California Dreaming


By Paul Homewood

h/t Dave Ward

California’s electric grid faces years of potential blackouts and failure as state leaders continue pushing aggressive measures to transition to renewable energy sources, policy experts tell Fox News Digital.

The state’s grid, which is still mainly powered by fossil fuels, is undergoing a major shift from natural gas and coal power to renewable power like wind and solar. Simultaneously, state officials are pushing an electrification of the economy, particularly in the transportation sector through electric vehicle mandates, which is expected to increase pressure on the grid.

“California is drastically cutting our dependence on fossil fuels and cleaning our air,” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a November announcement unveiling the “world’s first detailed pathway to carbon neutrality.”

The state’s plan involves goals to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 85%, cut oil usage by 94% and deploy more solar and wind capacity over the next two decades. The aggressive plan to overhaul the state’s energy system came three months after a top California environmental agency moved forward with a rule requiring all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2035.

In 2021, the most recent year with data, wind and solar accounted for about 25% of total electricity generated in California while natural gas accounted for more than 50% of in-state electricity generation. And 19% of new car sales in California were zero-emission vehicles, state data showed.

Experts told Fox News Digital environmental mandates implemented by Newsom and his administration have already created instability in the grid, an issue they argued would only get worse as existing fossil fuel power generation capacity was taken offline and replaced by intermittent sources.

“They’re going to have to build an outrageous amount of wind and solar in a very short time if they want to accomplish their objectives of electrifying — our whole transportation sector and our whole home heating and cooling and residential sector,” Edward Ring, a senior fellow with and co-founder of the California Policy Center, told Fox News Digital in an interview.

“There’s a burden to the consumer that’s going to get very heavy,” he continued. “Even if they can pull it off without blackouts, the burden to the consumer is going to be ridiculous.” 

The full article is well worth reading here.

The scale of the transition is evident from the current energy mix in California:

According to the California Energy Commission:

“To reach the 2045 target while electrifying other sectors to meet the state’s economywide climate goals, California will need to roughly triple its current electricity grid capacity.”

My calculations suggest this is underestimated. Current grid capacity is 81 GW, including about 40 GW of renewables, including hydro. The CAC figures imply about 240 GW in total by 2045. Given that there are no plans to build new nuclear, and hydro is pretty much limited to current capacities, most of this extra capacity will have to be solar.

Wind power, by the way, is as unreliable as it is in this country, as the latest data shows. It would be suicidal for California to rely heavily on wind power:

Electricity only accounts for about 30% of total energy usage in California. But the 2045 decarbonisation targets imply that this ratio will have to rise to maybe 90%, with the electrification of cars, heating, industry and so on.

In other words, electricity generation may need to triple, which maybe is what the CAC mean. But because wind and solar power have such low utilisation rates, the capacity will have to rise much more than three times.

Below is my back of the Players Weights packet, assuming hydro, bio and geo stay the same as now, and wind power doubles. Under this scenario, solar power generation would need to rise to 540 TWh from its current level of 33 TWh:

Solar capacity would need to increase from 14 GW to 229 GW, with total grid capacity rising to 260 GW. But these figures assume that solar panel productivity is the same all year round, currently around 25%.

During winter months this is much less; on Feb 12th, for instance, utilisation fell to 18%. Allowing for system reserves and contingencies, you would probably have to plan on a figure of about 15%, which would mean you would need solar capacity of 410 GW, rather than 229 GW. Inevitably much of this would be redundant for much of the year. (The alternative would be to provide battery storage for seasonal peaks in demand and troughs in generation, but I suspect this would be prohibitively expensive).

You may also have to add more capacity to cope with demand during heatwaves, which can add 30 GW to average usage.

Two other things to consider:

  • California gets about a third of its power from other states, 84 TWh in 2021. At least half of this is fossil fuel/nuclear/hydro, which will either not be available in twenty years time, or in the case of hydro cannot be increased. Given the likely shortage of power in other states, it would extremely foolish to rely on these imports going forward.
  • Gavin Newsom is also relying heavily on energy efficiency, but any savings are likely to be offset by increased demand. Having said that, he is doing such a good job of running the state that Californians are migrating in droves to states like Texas, Tennessee and Florida, along with chunks of the industrial base, so that should help!

Which brings us to the $64 billion (or is it trillion?) question – storage.

I have assumed for this exercise that storage is only needed for 24 hour cycles, and that seasonal peaks are covered by installing extra generation capacity.

Battery storage needs would need to be planned around winter, when generation is at its lowest. My calculations suggest that storage would need to be about 70% of daily consumption in mid-winter. Based on 540 TWh a year, and allowing for extra demand for heating in winter. daily consumption of solar power would be about 1.6 TWh, giving a storage of 1.12 TWh. (Current battery storage by comparison is 4316 MWh – in other words California would need more than a million times as much storage as it has now!).

