MIT Weighs in On Energy Storage


Francis Menton

As I’ve been pointing out now for a couple of years, the obvious gap in the plans of our betters for a carbon-free “net zero” energy future is the problem of massive-scale energy storage. How exactly is New York City (for example) going to provide its citizens with power for a long and dark full-week period in the winter, with calm winds, long nights, and overcast days, after everyone has been required to change over to electric heat and electric cars — and all the electricity is supposed to come from the wind and sun, which are neither blowing nor shining for these extended periods? Can someone please calculate how much energy storage will be needed to cover a worst-case solar/wind drought, what it will consist of, how long it has to last, how much it will cost, and whether it is economically feasible? Nearly all descriptions by advocates of the supposed path to “net zero” — including the ambitious plans of the states of New York and California — completely gloss over this issue and/or deal with it in a way demonstrating total incompetence and failure to comprehend the problem.

And then suddenly appeared in my inbox a couple of weeks ago a large Report with the title “The Future of Energy Storage: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study.” MIT — that’s America’s premier university for matters of science and technology. The Report is 378 pages long, full of lots of detail, charts and graphs, mathematical equations, and technical jargon. It lists as authors some 18 members of the MIT faculty. Surely, if anyone can address this “net zero” energy storage problem competently, these will be the people.

Sorry. This is a product of modern American academia. MIT is as extreme left as any of them.

Having now spent about a week trying to wade through this morass, I am not impressed. The Report is an exercise by genius would-be central planners concocting enormously complex models that just happen to come to the results that the authors are hoping for, while at the same time they avoid ever directly addressing the critical question, namely what is the plan to get through that worst case sun/wind drought. Implicit in every page of the Report is that it is an advocacy document for the proposition that the U.S. should embark full speed ahead on crash “net zero” plans for our multi-tens-of-trillions-of-dollars economy without ever doing any kind of demonstration project to show it can work on any scale no matter how small.

You start to get an idea where this is going at the very beginning, when you come on page romanette v to a list of members of an “Advisory Committee” that appears to have given direction to the project. Members include John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, someone from the Environmental Defense Fund, an “Alternative Energy Research” guy from the Bank of America, an ex-World Bank guy (the World Bank being an organization dedicated to keeping poor countries from having access to energy that works), an environmental bureaucrat from the Massachusetts state government, several people from other alternative energy investors and environmental advocacy groups, and so forth. Clearly, this Report had to come to a pre-determined conclusion that energy storage issues do not pose any major impediment to net zero ambitions.

This being a product of left-wing academia, you can expect the usual touching faith in the ability of the federal government to solve all problems, no matter how intractable, by the magic of spending money out of the infinite federal pile. Thus, early in the Executive Summary, we find a recognition that the only battery storage technology currently being deployed in large amounts in commercial applications — namely Lithium Ion — cannot provide backup for periods longer than about 12 hours:

Li-ion batteries will continue to be a leading technology for EVs and for short-duration storage, but their storage capacity costs are unlikely to fall low enough to enable widespread adoption for long-duration (> 12 hours) electricity system applications.

OK then, what is the technology that will step up for the periods of a week or two that may need to be covered in a world without fossil fuels. From page xv:

To enable economical long-duration energy storage (> 12 hours), the DOE should support research, development, and demonstration to advance alternative electrochemical storage technologies that rely on earth-abundant materials. Cost, lifetime, and manufacturing scale requirements for long-duration energy storage favor the exploration of novel electro-chemical technologies, such as redox-flow and metal-air batteries that use inexpensive charge-storage materials and battery designs that are better suited for long-duration applications.

(Emphasis in original.). The feds will “support research” into “novel technologies,” of course using the infinite money pile, and the technology will magically appear. And what exactly is the technology that will then emerge to rescue us? They have no idea:

While several novel electrochemical technologies have shown promise, remaining knowledge gaps with respect to key scientific, engineering, and manufacturing challenges suggest high value for concerted government support. Innovation in these technologies is being actively pursued in other countries, notably China.

You’ve got to hate those “knowledge gaps,” but clearly all that is needed to fill them is enough federal funding. And you can’t let those Chinese beat us!

Well, how about just using that ubiquitous element hydrogen, easily available through the electrolysis of water? They discuss that too:

[H]ydrogen produced via electrolysis can serve as a low-carbon fuel for industry as well as for electricity generation during periods when VRE [variable renewable energy] generation is low. . . . We support the effort that the DOE is leading to create a national strategy that addresses hydrogen production, transportation, and storage. In particular, the ability of existing natural gas transmission pipelines to carry hydrogen without suffering embrittlement, either at reduced pressures or if hydrogen is blended with natural gas or other compounds, remains an open question that deserves government-supported study by the DOE and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Funny that private investors aren’t putting any real money into this “hydrogen economy” thing. That’s because to get hydrogen out of water is extremely costly, and once you have it, it is inferior to natural gas in every way as a source of energy for the people. It’s less dense, more dangerous, and more difficult to transport and store. But again, throw in some of the infinite pile of federal money and it will all magically work.

Many of the charts and graphs are very complicated and technical, but if you spend some time with them, you start to realize that they are an insult to your intelligence. I’ll give you just one of my favorites, this one from page 191. Here we are considering what the electricity generation system will look like for two regions, the Northeast (New York and New England) and Texas, in various low and no-carbon scenarios. The cutoffs of 0g, 5g, 10g and No Limit at the left refer to how much carbon emissions are allowed per kWh of electricity generated.

Thus at the top right we see what a zero-carbon scenario will look like for Texas. Supposedly, with about a 3 to 4 times overbuild of a system having only wind and solar generation, then we will only need battery storage for about 50% of capacity and about 11 hours duration. Really? Does anybody remember February 2021? Texas’s wind and solar generators produced at less than 10% capacity for days on end. Can a three times overbuild of wind capacity and 12 hours of battery storage solve that? The answer is no. Not even close. And you could get a wind/solar drought of a full week. If you have no fossil fuel backup, you had better have enough storage to cover that.

And if you take some time to study this chart (not saying that I would recommend that) you can find multiple other equally implausible assertions.

Bottom line: I’m not trusting anybody’s so-called “model” to prove that this gigantic energy transformation is going to work. Show me the demonstration project that actually works.

Read the full article here.

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Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 6:18 am

378 pages to say “This shit does not work with any existing technology”

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 6:23 am

Nor with any prospective technology.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
May 29, 2022 3:47 pm

My interpretation is “We have no idea how to make any of this work, but it will be incredibly expensive and we should do it as fast as we can.”

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 6:10 pm

…cos the Gummint got plenty of money.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 8:01 am

We knew this by the 1970s. My colleagues found a world class uranium mine that prompted us to dig deep into global energy needs. Wind and solar, occasional niche applications, no place for large grid scale.
But, unlike these MIT folk, we actually contributed very large, valuable quantities of tangible goods demanded by society.. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 29, 2022 9:47 am

Thorium is the future…uranium…. not so much.

Reply to  Anti_griff
May 29, 2022 10:01 am

Show me.

Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 2:20 pm

I have been hearing that thorium reactors are going to revolutionize power generation for over 10 years now. It’s always just around the corner.

Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 2:28 pm There are other developments including the Chinese….fusion power is the one always in the future.

Reply to  Anti_griff
May 30, 2022 12:16 am

Your links and youtube videos don’t remotely cover the downside and problems with thorium reactors of any size.

The protactinium problem which has to be purged from thorium reactors will lead to nuclear arms grade material proliferation … really great in the current world situation (

Until thorconpower discuss what they are doing with the the
protactinium in the reactor you know they are lying and it’s a complete PR bullshit.

Last edited 2 months ago by LdB
Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  LdB
May 30, 2022 11:46 am

From that Wikipedia link:

Protactinium-231 arises from the decay of natural uranium-235, and in nuclear reactors by the reaction 232Th + n → 231Th + 2n and subsequent beta decay. It was once thought to be able to support a nuclear chain reaction, which could in principle be used to build nuclear weapons: the physicist Walter Seifritz [de] once estimated the associated critical mass as 750±180 kg.[63] However, the possibility of criticality of 231Pa has been ruled out since then.[64]

[Emphasis added] So no more talk of proliferation issues, thank you.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 30, 2022 4:03 am

Fusion power is only 20 years away. That is the same as I was told 30 years ago……

Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 2:37 pm

An uranium is working right now.

Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 2:34 pm It is governments that limit thorium power…Thorcon has been working with Indonesia…maybe Indonesia will become the first. YouTube has Gordon McDowell and his channel called Thorium for lots of info.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 29, 2022 3:52 pm

I am not saying one way or the other, but anything which has never been done at scale is a very large maybe.

How can anyone be so certain of anything which does not exist anywhere in the world, let alone imply it is some sort of panacea for all our energy needs?

I know the last person I would ever trust for advice on which car to buy, is a guy who sells a certain kind of car.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 4:39 pm

I am not a salesman for anything….most nuclear reactors today are high pressure water cooled – this is the source of most of the problems – the first reactors for nuclear submarines were contained in steel – not concrete. There is not enough uranium to power the world. Liquid salts cooled reactors have a basic inherent safety feature called gravity….if overheating occurs, a valve melts and the liquid moves by gravity to a cooling chamber below… operator required to do this.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 29, 2022 4:45 pm

I did not mean to suggest you are “selling it”.
But a guy who has a company advocating for it and making you tube videos, sounds like he is one.

I was wondering how you can seem so sure?

Anyway, I started out saying I do not know one way or the other.
Just that anything which as of 2022 is not making any commercial power anyplace in the world has to be regarded as iffy at the very least.
Not saying anything else.
Not even saying the salesman is always lying or wrong…just that what people selling stuff say is not objective, and should not be taken as such.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 30, 2022 12:57 am

“anything which has never been done at scale is a very large maybe.”
No it’s not it’s impossible!

Nearly all our reliables currently rely on 200yr old tech invented by Watt.
The steam engine.

Heat up water – exchange it for useful energy and throw the rest away.
Most of the 75% is thrown away.
EVs just use it to charge them up, so they are still coal, gas or nuclear powered.

Any idea we can move from this tried and tested solution which keeps the lights on is pure fantasy.
Wind was used for centuries, which was hopless unreliable and inefficient, then we moved to diesel engine and nuclear for ships. and kerosene for aircraft.

Result, you can delivery of whatever you want worldwide within days.
The only useful thing for the sun is to provide heat and light for crops, which keep us fed.

That the once great MIT and other Unis (which kitted us out with internet) comes out with witless crap, is itself a staggering feat.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  pigs_in_space
May 30, 2022 1:45 am

Nearly all our reliables currently rely on 200yr old tech invented by Watt.
The steam engine.”

