A Simple Reason Why Net Zero Is Impossible


By David Wojick

I have a new study out, titled “Constraining Renewables is a National Need”, that provides a simple reason why net zero is impossible. It is simply impossible to provide enough energy storage to make renewables reliable.

The headlong rush to replace thermal power generation with renewables must therefore be constrained. Congress, FERC and NERC must act to prevent disaster

The full study is here: http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/WOJICKREPORT.pdf

Here is my Executive Summary:

Renewables cannot be made reliable with storage so their penetration must be constrained and managed. The North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) must develop Reliability Standards to ensure that the reckless growth of renewables does not destabilize the grid.

Grid scale storage at the scale needed to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar is impossibly expensive. Even assuming fantastic price reductions, analysis shows the cost of the required battery storage still nearly equals the $23 trillion annual American GDP. The likely cost would be many times GDP. Clearly this is economically impossible. Despite this impossibility, present government policies and utility practices are driving toward massive grid penetration by renewables. This reckless drive must be properly constrained and managed, in order to protect reliability. American grid reliability must be maintained.

National grid reliability is the responsibility of NERC, under the direction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). NERC develops and maintains Reliability Standards, which are approved by FERC. In order to constrain the reckless growth of renewables, NERC must now develop Standards that govern their penetration of the grid.

We now know that the battery storage for the entire American grid is impossibly expensive, thanks to a breakthru study by engineer Ken Gregory. Looking at several recent years he analyzed, on an hour by hour basis, the electricity produced with fossil fuels. He then calculated what it would have taken in the way of storage to produce the same energy using wind and solar power. He did this by scaling up those years actual wind and solar production.

Based on his work, which only covered 48 states, our working estimate of the required storage is an amazing 250 million MWh. America today has less than 20 thousand MWh of grid scale battery storage, which is next to nothing. Grid scale batteries today cost around $700,000 a MWh. For 250 million MWh we get an astronomical total cost of $175 trillion dollars just to replace today’s fossil fuel generated electricity needs with wind and solar. Even the fantastically low cost estimates that some people are proposing puts the cost around the total GDP of America. Even worse, if we get the electric cars the Biden Administration is calling for these astronomical numbers could easily double.

None of this impossibility is being considered in today’s reliability assessments. Not by the States, the utilities, NERC or FERC. Instead, throughout the country fossil fuel power plants are being replaced by wind and solar, without the required storage. The reason is obvious, namely the necessary storage is impossibly expensive.

As a result America’s grid is steadily becoming more and more unreliable. The grid is sick and getting sicker. The obvious solution is for NERC to issue Reliability Standards to constrain the growth of renewables. So far NERC has simply ignored this progressive loss of reliability. NERC needs to be redirected, either by FERC or Congress. In fact FERC is developing an order to NERC on the topic of renewables and reliability. But that order does not address the storage issue at all. It only looks at things like momentary loss of power.

Congress and FERC must act to restore America’s grid reliability.

End of Summary.

Given this impossibility the interesting question is how and when it will manifest itself if nothing is done to constrain renewables? There are a number of unhappy possibilities. Major blackouts are one, but horrendous price spikes are another, witness the European case. Given the fundamental economic role of energy a deep depression is even possible.

It is likely that the electric utilities are already modeling this transition train wreck, but they are making too much money to admit it. Congress should ask them about that. See my prior study: “Dominion’s VCEA Compliance Plan is Disastrously Unreliable” at:


The powers engineers must know that net zero is simply impossible.


David Wojick
David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html

For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see


Available for confidential research and consulting.

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March 18, 2023 2:08 pm

If you don’t have a house to heat or a car to drive, plus eat dried grass and bugs, Net Zero is within your reach !

Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 18, 2023 2:39 pm

A locust can net zero. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to be happy with owning nothing.

Bryan A
Reply to  Eng_Ian
March 18, 2023 4:36 pm

We’ll just all have to live the Lo-cust life.
Live underground for 7 years then surface for a few months of gorging ourselves and procreation prior to returning underground for the next 7 years

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bryan A
March 18, 2023 9:38 pm

I know people in the local council estates (UK ‘projects’) just like that…

Leo Smith
Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 18, 2023 9:37 pm

Lol. In reality we don’t have to go quite that far. But you sure have a point. Change – deep change – is coming,. The problem is that the politicians have already committed to changes that simply will not work. And we dont seem to be able to stop them. The reality is that no one knows exactly what technologies will work to replace dwinding fossil fuels, but politicsians refuse to let the market and private enterprise decide. So its all going to be far too slow and needlessly expensive

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 4:41 am

“dwindling fossil fuels”

Are they dwindling?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 4:53 am

“The problem is that the politicians have already committed to changes that simply will not work.”

That definitely *is* the problem.

Last edited 11 days ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  DMacKenzie
March 19, 2023 4:22 am

Ever been near a vegetarian?

What about all the methane you’d emit from that diet?

Reply to  Redge
March 20, 2023 2:58 am

And a lot of those veggies will be unavailable in winter when commercial greenhouses can no longer push that extra CO2 in to grow the stuff those vegetarians want.

Tom Halla
March 18, 2023 2:36 pm

We obviously need someone to invent Robert Heinlein’s Shipstones. Grid scale storage that makes the firm controlling the trade secrets fabulously rich. Shipstones are no more fictional than the requirements of New York’s NetZero program for dispatchable zero carbon power sources.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 18, 2023 9:39 pm

We already have it. Its called uranium

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 20, 2023 11:55 am

Mr Fusion is just around the corner. Just you wait!

Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 2:44 pm

Grid scale storage is not just impossibly expensive. It is literally physically impossible—there simply is not enough lithium and cobalt and nickel ore at any grade at any mining cost. And recycling cannot save the situation. Tesla experimentally recycles, and it achieves to date 92% by weight. All the aluminum and copper, some of the nickel, none of the lithium and cobalt. And no other battery technology has close to the requisite energy density for grid scale.

James Snook
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 3:00 pm

And even if grid scale storage was feasible one then has to consider how it can be reliably recharged, which isn’t just a question of building overcapacity of wind and solar, because that cannot achieve it on a reliable basis. Only nuclear, gas or coal can be relied on to recharge storage.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  James Snook
March 18, 2023 3:25 pm

Great observation. I had not thought about that angle before.

James Snook
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 19, 2023 12:59 am

Thanks Rud, you are not alone in that.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 19, 2023 6:46 am

Not only would we need energy to charge the storage facility, we’d also need energy to operate the facility.