But as the CAC conveniently point out, battery capacity quickly declines:

There would probably need to be a constant, rolling 10-year replacement programme for batteries. Over that life span, average capacity may be no more than 50% in effective terms, given that you cannot run batteries dry. So that 1.12 TWh needs to be doubled to 2.24 TWh. (The idea, by the way, that you would want to run your grid on second hand car batteries shows just how ramshackle this whole programme is! It would be self defeating, in any case, because those car batteries would soon be useless).

Currently battery prices are around $200/KWh. Laughingly the CAC expect these to fall by two thirds, on the back of rising demand for EVs. The dolts have not worked out that increased demand will send prices of the raw materials needed much higher!

So, working with the current $200, that 2.24 TWh would cost $448 billion. With a ten year life, that’s $44.8 billion every year. And that is only the cost of the battery; there vis also the cost of infrastructure, switchgear, transmission networks and labour to consider. I doubt you would get much change out of $100 billion. And this is every year hereafter.

It is usually claimed that renewable energy reduces dependence on petro-state dictators. It is always a silly argument, because you can buy fossil fuels from around the world, and the US could be self sufficient if it wanted to.

But this suicidal lurch to solar power brings with it a much greater geopolitical risk. A grid that is wholly dependent on batteries would put California at the mercy of China’s monopoly of batteries and the raw materials that go into them.

And once California has gone down that path, there would be no way back.

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February 18, 2023 2:12 pm

California is losing its’ population faster than forced immigration can replace it because of edicts like this. Nice weather only works for so long. Crime, substance abuse, cost of living, one party Socialist government, and WOKE mentality are winning.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 19, 2023 5:11 am

Same for Wokachusetts. The population isn’t shrinking but it has grown in several decades. Most young people with an education and talent leave and they are replaced by 3rd world immigrants. I have nothing against those immigrants but if the talented/educated young leave- that indicates a serious problem.

Bryan A
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 19, 2023 9:48 pm

All the trees are gone (all the trees are gone)
birds and bats are dead (birds and bats are dead)
Wind turbines were installed
and took them all away (took them all away)
I’d be safe and warm (I’d be safe and warm)
If I weren’t in L.A. (if I weren’t in L.A.)
Our power just went out (California dreamin)
On such a windy day

Stopped into a church
I passed along the way
Well, I did my Ten Re-Greta’s (did my Ten Re-Greta’s)
And my Hail Mikey’s (and my Hail Mikey’s)
And although we don’t like the cold (we don’t like the cold)
The heat must go away (heat must go away)

Our power just went out (California dreamin’)
On such a windy day

Richard Greene
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
February 19, 2023 11:24 am

CA is so bad my leftist relatives moved from CA to other states.

Reply to  Richard Greene
February 20, 2023 5:32 pm

Too many of them moved to Nevada and Arizona and are voting for the same disastrous policies. Unbelievable how stupid a socialist can be.

Tom Halla
February 18, 2023 2:15 pm

Only one day of storage would be inadequate, as windless days can run for several days, as can overcast or clouds for solar.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 18, 2023 2:25 pm

CAISO daily solar output last year from EIA: storms can depress the output for several days. Winter shows much less than the summer peaks.

CAISO Solar.png
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 19, 2023 5:35 am

The down spikes are due to variable cloudiness.

This graph is misleading, because most of the sunshine and PV systems are in Southern California, almost nothing in Northern California, due to minimal sunshine

Also the graph is cut off on both ends

It doesnot add up
Reply to  wilpost
February 19, 2023 6:58 am

The graph covers an entire year. Click on it for an enlarged version. Given Californian intertie dependence on hydro from Wa. and other distant power sources I guess making solar from the South available to the North involves less transmission.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 19, 2023 9:35 am

You are right it is covering one year.

California has taken away some subsidies for rooftop and other such solar, because, in the south, midday production is very expensive to absorb with batteries, and release it, minus 20% losses, during the late-afternoon/early-evening peak hour period, when solar has gone to bed until the next day around 8 or 9 AM

The reliability of solar is its DISAPPEARANCE


Richard Greene
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 19, 2023 11:37 am

Misleading chart
Electricity demand must match supply every second of the day
A chart must show at least hourly output,
Daily output on the chart is deceptive.

Typically maximum solar output from 10am to 4pm, less clouds
A little output for three hours before and after the six important hours. No output 12 hours a day. That adds up to not much electricity when it is most needed to match Duck Curve demand.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 19, 2023 12:18 pm

Not misleading. The point is that while of course there is a need to cover the hours of darkness and reduced solar output around dawn and dusk, that is a given for a solar solution, and since it will be used daily the economics are more likely to be robust. Please seen my evaluation of battery storage economics elsewhere in the thread.

However, the real problem comes when you need additional storage to cover much less frequent periods of several days of reduced output, such as early September in the chart, or the seasonal variation in output which entail having large volumes of storage that turns over only once a year for seasonal, or very few times a year for the periods of cloudiness.

Please see

where I explained that the daily storage need is a mere ripple on the storage needs for those other purposes.