This subthread is on the topic of thorium vs conventional nuclear reactors as a source of power.
That is what I was talking about right here.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 31, 2022 10:29 am

What kind of car did Faucci sell you?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 29, 2022 4:05 pm

YouTube is one of the best places to go for the latest technical information. I’ve seen videos about all kinds of batteries that have solved our EV range problems, new energy devices that appear to just laugh at the 2nd law of thermodynamics and a host of other great technologies.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 29, 2022 4:30 pm

True, but I have spent over 100 hours at least on Thorium and believe it is a better mouse trap and eventually will win out – I have no skin in the game – it was originally developed at government expense at Oak Ridge and lost out to breeder reactors and the fact that the liquid salts cooled thorium reactor was of no value in the nuclear weapons business – where are those “breeder reactors” today?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 29, 2022 4:50 pm

There are a bunch of countries that have for a long time been making a lot of power using nuclear.
They have people that are not just theoreticians and guys selling a better mousetrap…but we can be sure those places have those people too.
There are some experimental thorium reactors now, so we will see I reckon.
Although it seems to be the unfortunate case that things that do not pan out are not dropped and abandoned and everyone told the details. Sometimes it just drags on with one broken promise and failed prediction and broken timetable after another.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 4:51 pm

If I seem skeptical, well…I am.
(But I am not without optimism)
We are supposed to be.
I am a trained in the scientific method, back when they were teaching people how and not what to think.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 6:26 pm

I would suggest anyone interested in nuclear power to listen to Kirk Sorensen on YouTube…he is an engineer and a salesman for Thorium Power. I am not personally impressed with current nuclear power plants…accident records…costs…only one isotope of Uranium can be used so it is not possible for a huge no. of uranium reactors and the security issues and the huge size of the plants. Electricity could be produced mostly local with smaller liquid salts cooled reactors – no huge power lines across the country…etc. etc. etc.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 30, 2022 2:09 am

I would suggest anyone interested in nuclear power to listen to Kirk Sorensen on YouTube…he is an engineer and a salesman for Thorium Power. I am not personally impressed with current nuclear power plants…accident records…costs…only one isotope of Uranium can be used so it is not possible for a huge no. of uranium reactors and the security issues and the huge size of the plants. Electricity could be produced mostly local with smaller liquid salts cooled reactors – no huge power lines across the country…etc. etc. etc.”

I think you will find that many people here have decades of accumulated knowledge of all of the various aspects of nuclear power. Some have worked within the nuclear power industry.

As for some of the specific references you make, such as not being, “…personally impressed with current nuclear power plants…accident records…costs…only one isotope of Uranium can be used so it is not possible for a huge no. of uranium reactors…”, I have no idea what you are talking about.

-Nuclear reactors have the best safety record by far of any form of energy, by a stupendously huge factor, so there is that.

-They are not inherently costly, they are inherently cheap. What costs so much money is all the crap that has been heaped on the industry in the form of ridiculous regulations, challenges from all sorts of self interested and/or ignoramus advocacy groups and organizations, etc.

-It is categorically untrue that only one isotope can or is used as nuclear reactor fuel. For one thing, the most common fuel is only slightly enriched, and so contains a lot of U-238.
MOX fuel is a mixture of plutonium and either natural or depleted uranium. It is actually a means of disposal of excess plutonium salvaged from disassembled weapons. It is also made by reprocessing spent fuel rods from conventional light water reactors.

As for molten salt, it is unclear what the nuclear waste from such plants will even consist of, let alone how to get rid of it.
Molten salt is incredibly corrosive, and it is unclear how to even make such a reactor which will stand up to decades of commercial power production, or what material is suitable.
Yes, there are advantages, theoretically, such as that they are unpressurized, no chance of a meltdown, refeuling while in operation, etc.
But AFAICT, only two of them have ever been built and operated, one in the 1950s and one in the 1960s.
You were speaking about molten salt and breeder reactors, in favor of the former but scoffing at the latter, but the second molten salt reactor ever built, “the 1960’s Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment aimed to prove the concept of a nuclear power plant which implements a thorium fuel cycle in a breeder reactor.”

So I think it is you that needs to do some more homework.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 30, 2022 2:16 am

BTW, any nuclear reactor contains materials that can be used to make dangerous weapons, such as dirty bombs. And many designs can be altered to make weapons grade nuclear bomb material.
The idea that we can just put them anywhere seems dubious.
One reason for the excellent safety record is that they are not mass produced and stuck put all over the place.
With designs that have a long history of usage, the dangers and problems are at least familiar and there is a decades long period of accumulated knowledge and experience with them.
Making some new design and then sticking them here and there and everywhere so we do not need transmission lines does not sound like a very prudent plan, especially not coming from someone who is already not impressed with the safety of existing nuclear reactors.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 30, 2022 7:47 am

Are you familiar with the SCE&G nuclear fiasco? Billions down the drain with fraud. Fukashima made the Japanese ditch nukes ….some record. Part of the fabled safety record is the limited no. of plants….compare 100 coal plants to 100 nuclear plants. The LFTR plant record is perfect….because there are no plants. I am guessing that you were in the nuclear biz and are biased big time. Let’s build nuke plants until we run out of fuel….uranium versus thorium…which runs out first? Again, where are those “breeder” reactors?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 31, 2022 3:57 am

I am guessing that you were in the nuclear biz and are biased big time.”

You are not a good guesser.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 31, 2022 4:53 am

I have not heard any fables about nuclear safety, but I do not a lot about the actual details of various issues.
Fukashima was easily avoidable if well known problems with back up pumps and generators had been taken seriously.
All of the problems came down to one room with some electrical switching equipment that got flooded, and which would have been fine if it was in a sealed room, or on a roof, or put uphill.
But if safety is your issue, consider this stat:
“According to the World Data Bank, Japan’s coal generation increased by 57 TWh, natural gas 58 TWh, and oil 9 TWh through 2011. It is reasonable to assume this remained the same through 2012. 
Deaths/TWh/yr from coal, gas, oil, and nuclear-based generation are 24, 3, 19.2, and 0.052, respectively.”
Deaths from Nuclear Energy Compared with Other Causes | Energy Central
“Opponents of nuclear energy are completely irrational regarding the “dangers of nuclear”. Note that natural gas is 8 times less deadly than coal. These deathrates are operative as long as Japan’s nuclear plants are idled!!”

Stupid crap also occurred at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, so both were easily avoidable, not to mention predictable by anyone who knew shit from shinola and was onsite at the time. Ill-advised procedures took place that were performed by incompetent operators.

Comparing plants 1 to 1 as a basis for a safety comparison of the two technologies makes zero sense.
For one thing, the plants themselves are only one part of the
overall safety of a method of power or energy production.
And a small number of nuclear plants make a large proportion of very reliable power compared to the larger number of coal plants which make somewhat less reliable power, using something like capacity factor as a metric.

Coal has to be mined and transported.
Can anyone think of anything more dangerous that coal mining?
Tens of thousands have died in coal mining accidents just in the US and just since WWII.
Coal Mining Fatality Statistics: 1900-2019 (

If you go back to 1900, the numbers in some years alone are shocking, such as 1907, with over 3000 dead in less than a year.
It has gotten safer, and since the mid 1990s, fewer than 50 people have been killed each year in US coal mines.
But it is still in the tens per year in the best years.
Bad way to go iffen you ask me…buried underground in a coal mine and knowing you are gonna die, or just buried alive by rubble and being crushed or smothered.

Then there are the trains and other ways of shipping coal.
There are terrible train crashes on a regular basis, and coal trains are known to be heavy and particularly dangerous as trains go.

I am not against coal, per se, but in fact it is amazingly dangerous in general compared to other readily available sources of power.
Now, it is not dangerous compared to, say, living in a pre or post industrial world…but it is very dangerous compared to getting power from fracked gas or nuclear power using established tech.

We need power, not chit chat.
We need people with experience and expertise making big decisions, not people with idiotic agendas and zero specific knowledge.

I suggest you read more if you want to make arguments that stand up to scrutiny.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 29, 2022 6:07 pm

When I was a kid there were always ads in the back of magazines like Popular Mechanics offering a secret formula to convert water to gasoline. Apparently, the formula was originally kept in a vault owned by an oil company, but somehow these guys were able to obtain it and sell it to the public.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 30, 2022 11:07 am

Is this the same Indonesia that nearly destroyed it’s economy by trying to go totally organic?

Old Cocky
Reply to  Robert Hanson
May 30, 2022 2:20 pm

That was Sri Lanka

John Hultquist
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 30, 2022 8:21 pm

Thorium schist, again!
Here is my 10-100-1000 asking.
Get 10 on the grid,
100 permitted, financed, and under construction, and
1,000 planned, sited, and approved.

Then it will be time to think Thorium might be the future.

Greg White
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 31, 2022 9:58 am

You are on the right track with MSRs and Thorcon, but completely wrong about thorium. There is nothing special about thorium. Uranium has all the same advantages as thorium, except it’s much easier and cheaper to implement in an MSR. Even Thorcon is a uranium MSR that they might be able to feed in a tiny amount of thorium. Remember a thorium MSR is in fact a uranium reactor. Thorium is only fertile and has to be converted to uranium before it can fission.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 29, 2022 4:02 pm

The big problem of course is that, at least as far as the big western economies are concerned, no one is doing much more than talk in a low mumble about actually moving ahead with any large scale nuclear power buildout.
Before we have that, there needs to be the will to do so at many levels of the public and the government and several key industries…such as finance, power generation, mining, etc.
Of course, if a government comes into power that is serious about it and directs that it be done, it can happen quickly at all levels. I mean it can proceed to get started on planning quickly.
In many countries, the biggest hurdle will likely be stripping away the red tape, and excessive regulations, and the ability for anyone who is opposed, to bring any such projects to a standstill for basically forever.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 30, 2022 7:43 am

I notice that China and Ruzzia which are dictatorships and can do almost anything do not seem to be “building out” nuke plants.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Anti_griff
May 31, 2022 4:13 am

China leads the world in new plants under construction with 17 or so. Has held lead for a long time.
From 2014 to 2019, China nuke power generation increased from about 125 or so TWh, to about 350 TWh.
From about 1% to about 5% of total electricity.

China has plans for over 30 new plants in othe countries by 2030, and over 150 new plants by 2035.

Russia has at last four new plants under active construction, and somewhere around 39 that are in some stage of planning, or construction with delays.

