The Manhattan Contrarian Energy Storage Paper Has Arrived!

From the MANHATTAN CONTRARIAN

Francis Menton

Today my long-awaited energy storage paper was officially published on the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Here is a link. The paper is 22 pages long in the form in which they have published it plus another few pages for an Executive Summary and table of contents. They have given it the title “The Energy Storage Conundrum.”

Most of the points made in the paper have been made previously on this blog in one form or another. However, there is a good amount of additional detail in the paper that has never appeared here. I’ll provide one example of that today, and more of same in coming days.

The main point of the paper is that an electrical grid powered mostly by intermittent generators like wind and sun requires full backup from some source; and if that source is to be stored energy, the amounts of storage required are truly staggering. When you do the simple arithmetic to calculate the storage requirements and the likely costs, it becomes obvious that the entire project is completely impractical and unaffordable. The activists and politicians pushing us toward this new energy system of wind/solar/storage are either being intentionally deceptive or totally incompetent.

If you follow the news on this subject at a general level, you might find this conclusion surprising. After all, there are frequent announcements that this or that jurisdiction has entered a contract to purchase some seemingly large amount of batteries for grid-level storage. The Report cites data from consultancy Wood Mackenzie as to announced plans or contracts for storage acquisition in all major European countries, and cites other reports as to announced plans from California and New York in the U.S. The title of the April 2022 Wood Mackenzie paper on Europe certainly gives the impression that these people have the situation under control and know what they are doing: “Europe’s Grid-scale Energy Storage Capacity Will Expand 20-fold by 2031.” Impressive!

But this is one of those subjects on which you have to look at the actual numbers to evaluate whether the plans make any sense. In this situation, you need to compare the amount of energy storage that would be required for full backup of an almost-entirely wind/solar grid (with fossil fuels excluded), to the actual quantity of grid-scale energy storage being acquired.

Consider the case of Germany, the country that has gone the farthest of any in the world down the road to “energy transition.” My Report presents two different calculations of the energy storage requirement for Germany in a world of a wind/solar grid and no fossil fuels allowed (both of which calculations have been previously covered on this blog). One of the calculations, by a guy named Roger Andrews, came to a requirement of approximately 25,000 GWh; and the other, by two authors named Ruhnau and Qvist, came to a higher figure of 56,000 GWh. The two use similar but not identical methodology, and somewhat different assumptions. Clearly there is a large range of uncertainty as to the actual requirement; but the two calculations cited give a reasonable range for the scope of the problem.

To give you an idea of just how much energy storage 25,000 (or 56,000) GWh is, here is a rendering (also from my Report) of a grid-scale battery storage facility under construction in Queensland, Australia by Vena Energy. The facility in the rendering is intended to provide 150 MWh of storage.

Remember that 150 MWh is only 0.15 of one GWh. In other words, it would take about 167,000 of these facilities to provide 25,000 GWh of storage, and about 373,000 of them to get to the 56,000 GWh in the larger estimate.

And against these projections of a storage requirement in the range of tens of thousands of GWh, what are Germany’s plans as presented in this “20-fold expansion” by 2031? From my Report:

In the case of Germany, Wood Mackenzie states that the planned energy storage capacity for 2031, following the 20-fold expansion, is 8.81GWh.

Rather than tens of thousands of GWh, it’s single digits. How does that stack up in percentage terms against the projected requirements?:

In other words, the amount of energy storage that Germany is planning for 2031 is between 0.016% and 0.036% of what it actually would need. This does not qualify as a serious effort to produce a system that might work.

The story is the same in the other jurisdictions covered in the Report. And remember, these are the jurisdictions that consider themselves the leaders and the vanguard in the transition to renewable energy. For example, New York, with an estimated storage requirement for a mainly-renewables grid of 10,000-15,000 GWh, is said by trade magazine Utility Dive to be “forging ahead” with plans to procure some 6 GW of grid storage (presumably translating into about 24 GWh). That would come to around 0.2% of what is needed. Unless, of course, New York simultaneously “forges ahead” with its plans to triple the demand on the grid by electrifying all automobiles and home heating; in that case the 24 GWh would be back down to less than 0.1% of the storage requirement.

California? The Report cites another article from Utility Dive stating that the California Public Utilities Commission has ordered the state’s power providers to collectively procure by 2026 some 10.5 GW (or 42.0 GWh) of lithium-ion batteries for grid-scale storage:

The additional 10.5 GW of lithium-ion storage capacity, translating to at most about 42 GWh, would take California all the way to about 0.17% of the energy storage it would need to fully back up a wind/solar generation system.

However bad you might think this situation is, it’s worse. Am I the only person who has ever made these simple calculations? I certainly have never seen them anywhere else.

I would be very happy to be proved wrong about any and all of this. All I say is that the proponents of this miraculous fantasy energy future owe it to the rest of us to build a working demonstration project before forcing us all to adopt their utopian scheme at ruinous cost, only to find out that it won’t work and can’t work.

Here’s what tells you all you need to know: not only is there no working demonstration project anywhere in the world of the wind/solar/storage energy system, but there is none under construction and none even proposed. Instead, the proponents’ idea is that your entire state or country is to be the guinea pig for their dreams.

For the full article click here.

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barryjo
December 3, 2022 6:11 pm

Whatever became of that city inTexas that elected to go totally off the grid and self-sufficient?

MarkW
Reply to  barryjo
December 3, 2022 6:49 pm

They are still connected to the grid and use fossil fuel power whenever wind and solar aren’t enough.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
December 3, 2022 10:32 pm

At least they did manage to attain Self-Deficiency

Old England
Reply to  Bryan A
December 3, 2022 11:06 pm

Not sure about “self-deficiency” but unquestionably Self-delusion

roaddog
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 5:32 pm

Didn’t they go bankrupt, too?

Tom Halla
December 3, 2022 6:13 pm

Battery storage is vaporware, advertised but not in existence.
Many greens act as if Robert Heinlein’s Shipstones were real, but the plotline was that such a device would be so valuable as to allow the proprietors to take over the Solar System.

Bryan A
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 3, 2022 10:44 pm

The only decent “Battery Storage” is reservoir based pumped storage. Of course you would need to cover the surface of both upper and lower holding reservoirs and a large amount of the surrounding area with solar panels for the energy needed to “pump” from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir between 10am and 2pm so you’d have it available at night. Then there is that miniscule insignificant little issue that pumped storage can’t be placed “Just Anyplace”

Rich Davis
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 2:10 am

Bryan you need to qualify your statement as affordable pumped storage can’t be put just anywhere.

You could excavate a deep cavern as the lower reservoir and form the upper reservoir with the debris removed. Solar panels on the southern (or equator-facing) slope of the berm holding back the upper reservoir and windmills all around. Maybe cover the upper reservoir to minimize evaporation and put more solar panels up there.

In principle could be done “just anywhere” and without any exotic materials beyond the ones needed for the ruinables. In fact, it could even be done entirely underground below a large city, without disturbing the existing structures above, but of course the pumping electricity would have to come from outside the city via the grid in that case.

Same is true if you wanted to build massive water towers above a ground-level lower reservoir. Or a variation on that theme, a skyscraper with a tank on the upper floors and a tank in a deep basement. (A couple of floors of apartments in between?)

But the cost for any of that big enough to supply the power needed must be astronomical. You can do these things in theory, but I doubt any of them can be done practically.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 3:06 am

They are not a minor undertaking, thrown together in 5 minutes

The Cruachan Power Station (also known as the Cruachan Dam) is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in Argyll and Bute , Scotland. The scheme can provide 440 MW of power and produced 705 GWh in 2009.
The turbine hall is located inside Ben Cruachan, and the scheme takes water between Cruachan Reservoir to Loch Awe, a height difference of 396 metres (1,299 ft). It is one of only four pumped storage power stations in the UK, and is capable of providing a black start capability to the National Grid
Construction began in 1959 to coincide with the Hunterston A nuclear power stationin Ayrshire. Cruachan uses cheap off-peak electricity generated at night to pump water to the higher reservoir, which can then be released during the day to provide power as necessary. The power station is open to visitors, and around 50,000 tourists visit it each year.

Wikipedia with a picture of the reservoir dam

David Wojick
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 6:33 am

If cost is no object one could just build self contained pumped storage systems on towers, like today’s water towers. You could also use fluids heavier than water. These could be on flat ground in or near cities.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  David Wojick
December 4, 2022 8:37 am

Fluids heavier than water are on the menu. Mercury is excluded on grounds of safety, cost and scarcity.

RheEnergise, developer of a long-duration hydro-energy storage, will receive £8.24 million to develop a demonstration project situated near Plymouth. This will use the company’s high-density hydro pumped energy storage system.
Central to this solution is the use of the company’s High-Density Fluid R-19, which is 2.5x denser than water. Because of the high density of the fluid, projects can not only be constructed in areas with less elevation, but they can also be up to 2.5x smaller than traditional pumped hydro projects for the same energy capacity.

Of course, as with Hg, there is the cost of the fluid and other issues surrounding its use to be dealt with.

Rich Davis
Reply to  David Wojick
December 4, 2022 8:58 am

Yes, that was my point. Similarly we could have a closed loop system, compressing and expanding a dry gas, supply-following to use surplus intermittent power and demand-following to supply power when there’s a shortfall.

If money were no object indeed.

roaddog
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 5:33 pm

Other people’s money is infinite.

B Zipperer
Reply to  roaddog
December 4, 2022 6:31 pm

Road:
OPM is now called MMT – modern monetary theory.
Sadly, you do run out of it, or it gets inflated to be worth less
[or is it worthless?]. Or more likely, both.

Jack
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 10:34 am

The Maison Grand’Maison dam is a STEP (“Station de Transfert d’Energie par Pompage) installed in the French Alps.
The altitude difference between the upper and the lower lake is 926,5 meters with a maximum debit of 217 cumeters per second. Its yearly production is 1,42 TWh through 8×150 MW Pelton pump/turbines. The loss between the intake and the ouput energy is 22%

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jack
December 4, 2022 10:40 am

How much did it cost to build the mountain and the lakes, Jack?

Maybe you missed the point about it only being cost-effective given the pre-existing topology?

Jack
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 12:05 pm

The total cost when the Grand’Maison dam began to work in 1987 was FF 5 billons (french francs), about € 750 millions.
Hereunder is the link to its Wikipedia technical features in english:
Grand’Maison Dam – Wikipedia

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jack
December 4, 2022 5:08 pm

So I see that you are still steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the point, which is that pumped storage is not able to be scaled up. It depends on a suitable landscape. The amount of capacity as a fraction of the necessary capacity is an insignificant amount.

The cost of the project you reference relates I assume to installing pumps and pipelines and perhaps adding some generator capacity. Presumably the dam was already in place. There was no cost to create either reservoir nor to create the potential difference between the two. If the mountain, lakes, and rivers were not there, creating pumped storage would be an exorbitant expense—either building massive water towers or excavating deep underground caverns. And there are many parts of the world where there is no suitable terrain for this. That it is sometimes feasible is not in dispute.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Jack
December 4, 2022 5:26 pm

A quick calculation from the data suggest it is limited by the size of its lower reservoir to around 30GWh of storage. Big as pumped storage projects go – similar to the Coire Glas project, and about 3 Dinorwigs in storage, but similar generation capacity.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Jack
December 5, 2022 6:25 am

A little more than Dinorwig, which is 1.728GW and 9.1GWh built for £425m just a few years earlier.

Last edited 1 month ago by It doesnot add up
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 5:20 am

A pumped storage project in Northfield, MA functioned by using excess nuclear energy during the night to pump the water from the Connecticut River to the lake on the mountain top. Unfortunately, the nuclear reactor was shut down thanks to anti nuclear activists.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 4, 2022 2:59 am

From EuroNews Updated: 02/12/2022

My bold.

Europe’s largest energy storage facility has begun operating in the Belgian province of Wallonia, as the continent aims to secure its energy supply.
The 40 lithium-ion mega-batteries allow for stable energy distribution across the public grid even when wind or solar power inputs fluctuate.
Given the current energy crisis, stocking up on electricity could be key for Europe’s energy independence, according to Michael Coudyser, CEO of solar energy company, Corsica Sole.

“Today we have a clear understanding that energy is a sovereignty issue…and we can envisage [the new site] allowing us to rely even less on external sources of energy,” he told Euronews.
The centre can store 100 MWh of electricity. Each battery costs around €800,000 and should last for around ten years, after which they will be recycled by the manufacturer.