“Large fleas, have small fleas, upon their backs to bite ’em. Small fleas, have even smaller fleas, and so on, ad infinitum”

Leo Smith
Reply to  James Snook
March 18, 2023 9:42 pm

But they have no need to reliably recharge it, They are running off stored energy already..all of them can be turned up and down a bit to match demand

James Snook
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 1:00 am


Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 10:18 pm

I think Leo is being sarcastic. At least, I hope so.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 4:01 pm

Thousands upon thousands of open-pit mines of all kinds of metals, how many would turn into Summitville-style disasters?


Last edited 12 days ago by karlomonte
Reply to  karlomonte
March 18, 2023 7:52 pm

Not many mines become disasters. I can show places where post-mining rehabilitation isso good that Joe Citizen would not know there had been a mine there.
People often miss the point that the land use named mining continues over time because it converts a piece of land of ordinary value to very high value, orders of magnitude differences. Then it often returns the land for ordinary use, typically after 30 years or so.
It is a big investment to start a mine, so the average person can seldom do it. Corporations evolved to make it possible. Then, a human emotion like envy can start and grow, leading to part of society developing MDS for Mine Derangement Syndrome. Such minded people usually prefer green politics, as in green with envy.
Here are a few that my mates and I found, corporately, in the 1970-80 era. They are now reaching depletion then rehabilitation. You just could not imagine the amount and bitterness of hatred that we had to put up with. All we did was to supply materials that the majority of society demanded.
So how is our present society, some taught to hate or oppose mining, going to suddenly reverse its opposition and expand its volume of mining tenfold or more?
Take it from one of the few who have walked the walk, it takes many years to several decades to take some land from first exploration for minerals stage to a first marketable product stage.
Not all of that time can be decreased by “ambition” that seems to be the modern method of achievement. It is serious, as Dr Wojick correctly claims. It is near impossible, if not actually impossible to achieve net zero, however defined. Geoff S

Reply to  sherro01
March 18, 2023 7:55 pm

The link did not stick.
comment image
These mines are shown about 50 years after we started exploring that part of the land.
Geoff S

Reply to  sherro01
March 18, 2023 9:41 pm

Geoff—you are correct that reclamation of old mines is possible, just as my Summitville example proves (it took 20+ years, though). My point is that Nick Stokes’ beloved net zero will require expansion of open pit mining on a massive scale for which reclamation will have to go by the wayside.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  karlomonte
March 19, 2023 1:29 am

We already have open pit mining on a far more massive scale – for coal.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 6:57 am

Stokes avoids the question with another strawman, now blazing away in the night sky.

Do you want an open-pit rare metals mine in your backyard?

Dean S
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 4:16 pm

I’d be very careful throwing around terms like “not enough lithium and cobalt and nickel ore at any grade at any mining cost”. You have described a mine which can access any part of the world, or asteroid, and pay any amount to process ultra low grades. You could do almost anything under that scenario. Any mining engineer knows that.

There will be enough of just about anything required, just that the cost will be impossible to cover.

Sea water contains 0.1ppm lithium. That is about 280 billion tons of lithium if you want to ignore the cost. Many orders of magnitude more lithium than is required for net zero, but impossible to access and use due to the cost.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 9:40 pm

Which is why we dont want to start with energy that needs to be stored. We want to start with energy that is already stored. Uranium

Dodgy Geezer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 11:02 pm

It’s worse. Storing energy is inherently dangerous. Storing Grid-scale energy is like keeping armed nuclear weapons every couple of miles throughout the country….

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 19, 2023 4:24 am

And wait until one of those batteries spontaneously combusts

That won’t be very environmentally friendly

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 19, 2023 9:19 am


SEE URL for more details


Counteracting Wind and Solar Output Up/down Spikes with CCGT Plants, Canadian Hydro Plants, and Battery Systems 
1) CCGT Plants 

CCGT are up to 60%-efficient, quick-reacting power plants, ideal for counteracting the variations of wind and solar. 
They perform counteracting services on grids in Ireland, California, Germany, Spain, the Nether lands, etc.
The stable operating range of CCGT plants is from about 50% to 100% of rated output. 
As counteracting plants, they typically would operate at 75% to be able to ramp up and down about 25%
CCGT plants, with a capacity of 6,400 MW, would be required to ramp down from 75% to 50%, to counteract a 1,600 MW up-spike, and then ramp up from 50% to 75%, to counteract a 1,600 MW down-spike. See table 2
Existing CCGT plants could perform the counteracting tasks 24/7/365, for 35 to 40 years. All they need is natural gas or fuel oil.
2) Canadian Hydro Plants 
Existing Canadian hydro plants could also perform that service, but that would require greatly enhanced grid extensions in Canada and NE, similar to the inter-connections of the grids of Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway.

That approach would be the least costly, plus large quantities of hydro could be purchased at about 6 c/kWh, far less costly than from capricious onshore/offshore wind. See table 2
Scotland Experience: Scotland’s east and west coastal areas often have high wind speeds. Owners are required to curtail their outputs to a capacity factor of, say 60%, even if wind speeds were high enough to have a CF of 100%, i.e., maxed-out production, to reduce the range of up/down spikes.
The purpose of curtailments is to ease the counteracting burden on the CCGT plants. 
A lesser capacity, MW, of CCGT plants would be required.
The Owners of the wind systems get paid for not producing what they could have produced.
In Scotland, such offset payments are several hundred million dollars per year; they are much greater in the UK
3) Battery Systems 

In each case the entire up spike or down spike is processed by the battery
If 1600 MW down-spike over a 3-h period; energy from battery is area of a triangle
Battery systems, capacity of about 2500 MW/7500 MWh DC, if 50% charged, i.e., in battery 3750 MWh DC
Down-spike energy = height/2 x base = 1600 MW/2 x 3 h = 2400 MWh AC
Discharged from battery = 2400 MW/0.9, discharge loss = 2667 MWh DC, based on a 10% discharge loss
Remaining charge in battery = 3750 – 2667 = 1083 MWh, DC, or 14.4% charged.
If 1600 MW up-spike over a 3-h period; energy to battery is area of a triangle
Up-spike energy = height/2 x base = 1600/2 MW x 3 h = 2400 MWh AC
Charged into battery = 1600/2 MW x 3 h x 0.9, charge loss = 2160 MWh DC, based on a 10% charge loss
Charge in battery = 1083, initial + 2160, added = 3243 MWh DC, or 43.2% charged. 
In addition, the battery would need about 563 MWh AC from the grid to add 507 MWh DC, to restore the battery charge to 3750 MWh DC. 
See table 2 and Note
See Appendix for battery system losses.
NOTE: If another 1600 MW up/down spike would occur shortly thereafter, the batteries would be unable to entirely counteract them, etc. Recharging the batteries immediately after each up/down spike is very important, to ensure full counteracting capability.
If that is not achieved, additional battery capacity would be required.