Richard Greene
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 20, 2023 2:01 am

There can be significantly reduced solar energy output during a mid-day storm with heavy cloud cover that could last just an hour or two. The daily average obscures that hourly variation.

And if the solar panels are covered with snow (not important in CA), where is the solar energy output?

Battery storage is unaffordable and daily use will shorten the battery lifespan so you could need new batteries every ten to fifteen years. The first solar farm is overbuild. The first windmill is overbuild too.

The goal of an electric grid is a 99% reliable power supply and the ability to meet peak demands every day at a reasonable cost for consumers. That rules out weather dependent sources of power. that require 100% hydrocarbon-fueled back (redundant) or very expensive batteries (unaffordable).

The backup power sources have to cover the worst possible weather conditions for wind and solar power in the past 50 years, plus some engineering margin of safety to include possibly worse weather conditions in the next 50 years. Prepare for the worst weather conditions for wind and solar, and hope they never happen during peak electricity demand hours.

Solar panels belong on tanning salons.
Windmills belong in museums.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 19, 2023 11:31 am

CA has the “solution: for Nut Zero electricity supply shortages.
25% of electricity needs must be supplied by other states, on demand
This solution will be replicated in all 50 states
Everyone will borrow up to 25% of electricity demand from other states.
How can this possibly work, you ask?
Don’t ask, you climate denier.
Scientists say it will work, and they are never wrong.

I’m betting on TX for the first big blackouts not caused by extremely cold weather (which is a chronic problem for the Texas grid, since the 1980s, and caused blackouts in 2011 and 2021). The Texas grid has only a few, low capacity, interconnectors, so can not be rescued by other grids. CA has the option of buying electricity, at least for now.

Rud Istvan
February 18, 2023 2:17 pm

No matter the assumptions, California cannot get to its 2035 now legislated commitments from here. The stupidity is manifest:

  1. The CPUC defined grid storage requirements in MW, NOT the correct MWh. This was to appease a bunch of Cali VC supported storage startups, who could promise MW but Not MWh. They have all failed on cyclelife and cost issues even given the MW punt. See my old essay California Dreaming in ebook Blowing Smoke for footnoted details.
  2. There is no scalable grid storage, period.
  3. There is no possibility of 100% EV ( even just cars, forget heavy trucks). The required minerals (lithium, cobalt) make that impossible, let alone in the time frame.

I note that California legalized weed. They must be smoking a lot—THC induced hopium in their legislature.

On an off subject side note, the Cali legislature also just introduced a bill preventing police canines from attacking fleeing perps. The reason is that allowing K-9s to do their trained job would be racist—since most Cali perps are not Caucasian. You cannot make such absurd stuff up.

Walter Sobchak
February 18, 2023 2:23 pm

Unintended consequences? We should ask Hunter Biden about that.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 18, 2023 2:49 pm

Hunter Biden is an intended consequence. Raised by Joe and Dr. Jill. Taught from an early age 10% for the Big Guy from all Hunter’s graft.

Perhaps there was a residual underlying shred of Hunter decency that led to his contemporaneous crack cocaine abuse ‘solution’.
Or perhaps it was just the inherent Biden lineage. You know, Blue collar Joe the lifeguard/truck driver/professor fantasy expressed differently in the next Biden generation. Hunter, the Ukrainian natural gas expert…and now world renowned painter.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 18, 2023 5:16 pm

Rud, your comment on a portion of Hunter’s graft always going to The Big Guy is spot on. According to the NY Post, one of Hunter’s communications with his daughter said: “I hope you all can do what I did and pay for everything for this entire family for 30 years,” Hunter Biden groused to daughter Naomi in January 2019. “It’s really hard. But don’t worry, unlike pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary.”

The NY Post went on to say “In May 2018 during a drug and alcohol binge in Los Angeles, Hunter Biden accidentally transferred around $25,000 to an escort named “Gulnora.” He was immediately visited by the Secret Service — suggesting that the money came from a joint account with his father.
Hunter received a series of text messages from a former agent who repeatedly urged him to come out of his hotel room and reminded him “this is linked to Celtic’s account.” “Celtic” was Joe Biden’s Secret Service code name when he was vice president.”

Everybody should go read what news outlets were reporting about the Biden family corruption. 10% Joe was deeply involved in all the influence peddling schemes of Hunter and Brandon’s brother and sister. This was all hidden by FBI and MSM election interference at the time.

Krishna Gans
February 18, 2023 2:43 pm

California Dreamin’

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 18, 2023 3:57 pm

One of my favorite songs from the 1960s. It is tragic that California today is turning into a nightmare rather than a nice dream.

Dave Fair
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
February 18, 2023 5:24 pm

Maybe CA will choke to death on this like Hollywood legend said Mama Cass did with a ham sandwich. [Yes, yes … I know the official cause of her death at 33 was heart failure.]