So at UK peak demand of around 40GW I make that about 10 seconds worth of storage for the very reasonable sum of €32 Million, replaced after 10 years or €3,200,000 pa forever.

wilpost
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 4, 2022 3:10 am

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

All-in, Turnkey Capital Cost of 1666 GWh of Li-ion Battery Systems

On an everyday basis, grid-scale batteries should not be discharged to less than 20% full and not be charged to more than 80% full, to achieve their 15-y useful service life, per Tesla recommendations.

On rare occasions, such a rare, long-distance driving, in case of EVs, discharging and charging from 10% to 90% is OK.
 
Battery system rated capacity would be
1000 GWh/0.6, available-capacity factor = 1666 GWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage
 
All-in, turnkey, capital cost of Li-ion battery systems would be
1666 million kWh x $400/kWh/$1000000000 = $666 billion; most of it would need to be replaced every 15 years. See Note

NOTE: 
The rated capacity of the Moss Landing, California, Tesla battery system, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company is 300 MW/1200 MWh

The all-in, turnkey, capital cost was $370 million, or $370 million/1200000 kWh = $308/kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage; 2018 pricing. Pricing precedes commissioning dates by about 1.5 years.

The 2018 pricing has increased at least 30% to $400/kWh in 2022. See Appendix
In late 2021, Tesla increased its 2021 battery module pricing by 24.5% for 2022

NOTE:
Li-ion battery systems have a loss of about 18%, when new, and at least 20%, when older, on an A-to-Z basis

Here is the round-trip loss of a new, 1.666 GWh battery system, that delivers 1 GWh, as AC to the high voltage grid

Delivered by battery system is 1 GWh, as AC to high voltage grid
Charge in battery system is 1 GWh/0.92 = 1.087 GWh, as DC
Electricity to battery system is 1.087/0.92 = 1.181 GWh, as AC from high voltage grid

The 0.181 GWh round-trip loss has to be produced by additional solar panels, or other (fossil, nuclear, hydro, etc.) generators, if they were still present!!

NOTE:
Remember, all of this solar fantasy to “save the planet”, including huge-capacity battery systems, and hugely expanded/reinforced electric grids, is highly subsidized with money from already-stressed ratepayers and taxpayers, primarily to provide tax shelters to line the pockets of the world’s, well-connected, high rollers, who often have high-CO2 private planes, and private yachts, and mega mansions, and God knows what else.

ATheoK
Reply to  wilpost
December 4, 2022 6:18 pm

NOTE:

Li-ion battery systems have a loss of about 18%, when new, and at least 20%, when older, on an A-to-Z basis

Here is the round-trip loss of a new, 1.666 GWh battery system, that delivers 1 GWh, as AC to the high voltage grid

  • Delivered by battery system is 1 GWh, as AC to high voltage grid
  • Charge in battery system is 1 GWh/0.92 = 1.087 GWh, as DC
  • Electricity to battery system is 1.087/0.92 = 1.181 GWh, as AC from high voltage grid

The 0.181 GWh round-trip loss has to be produced by additional solar panels, or other (fossil, nuclear, hydro, etc.) generators, if they were still present!!”

When has DC conversion to AC been accomplished with only 8% loss?
Or AC conversion to DC at only 8% loss?

My understanding was that the AC-DC conversion loss rate, one way, is as as high as 30%.

Then there is the simplistic expectation that AC is converted to DC battery storage, then converted back to AC for grid transport.

One apparently overlooks that government expects to use wind/solar energy sources to charge the batteries.
Wind/Solar generates electricity as DC which must be converted to AC for grid transport.

Then there is the little matter of serious heavy duty cooling systems to keep the lithium from heating…
From the perspective the EIA report “Battery Storage in the United States: An Update on Market Trends July 2020“, EIA believes:

1) “Thermal storage systems take excess energy produced during the day to heat salt or other materials that can be used later to power a steam turbine. Thermal storage can also be used as a distributed energy resource, for example, by chilling water overnight to use for space cooling during summer days.”

EIA cites as an example, “thermal storage is used by solar power for cooling facilities.”
A dubious phrasing leaving “facilities” up to the reader. I expect EIA is referring to a small building on site at the battery park, not a town or city of buildings.

Anyway, EIA runs their AC-DC-AC conversion estimates without accounting for the energy necessary to cool or heat lithium batteries.
Insufficient temperature control on a 100°F plus (37.8°C plus+) hot summer days for lithium battery packs will likely prove dangerous.
EIA appears to believe that environment temperature control is not a necessary component for AC-DC conversion costs.

EIA has been duplicitous before, they play numbers fast and loose.

wilpost
Reply to  ATheoK
December 5, 2022 12:01 pm

Here is the A-to-Z loss from this article

GRID-SCALE BATTERY SYSTEMS IN NEW ENGLAND TO COUNTERACT SHORTFALL OF ONE-DAY WIND/SOLAR LULL
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/grid-scale-battery-systems-in-new-england

Step-by-Step Battery System Losses
 
The below calculation shows the step-by-step losses of battery systems, A-to-Z basis

1) Fed to HV grid via step-up transformer 0.14555, as AC, to make up the above shortfall
Step-up transformer loss at 1%.
From back-end power electronics, as AC, to step-up transformer 0.14700

2) Back-end power electronics loss at 3.5%
From battery to back-end power electronics 0.15215, as DC

3) Battery discharge loss at 4%
Deduction from battery charge 0.15823, as DC

4) Battery charge loss at 4%
From front-end power electronics to battery 0.16456, as DC

5) Front-end power electronics loss at 3.5%
From step-down transformer to front-end power electronics 0.17032, as AC

6) Step-down transformer loss at 1%
Drawn from HV grid via step-down transformer 0.17203, as AC

Battery System Loss, A-to-Z basis

About 0.17203/0.14555 x 100% = 18.2% more needs to be drawn from the HV grid to charge the battery systems up to about 80% full (preferably many days before any wind/solar lull starts), than is fed to the HV grid by discharge from the battery system to about 20% full; the loss percentage increases with aging.
 
Battery systems are rated at a level of power, MW, provided for a number of hours, MWh, such as providing 2 MW for 4 hours, 2 MW/8 MWh, as AC at battery voltage, which needs to be stepped up to HV voltage. 

MarkW
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 4, 2022 7:17 am

Each battery costs around €800,000 and should last for around ten years, after which they will be recycled by the manufacturer.

First off, 10 years is even shorter than the life expectancy being touted by other manufacturers, though it is more in line with what I’ve been reading regarding real life experience.
Secondly, they will be recycled? That’s a first. Nobody else has been able to find a way to recycle Li-ion batteries.

Ex-KaliforniaKook
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 2:17 pm

I had heard yesterday that Nevada approved over $100M in tax incentives to a former Tesla exec’s battery recycling company here in Nevada (Storey County.) A former Tesla exec heads the company.
Ex-Tesla exec’s battery recycling company nets $105.6M in tax breaks (rgj.com)

Construction could begin soon on lithium-ion battery plant in Fernley | Serving Carson City for over 150 years (nevadaappeal.com)

That second link doesn’t seem to work right, but the first article listed should take you to the right place.

They’ll be starting with a pilot operation. No information on the tech.

I live in the next county over, so it’s important to me they 1) don’t waste my money and 2) don’t destroy the surrounding area and especially the water table.

I have no idea if it will really work, but the Tesla exec is supposedly putting up $1B.

B Zipperer
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 6:42 pm

The head of Tesla’s EV battery division was asked about recycling during an interview circa 2020. IIRC his answer was ~”we currently can not do that economically but we are researching it, and hope to be able to do it sometime in the 2030’s”.
Grid scale batteries should easier to recycle since weight & size of the individual cells are not as constrained as those in an EV.

RickWill
December 3, 2022 6:22 pm

owe it to the rest of us to build a working demonstration project before forcing us all to adopt their utopian scheme at ruinous cost, 

Why. All Ponzi schemes rely on gullible people. As long as you are a proponent getting in early and know when to run with your money you will do well..

Governments can keep the Ponzi going with public funds for as long as they remain in power. Look at UK. Hard to see anyone there not in favour of the Ponzi. It just creates inflation but the proponent still makes money.

The incompetence is deep seated. The CEO of Siemens Energy stated that wind power was 10 times more material intensive than gas generation. He is only considering generation at the native capacity factor. No allowance for curtailment or storage or frequency control or backup or extra transmission lines. A wind and solar energy system is closer to 100 times the materials intensity of the present coal or gas based systems.

Have you built your own off-grid system based on wind, solar and storage? Once you do that, you get to understand the realities.

Tony
December 3, 2022 6:29 pm

And at what rate does battery capacity decrease? If it’s anything like my phone…

Bryan A
Reply to  Tony
December 3, 2022 10:50 pm

Your phone is likely Li-Ion and gets recharged a hundred times a year. After 3-4 years the capacity drops (likely from being plugged in prior to being less than 20℅ remaining charge). These Grid Scale Li-Ion batteries would be recharged daily to ensure they’re fully charged at all times and so would lose capacity faster.

BigJim
Reply to  Bryan A
December 5, 2022 6:28 pm

3-4 years? I wish!

MarkW
December 3, 2022 6:48 pm

Before you can use 25,000 GWh of battery, you have to first fill those batteries with 25,000 GWh worth of electricity.
That means you need enough extra generating capacity, over and above what you need just to keep the economy running, in order to fill those batteries before they can be used.

Most of the cost estimates I have seen only count the cost of the batteries and enough generation capacity to support the economy, they do not calculate the extra cost needed to fill the batteries.

MCourtney
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 1:16 am

That’s because intermittent energy sources often generate useless energy that is wasted. Whenever it’s windy at night, for instance.
Currently (no pun intended) that’s just wear-and-tear on the turbines for no benefit. But with backup that energy will be used.
The problem is the cost.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MCourtney
December 4, 2022 5:25 am

but, excess intermittent energy won’t always be available to charge the batteries

MarkW
Reply to  MCourtney
December 4, 2022 6:43 pm

You assume there will be excess energy being generated at night. Winds tend to drop after the sun goes down.
Beyond that, the fact that solar panels tend to produce no power at night, also means that whatever power wind does manage to produce, will be needed to keep the lights on.

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 2:28 am

Let’s not forget that to get 25 terawatt-hours of usable electricity out of any storage scheme, we’ll need to put a lot more than 25 TW-hrs in. It’s not 100% efficient, lots of parasitic losses.

So as always, it’s worse than we thought.

SMC
December 3, 2022 6:56 pm

 “Am I the only person who has ever made these simple calculations?”

No. Many ‘back of the napkin’ calculations have been made on WUWT over the years by various folks. The bottom line was, battery/energy storage for a wind/solar/renewables national scale grid, with current technologies, was not possible. Nice to see it’s been formalized. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone (MSM, politicians, etc.) takes meaningful notice.

Bryan A
Reply to  SMC
December 3, 2022 10:54 pm

A link to it needs to be dropped into … Dare I say it … Twitter
Now that the Dim Machine no longer controls the platform it might be seen by more media

max
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 6:48 am

Even if media see this, they won’t believe it. They’ve been assured by “experts” that it is an easy, ready to use system that doesn’t exist yet because energy companies are “greedy”.

Rich Davis
Reply to  SMC
December 4, 2022 2:30 am

Which side of the napkin is the back?

Oldseadog
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 3:30 am

The clean side.

Rick C
Reply to  SMC
December 4, 2022 7:36 am

Right on. In addition, calculating the amount of storage required is only half the issue. Since wind/solar systems have a capacity factor of about 30%, you need name plate capacity >3 times the actual load. But then you need more to charge the storage system. You can only charge when the wind blows, the sun shines and the storage is not already charged. Depending on what assumptions you make about availability of wind/solar, length of adverse weather (calm, dark, cloudy) and rate of charging, you may well need a total nameplate capacity of 3-5 times that required for normal load. And all this extra capacity would have to be curtailed when storage is already full.

I haven’t yet read MC’s GWPF paper, but I’d guess he has covered this as well.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Rick C
December 4, 2022 8:49 am

There is also the question as to whether you would be able to fill the store at say 4 times demand to handle the excess production. Having all that capacity to handle surplus costs, and it looks really expensive if it only gets used rarely.

Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 6:57 pm

“The main point of the paper is that an electrical grid powered mostly by intermittent generators like wind and sun requires full backup from some source; and if that source is to be stored energy, the amounts of storage required are truly staggering.”

This stuff is a futile strawman. One big failing around here is that people don’t quote what the proponents, if any, of the schemes being analysed say. And this is true of the full Menton paper.