NOTE: ISO-NE, likely would implement wind output curtailments, during high wind speed periods, to minimize ramping stress on the CCGT plants. Curtailments would be more frequent, and of longer duration, if additional wind systems would be implemented near the MVI area. 

Battery System Turnkey Capital Cost

The battery would be operated from 20% charge to 80% charge, to achieve a 15-y life.
The battery power capacity would need to be 1600 MW/0.6 = 2667 MW.
The battery energy delivery capacity would need to be 6750 MWh to counteract one 1600 MW downward spike over 3 hours. See table 2.

The turnkey capital cost of a site-specific, custom-designed, utility-grade, grid-scale battery system would be 6750 MWh x 1000 kWh/MWh x $600/kWh = $4.05 billion. 
They would last about 15 years, which is much shorter than the 35 to 40 years of CCGT plants. See Appendix

Transmission Systems

Major high voltage transmission system upgrades in southeastern New England would be needed to distribute the output of the MVI and other offshore wind turbines systems. 

Joe Crawford
Reply to  wilpost
March 19, 2023 11:38 am

wilpost, in your post you said: “The turnkey capital cost of a site-specific, custom-designed, utility-grade, grid-scale battery system would be 6750 MWh x 1000 kWh/MWh x $600/kWh = $4.05 billion.” That’s only a partial answer to the energy storage problem brought on by renewables. When you build a battery storage system you are actually building a Peaker Power Plant that can provide a fixed amount of electricity for a fixed percentage of the time.

Assuming you had a system like that where you had to buy electricity from the grid to charge the batteries, maintain the system and replace it every 12 to 15 years, what is the minimum price per kilowatt hour you would have to charge for that electricity in order to just break even. Of course that price would vary based on site specific costs such as how much of the available electricity could be sold, the cost of replacing it, location, grid attachment, etc. However, until the base number is worked out I doubt any investor would look seriously at grid level battery storage.

Reply to  Joe Crawford
March 19, 2023 12:22 pm


I was showing 3 methods of counteracting one major up-peak of wind output, and the capacity, MW, of CCGT plants, or battery systems, required to do so.
The calculations are in table 2 of URL

My $600/kWh, delivered as AC, is for a 4-h battery system, which likely is sufficient for counteracting, but not in case of a 5 to 7-day wind/solar lull, which can happen anytime of the year; that lull may be followed by another multi-day wind/solar lull a few days later

Storing electricity into the battery systems has to come from reliable sources, which wind/solar are not, as you mention

Any roundtrip electricity processed by li-ion systems has about a 20% loss, from HV grid to HV grid

Reply to  wilpost
March 20, 2023 3:11 am

And if you have those reliable electricity sources who needs wind/solar ?

Reply to  Robertvd
March 27, 2023 6:04 am

They are needed by Owners of wind and solar for tax shelter purposes, and by politicians to get bribes, aka campaign contributions, for doing constituent service

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 19, 2023 11:08 am

assumes lithium batteries are the only way to store at scale.

china and flow batteries say otherwise.

finland and sand batteries say otherwise.

when a skeptic says “It is literally physically impossible”

yoU KNOW WITH CERTAINTY. his argument is weak . weak arguments need strong adjectives.

literal physical impossibility is a logical impossibility!!

a married bachelor is impossible cheaper batteries are not cobalt free batteries are not

simply is not enough lithium and cobalt and nickel ore at any grade at any mining cost. 

No, lithium-ion batteries do not have to use cobalt. Lithium-ion chemistries without cobalt include: Lithium Ferrous (Iron) Phosphate (LiFePo4 or LFP) Lithium Titanate (Li4Ti5O12 or LTO)


long ago i used to teach rhetoric.

rule #1 look for places where your opponent says always, never, impossible.

these overstatements are made to cover up weakness.

rule#2 people seldom use the word “impossible” correctly.

Mike Dombroski
Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 19, 2023 2:12 pm

The rhetorical use of the word “impossible” is as a synonym for “impractical”. It’s usually hyperbole although that doesn’t preclude the possibility that deep analysis might show such a claim to be actually literal.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 20, 2023 12:02 pm

Rule #3: English majors, who think they’re smarter than everyone else, can’t figure out grammar and punctuation.

March 18, 2023 2:50 pm

The problem is that those in (power ) have their heads firmly in the sand .
They just don’t want to know where their nut zero is leading their countries to .
If history has any answers those in (power ) will try printing money to pay for batteries .
This will lead to runaway inflation and then widespread financial depression .
A massive amount of pain will be inflicted on those countries populations to fix a non existent problem .
Despite all the propaganda that most countries are bombarded with about CO2 there is no proof that increasing levels will cause dangerous warming .
The theory of global warming relies on the tropical hot spot .
If the tropical hot spot did exist the satellites circling the earth would have identified the hot spot by now.
Net Zero is a fairy story and the sooner people (voters) come to this realization and change their governments the world will become a much better place for all .

Reply to  Graham
March 18, 2023 4:35 pm

have their heads firmly in the sand .

I don’t think that’s where they’ve stuck their heads.

Gilbert K. Arnold
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2023 7:37 pm

I believe that is called an anal-cranial inversion

Reply to  Gilbert K. Arnold
March 19, 2023 11:49 pm

I am a little to polite to say that here ,after all this is a family show .
But I have to agree with you guys .

David Wojick
Reply to  Graham
March 18, 2023 4:48 pm

In my book the deliberate deception of the utilities is the greatest evil. No one is calling them out.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 19, 2023 9:21 am

The utilities are in on the scam for the taxpayer $$$ which they will joyfully plunder.

Reply to  Graham
March 20, 2023 3:17 am

Just try to change the mind of the Woke Zombie Climate Jugend and Green Shirts indoctrinated by a corrupt education system over the last 30 years.