Krishna Gans
February 18, 2023 2:48 pm

California isn’t alone, it’s a mass psychosis

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
February 18, 2023 3:02 pm

If the batteries for grid scale storage were free it would still be too expensive because the site prep, labor, enclosures, switchgear, overcurrent protection, fire suppression and much more costs $200,000/MWH, for 100 hours of storage: $20,000,000.
A typical world scale power plant is 1,000 MW. Storage (if batteries were free) = $20,000,000,000. ($20 billion, batteries not included). Currently with batteries, > $35 billion, not that it matters it will never happen. Economically prohibitive.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
February 19, 2023 1:25 pm

Update California only         
Data on the internet suggests one (1) month of storage for renewables:
300 TW/12 months = 25TWh required storage (278 TWH in 2021, rounded to 300 for BEV additions)
25 TWH at $500 kwh: 12,500 kWh, 12,500,000 MWH, $12,500,000,000 ($12.5 billion GWH):
 $12.5 trillion for 25 TWH (Confirms “economically prohibitive”).

February 18, 2023 3:08 pm

Someone check my mental arithmetic, but calculating this two ways and accepting the author’s assumptions (which are likely conservative), California would have to blanket over 25,000 square miles with solar panels, not counting associated infrastructure, buffer zones, and unusable adjacent land. Probably closer to 50,000 square miles (>10% of the state).of sacrifice zones scattered across California. Given that much of the state is off limits to solar or unsuitable (e.g., the Sierras), some areas will be vast, seemingly endless miles of solar farms, all needing to be replaced on regular maintenance intervals.

Reply to  pflashgordon
February 18, 2023 3:11 pm

Alternatively, they could simply build a few, energy-dense nuclear plants close to where people reside. Not many years away, we will be building cookie-cutter package nukes like we are currently able to build combined-cycle gas turbine plants.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  pflashgordon
February 18, 2023 10:51 pm

Per your arithmetic check request
Based on SoCal based Topaz Solar Farm:
1900 hectares (19 sq km) 4,700 acres, (7.43 sq miles)
 1.3 TWH annual production 1.3/7.43=0.175 TWH/square mile
25,000 sq mi x 0.175 = 4375 TWH.
2500 sq mi=437.5 TWH (that would be enough)
stated another way, 300 Topaz solar farms at 1.3TW each = 390TWH
Construction cost: $2.4 billion x 300 = $720 billion (Never happen, economically prohibitive).

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  pflashgordon
February 19, 2023 5:15 am

They’ll have to start clearcutting the remaining redwood forests. No doubt the greens will say “sacrifices must be had”.

February 18, 2023 3:33 pm

But this suicidal lurch to solar power brings with it a much greater geopolitical risk. A grid that is wholly dependent on batteries would put California at the mercy of China’s monopoly of batteries and the raw materials that go into them.

assumes yestrday’s batteries

try keeping up with latest innovation.

now ask yourself why china dominates EV batteries?

because US engineers thought EVs will never happen dont bother working on it.

chinese saw thw future and positioned to dominate.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 4:38 pm

China continues to invest heavily in new coal fired power plants.

Ron Long
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 5:30 pm

China dominates in several catagories due to anti-capitalist laws and regulations in the USA. For instance, the rare earth minerals mined from Mountain Pass, in Kalifornia between LA and Las Vegas, are shipped to China for refining and manufacturing. How about slave labor?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 5:38 pm

Yep, Mr. Mosher, piles of heated sand will power industrial societies. What a BBC propaganda piece: Heating a swimming pool and extrapolating that to powering the world. This seems to be your current level of reasoning. Have you bothered to read Vaclav Smil’s “How the World Really Works?”

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 5:39 pm

Typical uninformative, lying piece from the BBC. The heat can be stored “without loss” – nonsense. No engineering figures at all.

Bet it’s funded by the EU though. Solar in Finland is bound to be expensive because of low capacity factors – you can only expect around 8-9% over a year.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 6:04 pm

I never quite figured out whether Mosh was a quite bright & intelligent sort of guy or a gullible and dim sort of person.

But then he posts that, where some really slow & dim people have realised that hot substances contain energy, and claim that it is some sort of ‘Innovation’ – I now do know.

Question: What did the 2nd Law and Carnot do to deserve this insane mistreatment – what is it about the 2nd Law that nobody can grasp.
As the warm-blooded critters we are, it controls every aspect of our minute-by-minute daily lives and existence – yet nobody gets it.
How is it possible to be so removed from the real world?

Not very least the folks who should understand it but don’t, while claiming they do = folks like NASA and all Climate Scientists

The Dark Ages first time round could never have been this bad – as they and Mosh gush about using electricity from windmills to heat up sand. Madness.

We really are headed full-tilt into a Stone Age

Richard Greene
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 19, 2023 11:44 am

“I never quite figured out whether Mosh was a quite bright & intelligent sort of guy or a gullible and dim sort of person.”