Who is actually proposing to use batteries as backup for wind? The Menton report cites Wood MacKenzie “Europe’s Grid-scale Energy Storage Capacity Will Expand 20-fold by 2031.”. But they don’t say anything about batteries being used to provide backup for when wind is unavailable. They just say:
“Energy storage will play a crucial role in that rapid evolution, providing vital system flexibility.”

And that is why batteries are currently being installed. System flexibility. They make for smooth transitions between sources (eg wind to gas) and they are useful for ancillary services, like frequency control. Incidentally, people pay handsomely for these services, which drives the battery expansion. But no-one expects them to fill in for days of windlessness.

So what does fill in? In our current mixed grids, usually gas or diesel. Hydro is ideal, if available. If not, pumped hydro is one option. But not lithium batteries.

SMC
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 7:01 pm

Pumped Hydro is one option, if appropriate terrain is available.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  SMC
December 3, 2022 7:22 pm

Grids nowadays cover huge areas. You can’t do it in Netherlands, but you can in France or Switzerland.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:51 am

At massive cost.
Cost that is never added on to the lauded ‘cost of wind’ – just the consumers bill.
Oh, and why not calculate how much hydro storage there is in say Europe, and how much is actually needed.
Once again you reveal yourelf to be an ArtStudent™ whose inability to do Basic Sums is only matched by his glib confidence in his own misinformed opinions

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:31 am

Nick Stokes this is a pipe dream for those in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Cruachan Pumped storage
Capacity 10,000,000 m3 capable of holding 7 gigawatt-hours
Installed Capacity 440 MW (peak UK demand 40+GW)
1% of demand for 16 hours?

Last week between 2022-11-28 14:25 and 2022-12-01 14:25 the average of wind o/p was 1.6171GW (between 249 and 3258 MW) and solar 0.249GW. So for 72 hours the totals are117GWh for wind and 18Gwh for solar.
For those 72 hours we’d need an awful lot of Cruachans just to cover a measly 40GW of currently installed sometimes available renewables.
Just imagine 144 hours of 100% renewables, are there enoughs Glens in Scotland?

France hs a lot of hydro already, about 12GW I think, possibly the best and least unpopullar sites already gone?

MarkW
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 4, 2022 7:26 am

Pumped storage is useful for providing peaking power support.
It is not useful for long term storage, and never will be.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:24 am

If it covers “huge areas”, then by definition it covers a “huge population”.
When you increase the population being supported by a factor of 10, then by definition you are going to need to increase the amount of storage by a factor of 10.

By increasing the size of the grid, you increase the size of the problem that needs to be solved. There are not enough sites in the entire world to provide even a tiny fraction of the needed pumped storage.
Beyond that, Nick is once again ignoring the cost of transporting electricity long distances. Cost includes the cost to build the long distance distribution system as well as the energy lost moving electricity over long distances.

It really is sad the way you repeatedly embarrass yourself trying to support your paymasters.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 8:58 am

Can you? Perhaps you should demonstrate. Roger Andrews looked at the work of Andrew Blakers on potential sites for pumped storage in Australia. He found it was hopelessly optimistic, aside from failing to understand what the real storage needs were likely to be in the first place.

He also looked at the ability of Norway’s extensive reservoirs to act as a balancing reserve for Europe, and concluded that in practice they could not contribute much. A prediction that has already come true, with Norway limiting exports in recent months because its reservoirs were dangerously low.

He looked at some potentially behemoth sites in the Atacama Desert and in Baja California, and Strathdearn in Scotland.

When you have read up on all that, and done as he did to demonstrate the capacity and what it would entail, get back to us.

Meantime, ignorant hand waving is not acceptable.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 4, 2022 11:01 am

A prediction that has already come true, with Norway limiting exports in recent months because its reservoirs were dangerously low.”

This is muddling with conventional hydro. The reservoirs are low because of lack of rain. In pumped hydro, the water is recirculated.

Roger Andrews is another blogger.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 11:53 am

Pumped Hydro isn’t a Closed System though. With losses from both evaporation and animal use, the water still needs replacement.
The reservoirs can and would also be used for Forrest Fire suppression requiring further replenishment sources.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 1:04 pm

It will still rain.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 6:31 pm

This is true so why do Climate Catastrophe extremists rant and rave and cry and pontificate whenever there’s a drought…it will still rain

roaddog
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 5:36 pm

And there’s no such thing as evaporation.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 5:39 pm

The reservoirs are low because of overproduction. The Norwegians extract maximum storage efficiency (effectively close to 100%) from import surpluses by not pumping, but instead not generating. Being able to pump would not have allowed any extra energy to be kept in storage: pumps would only be useful if they were able to import a surplus to their total demand. You simply don’t understand the basics, do you?

Roger Andrews was a very well qualified and widely experienced engineer who knew far more than you ever will about energy.

Last edited 1 month ago by It doesnot add up
Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 4, 2022 7:30 pm

Being able to pump would not have allowed any extra energy to be kept in storage”

Of course it would. What you are saying is that they don’t currently have a generating source alternative to hydro to provide the pumping. The future scenario is that they would – wind energy. That could include wind-generated electricity imported, although the more likely outcome is that wind energy generated elsewhere would simply reduce Norway’s exports.

Roger Andrews was a very well qualified and widely experienced engineer”
This often amuses me at WUWT. They are expounding on why the whole world’s engineering and planning structure has got it wrong. Can’t quite explain why, but our Roger says so, and he is an engineer!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 7:00 am

OK. genius. Norway has about 20GW of demand, almost entirely supplied by hydro. It has about 5GW of interconnectors. Assume they are in maximum import mode for an hour, using surplus wind energy from the U.K, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands You would plan to keep 20 GWh of hydro running to meet local demand while using 5GWh for pumping, which would only provide 3.75GWh later because of the round trip loss of 1.25GWh.

Those stupid Norwegians actually simply use the imports directly to meet part of their demand while turning down hydro generation to match, thus saving any pumping round trip losses.

It would not begin to make sense to consider pumping until imports plus other generation exceed demand. That would require inyerconnector capacity that was greater than demand, whose utilisation would be very low.

You haven’t understood that all the studies underpinning net zero are based on unicorns. Forms of storage we don’t have that would be uneconomic even if we did. Magically there is other generation you can import during continent wide Dunkelflaute just when your limited storage runs out. That is exactly the point of the work of Roger Andrews and Menton. They point out that the official studies do not do the job properly. They are designed to support a political view.

The harsh reality we can already see. The real plan is to shut down most of industry and prepare for rotating power cuts. We are already at that point even at present levels of renewables penetration. The plan is to make us poor, cold and hungry, and deny us transport, work and even homes.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 7:22 pm

But no-one expects them to fill in for days of windlessness.”

I’m going to guess that this is not a true statement.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 3, 2022 7:49 pm

OK, tell us who? And what do they say? And why can’t Menton tell us who it is.

Well, there’s always someone. But it is not part of serious planning.

AndyHce
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 11:35 pm

OK, tell us who

A great many people not in the power business but dreaming the dream pumped out to them daily.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  AndyHce
December 3, 2022 11:37 pm

Names?

abolition man
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:59 am

Joe Biden, John Kerry, Gavin Newsome; do you want me to go on?
The ruling elite that you shill for are totally invested in making sure that MOST of humanity has limited access to energy and transportation. You would see that but you seem to have stopped using logic years ago where Climate Catastophism is concerned! Are your blinkers adjusted too tight, perhaps?

Rich Davis
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 4:01 am

Red Herring Nick in action. Distracting from the fact that no one has a viable plan to keep the grid functional running on mostly bird choppers and slaver panels. He mentions pumped storage but declines to discuss where the (1000-fold?) increase in capacity needed could be located.

max
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 6:58 am

That, and it’s still ridiculously inefficient. You pump way more water than you can actually use for conversion to energy, but that water has made the trip, and can’t be used without moving it, again.

AndyHce
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 12:37 pm

where the (1000-fold?) increase in capacity needed could be located.

Use all that green hydrogen to float large balloons that carry big tubs of water.

Rich Davis
Reply to  AndyHce
December 4, 2022 5:11 pm

Chuckle
Careful that will become a serious proposal requiring out tax dollars.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:27 am

You.

AndyHce
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:35 pm

Would there be some point to list names of relatives and acquaintances, surely none of whom would be famaliar to anyone here?

They swallow the media stories, they vote, so it is a reasonable presumption that they, as part of a massive group, have some influence.

My listing any names would not provide you the necessary information to grill them on why. Even when face to face with them, I can’t get much response as to the why of their beliefs, e.g. “We in Iowa will prove that wind power can replace all those coal plants”.

In general I can say that they don’t seem to base their beliefs on much more than hating “Big Oil” and believe in conspiracies of some corporate sources — while declaring that they don’t believe in “conspiracy theories”.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:30 am

Here in the UK it is hard to that there is any “serious planning” happening.

Whims of politicians talking about more wind turbines and a hydrogen economy.

Francis makes the point in the paper that you need pilot plants. That is not happening.

Labour Party will almost certainly get elected here 2024. They say they will be spraying £28 billion a year of borrowed money at net zero. Along with what will be £14 billion in subsidies from domestic bills and taxpayers.

It will achieve only higher prices for energy and grid instability.

Note that in the decade before 2020 the UK price for gas stayed almost constant. But electricity prices rose at 2x the rate of inflation. So wind is cheaper, huh?

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:02 am

https://www.troutman.com/insights/solving-the-intermittency-problem-with-battery-storage.html

Just google ‘solving intermittency with batteries’ and thousands of hits come up.

Nick, you are lying again.

bnice2000
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 3:36 am

Deliberately gormless and disingenuous.. ..

…. or just totally deluded?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 3:55 am

Just google “
So you’re refuting Google? Wow!

But in fact I tried it, and got articles on augmenting home solar with batteries.

Challenge still failed. Who says battery storage on a grid scale can make up for periods of no wind or sun? And what do they actually say?


karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:41 am

But in fact I tried it, and got articles on augmenting home solar with batteries.

Technology that has been around for decades using lead-acid batteries. Many orders of magnitude lower than what would be needed to power an entire country.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 5:32 am

I got 7,100,000 hits.

bnice2000
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:34 am

“But it is not part of serious planning.”

Yep Nick, we have said that many time

Wind, Solar + batteries is NEVER part of serious planning for electricity supply

They are a pointless virtue-seeking FAD, and a very expensive one at that. !

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:45 am

Nick Stokes
I’d keep quiet if I were you, you’re shooting down your own argument.

No batteries because nobody is suggesting it, but something else, but not in the Netherlands and by extension Belgium, Luxembourg, Northern France, Denmark and Northern Germany.
Cover the Alps and Massif Centrale in dams for a couple of days backup.

You are seriously deluded if that’s your solution.

I’ve better one: a tidal barrage in the Straits of Dover/La Manche and one in the Kattegat. Easily done with no problems whatsoever at all.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:30 am

I recall griff going on and on about the articles he had read in the Guardian about how people were building “grid scale” batteries to provide power for those times when the sun didn’t shine and the wind didn’t blow.

Nick, is the money you are being paid really sufficient to cover the cost of embarrassing yourself on such a regular basis? Or have you drifted into the realm of true believer and are willing to embarrass yourself free of charge?

Last edited 1 month ago by MarkW
Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 8:20 am

Unfortunately those “batteries” we’re only meant to back-up solar generation…when a cloud passed over the panels temporarily dropping capacity. They were never meant to back-up solar or wind for multiple contiguous days and nights. Minutes of energy not hours or days.

JamesB_684
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 8:32 am
Nick Stokes
Reply to  JamesB_684
December 4, 2022 9:55 am

So how about finding one in that list that claims batteries can be used to cover periods of no wind? The straw man that Menton is refuting?

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 11:27 am

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

Editor
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:44 pm

There are squillions of mainstream articles claiming that batteries can be used to cover periods of no wind/sun. This one is even ‘fact-checked’ by the ABC:
Malcolm Turnbull says renewables plus storage are cheaper than coal and nuclear for new power generation. Is he correct?
Mind you, if you have the stomach to actually read the ABC article, it makes it very clear that renewables plus storage cannot actually do the same job as nuclear. Not by a country mile So what they do is to move the goalposts closer and closer together until there is virtually no goal left. They still have to add artificial penalties to coal in order to hit the goal.