Last edited 10 days ago by Robertvd
Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 3:04 pm

I have predicted here for years how this will likely end. A renewables caused massive blackout from grid instability. Increasingly likely in EU (UK) in winter when many will die, or in NY in summer when many will suffer. Politicians will duck and cover, but will not be able to escape the ‘I told you so’.
Renewables look fine (despite hidden problems) at low penetration when grid reliability reserves cover them. Not when renewable penetration increases to where grid reserves don’t. We are reaching that point in many places.
Simple solution: renewables made to cover their intermittency and lack of grid inertia costs—NOT the rest of the grid as everywhere up to now.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 3:41 pm

Rud Istvan: “Simple solution: renewables made to cover their intermittency and lack of grid inertia costs—NOT the rest of the grid as everywhere up to now.”

Sure, that’s the magic energy policy silver bullet needed to kill the wind & solar werewolves. But how do you go about buying the silver bullets; and once you have those in hand, loading the gun?

David Wojick
Reply to  Beta Blocker
March 18, 2023 4:51 pm

If we get repeated protracted blackouts the political tide can turn pretty quickly. There is no lack of politicians who have denounced renewables.

Leo Smith
Reply to  David Wojick
March 18, 2023 9:53 pm

It is amazing how a year of Russian Ukraine war has got German Greens voting for nuclear.

Greta (the Scottish ‘greet’ means to sob and cry) is showing as expected, all the intellectual prowess of fresh road kill, but she does seem to have an unexpected integrity and honesty.

She is challenging the Greens ‘Why are not you doing something?’; and appears to dimply realise that the purpose of renewables and net zero is nothing to do with reducing carbon dioxide levels at all.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  David Wojick
March 19, 2023 4:50 am

There’s a TOTAL lack of them in the American northeast- or perhaps it should be called the wokeast.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 19, 2023 6:53 am

Here in the UK, just over a week ago, during a cold spell of blizzards, it was made common knowledge, that the gov’t had put good ole coal-fired stations on standby. But t it doesn’t seem to register with the public.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 8:19 pm

Here’s my prediction: Every renewables caused massive blackout will be blamed on fossil fuels.

They have done this already (eg. Texas), successfully, and if they and the media stick together they can continue to do it successfully for ever. The logic is stunningly simple: in every blackout, fossil fuels have very obviously failed to provide enough power, so they are to blame. The fact that fossil fuels failed to provide enough power because so many fossil fuel power stations have been closed doesn’t have to be mentioned. The fact that renewables all equally obviously failed at the same time is never mentioned.

Need another example of how all pervasive this way of thinking is? There are hundreds of examples, if not thousands. Try Germany extends run times for coal-fired power plants to boost supply as a simple example – it’s a report on massively-renewables-supplied Germany’s power problems. No mention of renewables or wind or solar. Not one[*]. The problem is portrayed as being all about failure of the gas supply.

[*] There is one mention of ‘renewables’, not in the article itself, but in the author bio: “Senior power correspondent for Germany with more than 30 years experience and focused on … renewables …”. Some focus!

Reply to  Mike Jonas
March 18, 2023 9:47 pm

Here’s my prediction: Every renewables caused massive blackout will be blamed on fossil fuels. They have done this already (eg. Texas), successfully, 

That’s because the Texas blackout WAS caused by the inability to get enough natural gas delivered to natural gas power plants in extremely cold weather, just like in February 2011, to meet demand. Meaning you have no idea what you are talking about.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 18, 2023 9:56 pm

No back in the day when gas compressor were powered by gas and not electricity we did not have that problem. The problem occurred because of tax policy.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
March 19, 2023 2:44 am

You can’t directly blame Texas blackouts on tax policy or ERCOT incompetence, although both are root causes.

There were two major Texas blackouts in the past 50 years.

February 2011, with few windmills, and February 2021 with lots of windmills.

What did they have in common?
Answer: The Texas energy infrastructure (beyond just power plants) is not capable of performing properly in extremely cold weather.

Those two blackouts were during extremely cold weather.

No other Texas blackouts in less extreme cold weather.

Both times the production and delivery of natural gas could not meet demand. And sadly, that can happen again the next time there is extremely cold weather in Texas.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 19, 2023 5:20 am

The nat gas shortage was a consequence rather than a cause of the blackouts. Generation kept up with demand until wind eroded to the point where there was no reserve, after which the risks of plant being operated at beyond nameplate ratings suffering a breakdown threatened grid frequency. That risk was caused by lack of capacity, and poor grid management that failed to institute rotating blackouts fast enough to maintain a reserve, and even as it did so managed to cut off gas supply. The end result was a cascading trip that knocked out a large chunk of capacity simultaneously, which was only halted when automated disconnection kicked in at 59.3Hz. After that, gas supply was indeed insufficient because pumping capacity was disconnected.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 11:25 am

YOU ARE BLAMING WINDMILLS FOR WHAT THEY DO IN EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR –they tend to produce little or no electricity for one or more hours every week, for the entire state of Texas.

Yet Texas had enough backup to cover the no wind periods for a decade until — VERY COLD WEATHER struck in February 2021.

What a coincidence — the Texas blackout, in 2011, with few windmills at the time, WAS ALSO DURING VERY COLD WEATHER.

So we have two blackouts in the past 50 years in Texas, and what they have in common is VERY COLD WEATHER.

When we consider the 2021 blackout,, we see that ERCOT was unable to keep up their electricity output from natural gas power plants. It fell by about 25%.

You can’t blame that on windmills
You can’t blame that on solar panels
You can’t blame that on nuclear plants
You can’t blame that on coal power plants
You can only blame that om natural gas power plants and the available supply of natural gas reaching those plants.

The root cause is ERCOT mismanagement. They were warmed in 2022 that the Texas energy infrastructure would not function properly in extremely cold weather, because that happened in 2011. The ERCOT response to that known problem was subsidies to build lots of windmills. Which tend to have weaker than usual winds during both extremely hot weather and extremely cold weather.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
It doesnot add up
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 19, 2023 1:20 pm

I am not blaming windmills at all. I am blaming the lack of available dispatchable capacity. It is to be expected that wind will die away to nothing, and with high probability just when demand is at a peak. Now, if you look at ERCOT’s planning, they assumed that wind has a 15% equivalent firm capacity, rather than 1-2% which is the reality. In consequence, they were unconcerned about allowing large swathes of dispatchable capacity to be out for maintenance – at least until they started panicking when it became clear that the weather event was going to be severe, and with a high probability that the wind would die. In the event, it went as low as 649MW at the worst. Once they started to realise the hole they were in they applied to the EPA for pollution exemptions (which were granted) to allow plant to be operated turned up to 11 – beyond nameplate. That is evidence that they knew they didn’t have sufficient dispatchable capacity at hand. They also begged plants to make themselves available by curtailing maintenance – always a risky way to go. Their own forecasts showed demand rising to over 75GW against only 69GW dispatchable at best. They were never going to make 75GW with just 649MW of wind on the 15th. In the event, they got caught out sooner than the forecasts implied.

