* Increase safe biking and walking infrastructure, such as 5 dedicated bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, timed walk signals, etc.”

Great points from an under 40, urban elite that is probably from one of the highly populated coasts.

I sincerely doubt this person has a clue about how many school buses it takes to pick up rural kids nor the miles driven twice a day to pick up and take home the kids.

I sincerely doubt this person has a clue about how many miles many of us drive going to and coming from work.

I sincerely doubt this person has a clue about how much public transportation exists or even could exist in rural areas.

In sincerely doubt this person has a clue about what aging can do to the ability to walk or ride a bicycle several miles to and from work or the grocery store.

In other words, there has been no thought given to what society costs will be required to move into this environment. The writers just automatically assume everyone will live and work in a highly populated urban environment. Those of us in rural areas can simply move back to living ala 19th century style, root cellars, horses, hand pumped water, etc.

Jtom
Reply to  Jim Gorman
April 24, 2022 11:20 am

You can also find them in cities like N.Y.C., Chicago, Boston, D.
C., London, etc. their topography is flat as a board. I live just north of Atlanta. Only a very physically fit person could ride a bike around here. The land has far too many steep hills. I had to walk my bike up the hill at the entrance of my subdivision when I was a physically fit 37 year old.

If you really want a challenge, try bicycling anywhere in the state of West Virginia.

Derg
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 6:05 am

Put down your crack pipe.

Richard Page
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 7:00 am

Idiot. The only way renewables will ever be able to power an entire country is if you halve the present population, restrict the birth rate and the survivors live a medieval lifestyle. If that’s the kind of ‘progress’ you want then you are on the wrong damn planet.

KHP
Reply to  Richard Page
April 24, 2022 3:14 pm

Almost there, but “halve” won’t nearly do it. You want a medieval sized energy budget, you need a medieval sized population. Better figure on a 95% die off.

MarkW
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 7:23 am

As usual, Izaak proves that when it comes to math and science, he is totally illiterate.
He actually believes that countries are powered by average power.

Just because somebody wrote a paper that comes to the conclusion that he supports, he declares the issue decided,
Does it matter that there are dozens of papers that reach the opposite conclusion? Of course not.
Does it matter that the paper he likes doesn’t actually support the conclusion it reaches? Of course not.

Like all good leftists, he knows that the important thing is to support the narrative, and the party will take care of everything else.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
April 24, 2022 9:18 am

Like all good leftists, he knows that the important thing is to support the narrative commune, and the party will take care of everything else.”

There, I fixed it for you.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 7:29 am

That report is pie in the sky and the deadlines for much of what it says have passed already with almost none of the proposals having been started never mind completed. Complete tosh!

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 7:34 am

It appears you didn’t read your own link, Izaak/Griff?
The details provided show that the assertion is impossible.

Comedy

Bob boder
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 7:54 am

Izaak

I will say plainly what everyone else is taking the long way to say, you are a clueless fool.

Meab
Reply to  Bob boder
April 24, 2022 9:17 am

When encountering noisy fools like Isick ridicule is as effective on them as factual discourse because they’re either irrational or they have a hidden agenda. However, facts will influence rational people, the people who matter. Isick doesn’t.

Derg
Reply to  Meab
April 24, 2022 9:28 am

Yep, public ridicule is the only way. They cannot comprehend critical thinking instead they rely on feelz. I want their feelings hurt.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Bob boder
April 24, 2022 11:09 am

No, Izaak is a Leftist ideological tool.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 7:55 am

So … we see what you want …

” Remember when I discussed scenarios that showed humanity limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius? I made a point of saying that the scenarios demonstrated technical and economic feasibility, but represented enormous, heroic assumptions about social and political change. (Which is another way of saying that purely as a matter of laying odds, they were unlikely.)
Well, the same goes here. ….”

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
April 24, 2022 8:09 am

“heroic assumptions about social and political change.”
They are criminal assumptions.

ihfan
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 8:14 am

Other countries could very easily be powered entirely by renewables.

If it’s so easy, then why hasn’t it been done already? After all, we’re told that unreliables will be “too cheap to meter”?