I do not know exactly what point you are trying to make, but you keep saying stuff that shows you do very little checking on things before you comment.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 29, 2022 5:22 pm

On Net Zero ambitions to which this paper is directed, is it the case that Australia is already a net zero CO2-e emitter-thanks to its forests and rangelands?
See Dr.Bill Burrows’ recent paper-
Dr. Burrows is an eminent scientist, a former Senior Principal Scientist in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with a 40 year career studying inter alia Carbon fluxes in the grazed woodlands of NE Australia.
The critical issue is that Australia and other countries can now count all net emissions in ALL lands in their Land Use,Land Use Change and Forestry ( LULUC&F) sector under the Paris Accord accounts.
So Australia as a net carbon sink to the extent of 255 Mt CO2 annually has already reached Net Zero indeed surpassed it!
What does this say about the whole Net Zero project?

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 9:16 am

That MIT says it is useful news.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 11:41 am

To whom? Leftist politicians, Deep State bureaucrats, NGOs and their progressive billionaire backers, bankers and crony capitalist profiteers?

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 29, 2022 2:38 pm

About 50% of Americans are skeptics, so to them. Our job is to supply them with sound reasoning. MIT has just confirmed what I have been writing about for several years.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 3:34 pm

David, I’m a little confused. I assume a battery installation is sized to provide a maximum amount of power over a given period of time repeatedly at the number of assumed duty cycles. If it were designed to provide a maximum of 100 MW over a maximum 24 hour period repeatedly over say a 20 years’ life, wouldn’t the cost of the energy it supplied (net of charging energy cost and losses) be a function of roughly the capital amortization, O&M, contingency and profit estimated for the entire installation over the installation’s estimated life, allocated per unit of estimated total discharge energy (figuring the sum of the estimated full and lesser discharge rates) over the 20 years? I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t have to charge multiple billions of dollars for the energy it supplied on its first day of discharge operations. What am I missing?

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 29, 2022 4:46 pm

The capital costs are astronomical. Here is a pioneering study using hour by hour data to estimate the storage needed for wind and solar to replace existing fossil generation in the lower 48. He gets 250 million MWh estimated to cost $100 trillion or 5 times US GDP. Not unreasonable given annual US fossil generation is around 3 billion MWh. A lot of the storage is seasonal because both wind and solar are low in winter when consumption is high.

People do not realize the tremendous amounts of electricity involved in daily life.

Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 5:09 pm
Dave Fair
Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 6:02 pm

Thanks, David. It is as I expected: Battery capital (and replacement) costs kill the whole idea of storage meeting the intermittency constraints of unreliables.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 4:11 pm

David is correct…these battery storage “plans” are not plans at all, because they cannot work and have not been shown by anyone to possibly be able to work.
I think we could write a very huge encyclopedia of reasons why none of what these so-called “green energy” and “net zero” advocates are advocating for will ever work.
And a whole other one, a set of encyclopedias in fact, to tell the whole story about why it is unnecessary.

The short version is that every single thing the warmistas and all of their associates and hangers-on and cronies say, is very close to and possibly the exact opposite of what is really true.
Every word of it.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 29, 2022 11:35 am

But we trust government to provide it. MIT has gone full Left-tard.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Dave Fair
May 29, 2022 4:13 pm

Long ago.

William Capron
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 30, 2022 7:32 am

So where is Griff on all this. It’s hard to pick out the real strengths of anything about climate when our ‘true north’ idiots are silent. Maybe I just missed him, but it’s tough to locate ignorance when the idiot is silent.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 30, 2022 8:09 am

Its shit, it’s shit….

But delightfully cooked.

Old joke.

Very much like an IPCC scientific report where they make things up and attribute how confident they are to their guesses, rarely even try to prove anything.

Devils Tower
May 29, 2022 6:22 am

Pretty simple solution

End all tax exempt organizations (Including universities) and start over.

This country is beyond broke. When starting over, make sure involvment in politics is immediate disqualification with a simple means of enforcement. Not the IRS.

As a tax payer, tired of paying for those that lie and censor. It is called freedom of speech, in this county you pay to be lied too and censored with no recourse. Simple solution…..

Reply to  Devils Tower
May 29, 2022 7:07 am

There isn’t a lot of education left in the American educational system. A whole lot of woke, but not a lot of common sense. Sadly, burning it to the ground and salting the earth is probably the best way forward.

william Johnston
May 29, 2022 6:35 am

I guess we have learned nothing in the past few decades about providing “concerted government support”. What began as seed money has turned into copious amounts of fertilizer. Wind energy is supposed to be a mature enterprise. Let it succeed or fail on its own merits.

Last edited 2 months ago by william Johnston
Pat from kerbob
Reply to  william Johnston
May 30, 2022 6:23 pm

Storage will end up like ethanol, too big a voting constituency to ever cut it off
Waste forever

May 29, 2022 6:40 am

Another problem with LiIon is that it’s greatest degradation comes when they are fully charged.
If it happens to be hot while they are fully charged, the degradation comes even faster.

Grid scale batteries have to be kept fully charged for weeks or months at a time, waiting for when the inevitable drop in wind and solar occurs.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 7:44 am


Would your reference to “greatest degradation” be what some of us call spontaneous shorting/ignition/exploding into flames?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 29, 2022 9:34 am

Yes, the greatest degradation occurs at ignition temperature.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 29, 2022 9:45 am

I suspect that a cell phone battery may not scale up to serve electric grids. A battery big enough to drive a bus looks to be beyond its scale up size. These have had a very negative and expensive feasibility study done at full scale and the number of ‘accidents’ around the world says no way! Golf cart and forklift size seems okay

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 29, 2022 11:22 am

Hmmm . . . was it not that long ago that “hoverboard” batteries (Li-ion type) were documented spontaneously busting into flames in numerous social media videos?

And what about the spate of Samsung Note 7 cell phone batteries exploding in fire?
(Ref: )

How soon we forget.

There is no size of Li-ion safe for “scaling up” for grid storage purpose.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 29, 2022 10:18 am

Nope, it’s in addition to that.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 11:25 am

I don’t understand . . . you mean the battery packs can suffer even more degradation after they’ve burst into flame?

Who knew?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 29, 2022 2:22 pm

They don’t have to burst into flame in order to degrade.
They have multiple means by which they turn themselves into useless hulks.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 29, 2022 4:28 pm

Mark is referring to the ability of the battery to absorb, hold, and discharge, a given amount of power.
No rechargeable batteries last forever, as I am sure everyone who has ever had one knows.
In fact they do not last even a very long time.
Nothing like what we typically require of economic crucial and incredibly expensive infrastructure elements.

Degradation is only one of the fatal flaws with the warmista plan.
Many other separate and equally fatal flaws exist.
-How fast we can obtain the materials out of the Earth, and before that, overcoming resistance of the very same idiots to even mining anything at all.
-How fast we can build batteries vs how long they last and how many of them the whole world will need not just for storage but for all the devices including cars.
-The ability to get enough power out of the wind and Sun no matter how much money we spend and how much will we have.
-Getting all of the things done that needs to happen when what is happening as a first step is going to cripple our economy and prevent the huge buildout of mines and factories which will necessarily be required to make hundreds of millions of turbines, cars, panels, batteries, etc…as well as the huge buildout of other infrastructure required like a vastly upgraded and completely redesigned electric grid.

Just to name a few.
It is no exaggeration to point out that the jackass SOBs calling for any of this, let alone all of it and in the specified time interval, are pure fools who have absolutely no idea what they are even talking about.

None of them seem to have done any of the math, whatsoever.
Because math alone proves what they are calling for is undoable.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 6:09 pm

“In fact they do not last even a very long time.”

Well, FWIW, Tesla offers a 8-year, 150,000 mile warranty on their Li-ion battery packs used in their vehicles. And that would be for conditions of approximately daily charge-discharge cycling, although not frequently to maximum d-o-d.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 30, 2022 2:21 am

So, does 8 years seem like a “very long time”, for the most expensive part of a car?
I am driving a 1998 I30, which was actually purchased in 1997, and it is still working fine with about zero repairs in all that time.
Besides, we were not talking about batteries for cars, we were talking about a critical component of the entire electrical power supply infrastructure, which is envisioned to be the sole source of all energy for everything…what we currently use electricity for, plus the addition of every single thing we currently use natural gas and petroleum distillates for. And it seems they have in mind getting rid of all the hydro and nuclear as well.

So cars are a minor concern. Lots of what we presently use cars for can be done with bicycles and such.

In any case, the big glaring problems are not what we are already doing and what we already have.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Dave Fair
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 6:27 pm

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) says governments will simply print the money need for Brandon’s “transition.” You can already see the effects worldwide over the past few years of the application of MMT.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Dave Fair
May 30, 2022 2:32 am

The issue of what it will all cost is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.
Money is just a placeholder anyway.
The best measure of cost is probably EROEI.
Even if we could borrow all the money from Aunt Betty, there will never be any way to have an economy, let alone an industrial and technological civilization, if it takes more energy than we can ever get back before the stuff needs to be replaced.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 10:06 am

My understanding is that the “grid scale” batteries in Australia, which are really not grid scale, but “wind farm scale”, are kept charged at about 50-60% to both provide power when necessary, and accept extra solar power when it is not needed during the day. They arbitrage the low power input power cost mid-day and sell it at a profit after the sun goes down.

Sounds good until you are looking at no wind or solar and only have 50% charged “grid scale” batteries, not 90-100%, and only 6 hours of power instead of 12. Details, details.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 4:34 pm

Do you know the total amount of energy (not power, megawatts, but energy, megawatt-hours) they have in all of the batteries in the whole country, vs how much energy the country uses per unit of time?
I suspect they have nothing at all like 6 hours of power stored. I think it is more likely minutes worth.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 4:52 pm

I agree. My comment was based on battery farms now being used in Australia for FCAS for wind farm output. No way are they approaching “grid scale”, but, like the “net zero” and “renewable energy” narratives, there seems to be no impetus to produce a working, scalable, solution that can survive the known worst-case bad weather, let alone “extreme weather”. Where’s the engineering?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 5:18 pm

Yes, there is no engineering reports that point in a favorable direction.
But more significant, at least in my estimation, is that we do not even have the ability to produce what needs to be produced in the amount of time they are talking about.