It doesnot add up
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 6:55 pm

the actual use case of the heat storage in Kankaanpää is to charge it in about 2-week cycles. The heat storage has its best range of use when it is charged and discharged 20 to 200 times per year, depending on the application.

Can it store electricity?
Not as such, as it stores energy in the form of heat. The heat can be converted back to electricity using turbines like the ORC-turbine or a steam turbine. This requires additional investments to the turbine technology, and the conversion to electricity has inherent losses, thus complicating the economical side.

At the moment we can offer a heat storage system with 2 MW heating power with a capacity of 300 MWh or 10 MW heating power with a capacity of 1000 MWh.

We designed and build our first commercial sand-based heat storage to Vatajankoski, an energy utility based in Western Finland. It will provide heat for Vatajankoski’s district heating network in Kankaanpää, Finland. The storage has 100 kW heating power and 8 MWh capacity. The full-scale utilization of the storage will begin during the year 2022.
We also have a 3 MWh running test pilot in Hiedanranta, Tampere. It is connected to a local district heating grid and it provides heat for a couple of buildings. The pilot enables testing, validation and optimization of the heat storage solution. In the pilot, the energy is partly from a 100 square meter solar panel array and partly from the electric grid.

So the big building in the BBC report holds just 8MWh and supplies 100kW.

The initiative has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements no. 646039 and no. 755970.

What a surprise!

Short answer – it’s uneconomic as a way to store electricity. It provides low grade heat for warming buildings. Efficiency unstated.

Rick C
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 18, 2023 8:02 pm

Maybe, but even China will not be able to produce the vast increase in copper production that will be required to meet the demand for both EVs and wind turbines that all these global net zero fantasies would require. Even if the price of copper goes to dollars per ounce rather than per pound, there are not nearly enough mines to ramp up production. Then there’s the problem of even getting a new mine permitted in less than 10-20 years.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 19, 2023 9:55 am

Without government subsidies and mandates, EV’s would never happen.
Every time government subsidies are cut, EV sales plummet.

Reply to  MarkW
February 19, 2023 11:48 am

Without government subsidies and mandates, EV’s would never happen.”
And how would fossil fuels have gone without all their tax breaks and subsidies MIUMark? Hypocrite much.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Simon
February 19, 2023 12:20 pm

They’d be doing fabulously if they weren’t taxed so highly.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Simon
February 19, 2023 5:04 pm


In 2011 three oil giants paid more income tax than any other American corporation. ExxonMobil paid $27.3 billion in income tax, Chevron paid $17 billion, and ConocoPhillips paid $10.6 billion.
These huge sums gave the companies equally huge effective tax rates. ExxonMobil’s tax rate was 42.9%, Chevron’s was 48.3%, and ConocoPhillips’ was 41.5%. These figures are higher than the US federal statutory rate of 35%, which is the highest tax rate in the developed world.
Income tax does not even represent half of the total taxes paid. Last year Exxon also recorded more than $70 billion in sales taxes and other duties.
Sure, it is unlikely that the public will throw their support behind big oil; in fact a recent survey found that only 9% of respondents thought corporations paid too much in taxes, while 67% thought they paid too little.

Reply to  MarkW
February 19, 2023 11:55 am

Looks like mosh has taken up where griff left off…

Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 19, 2023 11:19 am


Richard Greene
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 19, 2023 11:42 am

Coal energy contributes to cheaper electric power in China
Labor costs are much lower in China
Environmental regulations are lax in China
That’s why China dominates.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 19, 2023 5:10 pm
1.  China’s new coal-fired power plants are cleaner than anything operating in the United States.
2.  China’s emissions standards for conventional air pollutants from coal-fired power plants are stricter than the comparable U.S. standards.
3.  Ultra-supercritical: These plants use additional technology innovation. In China, the oldest plant on the top 100 list was commissioned in 2006…
4.  China is retiring its older plants and replacing them with ultra-supercritical facilities that produce more energy with less coal and generate less emissions as well. Out of China’s top 100 units, 90 are ultra-supercritical plants.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
February 20, 2023 2:15 am

Meanwhile, air quality is awful over Chinese cities, and they can’t build new coal power plants fast enough. The smog problem will remain from people burning soft cial and wood for heat, automobiles and the steel industry.

The new coal power plants, when considering lifetime costs, are cheaper than solar and wind energy requiring 100% fossil fueled backup, And you can’t manufacture anything with unreliable electricity.

China Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Pollution information | IQAir

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 19, 2023 12:18 pm

U,S. engineers correctly thought BEV’s will never happen (beyond 25% of vehicle market, the top 25% income targeted demographic)

Gunga Din
Reply to  Steven Mosher
February 19, 2023 1:43 pm

try keeping up with latest innovation.”

Here’s a better idea (that’s actually sane), don’t jump out the plane and dream about having antigravity boots that don’t exist.

PS If China had grid-scale batteries, which the dreamers think exist, why is China building more and more and more coal fired power plants?