So – if it’s supposedly cheaper to provide power using unrelaiables, and it’s easy to do, then why isn’t it done?

Perhaps it’s not quite so easy and isn’t quite so cheap?

John Hultquist
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 9:25 am

The vox article was updated in 2016 and still says:
Power plants: by 2020, no more construction of new coal, nuclear, natural gas, or biomass fired power plants; all new power plants built are WWS.

Likewise, the rest of the article is filled with ideas (verbiage?) that are not being implement, cannot be done, or paid for. Thus, a bunch of silliness.

Slowroll
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 9:48 am

Another Typical lefty solution to all problems. Build more of what doesn’t work to make it work.

MarkW
Reply to  Slowroll
April 25, 2022 11:15 am

One constants with leftists, they are always convinced that this time it’s going to work.

Robert Austin
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 24, 2022 10:26 am

Izaak,
So some sparsely populated countries blessed with copious geothermal and hydroelectic potential could possibly eliminate fossil fuels.Totally inconsequential to global energy requirements! Now convince China and India that to follow your examples. As for your link to that Vox article, well, the graphic of the rainbow with sparkles illustrates the “pie in the sky” vision of the authors.

observa
Reply to  Izaak Walton
April 25, 2022 9:59 pm

Yes we’re well aware of the Gretaheads and their Rawlsian veil of ignorance. Just that many of us are grown-ups with experience and can interpret the odd graph or two and use inductive reasoning- Wind Energy in Australia | April 2022 | Aneroid

3.6% of installed capacity overnight twixt the 5th and 6th won’t see a lot of the foretold EVs fuelled up ready for the daily toil. Won’t you please concentrate on the law of averages the boofheads bleat until their histrionics with the next untoward weather event suits their purpose the shucksters.

Climate believer
Reply to  michel
April 24, 2022 1:38 am

Well said Michel, here is an example of the problem shown on a graph.

My country, France, showing annual sum production values from 2012 to 2021.

In orange the total for the year in TWh, then Nuclear, then Wind and Solar.

(click on graph to enlarge)

Production (TWh) France 2012-2021.png
Mike Lowe
Reply to  michel
April 24, 2022 1:24 pm

How can you “get through” to politicians who are mainly Arts Graduates who probably selected their courses based on their inability to understand anything technical? The true solution is to get more scientists and engineers into politics – but most are too sensible to even want to consider that!

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  michel
April 24, 2022 6:15 pm

It’s not just politicians. It’s all the hangers on in government administration/civil service and the quangos and consultancies that support the whole charade. In the UK we have the Climate Change Committee that in fact does almost no analysis of its own: it subcontracts that to pet consultancies like Afry and Aurora, also much loved by the government department BEIS. It also subcontracts the Future Energy Scenarios to National Grid. NG has no interest in producing anything realistic, but it does have a lot of interest in “solutions” that require massive expansion of grid assets with extra transmission lines, power conditioning equipment, interconnectors and complex grid monitoring and operation boondoggles – so that it why it recommends things that will radically increase grid demand. By way of example I came across this:

The existing network in East Anglia currently carries around 3,200 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation. Over the next decade we expect more than 15,000 MW of new generation and 4,500 MW of new interconnection to connect in the region.

https://www.nationalgrid.com/electricity-transmission/network-and-infrastructure/infrastructure-projects/east-anglia-green-network-reinforcement

This is exactly why National Grid us quite unfit to be in charge of future energy scenarios and net zero planning: their solutions result in a massive expansion of grid assets at our expense – and they never cost it . However, news that the operational asset owning side of NG is to be spun off, and a new quango created called the Future Systems Operator is no panacea: its number one job will be to try to enforce net zero, and the same green idiots will be producing the scenarios. Meanwhile the industry regulator OFGEM is headed by one of the greens who wrote the Climate Change Act. Consumer interest has been relegated entirely.

It’s much the same in the US with the EPA, EIA etc.. The whole edifice has to be taken down, and sensible people put in charge at the sharp end. That is no easy task, even if the need becomes obvious through continued energy shortages, horrendous prices and poverty and even riots.