Editor
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 4, 2022 12:46 pm

Correction: …, in order to miss the goal.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 7:31 am

This is from the CCC 5th Carbon Budget reports

Energy storage technologies. There is currently around 3 GW of pumped hydro storage in
the UK. Further deployment of bulk and distributed energy storage (e.g. battery technologies)
can reduce the need for additional back-up capacity and infrastructure, by storing electricity
when demand is low and discharging when demand is high.

The thinking is rudimentary.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 9:02 am

There is no serious planning. I looked at the 398 separate studies and supporting documents for the UK Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget and 2050 net zero scenarios. They don’t even begin to do the necessary calculations. They just assume the problem will go away. I’ve done more serious work than they have.

Leo Smith
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 4, 2022 12:55 am

You are of course right. Huge numbers of the guardian (or NY times) reading public, misinformed by one press release after anorher republished as ‘news’ believe that the answer to intermittency is just around the corner, and will be cost free. So Wind ‘will be cheaper than coal’

So its OK to keep pouring trillions into renewables, even though they patently have done nothing to ensure reliable grids or reduce prices. The reverse in fact.
Like subprime mortgages held by impecunious funds and banks , renewables are now ‘too big to fail’ but unfortunately they will, and take Western economies with them

Elliot W
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 7:32 pm

“Nobody expects them to fill in for days of windlessness”
Huh? In the Net Zero world, how are fossil fuels going to fill in?

Moreover, if fossil fuels are to be the backup every time the wind stops (that is, be available on demand 24/7), why mess things up with the unreliable intermittents at all ? Just use the reliable system in the first place and save all that slave labour, raw materials, cement, steel, dead birds, etc.

Honestly, you could drive a diesel truck through the holes in your logic.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Elliot W
December 3, 2022 8:02 pm

why mess things up with the unreliable intermittents at all?
Because using FF as backup means you use a lot less than if you use them all the time. FF is expensive and emits CO2.

Honestly, you could drive a diesel truck through the holes in your logic.”
It is the way the world is going. Not your way.

John Dilks
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 9:17 pm

CO2 is not a problem and you know that.

MarkW
Reply to  John Dilks
December 4, 2022 7:39 am

Nick only knows what he is paid to know.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 11:24 pm

Purifying Silicon for Solar Panels and Structural Steel for Wind Turbine masts ALSO uses coal and produces large quantities of CO2. The Massive Concrete foundations for wind turbines also release CO2.

And they will be needed in the tens of billions to achieve Nut-Zero in a few decades

FF is expensive but only artificially so from whining environmentalists influencing Liberal Government Policy. Prior to Biden taking office Natural Gas was down to less than $2.00MMBtu
https://www.macrotrends.net/2478/natural-gas-prices-historical-chart
That Hockey Stick blade at the end … Biden policy did that

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 5:48 am

here’s a video of constructing the foundation for turbines- after seeing it, who could support such a monstrous impact to the environment? Doe anyone ever intend to remove the foundation? I doubt it. They’ll be there thousands of years from now- ruins of our failed nut-zero.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 4, 2022 10:00 am

I recall reading that if the facility is deconstructed the top meter (~3 feet) of the concrete and steel is to be removed and the land returned to the original configuration. However, a smallish old Darrieus wind turbine is located about 12 miles NW of Ellensburg, WA. Built about 40 years ago and never produced electricity — it is still standing.
47.101066, -120.750210

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Hultquist
December 4, 2022 12:36 pm

with such a huge foundation- I would think removing just a layer at the top would be a difficult job- it’s full of rebar so I wonder it can be trimmed like that

Bryan A
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 4, 2022 6:34 pm

My buddy, Mr Hammer, Jack to his friends, loves work like that

Jack
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 5, 2022 4:55 am

The greenies are requiring including the dismantling costs by the end of the nuclear plants in the nuclear KWh price. If so one must also require including the full dismanting costs of every windmill in its KWh’s price. Knowing that the expected life span of a windmill is about 20 years while that of a nuclear plant is threefold more, I am afraid that the profitability of the wind turbines is on the way to collapse.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:23 am

Using FF as backup is not net zero Nick.

MarkW
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 7:41 am

If they intend to use FF as backup, why do they keep tearing down FF plants?

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:32 am

FF is cheap. And reliable. Especially coal. As for CO2, non-problem.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:04 am

It is the way the world is going. Not your way.

Well Nick, if you want to ride the World Civilisation Bus headlong into a brick wall, I cant stop you.

I will be going another way, however

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 7:43 am

As my mother used to ask me, “If all your friends were going to jump off a bridge, does that mean you have to jump as well?”

Once again Nick demonstrates that as far as he is concerned, a consensus can never be wrong.

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:29 am

Because using FF as backup means you use a lot less than if you use them all the time

You keep saying this, Nick. But you have never either shown yourself or produced a link to any study that shows the extra cost of the wind is paid for out of the FF savings. I don’t believe it.

Show us!

bnice2000
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:42 am

“FF is expensive …. cheaper than wind, solar + batteries by a miles.

….and emits CO2.”… SO WHAT… its much needed by the planet’s plant life.

There is NO PROBLEM with increasing the planet’s atmospheric CO2 level.

Releasing CO2 is a very good reason FOR using fossil fuels.

Benefits the whole planet.

“It is the way the world is going. Not your way.”

Wrong again, Nick. it is the way that western society is destroying itself.

China, India, and several other more sensible nations are continuing on their merry way, with coal….

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 5:43 am

FF isn’t so expensive. NY state is almost entirely underlain by geology loaded with gas but the state won’t allow fracking. Many unnecessary hindrances are put on FF driving up costs. And of course all the costs for unreliables aren’t mentioned.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:39 am

I see that Nick has decided to step up to fill the hole that the departure of griff has left. He’s now the go to guy for repeating discredited lies over and over again.

Wrong on two counts.
1) Using FF as backup does not reduce the amount of FF that are being consumed. The reason for this is simple for anyone who bothers to actually think for themselves. It takes time to start a FF plant. From a cold start, it can take days to bring a coal or nat gas plant up to full power. Because of this, if you want to use them as backup, you have to keep them in warm/hot standby, and this takes energy. Almost as much energy as running them full out.
2) Compared to the cost of the plants and the cost to maintain them, the cost of fuel is barely noticeable. (As has been pointed out to Nick many times, the cost to build and maintain wind and solar are many times larger.)

Finally, Nick manages to be correct in one thing. FF fuel plants do emit CO2, however despite what he is paid to believe, emitting CO2 is actually a good thing.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 6, 2022 8:27 am

Surely, you understand that the small amount of fuel saving is not offset by the capital requirements for a duplicate system; and that idling or shutting down conventional generation, and thereby reducing it’s income stream by 30% is not economically efficient. The higher the grid penetration by wind and solar, the more expensive the electricity. It’s not complicated. Give it up, it’s a 40-year long failed experiment.

old cocky
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 6, 2022 1:08 pm

Ignoring cost, in Australia a simplistic solar PV + CCGT mix probably does give a 40% fuel use reduction compared to CGT alone.

Fiddling about with wind, OCGT and Snowy Hydro 2.0 could improve on this.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 8:09 pm

The Australian Government is legislating to enshrine into law an emissions reduction target of 43 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, it may as well have been a nuclear fusion law by 2050.
Apparently politicians believe that passing a law is all that is needed to bring about an engineering and economic miracle.
The Australian Government has no idea how ‘net zero’ can be accomplished by 2050, neither does Nick Stokes.

Last edited 1 month ago by Chris Hanley
MarkW
Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 4, 2022 7:45 am

A few years back, the US EPA tried to fine a company for failing to use a fuel additive that didn’t exist.

Graham
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 8:22 pm

Hey Nick looks like you have still not learnt that wind and solar have to have reliable back up .
The crazies do not want to use coal ,gas or oil so in most countries that leaves battery storage or Nuclear .
Yes hydro works well in New Zealand with a number of wind farms but only private and residential solar at this time .
The hydro stations can be remotely turned on and off as required .
It is impossible to get consent for any more hydro dams as in my area the first one proposed would have formed a nice lake inland that would have been ideal for rowing and sailing.
So called conservationists stymied it convincing the government that a gorge was a better option than a lake .
The second attempt on another river had obtained consent but with impossible restrictions .
The contractors had started work on the scheme which entailed using a third of the power generated to pump the water uphill then piping it to a deep gorge to a power house down by the river .
The contractors were clearing the scrub down into the gorge to construct the pipe line and the power house when they were stopped as they were only allowed a 6 meters wide strip and some one reported that they had used much more .
Absolute nonsense as any scars could have been restored and within a few years no one could tell the difference .Large steel pipes are still lying around the farm up there .
To sum it up politicians are barking mad if they think that they can power a country with wind and solar without back up.It is very obvious that storage on a large scale is exceedingly expensive and we would also need to double wind and solar to charge the batteries .
The very same people who have stopped new hydro and irrigation schemes are now proposing pumped hydro and green hydrogen to use the surplus power from the wind and solar .
,

MarkW
Reply to  Graham
December 4, 2022 7:50 am

I saw an article about a hydro dam that had been built in, I believe, Italy. The dam was built in a narrow gorge. The dam itself was a wonder of engineering. The problem came from the land behind the dam. The water weakened the soil on the walls surrounding the dam, eventually a huge amount of soil broke free and slid into the reservoir. This caused a huge wage that over topped the dam and rushed down the valley. The dam itself wasn’t harmed, but hundreds of people who lived down the valley were killed.

Sage
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 8:26 pm

Pumped Hydro is amenable to areas with large, close proximity, elevation changes. As could be expected, Switzerland is the leader with PH capacity of about 30% of total generation capacity. The U.S. has a PH capacity of about 2% of total generating capacity. The closed loop efficiency of a PH system is around 75% (energy generated vs. energy to pump). The typical generation period of a PH system is two to six hours, and depends on the energy demand.

Today, these systems are used for peaking generation. Pumping occurs during periods of low electricity demand, with generation occurring during times of high demand. Though the mechanical efficiency is about 75%, the economic efficiency can be 100% or greater. This results from the low KWh rate used during pumping, and the High KWh rate at which the generated electricity is sold.

As a Green Energy proponent, you have adopted (w/o regards to real world considerations) Pumped Hydro as one of the major storage solutions to smooth out the inherent periodicity of solar generation and the intermittent quality of wind generation. This could be the case in Switzerland, as you say. But in the U.S. it would be a problematic endeavor. Some PH sites could be found in the mountain ranges in the east and the west but not in the central section (elevation change across the Great Plains is less than 700 ft.). In addition the economic efficiency can degrade to 50% and possibly less. This is because pumping and generation may not occur at optimal economic times. Solar, for example, would pump during daytime, KWh rates, and generate during nighttime, KWh rates. Another problem, as I have discussed in the past, is the distribution grid. It would be a major impediment.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Sage
December 3, 2022 8:51 pm

but not in the central section”
NY and New England get a major part of their power from Quebec Hydro. There is no reason why these facilities have to be located nearby, or even in the same country.

The central section doesn’t have much coal either. Coal is railed in from Wyoming. It’s a lot easier to send electricity down a wire than to rail coal.

karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 10:10 pm

It’s a lot easier to send electricity down a wire than to rail coal.

More gaslighting.

bnice2000
Reply to  karlomonte
December 4, 2022 3:52 am

More fantasizing !!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  bnice2000
December 5, 2022 7:36 am

indeed. The fantasy is that Europe’s surplus wind can all be transmitted to the Alps for pumped storage, and that the hydro generators will be able to supply most of Europe’s demand, all to be transmitted over a heavily beefed up grid.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:07 am

There is no reason why these facilities have to be located nearby, or even in the same country.

You had better tell that to the EU, with respect to their primary backup – Russian gas.

Whoever owns the backup, owns your grid.

Oh, and interconnectors make tempting targets.For anonymous attacks.

Once again one has to assume that your naiveté is in fact disingenuity.

And that you are actively engaged in trying to destroy civilisation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Leo Smith
Rich Davis
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 4:33 am

Once again one has to assume that your naiveté is in fact disingenuity.

And that you are actively engaged in trying to destroy civilisation.

His constant misdirection reveals his disingenuousness. I think that he knows very well that Nut Zero is incompatible with how energy is currently used. It entails perpetual scarcity and the resulting high cost. It might be possible to ration baseload power using smart meters, but in the end it means the end of power on demand.