February 18, 2023 3:49 pm

How can politicians be so DUMB?
To electrify a countries vehicle’s fleet will require at least a 90% increase in electricity generation .
With a very small amount of brain power these politicians should be able to see that the only solution is nuclear power .
What is the causing this road block in these peoples reasoning ?
They seem to be blind to the consequences of their actions .
Are they trying to turn California into a backward poverty stricken African country where the power supply is very intermittent between blackouts ?
Why is nuclear such a dirty word when nuclear powered submarines sailed under the Arctic icecap?

Reply to  Graham
February 19, 2023 8:08 am

The people pushing obscenely expensive, unworkable crap like this aren’t blind. The suicidal part is by design. They aren’t doing this because they really think it’s an alternative way to run a modern civilization, but because they know damned well that it *can’t* run a modern civilization.

February 18, 2023 3:52 pm

When it comes to energy efficiency, all of the big gains have already been realized.
The belief that there are huge efficiency gains still out there is as delusional as the belief that we can power a modern society with wind and solar.

Reply to  MarkW
February 19, 2023 11:49 am

When it comes to energy efficiency, all of the big gains have already been realized.”
Keep dragging those knuckles MIUMark.

Reply to  Simon
February 19, 2023 11:54 am


Reply to  karlomonte
February 19, 2023 4:51 pm

Clever Monte agrees with MIUMark that all the big gains have been made with regard to energy efficiency. Must have gone to the same Neanderthal college. I say they are both wrong…..

B Zipperer
Reply to  Simon
February 19, 2023 8:38 pm

Read any book by Vaclav Smil to better understand energy issues. He is
Bill Gates’ favorite author on energy and is not a climate skeptic. But he is very realistic about the largest, most complex machine ever built: our electric grid, and the myriad of inputs to keep it running.
Here is his latest article on tech innovation [from this weekend’s WSJ]:

It doesnot add up
February 18, 2023 4:07 pm

I’ve been taking a look at battery economics. For a start, battery costs have been rising. Tesla now wants around $500/kWh or $0.5m/MWh for Megapack grid scale batteries in volume. Add site, installation (including any additional fancy power electronics to provide ancillary services such as reactive power, short circuit level enhancement, etc., and not forgetting transformers to grid voltage), permitting and other costs.

Ancillary services have long been a profitable niche for batteries – FCAS has provided much of the profit for the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, and there were heady days for UK grid batteries able to earn £17/MW/hr of availability – about £150/kWh/year for a 1 hour duration battery – providing Dynamic Containment frequency response, which involves charging or discharging when grid frequency deviates by more than 0.2Hz, with the power required scaling up pro rata to 100% of capacity at deviations of 0.5Hz or more – barely scratching the use of the batteries. However, more capacity coming on stream and a limited market size means that the market has become competitive, so there is no guarantee of even winning a daily tender, and prices have fallen sharply, particularly on windless days when the need for battery support is minimal. Even today, which has seen plenty of wind generation saw the price at just £2.23/MW/hr for 728MW of availability. If you are not part of the 728MW awarded a contract you get zero, so the previously handsome return is now perhaps no more than £10/kWh per year, which won’t make a huge dent in the cost of the batteries – you’d need over 40 years to pay them off.

High price volatility has produced bigger price arbitrage opportunities than in the past. I looked at hourly day ahead pricing in the UK, and ran simple optimisations of charging using linear programming. It turns out that in the present environment (e.g.. 1-15 December 2022) the optimal duration is around 2 hours to maximise the return per MWh of battery (I looked at sizes from 30 mins to 48 hours). That allows charging up cheaply overnight for higher prices during the morning rush, and again during the day the evening rush, with flexibility to take advantage of occasional additional opportunities. Increasing duration beyond that shows rapidly diminishing returns. Periods of peak demand and price would have to be longer to justify increasing capacity.

Even with the high volatility of recent markets the earnings are surprisingly unspectacular: Around £50/kWh per year with some other ancillary revenue added in may look comfortable, but it is frighteningly dependent on the unusually volatile market. Go back say to 1st half 2020 when wind surpluses were large enough to generate negative prices overnight, and the earnings drop catastrophically, because the peak prices are no longer in the several hundred £/MWh range. We’re down to an annual £10/kWh, and the optimal duration falls to just 1 hour. That’s not enough to pay for a $500/kWh battery that will die in 15 years at the very most.

More gigantic subsidies needed. The market will have to pay for storage if it is constrained into needing it, and it will be very costly.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 18, 2023 7:05 pm

Two hour battery optimisation

2 hour battery.png
It doesnot add up
Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 18, 2023 7:06 pm

Six hour battery optimisation

6 hour battery.png
February 18, 2023 4:10 pm

Evidence Tesla buyers are predominantly well off car buyers-
Which used car brands do borrowers stretch the most to buy? (
But even if they can afford rising weather dependant power prices that’s not much help with regular Greenouts in future.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  observa
February 18, 2023 8:04 pm

There’s another thing I’ve noticed about Teslas and their owners. I have never, and I mean never, ever seen one parked in a Walmart parking lot. And I do make a point to look….also seldom ever see them at lower end grocery stores.