April 24, 2022 1:06 am

The problem in all fields of endeavor has never been that a technical solution can’t be found for any problems, there is generally always a solution proposed in one form or another. Whether or not there is a solution that is economically viable is what stops any of them from being implemented.
Anything that costs more to produce than what it returns is not a viable solution to anything.

commieBob
Reply to  Kalsel3294
April 24, 2022 4:49 am

Yes. There is the EROEI cliff.

Generating energy requires an investment of energy. For instance, it requires energy to drill for oil, and it takes energy to build the equipment necessary to drill for oil, and it takes energy to build and install the necessary pipeline. And then there is the energy it takes to build the electrical infrastructure to get the energy to your wall outlet.

The ratio of the energy it takes to generate energy and the energy you get. It’s called Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI).

In today’s energy mix, hydroelectric power ± nuclear power have values > 50.

If the EROEI is less than 7, you’re on the edge of the EROEI cliff. Any less than that, there’s not enough energy left to power society.

If you don’t care when you get your electricity, windmills do OK. If you do care, it’s called buffered, and they’re over the cliff.

Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2022 2:55 pm

Just for comparison, prior to the advent of fossil fuels what would have been the EROEI for the then primary source of power, the horse?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Kalsel3294
April 24, 2022 5:20 pm

Remember that the horse manure produced by the horse was a valuable energy source, unlike the horse manure produced by greens.

michel
Reply to  Kalsel3294
April 25, 2022 1:32 am

Its asking the wrong question.

A horse lets you plow a field in a day. Without it you have no way of doing that. It doesn’t matter what its own energy balance is, its what you can produce with it.

The problem with wind and solar is that after you provide storage to make the output usable, and after you provide for amortization, they are on the edge of not generating any surplus.

They are untustainable ways of trying to power the grid. They don’t pay the full costs of installing and running them.

They are doing the same job as conventional, just doing it very badly and too expensively to be viable. Or, if you dispense with the storage, they aren’t producing anything anyone in their right mind would buy. Without storage its useless.

I don’t understand where this mania about wind and solar comes from. Whatever you think about climate, whether there is a crisis or not, its surely obvious that wind and solar will not power the grid we currently have, and will not permit the kind of societies we currently have.

Chris Hanley
April 24, 2022 1:11 am

Despite climate pledges, the regulations and laws in place haven’t created strong enough incentives for investments in new technologies

Demand-side economics carried to absurdity.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 24, 2022 2:43 am

If TRILLIONS of $$$$$ isn’t enough of an incentive, what is????????

Last edited 2 months ago by Old Man Winter
commieBob
Reply to  Chris Hanley
April 24, 2022 5:45 am

… investments in new technologies

Let’s unpack that.

It implies that there are new technologies that exist and could be invested in. That’s false.

If it were accurate, it would read:

… investments in attempting to develop new technologies that require scientific or technological breakthroughs.

We used to say: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” We need a similar pithy aphorism to describe the difference between incremental improvements and breakthroughs.

Incremental improvements respond to investment. ie. You pay someone to use existing technology to improve something. A breakthrough happens when a prepared mind notices something. It’s often accidental. The poster child for that would be penicillin.

The way research is funded and managed these days pretty much guarantees that breakthroughs won’t happen.

william Johnston
Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2022 6:52 am

Another example of a breakthrough would be 3-M’s Post-it notes. Interesting story.

Dave Miller
Reply to  william Johnston
April 24, 2022 7:13 am

“Not even wrong”

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Miller
April 25, 2022 11:21 am

The team that was developed the glue used in Post-It’s was trying to develop something else entirely. They originally put the formula for the Post-It glue in the failed category. It wasn’t until sometime later, after a couple of fortuitous discussions, that somebody realized that the glue would solve a problem another group was having. Even then, management didn’t at first accept Post-It’s as a product that was worth developing.

Charlie
April 24, 2022 1:52 am

Now, it is trying to raise up to €40 million more by this summer. 

This is, of course, peanuts for any big investors. It’s also peanuts in terms of government grants or government guaranteed loans. Yet they seem to be having trouble raising the money. The New York Times wants us to believe that the problem is investors want to invest in other things in preference. I’m calling BS on that one. Why the government seems to be refusing to waste money on this the New York Times leaves as a mystery.