Apparently that doesn’t bother Nick. Whether that is because he’s a fool or because he wants to destroy civilization I can’t say.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rich Davis
downunder
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:36 am

You should tell that to the Chinese

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 5:53 am

please tell us exactly how much power in NY and New England comes from QH

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:52 am

There are enough hills in Quebec to support all the people who live in both Quebec and New York?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 3:51 pm

Quebec Hydro capacity is about 33 GW. Apparently, our northern neighbors aren’t adverse to blasting rocks and pouring concrete.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 8:25 am

Imagine that…needing to depend on a foreign country to supply your Energy. Isn’t Europe doing just that? And isn’t it costing them dearly to do so??

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 9:59 am

This sounds like an argument against fossil fuels.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:05 pm

Not so fast worshipper.

(I did type weedhopper but autocorrect changed it to worshipper which … works better since you appear to worship in the house of ruinable energy)

This is an argument FOR FF and Reliance on Domestic Sources rather than foreign players. Europe has made themselves dependent on foreign governments for their reliable FF energy because their Unreliable Non FF energy sources aren’t up to the task of powering society and from their government policy of ending extraction and banning fracking.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 9:01 am

Norway has a hydro power system with storage capacity of over 80TWh. It has by far the largest water reservoirs in Europe. But even this large capacity has been severely challenged 2019 -2022.

Sage
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 10:59 am

” … New England get[s] a major part of their power from Quebec Hydro”

UUuuuuhhhhh – NO!
Oil and Coal = 1%
Natural Gas = 40%
Nuclear = 20%
Renewables = 9% (w/o Hydro)
Hydro = 7%

“There is no reason why these facilities have to be located nearby … It’s a lot easier to send electricity down a wire …”

You fail to understand the nature of the national electric grid. It is a sum of interconnected, local (albeit wide area – in some instances) transmission facilities. There is no set of dedicated transmission lines from Niagara Falls to: Long Island or Brooklyn or New Haven, CT etc. Similarly, Klamath Falls to Boise, ID or Reno, NV etc.

Each local grid is sized to meet 80% – 85% of area’s peak power needs. The remainder can be used to “throughput” power from one local grid to another, to another, … . However, as local needs change, the local grid will be re-arranged to serve the local needs. There is no guaranteed capacity in each local grid to transfer power from an outside power source to a outside power sink.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sage
roaddog
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 5:40 pm

Except rail has no parasitic losses.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Sage
December 4, 2022 9:19 am

Sorry but no.

By the end of 2018, installed hydro capacity in Switzerland exceeded 15 GW. The storage capacity of the reservoir lakes amounted to 8.8 TWh, a quarter of average yearly hydro production.

That is tiny. Europe’s methane gas storage is over 1,000TWh to handle winter seasonality.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 4, 2022 10:08 am

8.8 TWh is a couple of months requirement for Swiss consumption. That’s a pretty generous buffer against low wind.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 6:02 pm

You were trying to pretend that Switzerland could provide storage to cover a large chunk of Europe’s needs. It can’t. It does provide a large chunk of Europe’s interconnection capacity, and is duly rewarded with some of the highest prices, importing the shortage problems from every direction. For example

EXPEX Swiss high.png
Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 5, 2022 12:23 am

I notice on your map that Germany, with lots of wind/solar, is cheaper than France. And Denmark is cheaper still, and UK cheaper again. Maybe renewables really do help.

karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 7:29 am

Meanwhile, the Swiss are getting ready to ration electricity, as a result of turning off nuclear turbines. Is this what you call “grid stability”?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  karlomonte
December 5, 2022 8:55 am

At least they have the sense to ban EV use first.

Tony_G
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 5, 2022 2:08 pm

No, the EV restriction is the THIRD level of restrictions. First level limits heating in buildings including totally shutting off some (nightclubs), and reduced retail hours. Second cuts heating levels more and prohibits streaming services and game consoles, and shuts down sports facilities. EV charging doesn’t kick in until after that.

So, no sense.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 8:54 am

Here’s the dirty little secret….

German gen 5 dec.png
Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 5, 2022 2:50 pm

That’s just one day. Here is the last twelve months. Lots of wind, and still cheaper than most in Europe, including France:

comment image

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 6, 2022 3:55 am

The whole point about dealing with renewables is coping with long periods of intermittency – Dunkelflaute, seasonal variations, inter annual variations. An annual average chart covers none of that adequately, or really at all. It is the classic way to ignore the problems. All you have really captured is the crass shutdown of nuclear capacity that has driven Germany towards being no longer a major exporter to its neighbours.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 9:38 am

Did you add 15% to the UK price to reflect €/£? Note also the direction of interconnector flows.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 5, 2022 12:36 pm

No, I didn’t notice the change of €/£ symbol. But I don’t think it changes the order.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 1:28 pm

Try doing the maths. It puts the UK on just under €360/MWh.

Then try understanding that the reasons for the high prices are because of failure of renewables to generate, which is why Germany is seen to be relying on coal/lignite. In the case of France, it exposes their lack of repaired nuclear capacity cruelly, forcing them to import from the UK, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. These prices are shortage prices, not justified by the cost of gas: they are needed to suppress demand, primarily from industry.

karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 10:08 pm

Stokes is now just another lame gaslighter.

Congrats on your negative 149 score, keep going, maybe you can break your own record.

Leo Smith
Reply to  karlomonte
December 4, 2022 1:10 am

I suppose he is just another of PutinsPuppets – people paid to spread disinformation and shill for GAZPROM interests.

Bryan A
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 8:27 am

Might not be “Smart Enough” to get paid to shill. Probably does it for free like a Sock Puppet

Nick Stokes
Reply to  karlomonte
December 4, 2022 4:09 am

Congrats”
I’m gratified to have so many readers.

karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:44 am

So you get paid per lie, got it.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:47 am

Well of course Nick, one understands that your employers, not unconnected to certain gas interests, would never go as far as to claim something directly that would allow direct facts to contradict the green narrative: Neverthless the vast majority of renewable aficionados, are not able to do simple sums, but rely on impressions conveyed to them by the mainstream media, and paid for by deep renewable interests.

The fact is that over and over again those people claim that storage is coming that will save renewable energy, and therefore it is OK to keep pumping money into it, because it wont be completely wasted.

No mention is ever made of the simple fact that it won’t and it can’t.

No more than the glib assurances in the same breath that interconnectors will save the day ‘because the wind is always blowing somewhere’ and ‘wind is cheaper than coal’. So long as you dont cost in the diesel, hydro, gas, batteries, intercoinnectors, and load shedding we are being told we have to endure, to actually make it work.

The fact that you are clearly intelligent enough to fully understand this, makes your posts inexcusable.

To be misinformed is one thing, to deliberately spread disinformation knowingly is quite another.

Do you hate civilisation and your fellow man so much?

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 7:58 am

Even without counting all those things, wind is still more expensive than coal.
You have to build 10’s of thousands of wind mills to equal the output of a single coal plant. And that’s before you add in the fact that wind mills only produce power less than 30% of the time.
Then you have to add in the cost of the lines needed to connect those widely distributed wind mills.
The cost of maintaining 10’s of thousands of wind mills is also orders of magnitude higher than the cost of maintaining a single coal plant.
Wind is free, but the cost of fuel is by far the smallest cost in operating a power plant.

Then you get into the environmental cost of all those wind mills, vs the environmental benefit of more CO2.
Finally, Nick never includes the cost of backup power.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 9:07 am

Plus your new coal plant could easily operate for 50+ years whereas your wind turbines would need a couple of replacements to get that far.

MarkW
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 4, 2022 11:41 am

Wind also degrades noticeably over time. Depending on the area, it’s output could degrade as much as several percent per year.

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:13 am

So what does fill in? In our current mixed grids, usually gas or diesel

Yes, that is quite true. But you have now essentially conceded the point, which is that what is hoped for and sometimes promised for storage is impossible. That means that the dream of zero carbon power is over.

And its not a strawman. In the UK the leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer, who is probably going to head up the next government, has publicly stated as a matter of policy that Labour will aim for a zero carbon power generation system by 2030.

At the moment it is about 60% gas on average, fluctuating wildly with the contribution of wind, despite there being enough theoretical capacity of wind + solar to meet total demand.

What he is hoping for or intending is simply impossible.

The thing you need to admit is that there is a choice between two alternatives. One is a mainly gas powered grid supplemented by wind and solar. The other is just gas, or gas + coal.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
December 4, 2022 4:00 am

And its not a strawman. In the UK the leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer”

Is he saying that they will use batteries in the way Menton claims? What did he actually say?

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:10 am

From the BBC site:

Labour has set out plans to make the UK the first major economy in the world to generate all of its electricity without using fossil fuels.

Sir Keir Starmer says achieving zero carbon energy by 2030 will be a key priority if he wins the next election.

But he said fossil fuels may be used as a “fall back” if it cannot be achieved by the end of the decade.

He told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg it was a “difficult” goal but “absolutely doable”.

Labour sources said an emergency backup capacity of 0.7% of fossil fuel electricity production would be kept on stand by.

The government has already committed to zero carbon electricity by 2035 – but that pledge was made before the global spike in energy prices.

I don’t have a transcript, but I take the BBC’s word for it on this. It must mean battery storage, if you consider the 0.7%.

That goes well beyond what you have been arguing for in recent comments. What you’ve basically been arguing for is fossil fuel generation, but with gas and solar supplementation.

This is realistic in one sense, in that unlike what Starmer appears to be talking about, its doable. You can actually have a functioning conventional grid, and you can then add wind and solar to it.

Whether it makes any economic sense to do that is something we differ on. I think its pointless. But at least it is something that can be implemented.

MarkW
Reply to  michel
December 4, 2022 8:03 am

Like most sophists, Nick is expert at changing his argument depending on the circumstances.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
December 4, 2022 10:20 am

“It must mean battery storage, if you consider the 
0.7%.”
On the contrary, it means fossil fuel plants kept spinning as reserve.

Starmer’s plan does sound like what I have said is likely to happen. Continuing to increase wind/solar, with at first gas (and hydro, if available) generation varying to cover the fluctuations, just as happens in South Australia. Later, development of pumped hydro etc to lower the component of gas needed.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 10:48 am

There are few if any remaining pumped hydro sites in the UK to be exploited.

And net zero means no FF. That means not using FF as backup.

Starmer’s whizz kid future minister, the physics and energy genius Ed Milliband who gave us the Climate Change Act 2008, knows it can be done, a FF free grid.

Probable because his high flying consultants Just Stop Oil, XR and Greenpeace told him its ok.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 8:02 am

It really is amusing how Nick pretends to be so clueless.

bnice2000
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:30 am

“Who is actually proposing to use batteries as backup for wind?”

Yep the tiny one in SA makes a huge profit just by stabilising the grid frequency from the erratic nature of wind and solar.

They will NEVER be a “back-up” for anything, neither will pumped storage

COAL and GAS will have to remain as a large percentage of supply for decades probably centuries.

Pumped hydro storage is actually great for the coal fired power stations..

They can keep producing, without having to throttle back as much…

… so the water can be pumped using COAL fired power (or gas)..

Nick Stokes
Reply to  bnice2000
December 4, 2022 4:01 am

Yep the tiny one in SA makes a huge profit just by stabilising the grid frequency”

Yes, it does. You still haven’t answered the question that you quote.

michel
Reply to  bnice2000
December 4, 2022 7:14 am

I posted above from the BBC on who is proposing it. I can’t see any other way of interpreting Keir Starmer’s remarks than that he has non-FF storage and backup in mind, and the only thing there is, apart from gas, is batteries. Well, I say its the only thing there is. As Francis Menton points out, its not a thing that there is, other than in the crazed fantasies of some activists and politicians!

And Starmer is proposing to do this just at the time that the UK makes further sales of anything but EVs unlawful. Completely mad.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 8:12 am

If “They” are claiming a 20 fold increase in “Storage Capacity” in 9 years (2031)…(8 years and 1 month)…you certainly won’t see a 20 fold increase in Pumped Hydro Battery storage which implies traditional Li-Ion Battery Storage

Traditional Hydro isn’t “Storage”
Nuclear isn’t “Storage”
Gas and Diesel aren’t “Storage”
Coal isn’t “Storage”
(Though FF are the ideal energy storage media)

“Storage” as implied by the article means a media that can be emptied and refilled…BATTERIES

So…what do YOU thimk they mean by “Energy Storage”?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 10:25 am

So…what do YOU thimk they mean by “Energy Storage”?”

They mean energy storage. What batteries do. There will be more of them.

And what for? They explain, to provide system flexibility. What they are proving very useful for at present.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 11:44 am

Damn the cost, full subsidies ahead.