Texas demand forecast 2021, Central Time.png
Reply to  Mark Luhman
March 19, 2023 11:14 am

Read the OFFICIAL report on the February 2011 Texas blackout and then come back and apologize TO READERS for misleading people with your comment.

February 2011 Southwest Cold Weather Event (nerc.com)

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 9:44 pm

there ought to be a betting pool in Las Vegas on which nation has the first big blackout

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 18, 2023 10:02 pm

That is exactly what I told Nick Stokes when he dropped a drive by damp squid yesterday claiming that wind and solar was cheap because as fuel is free .
I told him to invest in wind and solar and he should refuse all subsidies.
I told him that he also had to have stand by fossil fuel or hydro so that he could gaurantee electricity 24/7.
I have yet to see a reply.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 19, 2023 9:35 am

You underestimate the pliability of the masses. More likely the leftist politicians would blame fossil fuels for the outage (like they did in Texas, when the wind didn’t blow). Their unthinking followers will not question this nonsense, as they have been well trained to not question edicts handed down from up high.

Last edited 11 days ago by Mantis
Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 3:35 pm

We now know that the battery storage for the entire American grid is impossibly expensive, thanks to a breakthru study by engineer Ken Gregory. “

Another strawman post that thinks planners are relying on battery storage to cover intermittencies. They aren’t.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 3:54 pm

What are the proposals?

Chris Hanley
Reply to  old cocky
March 18, 2023 5:11 pm

It’s the Mosher drive-by technique.

Dave Fair
Reply to  old cocky
March 19, 2023 10:41 am

Ration energy. The usual socialist answer to meeting human needs.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 4:03 pm

This is a lie.

Reply to  karlomonte
March 18, 2023 4:39 pm

Nick is still trying to claim that wind and solar are the cheapest source of power.
Lies are all he’s got.

David Wojick
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2023 5:00 pm

Solar is infinitely expensive at night, that is not available at any price, and the same for wind on calm days.

Reply to  David Wojick
March 18, 2023 9:52 pm

maximum solar power available only six hours a day, less reductions from clouds

maximum wind power available rarely, with little or no output 60% of the time, on average.

Reply to  Richard Greene
March 19, 2023 7:00 am

The other problem with wind is that you don’t know when it will be available, and when it isn’t available, it won’t be available for days on end. (BTW, I believe it isn’t available closer to 70% of the time.)

Reply to  MarkW
March 19, 2023 11:30 am

The answer is portable nuclear powered fans aimed at the windmills when there is no wind. Clean and green.

This is a serious comment,
not sarcasm.

Leo Smith
Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2023 10:03 pm

If only windmills spun as reliably as Our Nick..

Leo Smith
Reply to  karlomonte
March 18, 2023 10:02 pm

Actually is is a most entertaining spin on the truth.
Which is that there are no viable proposals for grid scale storage at all.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 4:38 pm

Who cares what all the activists are demanding.
Who cares what the so called climate scientists are saying.
Let’s just listen to Nick.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 4:55 pm

Adopting utility-scale wind and solar before the development of proven universally applicable economical non-weather dependent storage technology is absurd.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Chris Hanley
March 18, 2023 10:05 pm

As I pointed out ten years ago. But no one wanted to hear it.
“We are all Cassandras, now”

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 1:21 am

Meanwhile renewables have gone from strength to strength.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 7:01 am

Only in your imagination.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 10:44 am

On the backs of ratepayers, taxpayers and economic stagnation. Much more “strength” like that and we’ll all become subsistence farmers.

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 4:56 pm

Come on Nick, share the secret, we’re all holding our breath.

Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 19, 2023 9:39 am

Obviously he meant that we plebes will just have to do without. “Demand shaping”.

David Wojick
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 4:58 pm

True in a sense, Nick, as the Integrated Resource Plans I have seen simply do not cover intermittency. There is no plan and that is my point. At best they say they will buy juice from someone else but if everyone plans that then no one will have any to sell.

Or have you seen a plan that you can tell us about? Gregory found that just to replace existing fossil fuel generation with renewables, taking a recent year not an extreme case, would take about 250 million MWh of storage. How would you cover that?

What is your plan?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  David Wojick
March 18, 2023 5:42 pm

The target is net zero. Some options:

  1. More ambitious interconnectors, to smooth out variability. Four years ago, China completed a 3283 km 1.1 MV line across China. There could be much more of this, possibly even crossing the continents.
  2. Hydro and pumped hydro. Hydro can be used almost exclusively in the W&S gaps. Not available everywhere, but with good interconnectors…
  3. Using gas with CCS to cover gap periods. The target is net zero.
  4. More exotic options, like electrolytic hydrogen.
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 6:09 pm

What exactly would “net zero” accomplish?

Reply to  karlomonte
March 18, 2023 8:49 pm

Another question Stokes will never even try to answer, just like:

What is the optimum concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere?

Reply to  karlomonte
March 19, 2023 2:58 am

An extremely easy question

600 ppm to 1500ppm CO2 is the optimum range for C3 plants (85%) that are used for human and animal food. There are over 3,000 studies to support a 600 to 1000ppm range and some to support CO2 above 1000ppm (rarely tested that high).

I have read about 300 CO2 enrichment plant growth since 1997. Greenhouse owners CO2 enrich to the 1000 to 1500ppm range.

Optimum C3 plant growth will support the most life possible on our planet. Pro-CO2 is pro-life

Leftists go berserk when I advocate for a doubling to tripling of the current CO2 level based on science. Because leftists know nothing about climate science except what they are told by smarmy government bureaucrats (fear CO2 is what they are brainwashed to believe).

Reply to  Richard Greene
March 19, 2023 10:07 am

Since the GHE is saturated with CO2 at 428 ppm, raising the levels to 1000 ppm or higher would not create any additional warming.