Graemethecat
Reply to  Charlie
April 24, 2022 8:22 am

It clearly hasn’t occurred to the NYT journalist that the company could be having difficulty raising the $40M because potential investors don’t want to throw their money down the toilet.

fretslider
April 24, 2022 2:01 am

Finding it hard to pay your energy bills?

“ Octopus Energy offers to slash your bills – if you’ve got room for a wind turbine nearby”

https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1599587/octopus-energy-slash-bills-wind-turbines-electricity-plot-for-kilowatts

I’ll have 3. /sarc

Harry
April 24, 2022 2:04 am

To put the estimated 200,000 GWh of required storage, Tesla in its last quarterly report stated that it sold 876MWh of battery storage. At that rate it would take more than 50,000 years. Scarcity of lithium has increased prices by 12x since January 2021, so massive ramping of production isn’t possible, particularly since we are simultaneously trying to convert the car fleet to electric using the same resource.

April 24, 2022 2:46 am

Free Markets vs. Green Energy – WSJ

Free Markets vs. Green Energy
Most of the ‘green economy’ is based on magical thinking.
.
April 22, 2022 11:42 am ET Wall Street Journal

Tomas Philipson posits that if markets are allowed to work, green energy will become cheaper than fossil fuels (“What Global Warming Has in Common With Covid,” op-ed, April 13). I would take this a step further.
If market forces and honest accounting are brought to bear on the “green economy,” most of it would disappear because it is based on magical thinking. Every windmill represents a net energy loss if the construction and supply chain is taken into account. Ditto for large-scale solar. Massive use of lithium batteries creates a host of externalities that may increase overall pollution. The technologies that have actually lowered emissions, such as fracking and nuclear, are off limits because they represent apostasy from the new green religion.

April 24, 2022 3:01 am

Excerpt from recent correspondence with the author about this article.

Hi Francis,
 
It’s the usual: Green-energy solutions, using unicorns. Works every time.
 
I had dinner with my friend xxxxx when he was Director of your Energy Information Agency (EIA), and his female colleague.
 
On the subject of green-power intermittency, his colleague tossed out: “We’ll solve that with storage”. She left us soon thereafter. I looked at xxxxx, and said “You know that storage is not a practical solution, don’t you?” He just smiled.
 
An interesting story here about how Joe D’Aleo and I helped xxxxx at the EIA:
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/13/new-butt-covering-end-of-snow-prediction/#comment-1954298

 

Rod Evans
April 24, 2022 3:04 am

The problem of energy storage becomes so much easier to resolve if you persuade the government to stop all energy intensive activities, like manufacturing and all forms of heating and cooling.
I am surprised the NYT managed to make a complete article about it?
Just instruct the Dems to cease all energy use other than those needed to keep the woke administration going and suddenly green energy is far more capable of meeting the demand variation.
A couple of truck batteries should suffice to keep the lights on in the White House and if the lights went out, well the current incumbent would not find that at all unusual….a perfect time for another snooze.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rod Evans
Mac
April 24, 2022 4:35 am

When I was at a major west coast university the running joke was that an “expert” was a person 50 miles from home with a box of slides.

Tom
April 24, 2022 5:00 am

The “wizards of Science” in the US and other government are quite accustomed to private industry performing scientific miracles. Take the now lowly catalytic “cat” converter. It took literally dozens of scientific miracles to become successful. For starters, it simultaneously reduces molecules with excessive oxygen (like nitrous oxides), but it also oxidizes “unburned” molecules of fuel and combustion products. It has to stay chemically clean for hundreds of millions of cycles of combustion. It requires chemically clean oxygen sensors in the exhaust stream to make this happen, and computers that control and change the air/fuel ratio of EVERY pop of the spark plug. The computers also command air pumps to speed warmup of the catalyst on cold starts of the engine, and carbon canisters that trap fuel vapors from fuel fill-ups. 

Prior to laws demanding “clean engines” and high fuel economy, none of these was thought possible, particularly at the low cost required to sell the vehicles.