As an example, today I was reading about this subject in a Politico article (I am not given to spending much time reading the drivel there, but there was an article linked in Real Clear Politics today: today, and kept noticing something I am not hearing anyone talk about. There was a lot of talk about the cost of electric cars, and some waiting lists to “get the model you want”, and some talk about “supply chain issues” with getting enough chips.
But nothing at all about the limits imposed by the global supply of lithium.
Nothing substantive about any other metals that are in critically short supply.
Nothing about how just in the past couple of days, two separate large scale mines have been put on permanent cancel status by the Lets Go Brandon administration.
And almost nothing at all about how even if everyone in the world was gifted the money for an electric car, there is absolutely no way to make them any faster than they are being made.
Nothing about how in the US alone, we need about 17 million new cars and light trucks every year just to keep up with the cars and trucks that wear out every year, in the US fleet of some 240 million+ such vehicles.
And manufacturers’ output of these electric cars has taken over a decade to ramp up to where we might make 3 million or so over the course of the forward year if we are lucky. Well over a decade. Only Tesla knows anything about how to provably do it at scale.

No, none of the people who are running the various parts of our government and economic and financial show, seem to have done anything like any of the actual arithmetic in order to see if their plans are even possible, let alone feasible.

I have not gone to the trouble of looking up the current numbers for a while, maybe a few years, but last time I did, IIRC, all the batteries ever made on the whole world over all of history would not power even one large city like New York for an hour.

Sometimes all of this just seems like it could not possibly be really happening.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Dave Fair
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 6:29 pm


Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 6:10 pm

The batteries in the Australian NEM over the past 12 months bought power at $89.82/MWh and sold at $225.22/MWh; a substantial arbitrage. However the batteries make most of their money on system stabilising services. Batteries now have a larger slice of this market than all the large rotating generators. They can respond to load changes in the second domain better than governors.

Synchronous condensers are required to fill the millisecond domain as the number of large rotating generators decline. Something you will not find in reports on battery storage.

None of this gets considered in these simplistic academic views of electricity networks.

The average wholesale price for electricity in Australia over the year to end of March was AUD85/MWh. The average retail price was AUD330/MWh. Prices have risen spectacularly in the past couple of months as solar output declines and wind droughts are sustained as well as coal and gas prices heading to the moon.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  RickWill
May 31, 2022 7:22 am

“The batteries in the Australian NEM over the past 12 months bought power at $89.82/MWh and sold at $225.22/MWh; a substantial arbitrage.”

Meanwhile, not accounted for are all the costs/MWh associated with the operations, maintenance, insurance, imputed cost-of-money, and life-cycle depreciation of the assets of those battery complexes.

Take those real costs into account and let me know if such facilities can break even over their life cycle, even at a 2.5:1 arbitrage advantage.

Reply to  RickWill
May 31, 2022 3:45 pm

So the batteries bought for above the average wholesale and sold for 2.5 X more. Doesn’t sound like they are contributing to less costly electricity. Also, we don’t know how many MWH’s are involved. It doesn’t matter what the price is if the volume is negligible.

Reply to  BobM
May 29, 2022 10:00 pm

The Hornesdale wind farm in South Australia has a Tesla big battery. The latter will power 30,000 homes for an hour but it makes a motzah arbitraging the unreliables and providing short run Frequency Control Ancillary Services. That’s an early adopter privilege that gets whittled away the more imitators pile on further driving out the real ff insurers.

May 29, 2022 6:42 am

and the technology will magically appear

Reminds me of the situation a few years back where the EPA decreed that refineries MUST start using some chemical that hadn’t been developed, then started fining them for failing to use this chemical.

Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 11:04 am

Last I heard the refineries chose to pay the fine. It was cheaper than producing the chemical.

Perhaps it will be cheaper to pay a fine for having insufficient power back-up than to build it. Combine that with immunity from lawsuits stemming from power outages, and they are home free. We, however, are screwed.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jtom
Reply to  Jtom
May 29, 2022 2:24 pm

The courts stepped in and declared the law null and void. Basically the courts ruled that the EPA couldn’t fine a company for failing to use something that didn’t exist.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 4:38 pm

The fact that it took a lawsuit and a court ruling to put an end to something so incredibly and utterly absurd is very telling regarding the people that are running things at a bureaucratic level.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  MarkW
May 29, 2022 6:11 pm

I’ll bite – what chemical are you guys referencing?

May 29, 2022 6:45 am

The trouble with RE is you need to over build and under-utilise, no matter how you dice it. If H2 is to be the load bank to absorb over production then it too will be over built and under utilised along with all the transmission and enabling equipment. As a bonus you can never be sure of actual production nor demand in any particular time frame, be it an hour, month or year. All the infrastructure has to be sized to sporadic maximum flow of energy, seldom used. It’s a nightmare of infrastructure investment…..even if it were technically possible.

Reply to  RobK
May 29, 2022 7:09 am

Wonder where CA gets the fresh water for the electrolysis during a major drought?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Spetzer86
May 29, 2022 7:47 am

Perhaps from energy-intensive seawater desalination facilities . . . oh, wait! . . .

Reply to  Spetzer86
May 29, 2022 11:05 am

borrow from the Delta Smelt, which hasn’t been seen for years anyway

Reply to  AndyHce
May 31, 2022 10:37 am

decades … it was replaced a long time ago with non-native.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Spetzer86
May 29, 2022 4:39 pm

Is salt water useless for making hydrogen via electrolysis?

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  RobK
May 29, 2022 7:42 am

I did some calculations for Alberta (Canada) last year, before commodity prices responded to (among other things) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Using the model I later provided to Ken Gregory for his well-received analysis of US storage requirements (The Cost of Net Zero Electrification of the U.S.A. – Watts Up With That?), I calculated a need for about 26 days’ worth of storage assuming a wind-and-solar generation fleet. (Systems that use solar energy require greater amounts of storage as latitude increases because the seasonal swings in generator output are greater. The seasonal variation in solar is mitigated to some extent in Alberta because wind output is higher in the winter.) The cost of Li-ion storage at that time was C$1.9 trillion, or about six times Alberta’s GDP. That cost would be incurred about every 10 years, given Li-ion battery life. See The-True-Cost-of-Wind-and-Solar-in-Alberta-FINAL-Ap-25-2021.pdf ( It’s a good thing the supply of government money for this sort of thing is infinite!

Not to be outdone by MIT, the Suzuki Foundation (Suzuki being the guy that suggested that people might start blowing up pipelines if they’re not satisfied with government climate action) just released a plan for Canada that claims we’ll be in green electricity utopia soon. According to them, wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity production in history.

Last edited 2 months ago by Randy Stubbings
Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 29, 2022 8:20 am

Can you tell us about any challenges to your findings please? Was there any challenge, or was there nothing of much value?
Currently, I have several requests for various Aussie authorities to answer a few questions that, IMO, need serious answers before proposals will work. Each enquiry has had no response so far. Refusal to answer is now a tactic of growing popularity in modern science, to the great shame of those who use it.
Geoff S

Randy Stubbings
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 29, 2022 9:17 am

Geoff, no one that I am aware of has challenged the findings. The calculations are straightforward, as illustrated in the Friends of Science paper I referenced. One can always argue with assumptions, but I did very little other than use historical data with some extrapolation to future levels of installed wind and solar capacity. If you are interested and can give me a day or two, I will post the Excel model where you can access it and adapt it to your own purposes. I’d be happy to help you in any way I can.

I constantly encounter the problem of people refusing to answer legitimate questions. Generally that’s because the answers would expose the insanity of their plans to “save the climate.” The problem extends to people simply ignoring documents that don’t support the narrative, which is likely part of the reason there’s been no response to the aforementioned document and others like it that I’ve written. Both tactics are shameful.

Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 29, 2022 9:34 am

Could the silent treatment be because you’re addressing the real, practical, physical, mechanical & engineering requirements of grid-scale wind + solar, rather than the conjecture about what effects CO2 molecules may or may not have on the weather?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 29, 2022 11:49 am

FOIA information requests for pertinent data retained by government agencies?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 29, 2022 7:17 pm

Thank you for the Excel offer. I cannot do it justice at the moment because of family health matters, so I hope that others better placed will take it up with you and benefit from it. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
May 30, 2022 4:11 am

Randy and Geoff,
I wouldn’t mind obtaining a copy of the Excel spreadsheet, to use for some more calculations for Australian energy. Is there some way I can obtain it? Perhaps email it to JoNova?
Some basic back-of-envelope calculations for battery storage required to backup all of Australian daily power, at current battery prices, came to around A$4 trillion, or twice Australia’s annual GDP.
Would like to refine these calculations further.

Last edited 2 months ago by Graeme#4
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 30, 2022 7:35 am

“The problem extends to people simply ignoring documents that don’t support the narrative”…

You mean like “Climate Science”?

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 29, 2022 10:26 am

Like the wholesale adjustments to temperature station readings to shore up a weak response to rapidly rising C02, climateer aparatchiks have been working hard to destroy the economy-supply-price of fossil fuels, having adjusted world spot Nat Gas prices upwards ten times prices of a year ago. Yeah, I expect we will hear more stridently how ‘cheap’ windmill energy is.

However, it has also drawn attention to the importance of fossil fuel back up required to make renewables actually work!
Also, they haven’t got the bill yet for newly made solar and wind units manufactured using the expensive natural gas for reduction, melting, refining, fiberglass, plastic, steel reinforced concrete footings, delivery using fossil fueled ships (China), trucks, etc.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Randy Stubbings
May 29, 2022 12:07 pm

Thanks for mentioning “The Cost of Net Zero Electrification of the U.S.A. – Watts Up With That?” as I missed it the first time around. If people only knew how little battery storage
there is- often < 2X rated battery power- they’d have a permanent look of horror on their
faces as if they had seen a ghost. It’s nuts! Anything providing reliable, constant 24-hr
generation will probably exceed the battery energy stored!

Rick C
Reply to  RobK
May 29, 2022 9:35 am

Even the idea of H2 production at utility scale using intermittent and unreliable power is a huge problem. Industrial scale production processes don’t operate efficiently when they have to be ramped up and down frequently. May those MIT genius engineers could take a stab at the design of a hydrogen powered plant that could swing between say 0 and 100,000 cubic meters per hour 3 times per day.

Reply to  RobK
May 29, 2022 6:38 pm

even if it were technically possible.

It is technically possible and is already being done in Australia.

A AUD14.5M plant to produce 20kg/hr. Enough hydrogen for space heating 400 homes in southern Australia for the winter months if it worked continuously.

Works out at capital investment of $362,000 per household just for the electrolyser.

At this stage the gas is being injected at 5% (I think by mass) to NG lines and also transported in very expensive transporters for industrial users.

So the question really gets down to the value of government mandated subsidies/transfer payments that will make it profitable for private investors. It has to be done because the planet is burning up – right!