Larry Hamlin
February 18, 2023 4:43 pm

The colossal stupidity of California energy and climate ignorant Democrat politicians and media is boundless. In 2021 wind and solar provided a pathetic 8% of Californias total energy use with 70 % of the states energy provided by fossil fuels while the state energy costs climb relentlessly upward according to CEC data. The average capacity factor of the states solar and wind resources in year 2021 was miserable with an outcome just under 24%. Yet the state’s Democrat politicians and media have no clue as to how ludicrous their totally absurd goals are for the state regarding use of increased mandated requirements for more costly unreliable renewables in the future. These idiots are absolutely useless.

Dave Fair
February 18, 2023 4:50 pm

And once California has gone down that path, there would be no way back.”

If CA comes even part way toward its ultimate schemes there will be massive pushback from regular people, and that’s not even counting the coming rioting in the inner cities. The CA, Federal and MSM propaganda organs cannot hide the coming massive reduction in peoples’ standards of living nor the lack of basic necessities in the inner cities. Hell, currently they can’t even hide Brandon’s cognitive decline.

I hope the rest of the U.S. learns from the CA crash test dummy. But, who knows; the Ron White dictum is still operable.

February 18, 2023 5:19 pm

1) Battery pack pricing for EVs has increased from $200/kWh in 2018 to about $250/kWh in 2022, and are not scheduled to decrease due to various inflation and cost of money factors, and supply chain disruptions. They last at most 8 years.

That means, the graph shown in the article is significantly incorrect/optimistic

2) Utility-scale battery systems, are designed to a much higher standard.

Systems with a capacity of, say 500 MWh, are about $550/kWh, based on 2022 pricing, all-in turnkey cost. They last about 15 years

If California were to rely on batteries, even the likes of Pelosi and Newsom could not afford to live there.

Reply to  wilpost
February 19, 2023 5:49 am


Pricing means end user pricing, which:

In case of EVs, it is the installed cost in an EV, i.e., not just the battery pack itself
If a driver replaces a battery pack, the replacement cost pricing is higher

In case of large systems, it is the utility putting the turnkey system in service.

It is always important to compare all encompassing pricing, apples to apples
Many journalist have no idea what that means.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  wilpost
February 19, 2023 12:34 pm

Yes, wilpost, not everyone can afford $1.00kWh, much less $2.00kWh at even a modest 100 hours of battery storage.

February 18, 2023 6:18 pm

Hydro has it’s drawbacks also. In times of prolonged drought, water level drops and water pressure decreases to the turbines. Therefore out put drops. I understand Hoover dam in Nevada is experiencing just such a drop. Does Ca. have any high head dams?? Most are for water storage to supply cities downstream. How much electrical energy is produced?

Reply to  barryjo
February 18, 2023 7:50 pm

Snowy Mt scheme in Australia recently had to lower its production of Hydro power because of too much water

Blowering Dam (receiving reservoir) was already overflowing due to rainfall, so they couldn’t release water through the hydro system because it would have caused even more downstream flooding.

Reply to  bnice2000
February 19, 2023 10:17 am

That would not happen very often.
We have 8 hydro dams on the Waikato river in New Zealand and also control gates out of lake Taupo.
This is working very well as these hydro dams plus the control gates can be controlled remotely.
In times of excess rain, water can be held back at Taupo then the same water is used to generate power 8 times on its journey to the Tasman sea .
It is now impossible to build any more hydro or irrigation dams in New Zealand because of the Greens opposition which makes as much sense as them opposing nuclear power .
Can any one here tell us why the green movement are so opposed to hydro and nuclear but love wind turbines and solar panels ?

Chris Nisbet
February 18, 2023 9:27 pm

I can’t help thinking that the more likely outcome will be that California will only supply power for a few hours a day.
I can imagine that they’ll make it a crime to run air conditioning, charge your EV etc., and restrict other ‘non-essential’ activities.
This sort of action actually seems achievable, whereas what is being described in this article simply cannot happen.
Will Newsom be held accountable for the destruction? I’m not holding my breath.

Joseph Zorzin
February 19, 2023 5:09 am

“California gets about a third of its power from other states”

Those states should immiately cut off CA to help it achieve its nut-zero goals.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 19, 2023 10:23 am

Other States will cut the power supply when they start running short of power and the sooner the better to wake up those dumb politicians.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
February 19, 2023 11:36 am

That already happens during western heat waves. California has no power to regulate other states energy policies. They are just another customer.

Thats why Newsom has delayed the losing of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power. It was all set to close this year, but provides 10% of California’s power and also runs the water pumps at Tehachapi which delivers ALL northern California water to southern California and also powers Helm Creek storage.

Greens, the Sierra Club and Jane Fonda are all in the streets protesting his nuclear decision. NOT.