Similar scientific wizardry has been achieved with air bags, anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control, communications, and even route maps with real time traffic updating. Does anyone even remember when the US government spent $2 billion on the development of residential mapping for the 1990 US census and was totally unsuccessful with it? And that was back when $2 billion was a lot of money.

The problem now with energy storage is that the scientific geniuses in government are demanding similar miracles in defiance of the laws of physics. They’re doing this while also tying the hands of real scientists behind their backs by outlawing much science and p

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Tom
April 24, 2022 6:05 am

Ummmm, none of this was ever thought of as “impossible”. They were thought of as uneconomic! It’s why a new car today costs four times as much as one did in 1973! A nice new car in 1973 could be had for $2000. Based on inflation that would be about $10,000 to $15,000 today. A nice new car today costs anywhere from $40,000 and up. An increase of 3 to 4 times. Mostly due to the “innovations” you mention.

MR166
Reply to  Tim Gorman
April 24, 2022 9:10 am

Well although I truly believe that CO2 is a beneficial fertilizer and any warming it causes is a small negative at most I am in favor of today’s fuel injection systems and emission controls. They have increased gas mileage and are cost effective in that respect. Also in the 50s-70s, before emission controls, rush hour city traffic was enough to make your eyes water. That could not have been good for anyone’s health.

MarkW
Reply to  MR166
April 25, 2022 11:23 am

The tiny bit of warming that is caused by CO2 is almost entirely beneficial.

Carlo, Monte
April 24, 2022 5:13 am

The Magic Battery is just over the horizon, and always will be.

April 24, 2022 5:18 am

“Don’t worry, in New York Times world the government has infinite money.”

And that is the problem. Since government have unlimited money, this leads to uncontrolled inflation. This will make life hard for everyone, except the select elite. And the elites don’t care. I actually believe they want everyone except them to be poor and under control.

However, democrat party worshipers at the New York Times don’t realize that between the choice to survive or be good to the environment, people will always choose the former. Nobody will ever say “I can’t afford meat this week, I don’t have enough money for a tank of gas, but it is all worth it to save the itchy algae.” People are naturally selfish; the majority will always choose self-preservation over the environment.

lee riffee
Reply to  Wade
April 24, 2022 7:38 am

How true – I can’t imaging that too many Ukrainians are bothered to care about the environment these days. Similar story in parts of the world where people are very poor and are just getting by. If you don’t have enough (or any) money and don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you probably won’t have many qualms about killing and eating some endangered animal or fish or gathering firewood in a protected forest.

lee riffee
Reply to  lee riffee
April 24, 2022 7:39 am

typo – I can’t imagine”

Tom Gasloli
April 24, 2022 5:46 am

They have no intention of finding a solution for unreliability & intermittency or of storage, they will just tell us blackouts for us are necessary to save the planet while they provide themselves with guaranteed backup power.

MR166
April 24, 2022 6:32 am

The West is being drawn and quartered by two different forces. First of all there is the greed of the few elites who are benefiting from the sales of the green equipment. Second and most important is the governments that stand to benefit from the demise of the West. Either way you cannot blame this zero carbon hoax on ignorance. It is the PLANNED end of Western political and economic dominance. Our Western educational systems have been groomed for decades to be used as a tool for this revolution.

Paul Johnson
April 24, 2022 6:42 am

As usual, it’s just a matter of wise and noble politicians demanding those stupid and lazy engineers solve the problem.

Pat from kerbob
April 24, 2022 7:21 am

Jon Robson over on his Climate Discussion Nexus blog did a great series of pieces on “experts say”.

As I believe mockery is the best weapon against the climate Scientologists, his blog is one of the best.

John the Econ
April 24, 2022 7:23 am

In modern Progressivism, it’s always up to someone else to make the real sacrifices and to pay for them.