This is the new venture for subsidy farmers and has the already wealthy farmers lining up to get their share.

Reply to  RickWill
May 30, 2022 7:32 am

I know of someone involved with maintenance in that project. I asked him a year ago how things were progressing toward the targeted $2/kg cost of H2.
His reply was:”Mate, we can’t even get maintenance costs near $2/kg.”

John Burdick
May 29, 2022 6:54 am

But they have 97% consensus that this will work.

May 29, 2022 6:55 am

Why do so many people, including supposedly intelligent experts, believe that if you spend time and money on R&D you always will achieve your goal?

To disprove this belief is as simple as looking at drug development and seeing how many attempts end in no usable drug.

Another example is fusion power. For 50 years we have been being told it is just 10 years away. If we just develop better magnets or improve the containment or some other issue that once it is solved will magically make fusion viable.

I do believe fusion will ultimately be solved. I also believe that there are as yet undiscovered solutions to improved storage batteries.

The time (and money) for R&D to solve the problems could take decades or even centuries. Meanwhile, many people want to build the rest of the ‘zero-carbon’ system BEFORE having all the pieces of the puzzle working.

Reply to  ddp
May 29, 2022 7:11 am

They only have to believe by stating some errant words on a published paper somebody will make sure their next paycheck is properly deposited. They know beyond doubt if they don’t say those words, or say words that in anyway discredits the narrative, that paychecks will no longer be forthcoming.

Last edited 2 months ago by Spetzer86
Reply to  ddp
May 29, 2022 3:14 pm

Precisely ddp
Just like forcing millions of electric vehicles onto the road where most will be recharged with fossil power. Crazy. Anything to maintain the gravy train momentum.

Steve Case
May 29, 2022 6:59 am

comment image

And then a miracle happens.

Last edited 2 months ago by Steve Case
oeman 50
Reply to  Steve Case
May 29, 2022 7:47 am

My thought exactly!

Thomas Gasloli
May 29, 2022 7:35 am

What had happened to MIT is so sad. This used to be where real geniuses went to be taught by other geniuses. Now it is just another woke credential mill.

With MIT gone, China really will be the only place for technological advancement.

Just sad.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
May 29, 2022 2:49 pm

Exactly. You’d think there would be at least one, possibly two or three, MIT-heads who are smart enough to realize that the entire idea of NetZero is based on the scientifically false proposition that CO2-caused warming, should it occur, would be a bad thing. We don’t need harebrained pie-in-the-sky”solutions” to a non-existent “problem”.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
May 29, 2022 5:36 pm

There are surely some such people, and they are smart enough to know what will happen to them if they speak up about what they know.
That is unless they have all to the last one just quit and departed.
We have to hope at some point the dam breaks, and everyone who is kept themself clammed up due to fear of speaking their minds, suddenly feels it is okay to do so…to speak theri mind.
I was just reading something about this subject…a psychoogical phenomenon which has occurred at various times and places over the course of history.
I’ll see if I can find it and post a link.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Dave Fair
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 29, 2022 6:37 pm

The example of the HSB head of sustainable investing recently saying ESG is nuts?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Dave Fair
May 30, 2022 2:50 am

Even in this report, if one reads between the lines, it is obvious they are saying it is not possible and will not be unless some amazing new kind of battery is invented, that uses air and iron and stores power in unlimited amounts for as long as necessary and are cheap to make.

But in the meantime, we have to spend like drunken Speakers of the House for the foreseeable future and hope for the best.

But why should any of this be surprising?
It comes from people who make up data to suit their ideas, who are sure the world is ending if our half frozen planet warms slightly, and hallucinate that the molecule that is the basis of the entire biosphere and is in incredibly and dangerously short supply, is actually a deadly toxin that causes everything bad that ever has happened, is happening, and ever will happen.

Gordon A. Dressler
May 29, 2022 7:42 am


Nice article, thank you! Special kudos to you for wading through the 378 page-long MIT report and summarizing what you found therein for the rest of us.

18 co-authors??? . . . it is fairly easy to predict what’s going to result from that.

I did note one typo in the second sentence of your second paragraph, which I’ve corrected thusly:
“MIT — that’s that used to be America’s premier university for matters of science and technology.”

May 29, 2022 7:46 am

When the Net Zero brigade have finally run the worlds economy into the ground, then and maybe then, they may see that the emperor had no clothes.

Reply to  Gangellucci
May 29, 2022 11:19 am

The problem with that is they will not feel the economy grinding to a halt until it affects them, personally. By that time, there will be mass starvation in third-world countries, people on the verge of starving in better economies, and the masses struggling to pay bills in our countries. They will be the ‘royalty’ with the resources to guarantee their safety, food, and comfort. If necessary, they will have their own gas well feeding a small NG power plant (or even more cheaply, coal). They will have their own power for recharging their vehicles and the roads all to themselves.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Jtom
May 29, 2022 4:21 pm

I think you would find it would never get to the point you describe. The citizenry would take out the “elites'” special privileges long before we got there.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 29, 2022 5:46 pm

Road Warrior style.
When masses of people start literally freezing and starving to death, I doubt all the castle walls and private security guards in the world will protect them.
For one thing, everything is too interconnected.
They may have bought land with a gas well, but do they have the equipment and manpower to refine it?
It does not come out of the ground as clean dry and pure nat gas in very many places, I do not think.
They may have water wells, and septic tanks, but what about internet connectivity? Cash money that has not become worthless due to hyperinflation? What about food?
Are they hoping for a transition to a world just like China, North Korea, or Cuba? Or even Venezuela?
It may be possible some places. Especially where they have no 2A.

We are hearing a fresh wave of talk about the US doing what Australia and New Zealand voluntarily did.
My opinion is, μολὼν λαβέ.

John Larson
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 30, 2022 6:27 am

I’m pretty sure the “elites” in question have given plenty of thought to how they can survive an enraged (and likely starving) citizenry. Underground, in extremely well provisioned and fortified shelters . . like the Government has waiting should a nuclear exchange become immanent. I don’t doubt that a great many people, like the MIT crowd, have been promised shelter space. (I do doubt a great many will actual get it, if/when the time comes.)

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  John Larson
May 31, 2022 5:07 am

It is great to have a plan for what to do if Armageddon happens.
But these are people who live in the lap of luxury and comfort.
All that will end the day they have to pack into shelters and hole up in protected enclaves and live under endless siege for the rest of their lives.
So it hardly explains what the hell they have in mind with these efforts to bring an end to our civilization.

May 29, 2022 7:54 am

These are a great series of pieces by The Contrarian. What is so amazing is that in one or two pages he gets to the heart of the matter and simply demolishes the opposing point of view.

The striking thing about the paper he is analyzing is the lack of any contribution by real life power generation and system engineers and planners.

Its so bizarre that in America today totally unqualified people consider themselves able to pronounce on how to convert the grid in this way. And that other unqualified people seem to recognize them as experts. And that both ignore the most obvious thing about RE, its intermittency.

You read this stuff shaking your head and the question that comes to mind is, what has happened to America? Say what you like about 1955, this nonsense would never even have got started then.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  michel
May 29, 2022 5:48 pm

But it is not just one country or another.
That would be mind boggling by itself.

Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 7:57 am

As a holder of fundamental patents in energy storage materials, I apparently know more than MIT profs about this.
Redox flow batteries have been around for about two decades. There are several chemistries, the main one being vanadium. There are just two problems. 1. Vanadium is very expensive and not abundant. 2. Cycle lives are very short, at most a few years.
Metal air batteries come in various metals like zinc. They all suffer a problem with dendrite growth leading to shorting, so short cycle life.
For both, there are decades of research already, unable to solve the known problems. Many startups have tried and failed. Shame on MIT for ignoring the basic realities of electrochemistry.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 8:40 am

1. Vanadium is very expensive and because it is not abundant.

You don’t want to build a society based on ‘unobtanium!’

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 10:26 am

I don’t think they are ignoring the problem. It’s just like most liberals they assume that if the government orders something done, and then provides money, it will be done.

joe x
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 29, 2022 11:09 am

rud, you must know by know that enough government grants can change the laws of physics.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  joe x
May 29, 2022 2:08 pm

Good one. I did not know that until now. /s

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  joe x
May 29, 2022 4:24 pm

Back in the 2009 time frame, government and auto industry leaders met in the US. The government folks proposed some ideas, many of which violated laws of physics. When the auto folks pointed this out, one of the government lawyers noted that being from the government meant that they could change the laws.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 30, 2022 4:14 am

Well, that’s the modus operandi for the climate faithful – you simply ignore all of the information you don’t like.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 30, 2022 4:22 am

Rud, any comments about the graphene battery proposal from Elon Musk?

May 29, 2022 8:00 am

I don’t see why the cost of developing the novel technology needs to be a problem for us.

When the time comes we will buy all the required products from China, no matter where it is invented. Certainly Europe and the rest of the world will. I suggest we just sit and wait for the needed technology to appear.

Don’t we trust China to be able to develop it?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Quelgeek
May 29, 2022 4:26 pm

There development agents are spying in labs around Europe and North America as we speak. I don’t think the Chinese can invent anything any better than they can build it.

Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
May 30, 2022 4:22 am

I’m OK to wait while they try.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Quelgeek
May 29, 2022 6:41 pm

And while we are waiting we should learn Mandarin.

May 29, 2022 8:57 am

I sufficient storage? Not to worry. New York State has the solution. According to their comprehensive long range energy plan, as described by Roger Ciazza and Mr. Menton, any generation shortcomings will be made up by DEFR as commanded by the State government. DFER stands for Dispatchable Emission Free Resource as everybody surely knows. Simply get a catalog and buy the Resource that fits your need.

Reply to  DHR
May 29, 2022 10:49 am

Or, as Sec. Yellen said, “Deploy more storage assets.”
We do sound like we are living in The Great Leap Forward.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joel
May 29, 2022 11:56 am

With the same inevitable result.

May 29, 2022 9:15 am

They clearly say the technology does not exist for storage from daily to seasonal, which is required in vast quantities to make wind and solar reliable. That is news we can use.

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 11:58 am

But they say a benevolent government will provide it.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Wojick
May 29, 2022 5:58 pm

The problem is not that we do not have facts that we can use, it is that when we start to talk about these facts, we are sneered at and insulted and called stupid.
The only apt analogy I can think of is the movie “Idiocracy”.
I had just come across a clip from the movie the other day and found it can be watched on You Tube for free, with commercials. (Imagine that…a model for content that relies on ads, where anyone can watch for free! What will they think of next?)