Bryan A
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:19 pm

Then your statements make little sense
At the head of the thread you said…

Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 6:57 pm
“The main point of the paper is that an electrical grid powered mostly by intermittent generators like wind and sun requires full backup from some source; and if that source is to be stored energy, the amounts of storage required are truly staggering.”

This stuff is a futile strawman. One big failing around here is that people don’t quote what the proponents, if any, of the schemes being analysed say. And this is true of the full Menton paper.

Who is actually proposing to use batteries as backup for wind? The Menton report cites Wood MacKenzie “Europe’s Grid-scale Energy Storage Capacity Will Expand 20-fold by 2031.”. But they don’t say anything about batteries being used to provide backup for when wind is unavailable. They just say:
“Energy storage will play a crucial role in that rapid evolution, providing vital system flexibility.”

And that is why batteries are currently being installed

In one breath you intone that “batteries” sounds ludicrous “who is actually proposing to use batteries as a backup for wind” then state “and that is why batteries are currently being installed”

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 12:58 pm

They are installed to provide vital system flexibility. They are not to provide replacement power when wind goes quiet.

karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:42 pm

“vital system flexibility”—a meaningless, open-ended phrase that can mean whatever you need it to mean.

Rick C
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 9:15 am

If you’re relying on gas/diesel for back-up, that ain’t net zero. I predict all current systems will continue to rely on gas, oil, coal and nuclear as “bac-up” until the installed wind/solar systems start failing and the cost of maintaining/replacing makes it economically sensible to simply run the back up plants full time. Wonder who will be on the hook for decommissioning and disposing of obsolete wind turbines and solar panels – let me guess – the taxpayers?

Moriarty
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 9:54 am

Once again, Nick is right, but in an ass-backwards way.

No green energy proponents talk about backup. They pretend the problem doesn’t exist. They pretend the intermittency problems don’t exist. They pretend the energy density problems don’t exist. They pretend the economic issues don’t exist. Using good ol’ doublethink techniques, they completely ignore the issues with their unicorn-fart-driven clean energy fantasies.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:06 pm

Lithium-based batteries are indeed a poor fit for stationary storage, despite their current use un that role.

The question is, though:
If not (more suitable chemistry) batteries, what?
The existing technologies which allow scaling out pretty much boil down to batteries and electrolysis/hydrogen turbines.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  old cocky
December 4, 2022 4:30 pm

Well, again pumped hydro is one. Australia is going that way with Snowy 2.0.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 5:11 pm

Pumped hydro has limited scalability, especially in Australia. That is for both policy and practical reasons.
Even Snowy 2.0 is a drop in the bucket, so to speak.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 6:08 pm

All of 350GWh….when the need is measured in 10s of TWh if you want to rely on renewables. It’s a joke, just as Francis Menton explained in the article.

old cocky
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 4, 2022 6:50 pm

If I’ve told you once, if told you a thousand time you shouldn’t exaggerate.

According to https://www.energy.gov.au/publications/australian-energy-statistics-table-o-electricity-generation-fuel-type-2019-20-and-2020, Australia generated 265,000 GWh of electricity in 2020.
On that basis, Snowy 2.0 can cover half a day,.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  old cocky
December 4, 2022 7:54 pm

And that is if everything else failed. Qld wind, SA wind, WA wind, SA solar, NSW solar, etc etc.

Besides, we’ll probably be up to Snowy 3.0 by 2030.They may be tapping 350 MWh for this stage, but the dams are huge, and we could build even more. Blowering Dam alone, with an existing hydro plant, has over 350 TWh storage.

Last edited 1 month ago by Nick Stokes
old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 9:40 pm

Blowering Dam alone, with an existing hydro plant, has over 350 TWh storage.

That’s impressive. I know it’s big, but didn’t realise it was that scale. That’s certainly an option then, depending on build time to be able to utilise it.

And that is if everything else failed. Qld wind, SA wind, WA wind, SA solar, NSW solar, etc etc.

Well, there are about 16 hours/day in winter when solar isn’t doing much, so it depends on the degree of wind overbuild.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  old cocky
December 4, 2022 9:55 pm

That’s impressive. I know it’s big”
Oops. If you’ve told me once, you’ve told me 1000 times…
I mean, of course, 350 GWh.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 12:02 pm

It shouldn’t make a difference, because it was only some zeros 🙂

Anyway, half a day of storage in SH2 allows the “carbon” emissions to be reduced below the 255kg/MWh average of solar + CCGT, but probably not as much as it might appear. We then get into a solar + wind + hydro + SH2.0 mix. Without the overnight CCGT, it’s going to be OCGT for shorter periods most of the time, and full OCGT use when SH2.0 is depleted and wind is low in poor (or no) light.

Still leaving out costs, who has thoughts on optimal wind/solar proportions?

Shytot
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 5, 2022 9:22 am

Sooooooo
The solution (avoiding batteries) is that we keep using:

(A) cheap reliable fossil fuels + (B) expensive unreliable “renewables”

where
(A) gets more and more expensive because it is used inefficienly
and
(B) remains expensive and unreliable because it is subsidised and inefficient

Compelling? I don’t think so.

So the question still remains the same – are the perpetrators of this “plan” (or the battery plan or Net Zero in general) deluded or criminal?

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 3, 2022 7:09 pm

All the so called storage sites I read about are for frequency control, or, to give a gas turbine tine to ramp up, or, to extend/ expand solar up to four (4) hours of evening peak delivery. Everyone in the business knows battery storage is forever to expensive beyond four hours, but they don’t have any incentive to be attacked as “deniers”. Here’s what I put together based on Topaz. One month of storage isn’t enough but it makes clear, that even one month of storage is forever out of reach

USA consumed 4000 tera-watt in 2021
The Topaz solar farm produces 1.2 tera-watt/year (30% capacity factor)
4000/1.2 = 3333 Topaz size wind farms at $2.4 billion each
$8 trillion

Battery storage is $400 KWh, $400,000 MWh, $400,000,000 GWh,
$400,000,000,000 ($400 billion TWh)

Data on the internet suggests one (1) month of storage for renewables
4,000 TW/ 12 months = 333 TWh required storage (300 TWh nominal)
$400 billion/TWh x 300 TWh storage = $120,000 billion ($120 trillion)

Grid scale storage packets without the batteries cost $200,000 MWh for the site prep,
Labor, enclosures, switch gear, fire suppression and more. So, if the batteries were
free the storage would “only be” $60 trillion. Not that it matters, it will never happen.
The economy would collapse long before we got “halfway” to all (ruinous) renewables.
N2N, natural gas to nuclear with small scale modular leading the way (see NuScale Website).

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 3, 2022 7:13 pm

Copy: “Topaz Solar Farm (550 MW), California”.
Location: Carrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County
Nameplate capacity: 550 MWAC
Annual net output: 1,282 GW·h, 272 MW·h/acre
Construction cost: $2.4 billion

Bryan A
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 3, 2022 11:45 pm

Topaz also covers 9.5 square miles and the consumption figures are for Current Electricity only. Growth will increase consumption by 30% in the next decade. Government Policy will increase demand by greater than 200% in that time with the forced electrification of heating, cooking and transportation.
Then there is that nagging issue that Solar can only produce electricity from 10am to 2pm local time so you would need almost 6 times as much installed capacity.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Bryan A
December 4, 2022 9:39 pm

Speaking of area, here’s my estimated global requirement for solar:

World consumes 24,000 tera-watt hours of electricity annually.
One square kilometer of solar panels produces 100 mWh per year
1000sq km x 1000 sq km = 1,000,000 sq km (1 million sq km)
1 million sq km provides 1,000,000 sq km x 100 mWh = 100,000,000 mWh
=100 tera-watt per year per million acres
24,000 tw/100 million mWh=240 million sq km.

One sq kw contains 100 hectares
240 million/100 = 24 million hectares to produce the world’s electricity
Electricity is 20% of total annual world energy consumption
Therefore, 24 million x 5 = 100 million (nominal) hectares (120 million calculated)
Reactance and resistance at a conservative15% = 100+15= 115 hectares 
Every engineering design needs a factor of safety for emergency/accidents/operational upsets: a super conservative 10% brings the total to > 125 million hectares
One hectare contains 2.47 acres x 125 million hectares = 300 (nominal) million acres

Don’t like my 100 mWh per sq km per year? OK, let’s make it 200 mWh = 150 million acres. Still not satisfied? Super ideal 30% capacity factor (CF) site in Southern Cali: 273 MwH/acre (let’s call it 300 mWh)=100 million acres.

But if all the panels are going to be installed around the planet in those two narrow strips of comparable sunshine, and you’re not floating them in the ocean, then the reactive/resistance value of 15% must be adjusted (25%?)
.
Note 1: Texas is 172 million acres.
Note 2: Any location north of 45 degrees North latitude (Canada, UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Russia etc) the CF for solar is < 15% and realistically if renewables are “required” then 30-45% CF wind generation is “less horrible” than solar.

Copy: “Topaz Solar Farm (550 MW), California”.
Location: Carrizo Plain, San Luis Obispo County
Nameplate capacity: 550 MWAC
Annual net output: 1,282 GW·h, 272 MW·h/acre
Construction cost: $2.4 billion

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 3, 2022 7:25 pm

Everyone in the business knows battery storage is forever to expensive beyond four hours”
Indeed. It just seems to be a fantasy of WUWT and people like Menton, that they can’t let go.

Graeme4
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 7:49 pm

If the aim is Net Zero, then surely fossil fuels should not be used for backup storage?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Graeme4
December 3, 2022 8:05 pm

Well, Net Zero means Net Zero. But FF are the current and working option. If that needs to be phased out down the track, there will have to be something else. But not batteries. That is a strawman.

davidmhoffer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 10:10 pm

I would like to thank Nick Stokes for asserting that batteries are not plausile as a solution to Net Zero. Please mark this comment and don’t forget to provide proper attribution when you quote him.

michel
Reply to  davidmhoffer
December 4, 2022 7:25 am

Yes!

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:11 am

Weasel. You are beyond contempt

MarkW
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 8:06 am

As long as his pay checks don’t bounce, Nick is not concerned with your contempt.

bnice2000
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:56 am

ROFLMAO..

Nick realises batteries are POINTLESS and DELUSIONAL.

But thinks “something else” will take the place of fossil fuels or nuclear for RELIABLE supply.

Maybe he can breed unicorns and harvest their farts. !

You are past a joke, Nick !!

michel
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 7:24 am

The problem is that you have moved what is being advocated to a completely different proposition. People started out arguing, and are still arguing, that the economy can run grids on renewables only, and you can read in forums people saying that battery costs are coming down fast, and storage will make it work.

You are now proposing to have wind and solar backed up by gas or coal. The problem with this, as you can see from the UK case, is that you cannot backup with coal because it lacks rapid start capability. You have to backup with gas.

Now look at the practical results of doing this. Its a system which, even with the compulsory purchase regulations, ends up doing 60% on average of its generation from gas.

This is not wind and solar supplemented by gas backup. Its a gas generating system which has had wind and solar (with compulsory purchase) added to it.

Its a very different proposition. Its no longer, lets to go net zero by way of greening power generation. Now it is, lets see if we can save a bit on fuel by adding some wind and solar to an already working grid.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  michel
December 4, 2022 9:19 am

Modern Advanced Ultra Super Critical (A-USC) and Steam H coal fired plants can be started from cold in less than 30 minutes and have far less emissions than earlier coal plants.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 6, 2022 8:56 am

I’ve read about A-USC and understand that all of China’s new coal plants use that technology, But Steam H coal-fired plants? Never heard of it. At first blush, if steam is available it’s not cold standby, but warm standby,

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 9:31 am

But pumped hydro, the cheapest option where available, is completely insufficient anyway. For example the UK would need 4,000 Dinorwigs. There is nowhere to out them.

Belatedly there is discussion about using hydrogen, but it requires three times the storage volume that methane does, and manufacture by electrolysis is prohibitively expensive, not to mention the safety issues. It is just as much of a unicorn. The reality is that there is no viable way to go much beyond about 60% wind and solar on a grid, and that will be expensive enough to make those who rely on it uncompetitive with fossil fuel and nuclear alternative, bolstered by hydro where available.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 4, 2022 10:48 am

For example the UK would need 4,000 Dinorwigs. There is nowhere to out them.”
Dinorwig was designed about fifty years ago to provide the sort of very short term capacity that is nowadays better provided by battery. The water reservoir is just an old slate quarry. There are much bigger dams that can be used.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 1:17 pm

Once again, Nick expertly skewers an argument that nobody made.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 6:20 pm

No – he is handwaving again, by assuming that there are lots of potential high capacity sites when there aren’t.