Reply to  DWM
March 19, 2023 11:32 am

Saturation is never reached (logarithmic effect of CO2) but we are close enough at 420ppm to not worry about more CO2. Maybe Siberia will get a little warmer in the winters. Antarctica won’t melt.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 19, 2023 12:00 pm

Theoretically but not in reality. If you calculate the photon flux (10 ^9 /m2/sec in the 15 micron spectral line) and the density of CO2 molecules (10^21/m3 ) and then calculate the absorption rate as the flux travels through the CO2 it can and does reach total absorption before reaching TOA at current concentrations. You can expand it to include the entire CO2 band.

It is now common thinking (see The LWIR Puzzle..) that all radiation from the surface is totally absorbed by the atmosphere.

I’ll have to admit I don’t understand why the models still show slivers of additional absorption when the concentration is doubled.

Reply to  karlomonte
March 19, 2023 2:49 am

The Nut Zero goal is:
Totalitarian governments, ruled by leftist “experts” after ruining the existing economic system Nut Zero is about political power and control.

It does not matter if the project succeeds.
In a few years a Nut Zero project way behind schedule will be spun as a new climate crisis, that requires even more government power and control to overcome.

This is as easy to predict as predicting sunrise tomorrow. Just consider how Covid was mismanaged to sharply ramp up government power and spending. The economic effect of forced lockdowns are still affecting economies today.

Totalitarianism has been the leftist dream for over a century.

Last edited 11 days ago by Richard Greene
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  karlomonte
March 19, 2023 5:04 am

A waste of the landscape and financial ruin for all of us.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 6:17 pm

If you’re including more exotic options, why not SMRs?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  old cocky
March 19, 2023 1:57 am

For storage?

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 3:39 am

No, but interconnectors, hydro and gas/CCS aren’t either.

Joe Born
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 7:44 pm

This question is too complex for serious people to profess any ability to answer confidently without actual real-world tests. But my analysis of some Texas wind-power records makes me slow to accept hand-waving about using interconnection to “smooth out variability.”

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Joe Born
March 19, 2023 1:45 am

Here is a graph of the NEM (SA,Vic,NSW,Qld,Tas), with daily resolution, for the last three months. From the bottom, black coal, brown, gas, hydro (mainly Tas), solar, wind. The wind is still a bit uneven, because it is dominated by SA. But it is never windless.

comment image

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 6:23 am

Here is NEM wind generation at 30 minute resolution over the last 7 days. Gets quite low at times, doesn’t it?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 12:10 pm

“Never windless” doesn’t add up to shit. And the cost to accommodate unreliables is not worth it.

Last edited 11 days ago by Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 7:44 pm

Lots of flat countries with bugger all water. Even Australia’s premier hydro in Tasmania is a white elephant..painted green. Costs are about 300% over and rising job no sign of getting done.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  macha
March 19, 2023 1:25 am

With pumped hydro the water is recirculated. Tasmania’s hydro has been the mainstay of the State’s power for over sixty years. Tasmania has the cheapest power in Australia, and has supported a big aluminium smelter and a zinc refinery.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 6:14 am

Nick wants us to believe that Tasmania receives all/most/much/a lot of its electricity from “<b>With pumped hydro the water is recirculated.</b> Tasmania’s hydro has been the mainstay of the State’s power for over sixty years.”

But if we actually look at Tasmania’s sources there is only <b>one</b> pumped storage station of minor output,

Why all the deception? He’s obvioously just another religous zealot?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  corev
March 19, 2023 1:38 pm

No, I did not say that Tasmania uses pumped hydro.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 7:04 am

You have to have water before it can be recirculated.
You also have to have enough incoming water to replace what is evaporating.
How many new hydro dams are being built in Tasmania?

Last edited 11 days ago by MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 9:45 am

Meanwhile, environmentalists are forcing dams to be torn down. Now dams are good again I guess? I can’t keep up with environmentalist dogma. Just like the “paper bags are killing trees, use plastic! Plastic is killing oceans! Use paper!” U turn.

Pumped hydro might be feasible in specific locations, but I’m guessing that since all of your arguments usually dismiss all issues with a wave of the hand, I’m assuming you are also just dismissing the pumping losses, charge/discharge losses, transmission losses, etc.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 12:17 pm

And what will happen to the “cheapest power,” aluminum smelter and zinc refinery when the central governments redirects that power to larger, more politically powerful jurisdictions via all these new interconnections? Tasmania should be careful of the Leftist schemes it supports.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 8:32 pm

They only started pushing net zero when it became obvious that zero CO2 production wasn’t possible in the near term.

Worldwide, most of the good hydro locations are already taken. There are very few left, and your left wing allies fight new hydro almost as hard as they fight nuclear. Pumped storage sites are even rarer than hydro sites, and are also fought hard by your allies.

The target has never been net zero, it has always been zero. Net zero was only come up with as a stop gap measure.

Anyone who thinks hydrogen is a part of the answer, simply isn’t thinking.

Last edited 11 days ago by MarkW
Nick Stokes
Reply to  MarkW
March 19, 2023 1:19 am

Worldwide, most of the good hydro locations are already taken. “

For hydro, you need a river with big flow, a big drop, and a big storage dam to last out dry years. For pumped hydro, you don’t need the flow, do need the drop, and dams above and below, but only enough to last out windless weeks. Much easier, as at Dinorweg.

In fact, most hydro places will get the Snowy 2.0 treatment. Just add more downpipes and generators, plus pumps.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 5:28 am

Dinorwig can store 9.1GWh and generate at 1.7GW. That is mere hours, not weeks.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 7:07 am

Every pumped storage system in existence is designed for load leveling, not storage. Nick knows that, he hopes the rest of you don’t.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 7:06 am

Notice how Nick Sophist doesn’t actually respond to my claim.
Instead he just gives a definition of hydro and pumped storage.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 9:13 pm
  1. That is already more than covered by Gregory’s copper plate assumption in his work, that assumes any local surplus can meet any local deficit anywhere in the Lower 48. You are never going to justify interconnectors on that scale economically.
  2. Almost all hydro and pumped hydro that is economic has already been exploited. Remember that storage has to pay for itself, and that becomes very challenging when you are looking at longer duration, even for pumped hydro. The Coire Glas project for 30GWh of storage could never make economic sense while it was constrained to 50 hour duration/600MW. Now that it is permitted to increase to 1500MW, and therefore turn over the storage 2.5 times faster the economics are good enough to proceed. Renewables grids require seasonal storage in humungous capacities, not the 20 hours that is just economic for pumped hydro.
  3. CCS remains in the realm of fantasy, with no working commercial plant. Unicorns are not allowed.
  4. More, more expensive unicorns.