I have to try to not really spend too much time dwelling on how completely people who do not know what they are doing, or care to find out, have infiltrated and taken over the levers of decision making and power.

Gary Pearse
May 29, 2022 9:32 am

(Li) “…unlikely to fall low enough to enable widespread adoption for long-duration (> 12 hours)”

You can see ‘engineering’ is fully diluted and managed by sociology (that has been thoroughly corrupted for several generations my marxists). No competent engineer would offer comfort with the idea that we are already advanced in destroying the world economy and its energy system and we havent the technology to make the switch!

We do have 40 million tonnes of lead, a third of which is recycled from auto/ equipment batteries each year, and were we to nix ICE vehicles, we would have this available. Maybe research on design for replating large grid storage lead acid batteries as required or a complete reconfiguration of the tech… this is off the table for consideration, of course because sociologists don’t like lead.

That there was even consideration for Li when its chief strength is its lightweight which is not a requirement for stationary batteries, is itself a unicorn idea. Record global Li production occurred in 2021 at, …are you sitting down… 100,000t !!! Shame on these engineers that operate under sociologists with studded dog collars and whips.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 29, 2022 4:28 pm

April 29, 2021 to April 29, 2022 increase in price of lithium (according to US government) was 419%.

May 29, 2022 10:19 am

Repeat my comment from yesterday on another thread, obviously in agreement with the Contrarian:

We need to start asking at every opportunity, “where is the demonstration project, and when will it begin?”

The irrationality of these things is completely misunderstood by the vast majority of the population because they assume the “renewables” and “sustainability” baloney will actually work, and is already being done somewhere by someone…

We need to burst that balloon for the unaware.

And this is exactly how it happens. People hear about an MIT study on the future of energy storage and think, “whoa, MIT, we’re in good hands, it is all being worked out”, when even MIT is saying, in the fine print, that it is fairy dust.

May 29, 2022 11:12 am

Years later, I was reminded of that when I saw a particular single-panel cartoon.* It showed a professor-scientist type up at a blackboard, working at the successive stages of a proof. But he gets stuck. After much thinking, he writes the next step as “Then a miracle occurs…” after which his proof can continue.

* From What’s so Funny About Science? by Sidney Harris (1977).

May 29, 2022 11:28 am

keep up the good work! you have giant shoulders that others need to stand on to make sensible decisions.

May 29, 2022 12:05 pm

This post needs to be spread far and wide. We have an absolutely meaningless report from MIT, the supposed best of the best, which proves net zero is not only a ridiculous idea but one that can’t be achieved. These green devils are morons.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Bob
May 30, 2022 1:25 am

The MIT report is the equivalent of proclaiming that everyone will ride unicorns in the future. To encourage the transition to unicorns, all horses will be shot immediately.

Paul Penrose
May 29, 2022 12:24 pm

And, of course, this study completely ignores the problem of how to maintain frequency control on an A/C power grid composed entirely of 10’s of thousands of individual generation sources coming on and off unpredictably. Nor do they mention how to black-start such a grid. There are so many unsolved (maybe unsolvable) problems with this plan that I find it hard to believe that any competent power systems engineer could endorse it. Or really anybody that has a good understanding of how A/C power production and/or distribution systems work. It’s long past time for these people to stand up and publicly declare the folly of this RE/NetZero debacle before the power grids are hopelessly damaged. Our society is completely dependent on abundant, reliable power and will not survive the destruction of that system.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 29, 2022 6:14 pm

People are standing up, and are being ignored.
See here for an example, and note this is from the far left publication, The Hill:

Another nuclear plant closes: Get ready for electricity shortages (

“the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) issued a report saying the U.S. electric grid doesn’t have enough generation capacity and that blackouts are almost certain to occur across the country this summer.

In particular, NERC noted that the Midwest is facing a capacity shortfall that could lead to a “high risk of energy emergencies during peak summer conditions.” Palisades was located in the heart of the Midwest, immediately adjacent to the area served by the Mid-continent Independent System Operator (MISO), the region that NERC identified as being particularly short on juice. NERC said the MISO region has 3,200 megawatts less generation capacity this summer than it did in 2021. Despite this loss of generation capacity, NERC expects demand in the region to increase by about 1.7 percent this summer and warned that “extreme temperatures, higher generation outages, or low wind conditions” will mean that MISO will have a “higher risk” of “load-shedding to maintain system reliability” — the industry’s preferred term for rolling blackouts.
In a phone interview, Meredith Angwin, author of the 2020 book, “Shorting The Grid,” told me, “It is shocking to me how people can pretend this isn’t a problem.” ” 

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Paul Penrose
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 31, 2022 9:30 am

But they really aren’t standing up and confronting the charlatans, are they? I would say the current push-back amounts to sitting in their chairs and mumbling a bit, which is easier to ignore than standing up and stating loudly that our leaders, with their panels of non-experts, are all spouting dangerous nonsense.

Bruce Cobb
May 29, 2022 12:44 pm

No, see, if you Believe completely in a Net-Zero future, then it will happen. You’ve just gotta have faith, that’s all. Never mind the details, they will work themselves out. Belief first, details later.

Loren C. Wilson
May 29, 2022 12:46 pm

Don’t tell the Greenies but hydrogen combustion forms the most powerful green-house gas on earth. If they find out, they won’t even allow hydrogen backup, as expensive as that will be.

May 29, 2022 1:18 pm

One only needs to look at the various Wind Turbine power generated graphs available on the internet. The majority of these are in the Prime locations for wind generation, I have seen graphs for ND, WA and TX and others with periods of over two weeks with ZERO to ~ 2 percent of name plate capacity generation. Many with several days in a row with ZERO generation and at the same days/time as several other areas in different states. Does not take a PhD or even a Graduate Student working on his PhD to collect the presently available data for just one year for each of just those available to realize that WIND WILL NOT WORK. Even an HS student could do it. I was taught in grade school that 10 times zero is zero, 100 times zero is zero and 1 million times zero is zero. Do those at MIT know this. I have a decent Weather station. Anemometer is at 35 ft. House is at 1200ft. in one of the best areas in Nebraska for Wind Power, according to the internet maps. Many days, stretching to over two weeks without the wind speed going above 12 MPH. This spring we went through three periods of 3 -4 days with wind speed over 25 and gusts to over 50 mph. each of these bracketed by less than 5 mph. From what I have read, I sure would not want to be the dispatcher for the grid on those days. As a test engineer at the power plant I had to call the dispatcher 1/2 hour before I started the Main Feedwater Pumps for maintenance tests. That is about the same change in load as one 2 MW wind turbine shutting down. But with 50 wind turbines all within sight of each other when one WT is in the doldrums all fifty are.

Last edited 2 months ago by usurbrain
Kit P
Reply to  Rich Lentz
May 29, 2022 3:17 pm

I was a test engineer at nuke plants. The last test before the plant is declared commercial is tripping the turbine from 100% power.

On two occasions the dispatcher said hell no. The irony is that a plant that could not be ordered on line was preventing grid collapse. The first time was a severe winter storm at midnight.

The second time, it was a record hot day at noon. I had a lot more experience but my suggestion to do it at midnight was not considered.

May 29, 2022 1:25 pm

“and demonstration to advance alternative electrochemical storage technologies that rely on earth-abundant materials.”

Are they going to try to make coal ?

Sorry guys, someone beat you to it !

Kit P
May 29, 2022 3:51 pm

After reading the first paragraph of the ES, I noted that each statement was misleading to the point of being a ‘material false statement’. In the nuclear world, 10 CFR50 calls this a serious felony.

So I did a word search for the word ‘safety’. Second to last sentence of the ES says they will do it later.

There is a proven technology for net zero. It requires nuke plants to be over built and under utilized. Been doing in France for 30 years.

Regulations that make commercial nuclear expensive, now apply to everything energy related. Storing energy is very dangerous. In the EIS process alternatives such as nuclear power must be considered.

It is a mute point anyway. There will never be significant excess power. Apparently they do not teach calculus at MIT. At some point in the future, wind turbines and solar panels will fail at a rate equal to or greater than the rate they can be built.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Kit P
May 29, 2022 6:23 pm

I really hate to be pedantic, but I am doing it because I like you, and if I had spinach in my teeth at a party, I would be mad if no one told me:
Moot vs. Mute (

May 29, 2022 4:32 pm

Lessee… They know they need storage. They know what’s available won’t work. They have their fingers crossed that someone, somewhere will come up with some sort of solution. They have no clue what the available storage will cost and ven less clue, were it possible, what the hopium-based-as-yet-to-be-dreamed-of storage will cost or what it might be.

So… full steam ahead!

I’m sure the same thing made sense to some long extinct civilization on another planet. That’s probably why the aren’t picking up our calls.

May 29, 2022 5:03 pm

There already is a global debt problem, in the USA Medicare and social security heading towards bankruptcy. We don’t have the money to pay for this green fantasy.

Reply to  Steve
May 29, 2022 6:26 pm

Nope. The U.S. is broke. But “we’ll gladly pay you next Tuesday for a hamburger today.” (h/t ‘Wimpy’)

May 29, 2022 6:25 pm

Read a very interesting learned discussion in a decidedly left wind technical discussion board that clearly stated, with evidence that there just isn’t enough rare earth metals being produced to manufacture the EV’s needed. They didn’t discuss the wind turbines, solar systems etc.
Of that produced, China through it’s belt and road policy has locked up 80% of that produced world wide, and is using it for it’s own domestic market.

The short discussion makes the MIT paper look foolish.

May 29, 2022 7:28 pm

Let’s do a rough bar napkin calculation on the cost of US battery storage for one week.

US households: 122 million
Cost for 1 week power backup using 5 x Tesla Powerwalls: $40,000
Residential grid use of total power consumption: 16%
Average lifespan of a Tesla Powerwall: 10 years

(122,000,000 x $40,000)/.16= $30.5 trillion….

So the cost just for 1 week nationwide battery storage (excluding construction cost of a 100% wind/solar grid) would be about $30.5 trillion, which would only last about 10 years before needing to be replaced, or $305 trillion just for battery storage backup for a century at current consumption..

I don’t think so…

Leftists suck at math and logic.

Reply to  SAMURAI
May 30, 2022 10:27 am

Hey there Samurai –

Power storage costs are dropping dramatically, just like the costs of wind and solar power generation have done over the last few decades. Mass solar PV power is now 20x lower cost than it was some 20 years ago. We are now on a similar pricing curve decline with power storage.

Let’s consider a reasonable cost learning curve estimate, that power storage costs going forward decrease not by 20x, like solar PV did, but by 10x, and it takes 30 years to get there, not just 20.