Bruce Cobb
April 24, 2022 7:56 am

And for their next trick, they’ll do Dallas!

iflyjetzzz
April 24, 2022 8:55 am

I certainly hope that they decide to build these battery storage farms in progressive states. I do not think that they are safe or stable, as can be seen by several battery farm fires in the world. They burn for days and emit toxic fumes. As one example, there’s the Victoria fire last year: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/aug/02/tesla-big-battery-fire-in-victoria-burns-into-day-three

Roy Lofquist
April 24, 2022 10:02 am

One thing that I have never seen addressed is that our electrical grids require alternating current because of the many transformers in the system. I suppose that wind could produce AC but the frequency would vary with wind speed. Photo cells are DC, though the central tower with mirrors scheme can produce AC. But batteries are strictly DC. The batteries would become the prime source and would have to power alternators to feed the grid. Have we ever built an alternator that big?

MR166
Reply to  Roy Lofquist
April 24, 2022 4:27 pm

The DC from batteries or solar panels is converted into AC by semiconductor power inverters. These can handle huge amounts of power at very high efficiencies. They do no cost very much per KW of output either..

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  MR166
April 24, 2022 7:01 pm

And provide no inertia
Because it cannot

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MR166
April 25, 2022 5:46 am

These can handle huge amounts of power at very high efficiencies”

Malarky. High powered inverters today are made up of multiple lower-powered inverters whose outputs are combined. They *all* today require syncing to a inertia-based grid and controlling these multiple inverters to handle reactive power on the grid has yet to be demonstrated on a commercial grid application. Small-signal perturbation on multiple combined inverters can cause system failures of the control infrastructure.

Solutions to these basic problems at the Giga-watt level required of a grid-level generation system have yet to be developed. Methods to re-establish a grid dominated by semiconductor inverters after a blackout have yet to be developed due to no grid-level, inertia-based signal being available for the inverters to sync to.

You are parroting propaganda from people that are pushing an agenda with no actual idea of how to implement the agenda.

TallDave
April 24, 2022 10:50 am

“but green tech wouldn’t just fix the planet, it would actually create jobs and make everyone better off!” — people who have already lowered our GDP by trillions of dollars

MarkW
Reply to  TallDave
April 25, 2022 11:25 am

These are people who actually believe that having 10 people do a job that 3 people could do, is a good thing.

Geoffrey Williams
April 24, 2022 1:41 pm

The newyork times or whatever is just pipe dreaming and so are its readers . .

Robert of Texas
April 24, 2022 2:04 pm

You have a few choices: 1) Chemical storage, 2) Gravity storage, or 3) Thermal storage.

1) Chemical storage is by far the best choice for most geographic locations. It doesn’t have to be a battery; it can be a combustible fluid or gas. In fact – fossil fuels ARE a form of chemical energy storage – we could just create methane and burn it. Batteries are just not scalable to the degree that is needed and need to be replaced every 10 years or so. They are also expensive.

2) Hydro is the best example of gravity storage, and for some geographic locations is an excellent choice. Other gravity storage forms do not look too robust or scalable.

3) Thermal storage has been suggested, but unless you are talking about geothermal and very few locations on the planet, it isn’t practical.

(4) There is also kinetic storage (inside the steam turbine) but that is really just for a short time allowing a power plant to gracefully exit from a Grid.

A lot of this can simple be avoided by building reliable energy generation such as nuclear. If you have enough reliable power generation plants and some pare capacity built in (like we used to have), the Grid becomes extremely stable. The best choice is to avoid building a lot of unreliable energy generation and now we don’t need energy storage.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Robert of Texas
April 24, 2022 6:59 pm

I’ll go with your point #5.
Here in Alberta we have a grid that is 1.6x generation to load, ~11gw load to 17gw generation
But 3GW of that is wind and solar which is zero quite often, is 15% and dropping now

http://ets.aeso.ca/ets_web/ip/Market/Reports/CSDReportServlet

So ~ 1.3x of reliable generation gives cheap reliable power.

Contrast with Germany that has 2 generation grids, 70GW load to 225gw generation
And it’s unreliable and expensive as 60% of that is renewable crap.

Fred Ohr
April 24, 2022 2:36 pm

Gravity based storage may be a cost effective solution.