Here’s Euan Mearns himself on Coire Glas:

https://euanmearns.com/the-coire-glas-pumped-storage-scheme-a-massive-but-puny-beast/

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 6:15 pm

That’s the point: there aren’t the sites. There is the Coire Glas project which will have a 30GWh, 1.5GW capacity now that is finally going ahead. It failed to maked any headway when the planners refused to allow more than 600MW of generation because of the potential impact on Loch Lochy, the lower reservoir. It was uneconomic as a 50 hour duration store.

There is an expansion at Cruachan mooted: it is more about increasing the generating capacity than increasing the storage capacity – i.e. reducing the storage duration. Nothing else is on the horizon.

To balance a renewables grid you are going to need storage that is inter seasonal for a start, and then more that covers for bad years. The economics are completely unsustainable.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 6, 2022 9:08 am

60%? My W&S grid numbers are 5% harmless,10% nuisance, 15% expensive, 20% grid destabilizing and economy threatening, 25% insane. But I don’t have a sophisticated detailed analysis to support my position, only random examples (as I recently posted here on WUWT). Please share the basis for your 60%.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 6, 2022 2:37 pm

It’s about the limit of what has been achieved on various island systems, including King Island, Bass Strait; Graciosa, Azores; El Hierro, Canaries. It’s already into the needs big subsidy area, but after that the costs really start escalating very rapidly, because absent storage too much of the production has to be curtailed, and the storage required to cut curtailment if far too costly to be viable. Here’s one I did earlier… Thursday Island, where you can see the steps in the calculations:

https://euanmearns.com/wind-and-solar-on-thursday-island/

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 7, 2022 12:07 am

Thank you, Mr.It doesnot add up. I didn’t think there was anywhere on the planet that solar could cost effectively support 60% of annual electrical demand. But your reply seems to be the opposite of your report. The report says 60% solar functional, but your reply suggest it’s off the chart expensive because of storage cost. I’m confused.

As you report, Thursday Island is near the equator, so that helps solar CF, but it’s substantially reduced because of cloudy/rainy conditions much of the year. Your “overbuilding solar that reduces the CF from 17% to 10% being cost-effective surprised me. Almost as shocking as solar beating out wind at 42.6 CF!

It’s too late in the evening to connect some costs, but after I do I’ll get back to you and hope for some more follow up. Thanks again, I research and blog several hours per day and rarely learn anything from the other commentors (accept how much they hate me as a past oil and gas guy and a climate “denier” that calls CO2 plant food). Not the case with you, very informing. Impressive.

You report only limited solar installation on Thursday Island. Maybe that has completely changed recently based on your data. I understand the limited space issue, but it would seem that solar use would be maximized I guess my confusion will clear up after I assign costs. Several weather damage potential an issue?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
December 7, 2022 5:32 am

Last time I looked they had installed new diesel generators, which were a much better bet. The wind turbines have not been replaced. There may be a few more solar installations now, but oil is back in the saddle.

Cost effective is a relative term. When oil is expensive some solar might help to cut the fuel bill, especially since diesel has a low capital cost per MW of capacity. The real point is the rate at which cost escalates once you get to the point where curtailment starts to become significant, because storage is not an economic way to bridge that.

Last edited 1 month ago by It doesnot add up
Hoyt Clagwell
Reply to  Graeme4
December 3, 2022 10:10 pm

Net zero means that California can send all of its fossil fuel generated electricity to Nevada and Nevada can send all of its fossil fuel generated electricity to California, and both get to claim the energy they produced for their own use was 100% green and renewable.

old cocky
Reply to  Graeme4
December 4, 2022 1:48 am

This might be an appropriate spot for one (well two) that, like any good TV chef, I prepared earlier:

The context was figures from the IEC LCOE calculator ( https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/data-tools/levelised-cost-of-electricity-calculator) which among other things used a price for Carbon (not specified if this was C or CO20

Fiddling around a bit more (setting the carbon price to 100/ton), it looks like the carbon (dioxide?) emissions per MWh are:
CCGT – 425 kg
OCGT – 659 kg
coal – 849 kg
lignite – 1145 kg
That allows calculation of the CO2 emission crossover point for utilisation of CGT vs OCGT, which I’ve been chasing for a while.

Now that we have figures for C/MWh (doesn’t matter if it’s C or CO2 for the purposes of the exercise), we can investigate the optimal technology mix to minimise CO2 emissions pr MWh.
Assume:

  • Calculating for Australia
  • cost is ignored for this stage. That’s for a later round
  • time to build is ignored at this stage, as per cost.
  • Usage patterns are unchanged
  • no technology breakthroughs
  • nuclear fission is excluded for policy reasons
  • nuclear fusion is still 20 years away
  • minimal scope for additional hydro
  • solar can generate for between 8 and 14 hours/day, depending on season. Average is 11 hours/day
  • fuel is available
  • lignite is actually 1145 kg/MWh
  • 1-hour ramp-up time for CCGT, OCGT instantaneous (pure guesswork)

Solar is simple enough, because sun angles vary in a continuous function. That leads to solar + CCGT, with CCGT burning gas 14 hours/day, so around 60% of total output for approximately 255 kg/MWh
Wind is trickier, because the output varies on much shorter time scales. That essentially dictates the use of OCGT. For the 255 kg/MWH of solar, OCGT would be running 40% of the time, so wind needs to be carrying 60% of the load.
Over to the forum for somewhat less unsophisticated calculations.

The relevance, such as it is, to the current topic is that this seems to be about the best case when using carbon-based combustion to provide “firming” for wind / solar.

Graham
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 3, 2022 8:25 pm

Thats right Nick so the only non emitting solution is Nuclear but that will still take time to power up and power down .

Rich Davis
Reply to  Graham
December 4, 2022 5:23 am

Yes, the only conceivable carbon-free approach to preserve 100% availability is base load nuclear that covers significantly more than average demand, coupled with a storage scheme such as pumped hydro.

Where then do intermittent sources play any role? They only make sense if the total system costs are lower with the weather-dependent sources in the mix than with an all-dispatchable system.

Nick wants to assert that net means some gas backup is ok because there will be an offsetting negative emission (extracting CO2 from the air perhaps). That’s unrealistic because there are so many industrial processes that must emit CO2 to work at all.

Coke used to reduce iron oxide in steel-making involves carbon chemically pulling the oxygen off the iron, forming CO2. It’s not just a need for a fuel to make heat.

Similarly cement production requires production of calcium oxide (lime) from calcium carbonate, a chemical reaction necessarily releasing CO2.

All production of iron and lime will require an offsetting removal of CO2 for at least the fraction of CO2 that can’t be sequestered. What are these man-made carbon sinks that Nick imagines can net out all the necessary CO2 emissions of modern civilization?

michel
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 7:28 am

“Where then do intermittent sources play any role? They only make sense if the total system costs are lower with the weather-dependent sources in the mix than with an all-dispatchable system.”

Yes, spot on. This is exactly the point.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Rich Davis
December 4, 2022 9:49 am

A typical wind turbine needs 260 tonnes of steel made from 170 tonnes of coking coal and the turbines are getting bigger.

The world produces around 1.7 billion tonnes of steel a year

Hybrit (Sweden) has produced 100 tonnes of steel using a hydrogen reduction process and is ramping up production to 1.3m tonnes pa. Their costs are 30 % more expensive than conventional methods though these may come down in the future.

Others are following the same route but it will be a long time before they replace coking coal.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Dave Andrews
December 4, 2022 10:47 am

Yes you can perhaps reduce iron oxide with hydrogen at a cost. Now how do we make lime without calcium carbonate?

bnice2000
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:54 am

Nick has finally realised that batteries are POINTLESS… a FANTASY !!

… and that COAL and GAS and Nuclear will be the main electricity sources for decades or centuries into the future.

Well done , Nick.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 8:05 am

As usual, Nick pretends that the leaders of his side, haven’t said what they have said.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 11:34 am

And as usual, after a thread full of huffing and puffing, no-one can answer that simple original question. Who claims that batteries can actually provide backup for windless periods, and what do they say? Names and links, please.

aussiecol
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 12:34 pm

https://www.climatecentral.org/climate-matters/is-battery-storage-the-next-big-thing-in-reducing-carbon-emissions

Nick Stokes
Reply to  aussiecol
December 4, 2022 12:55 pm

Yes, it says that they help to ensure grid stability. They do.

karlomonte
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 3:45 pm

Stokes does another spin in the weasel dance.

WTF does “help to ensure grid stability” mean in Stokes-World?

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 4, 2022 6:52 pm

Actually, the question was answered the first time it was asked. As usual for Nick, since the answer wasn’t the one Nick wanted, he managed to not see it.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  MarkW
December 4, 2022 7:47 pm

Actually, the question was answered the first time it was asked”

Really? I’ve been advised to Google. I’ve been told it is Biden etc (but no indication of what they are supposed to have said). But no answer to the basic question. Who says batteries can replace wind when needed, and what did they actually say?

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Nick Stokes
December 6, 2022 8:47 am

Everyone IN THE BUSINESS knows battery storage is forever too expensive beyond four hours means those professionals who in the course of their duties evaluate the engineering and economic viability of different types and sizes of storage systems. There isn’t a graduate electrical engineer, anywhere on the planet, that in the absence of a political agenda, who would determine otherwise. It’s not complicated. Because battery storage, for a few days of cloudy and calm is too expense, there is no argument supporting wind and solar. it’s a duplicative farce.

John Oliver
December 3, 2022 8:14 pm

The entire scheme is just so insane- you can discover that it won’t work just playing around with a12 volt travel fridge/freezer and a solar panel on a small boat or RV You end up adding another battery then another 100 watt panel then another battery etc etc and thats just for one (very small) HE insulated appliance. God for bid one should need to heat ones relatively small space with this technology.

RickWill
Reply to  John Oliver
December 3, 2022 10:01 pm

God for bid one should need to heat ones relatively small space with this technology.

Or make steel.

None of this stuff can produce more energy in its operating life than it takes to make the stuff. That is why Germany manufacturing is in a bind.

It is not NetZero carbon but net negative energy. It can go ahead as long as China is willing to accept the debt of the nations aiming for their ” transition”. USA is in a highly privileged position because it creates the default global currency and China is still prepared to accept debt denominated in USD. USA is the only country that can export inflation and it is doing a good job on that front.

UK is in financial crisis running large consecutive current account deficits. Bank of England buying government bonds when it was supposed to selling bonds. All highly inflationary.

German manufacturing is stuffed and on life support; underpinning inflation.

China can only dig up so much coal a month and that limits their ability to produce solar panels and wind turbines. That alone means Net Zero using wind and solar will not be achieved anywhere.

Last edited 1 month ago by RickWill
abolition man
Reply to  RickWill
December 4, 2022 10:18 am

If Australia continues to follow the EU and US off the climate cliff, China will have a large quantity of coal readily available nearby! And the Aussie government has already built some of the internment camps that will be needed to keep those who protest against being slaves and concubines! Win, win for China!

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  RickWill
December 4, 2022 4:45 pm

‘USA is the only country that can export inflation…’

Only because other central banks are willing to hold dollar reserves and debase their own currencies. The house of cards will collapse when they stop doing so.

observa
December 3, 2022 8:22 pm

All the climate changers are interested in is oohing and aahing over some maximum marginal output from solar and wind-
https://reneweconomy.com.au/the-day-worlds-biggest-isolated-grid-had-enough-wind-and-solar-to-reach-100-pct-renewables/

It’s an emotional thing for them that no amount of rational analysis and reading between the lines can overcome. All they can see is ever more solar panels and windmills will fix their massive dilute and fickle energy problem. Like moths to the flame they’re bedazzled by the free energy source from the sun and wind oblivious to their capital cost peril.

The capital cost fantasy of storage to turn their marginal rollercoaster into desired steady average delivery is obvious but there’s a lot more capital costs involved than that. Ditch large centralised hub and spoke generation and delivery for spaghetti and meatballs and the capital costs of guaranteeing voltage and frequency skyrocket too. It’s why even without the requisite smoothing storage to date their free fuel fetish is already delusional at delivering affordable communal power. The correlation between high penetration of solar and wind and high power prices is no puzzle in that regard. Just a serious dilemma for struggletown and exporting industry and jobs to more rational societies.