Thus by around 2050, which is a typical goal for a “net zero” utility grid timeframe, your $30 trillion cost over a ten year period has now become a cost of $3 trillion over that same time frame, or $300 billion a year.

That’s fewer dollars than we waste every year on useless implements of war that we don’t need and never use.

Who sucks at math and logic?

Bill Toland
Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 12:17 am

You do.

Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 4:44 am


“Who sucks at math and logic?”

Apparently you do…

Look. If Leftists were actually concerned that CAGW was an “existential threat” (eye roll), the ONLY viable option would be to keep all existing hydro and nuclear plants, and simply build 50 additional Palo-Verde scale nuclear plants which would only cost $600 billion (50 nukes x $12 billion/plant), and they’d last about 50 years.

So, $600 billion vs. $150 trillion ($30 trillion x 5 decades) just for wind/solar battery backup for 50 years, PLUS the insane cost of building an expensive, intermittent, unreliable, unstable and diffuse wind and solar power plant infrastructure that would need to be replaced every 15~20 years….

Which is mo’ bedda?

Reply to  SAMURAI
May 31, 2022 8:19 am


Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 7:32 pm


1 person died during the Fukushima incident and 6 others exposed to extremely high levels of radiation during during the accident have developed cancer…

Leftists suck at math, logic and ethics…

Reply to  SAMURAI
May 31, 2022 8:14 pm

Total costs of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe will likely reach $200 billion.

Who sucks at math, logic, and ethics?

Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 3:55 pm

Power storage costs are dropping dramatically? Which ones? As this thread has already advised, Lithium Carbonate prices have increased by 419% in the last year. So exactly which storage cost has dramatically decreased? Your whole argument is based around the claim that storage costs will decrease, yet you fail to show any evidence of this occurring. If this was true for all new products, by now we would be driving around in $500 cars and using $50 mobiles.

Last edited 2 months ago by Graeme#4
Reply to  Graeme#4
May 31, 2022 4:36 pm

Lithium ion battery pack costs have fallen 85% over the past decade, and another 60% drop in prices is expected over the coming decade. Costs of other types of electricity storage are following similar trajectories.

Li Ion Battery Pack Cost Learning Curve.JPG
Bill Toland
Reply to  MGC
June 1, 2022 1:10 am

That article about projected falls in battery prices is dated and now looks comically deluded. The increased demand for the raw materials used in batteries will inevitably cause those raw materials to soar in price; this has already been seen over the last year. My forecast for battery prices over the next decade is a substantial rise in price.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Bill Toland
June 1, 2022 1:25 am

As an example of what lies ahead, Tesla is raising prices steadily purely due to the increased costs of the raw materials used in electric cars. As electric car sales increase, this can only get worse.

Reply to  Bill Toland
June 1, 2022 5:47 am

re: “My forecast for battery prices over the next decade is a substantial rise in price”.

Living-in-the-past naysayers said the exact same kinds of things about solar PV. A similar shortage and pricing increase occurred around 2005-2008 with raw materials for solar photovoltaics, when that technology really began growing in earnest. That price rise was only temporary and the price learning curve soon continued its dramatic downward plunge.

It is likely that the same thing will happen with these battery packs. The increase in pricing is already bringing several new raw material suppliers into the market.

Moreover, for utility scale electrical storage, Li ion is not the only game in town.

I’m guessing that with regard to battery pricing, the “comically deluded” will turn out to be folks like Bill Toland and other so-called “skeptics” … just like they’ve been all these years already with regard to global warming and climate change.

Bill Toland
Reply to  MGC
June 1, 2022 9:37 am

Your understanding of economics rivals your understanding of climate science.

May 29, 2022 11:11 pm

In addition, after the system has completely discharged the batteries, there better not be another long lull for several weeks while the batteries are recharged.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
May 30, 2022 2:59 am

If the batteries ever do go to zero, the whole system will crash unless there is immediately thereafter a very sunny and windy day, because otherwise it will be impossible to charge them up with enough energy for a long night during the course of one day.
Not that it will ever come to that.
There is zero chance of grid scale storage of power in the next couple of decades, no matter what. Even if we are only talking about all the stuff we presently use electricity for. We could never even build enough car batteries in the next few decades. Even if they were opening new mines every day, instead of blocking all of them and putting in place decades long moratoriums.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
May 30, 2022 7:46 am

Excess electricity at utility scale generation can’t be magically dumped – it actually costs money.

May 30, 2022 8:09 am

PSEUDO SCIENCE ALERT! Aruga, Aruga! Hypersonic BS Incoming.

OR: Who peer reviewed that then?

It seems MIT models use a different data set, or perhaps new statistical mathematics or laws of physics, to that which I researched the facts of, or was taught for my degree? That I now apply on my Scientific calculator. Obviously I need a sentient consensual science model whose outcome I can programme. None of that inconvenient deterministic reality you have to prove. The MIT paper appears to end up saying the lack of any physically credible way to do what they say needs doing can all be explained by Moogles, to paraphrase Feynman on why you can’t prove a vague theory wrong, or right.

OR, do it old style, under the constraints of the laws of physics and the properties of matter. Like this….. call out results summarised below.

I offer my old fashioned science, the applied costed physics of an electrical engineer and MBA’s costed assessment of battery storage, and indeed pumped storage as a UK BTW (irrelevant we have nowhere to build the giant lakes at top and bottom at the scale required). Pumping the Irish Sea into Windermere may be unacceptable, as it’s currently being re-wilded by the woke. Not very green.

nb: Peter Lang has done solar plus pumped storage for OZ, BTW. Just as daft, but Ozzie daft. Let’s blow up the coal fired power stations that work when we need them, and rely on windmills that don’t when the wind don’t blow, and back up the whole mess with overpriced batteries chareged from other states coal fired power that give us minutes of grid support on a hot day? Oh Yeah!


ANS: It would require a continuing capital expenditure of £50B pa to supply and replace the batteries necessary to deliver 1TWh of backup,

This is if spread over the batteries expected life, so a much larger initial cost, £200 Billion for 4 year life lead acid, or £400 Billion for 8 year Li-Ion. Such a phasing is reasonable as the grid would not go all renewable all at once……….. or ever, as I suggest. Because it can’t work in science fact.

Only nuclear energy can replace and exceed fossil energy, because renewable energy is too diffuse and intermittent to generate the total energy needed, when needed, and in fact need 100% gas backup at scale in the real world. Better to just use the gas all the time, save the money wasted on renewables, and spend MUCH LESS MONEY PER UNIT ENERGY GENERATED on deploying nuclear – that will generates electrical energy 24/7 for 60 years.

Put another way. If the goal is to minimise cumulative fossil fuel generation, hence CO2 emissions – if they really mattered – diverting capital into the dead end of expensive renewables is actually a regressive waste compared to building nuclear that needs no renewable offset.. And, per David MacKay’s last public words, If you can meet max demand with nuclear, you don’t need renewables.

THis only works if the real agenda is limiting Western energy use, by making it more expensive and rationed by law, hence reversing economic development, which is totally reliant on energy use per capita, so requires cheap plentiful energy, not expensive rationed energy. Less is less.

…….. but subsidising what doesn’t work by law does make easy subsidy fortunes for lobbyists and their banks, and rich elite investors, at the expense of the energy poverty of the governed.

Go figure, MIT.

Nuclear can deliver all the electrical energy we need now or in any imaginable future,many many times today’s use, to a 10Billion global developed population, at the lowest cost per unit energy (IEA). We know how to synthesise primary fuels from that energy, with the lowest resource use per unit energy generated, so most cheaply and most sustainably.

The basic physics point is fundamental. You need more intense dispatchable energy, weak intermittent energy simply can’t, Less is less.

Adding hugely expensive storage to renewables just makes a bad idea MUCH worse, compared to building nuclear that just works.

Go figure, MIT. Do some real engineering. Not models. Do the maths. LIke this:

1 TWh is an average day’s energy for the current UK grid, without any electrification of heat and transport (that would be a rough trebling of electrical energy demand if imposed at scale, as clueless politicians think is good for us).

Yes, such conditions happen regularly in UK winters. And elsewhere in Europe,Canada, Siberia, Texas even? No wind and no serious sunlight at 50 deg N – that can last for a week or more. So that needs more than 7TWh, because its a period of highest demand and 7TWh is an average daily demand. So we would really, really need at least 7TWh reserve if we were all renewable w/o gas backup..

That will cost £350 Billion pa in continuing battery replacement cost, or a Zero day CAPEX of £1.4 Trillion for Lead acid or £2.8 Trillion for Li-ion. In fact more for Li-IOn because prices have risen since i did my simple sums. All the numbers are in the paper. Not hard sums.

This is either half or all the annual GDP of the UK, depending on battery type.
No more energy is generated for this.

This capital cost of the first year’s amortisation of one week’s battery backup for renewable energy is £350 Billion.

£350 Billion would build over 70 GW of new nuclear capacity.

More than enough to run the UK grid at present demand levels for 60 years.Nothing else required except the relatively marginal OPEX, similar to renewable OPEX levels. What to do?

And that would leave the rest of the un amortised CAPEX, over £1 Trillion if Lead acid, over £2.4 Trillion of Li Ion as a stranded asset.

Total malfeasance by any government on any measure.

UK GDP is £2.7Trillion pa.

There is an absolutely no joined up common sense in trying to replace fossil use with renewables and battery backup, or pumped storage. Not enough energy when needed, 24/7. Simply a stupid waste of massive amounts of public money that can better be used replacing fossil directly and ASAP with nuclear. Having any renewables on the grid without gas backup during that process is economic suicide in overt fact. And increases cumulative CO2 emissions. BUt enriches rich insiders at the energy poverty of the governed, who have no say in what is done in their name, based on a fabric of overt and very disprovable lies. THat are grounded in a lie that the supposed solution would do nothing to change if it was true.

You really can’t make it up. That’s their job. Especially when there is easy money to be made for crony profit by law.

MIT get 0/10 for Engineering Reality and Economics 101: The key underlying energy factors are energy density and intermittency. The best nuclear solution and the inferiority and inadequacy. of renewables cannot be changed significantly by technology or subsidy. The only way to impose renewables is to make what works more expensive by law – to distort markets regressively to profit insiders at the public’s energy poverty expense, by law.

Does MIT have any technologists who understand physics and engineering? Seems not. Gonna need a better University.