Peter W
Reply to  Fred Ohr
April 24, 2022 3:14 pm

Even where the land is flat for miles around?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Fred Ohr
April 24, 2022 6:54 pm

I’m going with quantum singularity, those Kardassians are smart, always go with the snake people

MarkW
Reply to  Fred Ohr
April 24, 2022 8:35 pm

Gravity storage might be cost effective, but it will never be more than a tiny niche player.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
April 25, 2022 8:41 am

I sincerely doubt gravity storage will be cost effective in most places. You need a reservoir large enough it can be replenished naturally while maintaining an adequate level during low rainfall periods. Hard to find such reservoirs in most places. Otherwise you either run out of natural replenishment or you wind up having to capture some of the drawdown and pump it back up into the reservoir – a losing proposition as far as cost is concerned.

MarkW
Reply to  Tim Gorman
April 25, 2022 11:28 am

I was thinking of the people who propose things like hauling freight cars up a hill, then using the energy of them coming back down hill to turn a generator.

I too would be very surprised if such a thing ever turned out to be economical, but what the heck, stranger things have happened.
However given the limited amount of places where such things could be built, and combine that with the maintenance requirements for all that cable, they will never be able to store more than a tiny, tiny, fraction of the energy that will be needed to get wind/solar to work.

Bob
April 24, 2022 2:51 pm

Wind and solar on an industrial scale are a non starter.

RickWill
April 24, 2022 3:42 pm

Don’t worry, in New York Times world the government has infinite money.

The US government did have infinite money until Vlad demanded RUB instead of USD for their oil and gas.

China is gradually moving to place CYN as the global currency. China would not want to be holding more US denominated assets that can be denied by sanction as the US has done with Russia.

These moves means that US cannot keep creating money and buying stuff in the global market place with US debt.

US current account is a train wreck and highly inflationary globally.
https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/current-account

It is trivial for the US to create money but it takes energy and manpower to create solar panels and wind turbines in China that US must buy to make any inroads into their Net Zero fantasy.

TBeholder
Reply to  RickWill
April 26, 2022 12:37 am

The US government still does have infinite money. It just isn’t going to be worth that much after the death of Petrodollar. Inflation is simply the intrinsic flip side of near-infinite (in short term) money. Fiat money are always like this.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 25, 2022 5:38 am

Industries like steel and concrete have to be forced to adopt greener methods of production, Mr. Boni, the 360 Capital founder, said.

This is the essence of progressive green policy: outlaw everything that works and somehow a new solution will emerge. This is like claiming we will somehow all learn to fly once our legs have been cut off.

Ed Norman
April 28, 2022 11:08 am

Of course by 2030 wind and solar will NOT provide all our electricity no matter how loud the progressives shout. Nuclear energy will still be around, providing base generation (24/7), and with new tech, may be pressed into moderate growth, if the progressives wake up from their woke dreams. Then there is hydro power, which is partially dispatchable, and hence, provides some “energy storage” in water reservoirs – not nearly enough, of course, but some.

Together with the inevitable residual natural-gas based power plants, those normal power sources, will greatly reduce the amount of energy storage required. There may be other small sources that can run on stored energy; e.g. fuel cells and hydrogen, although I would not invest in that. Dispatchable loads may also come into play: allowing your air conditioner or EV recharge to happen at the whim of the grid controllers, so as to shift various loads into times when power is abundant – all for a small reduction in price per kWh. Mind you, industry and commercial enterprises have so far not been keen to accept brownouts in return for reduced rates.

Then there are the other hyped energy storage media, such as pumped water, compressed air, hydrogen, heat storage, flywheels, etc. However, they all suffer from either low round-trip efficiency (hydrogen and air), or large capital costs. Combined with their low operating factor (< 40% of the time storing and < 40% releasing stored energy) means your stored power supply is expensive on a dollars per delivered kWh basis (both capital and operating). As far as I am aware, no other energy storage technology can match batteries for high efficiency, flexibility, and response time.

Ultimately, of course, reality will have its way. We will get more solar and wind, some large battery storage plants (but not terawatt-hour ones), some percentage dispatchable loads, and more nuclear (and maybe hydro?), but we will retain many clean gas-fired turbines, and probably more than a few other carbon-based power plants will continue operating after 2030. Perhaps by then the “climate change” screams will subside or become sufficiently subject to reason so that the push for “net zero” will fade or diminish.

In the end, reality always wins.

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