John Oliver
December 3, 2022 8:56 pm

We ll still be here ten years from now waiting for “it” to work Mr minus

harryfromsyd
December 3, 2022 10:00 pm

In 2021, the entire planet’s battery production was estimated at 1TWh, and it is expected to reach 5TWh by 2030. If just Germany needs 25TWh, then storage isn’t going to be solved in any significant way by batteries.
Whenever I mention storage as an issue for renewables the glib reply by advocates is “haven’t you heard of batteries”, they never ever do the calculations, just handwaves and unicorn farts.

Last edited 1 month ago by harryfromsyd
karlomonte
Reply to  harryfromsyd
December 3, 2022 10:12 pm

And the Search of the Magic Battery continues…

Leo Smith
Reply to  karlomonte
December 4, 2022 1:16 am

It’s called uranium 235, and it comes fully charged. No need for windymills

Leo Smith
Reply to  harryfromsyd
December 4, 2022 1:16 am

I have told you why, over and over – the ArtStudent™ mind simply DoesntDoSums.
It deals in qualitative concepts with high emotional content.
Obviously batteries store energy, and are cool and green – every Apple device has them and costs only a few hundred dollars – so just build some big ones!

Simples!

We all say it, so it must be true!

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Leo Smith
December 6, 2022 10:58 pm

Leo, thank you kindly. I’ve been blaming wind and solar aficionados for being typical progressive liberal democrats who refuse to look at issues quantitatively and instead only focus on the qualitative (oil and gas bad, solar good, kill oil and gas and run the world on “free” energy). It’s not that they “refuse” to address the issue/problem, it’s that their “art-student mind” won’t let them! Would it be overreach to assume Biden has an “art-student mind”? (in addition to two failed brain surgeries)?

Steve Case
December 3, 2022 10:20 pm

“…not only is there no working demonstration project anywhere in the world of the wind/solar/storage energy system, but…”
______________________________

There are off the grid stand alone residential houses, but heating is wood, and hot water, cooking, clothes drying use propane or natural gas. Plus there is a back up fossil fueled generator available for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Owners of such houses will tell you that the set up produces some VERY expensive electricity.

But the green party today is banning natural gas for residential and everything must be powered by the grid. Individual point of use solar and wind is rarely discussed.

Erik Magnuson
December 3, 2022 10:26 pm

California’s PUC order for 10.5GW Li-ion storage capacity is only half of what is needed to avoid the Solar Duck problem. For example, the demand on non-renewable generation was 20GW higher at about 7PM on July 1st 2022 than it was at noon. Since it is the utilities and not the the solar/wind power providers that is being ordered to pay for the storage, it results in the utilities giving a huge subsidy to the renewable energy providers.

The order does make some sense if the intent is minimize the number of peaking plants that will only run 1 to 2 hours per day.

Kudos to Menton for correctly distinguishing between GW and GWh.

The only way of achieving Net-Zero by 2050 is to start building nuclear plants NOW.

Capt Jeff
December 3, 2022 11:20 pm

My city, county and state (Bellingham, Whatcom, Washington) are hell bent on unrealistic Net Zero objectives.
What we need in my, and other, jurisdictions is a document that can be used to be a framework for sensible politicians to promote laws, or citizens to put forward initiatives that mandate state governments must not allow additional demands on the electrical grid, or shutdown of existing fossil fuel or nuclear power sources without implementation of a power source of equivalent reliability based on a comprehensive determination of storage capacity of any weather dependent sources based on a multi year evaluation of solar and wind droughts for the given region. This “Energy Reliability Mandate” would likely be supported by those who have been indoctrinated into the “Climate Crisis” histrionics, until they see the bill, and open their mind to questioning the claims of alarmists.
I know I would use such a document to promote such a requirement in my region. Perhaps a multi region push back would be a way to thwart the Federal Governments push to crash our energy grid.

Phillip Bratby
December 3, 2022 11:49 pm

The cost does not bear thinking about. Not to mention the environmental destruction – so I won’t.

ThinkingScientist
December 4, 2022 12:19 am

Back of the envelope calculations are always revealing.

For the UK about 3 years ago I made a trivial calculation of storage requirement for 2 days and 10 days backup and then used the Elon Musk Oz battery to give an approximate purchase price.

At 2 days it was already as much as the pre-covid national debt just to buy.

As you say, it’s pretty simple to compute ball park numbers and realise they are completely unaffordable.

The “climate stupidity crisis” keeps gathering momentum.

michel
December 4, 2022 1:03 am

Francis, thanks for this contribution. We should all send it on to where it may do some good.

People have said bits of this in various forums and papers over the years, but you are the first I know of to have put it all together in the form of a comprehensive argument. It will be of great value to everyone trying to bring some evidence based reasoning to bear on national energy policies. Its clear, logical, irrefutable.

You can see the implication every day on two UK sites:

gridwatch.co.uk
gridwatch.templar.co.uk

All you have to do is examine what proportion of generation is being done by gas, and how consistent the output from wind and solar is.

The political classes and the mainstream media are under the illusion that installing wind and solar is going to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuel. And that it has done that. A little attention to the two sites above shows you at once what the real result is: it produces complete dependence on gas.

The reason is that the system operators, confronted with the requirement to buy in from intermittent and unreliable sources, but also with the obligation to supply power, are using huge amounts of gas generation which is carrying the real load.

The political problem is that this is invisible to the voting public. All they see is that wind is being installed and power is still available. The fact that the power is only available because huge amounts of gas generating capacity have been installed isn’t visible to them.

The installation of battery banks is similar. They get all the publicity. But the real work of backup is being done by gas.

The role of gas in all this might be worth your attention in a later paper.

Its extraordinary, a sort of gigantic sham. Its a bit like a green bus installs pedals, its passengers go at it furiously and feel very virtuous. But the actual work is being done by a heavily muffed diesel, just as before.

Leo Smith
December 4, 2022 1:18 am

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
There is no climate crisis.
There is an energy crisis, and renewable energy is the cause, not the solution.

Last edited 1 month ago by Leo Smith
Peta of Newark
December 4, 2022 1:41 am

If Germany was able to dump its hideous and notoriously bureaucratic (right up there with The French ##) planning/permission systems to get an LNG import terminal built inside 200 days, instead of as many months, how fast could they build a few nukes?

Rather a shame there’s no LNG innit?

The US terminal making it blew upThere are no tankersThere is no gas to make it from and it’s horribly expensiveWhat supply there is is all spoken for, even at the high pricesUntil at least 2026 – despite what pronouncements an empty-headed US President comes out with

## So how did The French come to have so many nukes, that almost all of Europe is now hoping and depending on?

Don’t tell me: The Climate Changed

Now, define ‘Climate’ – the climate of what?

edit to clarify, I LNG, Liquefied Natural Gas, I said LPG. sigh

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Rod Evans
December 4, 2022 3:00 am

The ever bolder stories coming out about battery storage energy back up for the grid is on a par with the adverts coming across the net about heating your whole house with a candle.
Some of the less educated out there will believe it is all possible.
The most prosperous nation in Europe in GNP terms is Norway. Norway is the greenest of all European nations. It is the most giving of social support and enjoys a massive $1 trillion oil revenue saving account. With only about five million people that is a good cushion against hard times.
The Norwegians are fully funded ‘green’, thanks to its vast sales and ever growing fossil fuel industry.
There is a lesson there somewhere….

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Rod Evans
December 4, 2022 10:14 am

The Norwegians are also installing floating wind turbines to provide electricity to their offshore oil and gas platforms. Got to keep the fossil fuels flowing!

Michael in Dublin
December 4, 2022 3:11 am

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The picture of the Queensland battery storage facility to provide 0.15 of one GWh puts things into perspective. Germany would need between 167,000 and 373,000 of these to provide for their needs. Are our politicians dense or deceitful in refusing to see this?

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael in Dublin
Disputin
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 4, 2022 4:44 am

Yes

c1ue
December 4, 2022 3:14 am

Backup in the form of storage, for reliable grid operation, is absolutely the biggest cost of going full solar PV and wind.
However, curtailment is also a significant cost. For the UK: the average over the past 3 years is over 3.25 million megawatt hours a year at prices ranging from 58 to 74 GBP per MWh (via link https://www.ref.org.uk/constraints/indextotals.php)
This is a 200 million plus GBP average annual additional cost to electricity consumers.
This is an enormous absolute amount of electricity being paid for, but literally being wasted even if it is roughly “only” 4.5% of overall wind electricity generation.
Looking at the historical data – the amount is also increasing. It seems certain that the percentage of curtailment (hence curtailment cost) will increase as solar PV and wind generation increase as part of overall generation capacity unless storage really becomes cheap and large scale.
Note that even with cheap/large scale storage – there would need to be enormously more solar PV and wind electricity generation to charge batteries as this 4.5% present curtailment excess would probably not be sufficient, plus the transmission capacity to accommodate. The Moss Landing battery storage facility in California, just south of SF, had problems recharging, after significant discharge, because incoming transmission excess capacity was simply not large enough!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  c1ue
December 4, 2022 7:20 pm

Curtailment is only going to increase very sharply from now on. The reason is that we have reached the point at which renewables generation on “good” days starts to exceed the lower levels of demand. Further capacity additions will increase those surpluses, and also increase the number of hours where surpluses occur – and those surpluses will in turn grow with more capacity. Eventually the marginal curtailment reaches a very high proportion of the marginal capacity addition – which still fails to make a meaningful contribution on “bad” days. If you get to the point where 75% of marginal output is being curtailed it means that the cost of the 25% that is useful is 100/25, or 4 times the “LCOE” you first thought of. That may still be cheaper than providing longer duration storage.

davezawadi
December 4, 2022 4:03 am

I have been commenting recently in the mainstream UK press on the UK requirements for battery storage of the existing infrastructure, to cover entirely wind generation. There are various primary preconditions to meet, but the most difficult one is how to size the storage. I suggest that about 1 month of grid level storage is required, the average usage of Britain being 40GW or so. The price of storage at scale is the next, and I suggest that £100 per kWhr in 1 kg of battery is optimistic but may be achievable. There is a lot of infrastructure needed as well as plain batteries, so this may well be an underestimate. The battery will need about 140g of Lithium per kWhr (similar to most of the vehicle batteries in use).

Now the calculation, I will define it in words and then the numbers for clarity:

30 days x 24 hours x 40GW (40 million kW) = battery size

30x24x40,000,000 =2.88×10 exp10 kWhr

As 1kWhr = 1kg (defined above)

2.88x 10exp10 kg / 1000 =2.88x 10exp7 tons about 29 million tons
This will cost about £2.9 Trillion!

Then the Lithium 140/1000 x 29 million = 4.06 million tons.

This is an interesting quantity of Lithium, It is significantly larger than the total amount mined ever, and could be most of the known reserves, most of which have never been mined. Also the figure I have used of 1 kWhr per kilogram of batteries has yet to be achieved, cars achieve some fraction of this. The danger from a fire in this battery is immense even if a tiny proportion of the energy were released at once, so would have to be very widely distributed for safety, increasing costs further.

£3 Trillion is about the GDP of Britain, which is falling due to amongst other things lack of energy! The load is calculated to increase if transport becomes partially electric by a factor of 2, and electric heating throughout Britain probably by another 2.

This plan is ridiculously unaffordable by the UK, and therefore everywhere. Net zero is an impossible political LIE by 2050, and even by 2300 it is very unlikely. Whether any CO2 saving is ever made as the life of this battery system is perhaps 20 years at best. The energy to make this system at all is probably unobtainable except from nuclear or fossil fuels, and nuclear is not available until about2045, and at Grid scale much later than this.

michel
Reply to  davezawadi
December 4, 2022 9:18 am

I started out replying that surely one week’s worth of storage would do as long as you had spare capacity to recharge after drawdown. Then realized it probably would not, because the problem isn’t simply the day or week long periods of negligible wind, its also the longer periods of very low output that occur, and the problem is that you have to recharge immediately after a calm and quite rapidly before the next one comes. So maybe you can get away with less than a momth’s worth, but probably a couple of weeks worth would be needed to avoid taking the risk of a rare but total disaster if it happened.

And the problem is also not simply wind calms, its also the regular solar outages when the sun goes down.

I’d like to see an evaluation by a professional. What form the backup takes, if its hydro, gas, battery is immaterial, what would be nice would be an informed estimate of the MWh capacity on hand needed for safety. Maybe one month is too high an estimate, but it seems like it has to be weeks, plural. Or get faced with really dramatic blackouts at some point.

I think there is a clue of sorts in the current UK usage statistics, the amount of gas being used, but again would like someone working in the field to give an interpretation.

The Greens are full of amateur grid designers. Be nice to hear from those who do it for a living.

It doesnot add up