You have no answers.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 9:53 pm

The green dreamer, Nick the Stroker, is hallucinating

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 10:53 pm

All impractical hand wavey nonsense. Interconnectors have already been dredged and snapped by Russian trawlers, A dispersed grid is a vulnerable grid, and the cost of long distance cables exceeds the cost of a local nuclear power station
Pumped storage works, for an hour or two. If you have the geography Naturally ThickNick who cant count beyond ten without taking his socks off has never figured the sort of geography needed. I calculated the pumping the 1000ft deep Loch Ness dry in summer and allowing the sea back in in winter would cover the UKs renewable energy shortfall, but would take about ten years of GDP to achieve Not to mention the outcry at finally busting the Monster myth and the massive environmental impact it would have.
Gas is not renewable. practical CCS does not exist
Electrolytic hydrogen is not exotic, its just plain impractical dangerous and inefficient.
In the end you simply throw away 90% of the storage and that expansive underutilised grids and intercinnceti#os and use uranium as your store. It comes already charged up by the last supernova.
And built appropriate scaled nuclear power stations close to where they are needed, to achive a reliable resilient energy secure nataional grid at the lowest cost.
And consign renewable energy to thr dustbin of history, where Nick, if you had any numeracy or intellectual honesty, you would admit it belongs.
You are lazy. You dont work stuff out. You just parrot handwavey npnsense as if that made you look intelligent and informed. Frankly I prefer Greta. She at least asks awkward questions.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 12:46 am

You forgot the most obvious Nick.
Nuclear .

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 1:45 am

This isn’t remotely plausible.

Take a particular case, the UK. Interconnects will not work because the blocking highs which cause the intermittency problem are continental in scale.

Hydro storage on the scale required was estimated in ‘Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air’, by MacKay.


It would require using all of the Scottish Highlands, the Lakes and North Wales as storage. Not politically or economically on the cards.

Electrolytic hydrogen has never been proved on this scale – you’d have to show some study showing the economics.

Meanwhile, to get realistic, the UK has about 28GW of wind installed from 11,000 turbines. How much is this actually generating?

Last year an average of 7GW, but the low was 0.141GW and the high 17GW. It was under 5GW for periods of over a week. This is not a usable supply for a modern industrial economy. Probably not for any industrial economy.

At the very least its advocates have to make a quantified argument that it is possible and affordable. The kind of gesturing Nick does in this post, when recommending radical changes to a fundamental piece of our social and economic infrastructure, is completely irresponsible.

This thing that we need to notice in in Nick’s approach, which is common to the climate movement and to other areas in which detached intellectuals advocate radical solutions is, whether its gender, affirmative action, poverty relief, just about any program that the liberal left favors, that the arguments consist solely of assertions that various things are possible and desirable. With no real evidence, no real studies, no evaluated pilots. And with no accountability of advocates for the results of following their advice.

Nick seems to believe that net zero is possible and desirable and (for electricity generation) cheaper than current conventional methods. Because it will save on fuel costs.

But he never gives any quantified estimates, never refers to any studies, never points to pilots. Its just, we say it will be OK, do it.

I think the implication of Nick’s latest posts on this is that he’s in reality conceding that net zero in generation isn’t possible but is redefining what the objective is. He envisages what in practice will be a gas powered network supplemented by wind and solar, and his argument is that the wind and solar additions reduce gas consumption enough to more than pay for themselves.

Its an argument, show a study or a case history and it might be believable. It would have to come from someone or some group with real expertise in grid planning. Or lets hear about a properly costed pilot. I keep asking for this, and there is never anything back except the irrelevant mantra that wind is free.

If that’s all you have, you don’t have enough to justify the radical public policy that you’re advocating. This kind of approach to huge company critical investment decisions would get you kicked out of any corporate investment committee meeting and probably let go.

The problem is, those advocating the most radical measures do not bear any of the costs if things go wrong. Their incentive is to keep pushing and promoting and damn the risks.

You want to advocate net zero, say at least what proportion of supply you intend coming from gas, wind and solar respectively. Also take a case, the UK or South Australia, or even a made up one if you like, and say how much faceplate capacity of each you would recommend installing to do it.

An example: lets take a country whose demand varies between 35 and 45GW. Its going to move to heat pumps and EVs in pursuit of net zero, which will raise this to 130-160GW.

Wind capacity (25% average capacity utilization)?
Solar capacity ?
Gas capacity ? And annual delivery in GW?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
March 19, 2023 2:55 am

Hydro storage on the scale required was estimated in ‘Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air’, by MacKay.”

I think you are thinking of his dismissal of hydroelectricity, which is limited by the available flow. But on pumped hydro, at about p103, he seems to think much could be done.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 5:47 am

On p 194 he states

By building more pumped storage systems, it looks as if we could in-
crease our maximum energy store from 30 GWh to 100 GWh or perhaps
400 GWh.

The UK would need about 100 times as much storage to balance out renewables over seasons.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 7:18 am

Dunno about 100 times, but anyway, far far more than its imaginable that they would be able to either afford or construct!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  michel
March 19, 2023 9:43 am

I’ve done the sums. Check this out:


Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 20, 2023 6:53 am

Huge numbers. I don’t understand why these total amateurs are so insistent on telling everyone what can and cannot be done with running a national grid. Its astonishing. Its like I should be lecturing people on neurosurgery or rocket launches. And they are so confident!

They should go work for an electricity company and find out what life is really like when you’re accountable for your recommendations and in front of an investment or technical committee. Know your stuff, have done the work, or get out of the room.

It would be the latter.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 12:36 pm

Continuing his quote:

“By building more pumped storage systems, it looks as if we could increase our maximum energy store from 30GWh to 100GWh or perhaps 400GWh. Achieving the full 1200GWh that we were hoping for looks tough, however. Fortunately there is another solution.”

400 GWh is a good contribution.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 2:52 pm

You missed the point that Mackay only considered a relatively short wind lull in SEWTHA, not the need to cover seasonal storage. BY the time of his final interview he knew that a renewables grid was an unworkable proposition, and said so.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 20, 2023 6:55 am

And anyway, doing what it would require in Scotland, the Lakes and Wales is politically impossible to sell, never mind the expense which is also impossible to sell.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 7:00 pm

It barely scratches the surface of total need.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 20, 2023 2:33 am

The UK would need about 100 times as much storage to balance out renewables over seasons.”