February 19, 2023 5:11 am

A good description of the possible capacity magnitudes. But, what does it take for the best electrical grid? Missing are the actual momentary adaptation requirements for a stable, full time grid. One that provides the historically expected reliable and stable service. One that includes ready reserves for failures and severe weather.

There seems to be a timing, stability element that needs described. What is different between what is needed for historic, dependable grids and “green” adaptive grids?

It would be helpful to explain what exactly has to happen on the grid when solar/wind generation goes up and down in short time frames! It would seem that the voltage, current, power factor has to change instantly (cycles?) when any generation (or load) is added or lost.What equipment additions are necessary to preserve instant frequency, voltage, power factor (cycles, seconds, minutes) that compensate for rapidly changing generation amounts?

A time related graphic of traditional grids, with various sensing and control elements vs a new “green” grid with the same stability and reliability requirements would be helpful.

February 19, 2023 9:15 am

Dear Germany and citizens of, any advice!? 😐

The Real Engineer
February 19, 2023 9:56 am

You are assuming a 10 year life with close to 100% cycling every day. That is 3650 cycles. No secondary battery lasts anything like this cycle life, even NiFe cells. It’s not going to work, or be remotely affordable. The reason is simple, there is no method known to make the cycle cause zero physical change to the battery electrode structure.

February 19, 2023 11:12 am

“the CAC expect these to fall by two thirds, on the back of rising demand for EVs” Correct me if I’m wrong here but my understanding is that increased demand leads to increased prices given the reduced supply of raw materials for batteries.

Richard Greene
February 19, 2023 11:23 am

I find better articles about the US in the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia than I do in the US mainstream media. I consider Paul Homewood to be the best UK climate and energy reporter and look forward to his new articles every day. He is a retired accountant who can not be BS’d by climate nonsense. He also has a good Friday column in the UK Conservative Woman website:


The climate scaremongers: Hurricane update – The Conservative Woman

February 19, 2023 12:11 pm

Here is a story about a VRFB built or being built in China. It has a 500 MW-HR vanadium redox flow battery paired with 1GW of solar and wind generation capacity for a cost of $1.44 billion. A 500 MW-HR battery could deliver power for 24 hours at the rate of 21 MW. Thus, the capital cost is approx $68,500/KW versus less than $1000/KW for a natural gas plant capable of delivering that much power. I can scarcely believe I’ve done the math right. So even though you may have a GW of generation nameplate capacity, it can only be guaranteed to meet continuous demand of 21 GW, and that’s just for 1 day. Is that right?
First phase of 800MWh world biggest flow battery commissioned in China – Energy Storage News (

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Tom.1
February 19, 2023 3:12 pm

I think you forgot to subtract the cost of the wind and solar.

The first phase of Rongke Power’s Dalian project meanwhile was given as RMB1.9 billion (US$298 million) in CNESA’s announcement, equivalent to RMB4.75/Wh (US$0.7/Wh).

$700/kWh sounds the right order of magnitude. More expensive than lithium. There’s a vanadium battery installed at the O2 Orbital tidal turbine project in Orkney. Its role is to smooth out the very variable flickery output from the turbines, and it is probably better able to withstand that than a lithium battery would. The output mainly goes to feed an electorlyser, and the battery acts as a giant smoother of the output to give a more constant input. Tides have slack water, and don’t flow at peak rates for all that long, and strength of flow depends on the phase of the moon. The battery is far too small to do anything about the lunar monthly cycle.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
February 19, 2023 7:45 pm

I didn’t mean to. It’s package, which on a given day can supply 21 MW for 24 hours straight, and I compared it to a gas turbine installation, which would do the same thing. Maybe that’s not the right calculation, but then what is?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Tom.1
February 21, 2023 4:52 am

You have to guess what the wind and solar might produce. No real info, but a starting point might be 200MW on average.

Gunga Din
February 19, 2023 1:50 pm

California Minnesota and other states that have “gone green” are vampires leaching off neighboring states for their power and sometimes even the water that comes out of their taps to stave off the reality that “California Dreamin'” stuff will result in a nightmare.

Edward Katz
February 19, 2023 2:10 pm

Canada, with about same population as California, is also proposing these harebrained clean energy plans; but its government can’t comprehend that it hasn’t got anywhere near the resolve or resources to implement them. In addition, Canadians don’t particularly care, especially if these ideas will mean higher taxes, prices and more laws and restrictions. The Canadian government wants something like 25% of new car sales to be electric by 2030 or sooner and gas/diesel vehicle sales to be banned by 2035. Yet studies are showing that the country’s electrical generating capacity would have to essentially triple to meet the estimated energy demand by 2050, and that number may not include what large EV fleets would require. Meanwhile the country is currently 1.7 million EV charging stations short of what’s required to service the expected or hoped-for growing fleet of these vehicles. It’s a good thing these things aren’t selling well because they’re overpriced, and people refuse to be convinced they’re the way to go.

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