The unchangeable problem of storage is that what is stored is a low density form of energy, chemical energy in a battery or gravitational potential energy in pumped storage. Both require a relatively HUGE amounts of physical resource to store a small amount of energy, compared to the molecular and nuclear binding energies of fossil and nuclear fuels,

e.g. Lead acid batteries would be roughly 1 BIllion cubic feet for 1 Day’s !TWh = 27 Megatonnes of batteries. 5 Megatonnes of Li-Ion. Roughly. A lotta batteries.

Both approaches are self evidently delusional, when added to the already excessive lifetime cost per unit energy of short lived and resource intensive wind farms per unit energy generated.

Not a rational fiscal choice versus nuclear at any scale. Which planet is MIT located on?

At least lead acid is closed cycle recyclable. Li-IOn isn’t, and uses expensive CO2 intensive processes to extract and manufacture, as well as slave child labour at massive environmental damage. etc. .These simple facts seemed to have passed the blinkered and narrow approach of MIT academics by.

Simple fact. There are no credible solutions to replacing fossil fuel use at the increasing levels of energy use required to remain a developed economy, never mind progress, except with massively more intense, controllable to meet demand, on demand, sustainable nuclear energy.

Renewable energy is a great get rich quick scheme if subsidised with public $BiIlions by climate action law, until legislators suddenly “discover ” it is far too expensive and doesn’t scale. Which they know now, but the rackets created in the name of climate change, that they really do nothing to help versus no easy money nuclear, are just too tempting. Can’t get hogs from trough that still has food in it.

There are overtly no practical engineers at the most basic level involved in this futile number wangling by MIT academics. It doesn’t need more than the backs of a few envelopes and some well known facts of energy density and real world costing. A triumph of delusional hope over real physical laws engineers know. This is MIT? Can’t be. Next they’ll open a department of Sociology.

Discussing the impossible is meaningless if the laws of physics already show it cannot be done as they claim. Faith can’t change physics. Science discovers the laws of nature. It doesn’t create them. The science says NO.

Only nuclear power can save the developed world, when the fossil fuel finally runs out, not yet as the reserves are still being discovered, against a growing rate of demand by increasingly developed economies, however. or is made a reserve fuel, for WEF and other Elites use only, under Agenda 21 driven laws.

NB: Science and engineering have already synthesised intense liquid fuels from atmospheric CO2 and water vapour in pilot plants, using solar generated electrical energy, could be 24/7 nuclear. Sustainable liquid fuels. So you can still fuel your GS 5 after the oil has gone, and plastics, using cheap plentiful nuclear energy and the atmosphere as a feedstock. We have the technology. (Chemical reactions are reversible by reversing the energy flow. Real science engineers can do, even chemists, etc.)

In haste. E&OE Comment welcome.

PS Spot the mistake in my pumped storage calculations. Peter Lang’s is better. But storing renewable energy is still a totally dumb idea, on sheer cost and physical scale alone. Nuclear is a much better and progressive, not regressive, replacement for fossil fuels – on every measure. Just is.

The MIT exercise is grounded in an overt delusion as regards the fundamental facts and physics, easy to calculate on the back of an envelope with the simple data and using basic laws of physics. A pointless paper at High SCool physics level.

Who peer reviewed that then?

ian Coleman
Reply to  Brian R Catt
May 30, 2022 3:19 pm

Hello, Mr. Catt. People who propose solutions to Climate Change have a ready, get-out-of-reality card, and this is, that which has not been invented soon will be, because we want it so badly. A common argument they cite is, look at the explosion in knowledge about computer technology. Yes, but you can’t transfer that marvelous phenomenon to other problems. Most of the technology we needed to generate electricity from wind turbines existed with the invention of alternating current. Windmills have been in practical existence for over a thousand years. There really isn’t a lot of untapped knowledge to be had about wind turbines, and there hasn’t been for a hundred years.

And yet we are being told that the output of wind turbines can be dramatically increased if we just think really, really hard about how to do this.

Joseph Zorzin
May 30, 2022 8:54 am

“the ambitious plans of the states of New York and California”
Don’t forget Taxachusetts, a one party state like no other.

“an environmental bureaucrat from the Massachusetts state government”

Oh yuh, Undersecretary of Energy, Massachusetts Office of Energy
and Environmental Affairs, Judy Chang.

She’s in charge of the save the Earth from CO2 thing for Mass. and has put on a number of YouTube videos: where all the climatistas in Mass. get to post comments demanding that the state work harder to save the planet. The state is an infinitesimal part of the planet, but its net zero will save the Earth! I used to constantly argue and fight with the state bureaucrats who I refer to as burros- but I finally gave up.

May 30, 2022 9:40 am

Should bring in tons of grant money.

May 30, 2022 10:52 am

The author of this article sounds an awful lot like so many other living-in-the-past naysayers who we’ve heard from over and over and over again before. A woefully shortsighted example that will undoubtedly join the list of other laughable head-in-the-sand failures such as these:

“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” William Preece, British Post Office, 1876.

“Heavier than air flying machines are physically impossible”. Lord Kelvin, British Mathematician and Physicist, 1895.

“The automobile is a fad, a novelty. Horses are here to stay.” The President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Company; 1903.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
Darryl Zanuck, executive at 20th Century Fox, 1946

“There is practically no chance satellites will ever improve telephone, television or radio reception within the United States.” T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

“Global climates can be expected to cool over the next 25-30 years” Don Easterbrook, 2008

Reply to  MGC
May 30, 2022 12:57 pm

Don Easterbrook could yet be proven true.

Reply to  Scissor
May 31, 2022 8:20 am

Holy grasping at straws, Batman!

Temperature Trend 2008-2022.JPG
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  MGC
May 31, 2022 5:28 am

Are you operating under the impression that such an assemblage of past comments proves anything at all about what other pronouncements may or may not be true?
Are you implying that because people have said things that turned out to be false, that some other unrelated thing is also predictably false?
How about trying this: Go into a court of law, and argue someone is guilty (or innocent), and use as your evidence a bunch of cases involving other matters and other people from the past, and what subsequently turned out to be the case years later vs what one person said or thought at the time.

I do not think what you are doing here even rises to the level of a logical fallacy.
It just makes no sense and is a complete non sequitur.

Bill Toland
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 31, 2022 6:11 am

MGC is a very poor quality troll. Not even up to Griff’s standard.

Reply to  Bill Toland
June 1, 2022 5:53 am

re: “poor quality troll”

Translation: a rational, well informed person who refuses to toe the anti-science “skeptical” propaganda party line.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 31, 2022 10:16 am

Nicholas –

Those examples are, of course, not “proof”, but they do show that being on the naysayer side (or would “denier side” be an even better descriptor?) is so often laughably wrong.

That is especially the case here, because the learning curve required to meet the technology goals that this author deems “impossible” is already well established. The author has failed to adequately consider learning curve progress.

If the already existing learning curve continues, and there is every reason to believe that it will, then these “impossible” goals will in fact end up being met.

ian Coleman
May 30, 2022 3:11 pm

University faculties are fairly reliable places to find examples of obvious (to sensible people) folly. How could this be? Why are IQ geniuses so prone to misunderstanding the real world?

I tend to be wary of anyone with a PhD, simply because he has been insulated by his intelligence from most people. A man who acquires a PhD in any discipline (including a Liberal Art) has been privileged since childhood. School, which is often a tedious and frightening place to average children) was for him a source of amusement and daily praise. He is told that he is a special and a very good boy by most of the adults who teach and train him, and so acquires an ego that might predispose him to narcissism.

And of course, he really is very, very smart. Unfortunately, he will also have a well-developed imagination and, if he is a utopian (as so many university professors tend to be), he will sometimes latch onto a utopian ideal (such as, we can live in prosperous societies without cheap and abundant sources of reliable energy) that he will compulsively defend even when less gifted people realize that he’s utterly divorced from reality.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ian Coleman
May 31, 2022 5:35 am

If you think this is a logical or typical or reasonable set of assumptions and conclusions, I suggest you go into the field of climate science…you will do great.
Just say a bunch of stuff, add appropriate keywords sprinkled in like salt and pepper, and stand back and soak in the praise and money.
It will not mean anything you say comports with reality, or is true in even a single specific instance, but it is only about having a narrative that the average head-nodder can follow along with, anyhow.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  ian Coleman
May 31, 2022 6:00 am

Once upon a time, getting into a place like MIT was largely based on the ability to do well on standardized tests…on any type of test really, as compared to the general population.
And that correlates well with IQ, since IQ tests are of course standardized tests intended to measure how well a person does on tests as compared to the general population.
But that was only for students, even then.
Teachers, professors, instructors, are selected and hired and retained based on a somewhat or totally different set of criteria.
So they may or not tend to be people with high IQ. But what they had was definitely expertise and a strong working knowledge of some subset of information or procedure.

But none of those things is necessarily true any more, at all.
Some people are admitted on the basis of test scores, but many more are not, because that leads to lack of diversity. Too many of the same kind of people tend to do well on things like tests and in classes on difficult subjects of a technical or mathematical nature.

And for hiring, as opposed to student admissions, the changes are far greater.
I would not assume that people who are at any place of so-called higher education in the year 2022 are all geniuses, no matter what degree program they may or may not have completed. There is simply no longer any sort of correlation, if there ever was one.
Getting a PhD is not an IQ test, and I do not think it ever has been, although there was surely at some time a level of correlation since IQ predicts life success and various types of attainment. Does not guarantee anything, but is well correlated. Well, was…who knows now?

Being on a faculty at a University these days has nothing to do with measured intelligence per se, and although there is likely some residual correlation due to past practices, it cannot be taken as even likely, let alone a certainty.

But even more germane to the subject in hand is that no one who publishes about any topic related to ClimateScience™, and especially anything directly bearing on pork barrel political policies like how to waste the next few tens of trillions of gubbmint payola, ought to be taken to be speaking frankly or honestly, or even to be saying what they really think.

Besides, one way to interpret this entire charade of a report from MIT, is that it is a very carefully veiled exercise in ass-covering, since it clearly spells out the fact that grid scale storage is impossible using any currently available technology or methodology.
Ten years from now, they will be able to point to this and break out the weaselly language where they state that nothing we have right now, and specifically Li-Ion batteries, are not suitable and will not allow for grid scale power storage.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
May 31, 2022 8:26 am

“Being on a faculty at a University these days has nothing to do with measured intelligence”

Of course, you have data to back up this utterly preposterous claim, right?


Just another typical “experts are all wrong, I’m right because I say so” WUWT folly.

Reply to  ian Coleman
May 31, 2022 8:23 am

A typical WUWT folly, all based on false assumption after false assumption after false assumption.

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