I noted that Gregory fallacy here. The problem of seasonal balance is the same for FF and W&S generation. If you provide only enough generation to meet annual average demand, then indeed you will need a very large amount of storage to balance out over seasons. But FF doesn’t do that. It provides enough generation to meet the seasonal peak. And of course W&S would do the same, and not rely on storage for seasonality.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 3:26 am

Yep, you need to size to peak demand, plus a bit in reserve.
That’s one of the areas where averages lose too much information 🙂

Does peak output coincide with peak demand?

We’re lucky in that our peak demand is in summer, when solar PV and solar hot water are going gangbusters.

Reply to  old cocky
March 20, 2023 9:17 am

You are relying on averages yourself. It’s not just time of year that gets averaged, it’s time of day.
Solar PV produces it’s greatest output in the middle of the day, while peak demand is in the evening.

Also, for many places, peak demand, especially if you convert heating to electric, occurs during the winter.

old cocky
Reply to  MarkW
March 20, 2023 2:28 pm

As I said, we’re fortunate in that our peak demand is in summer when solar PV and hot water work quite well. Australia is probably a best case for solar.
Part of the demand seasonality comes from our small industrial base, so commercial and domestic use come into play strongly.

Solar is far more predictable than wind, and part of that predictability is it doesn’t work at night. That requires something to handle the rest of the day, whether it be pumped hydro, CCGT, Mr Fusion, flux capacitors, hydrogen or pixie dust.
It also requires peak capacity around 5x peak demand because output is also predictably much lower in winter and the storage needs to be recharged every day all year round.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 9:15 am

And Nick Sophist strikes again. The discussion is about season variance in the ability to generate electricity. Nick slyly switches to a discussion of the seasonal variance in demand.

There is no seasonal variance in the ability of FF plants to supply energy. In fact as temperatures go down, they get more efficient.

On the other hand, wind and solar have a bad habit of having their ability to generate power drop, just when demand is increasing.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 9:20 am

Wind and solar will almost certainly depend on storage and backup to meet peak demand, because that is most likely to occur during Dunkelflaute. It is a fallacy to assume otherwise. Moreover, at the other extreme there is the potential for large surpluses even at high levels of demand because of the large difference between average capacity factors and maximum capacity output: that is never an issue with a traditional grid. The two are not comparable.

Of course, you can indulge in increasing levels of over-generation and curtailment to reduce the storage requirement, but you will not eliminate the need for storage or backup unless you go to absurd multiples of demand. Even at ten times overgeneration you still need storage. But your useful electricity now costs ten times your LCOE estimate, which leaves a traditional grid being at least nine times cheaper than renewables, to coin a phrase.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 7:16 am

Look at p 192ff. His estimate of the requirement was 1,200GWh.

Look at the sites he proposes. It is pretty much turning North Wales, the Highlands and the Lake District into pumped reservoirs. And it only gets halfway there, even with that.

And that estimate is too low, because it doesn’t take account of the manic desire to move everyone to EVs and heat pumps at the same time as moving generation to wind and solar. Demand will be several times what he configured the 1,200GWh for.

The idea that construction on that scale would more than pay for itself by fuel savings, and so justify the move to wind and solar? It seems to me totally deluded, but by all means produce a case.

If you cannot produce a case, or point to one someone else has produced, then you need to stop claiming that pumped storage is the answer. Even disregarding the environmental issues in building pumped storage on such a scale.

No, what you will end up with is a gas powered system, supplemented with wind and solar. It will have to be gas because that’s the only thing that can react fast enough and be available on a big enough scale to make all that wind and solar usable.

Absent a quantified case showing otherwise we have no reason to think adding wind and solar to the network at huge capital cost pays for itself in fuel cost reductions. You guys are the ones wanting to make these radical changes to a system that works. Don’t you think you should actually make the case? Consider the risks? Do some basic analysis?

Also, my questions about the case above? The proportions of generation from the different sources? The amount of capacity installed?

It doesnot add up
Reply to  michel
March 19, 2023 12:07 pm

MacKay only estimated a requirement to top up over a lull in SEWTHA. He never considered maintaining a balance over a year.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
March 19, 2023 12:40 pm

You guys are the ones wanting to make these radical changes to a system that works. Don’t you think you should actually make the case?”

No, you guys are the ones trying to stop changes. They are happening fast, and will continue happening whatever I say. If you want to stop them, you have to make a properly quantified case.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 3:01 pm

The lack of properly quantified cases comes from those proposing renewables dominated futures. They mostly refuse to show their workings. Where they do, it soon transpires that they have made a series of heroic underlying asssumptions that fail to reflect real world conditions. They never look at the tough cases properly The onus really is on them.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 7:02 pm

So the guy who wants to completely change the system bears no responsibility for proving that the new system will work.
On the other hand, those who want to keep the system that has worked very well for over 100 years are required to prove that the new system won’t work.

Nice diversion their Nick, you are getting better.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 1:30 am

What happened to the Precautionary Principle?

Your approach to policy making in a democracy is completely wrong, and very dangerous. Its not a case of ‘stopping changes’. Changes in themselves are neutral, some are good, some bad.

We should not make changes to national infrastructure which have very large effects on social and economic life without having some analysis of risk and some case that they will work and be beneficial.

The effort to convert power generation to wind and solar and at the same time to electrify heating and transport is one of these. I would actually argue that in the case of net zero the attempted changes are large enough and carry high enough risks to require a referendum.

What intellectuals say about these proposals does have great impact. They are only possible because the political classes have their enthusiastic recommendations.

Its an example of total intellectual irresponsibility. It amounts to saying, I have no case, I’m not going to produce one, I can’t answer the objections to it, I strongly recommend doing it anyway, its going to happen anyway whether I recommend it or not, and its not my fault if it goes horribly wrong.

You can see this happening in quite a lot of policy areas. The usual next step is attempted implementation, followed by failure to achieve the objective, then comes redefinition of the objective and a pile of excuses blaming someone else.

This is where we are headed with net zero. It won’t work, it won’t reduce carbon emissions, it will have no effect on the climate, the attempts to get to it, if really persisted in, will lead to great economic and social hardship. And it will all be someone else’s fault.

Not mine, I just expressed an opinion, it was going to happen anyway…

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 5:03 am

Here in New England, the enviros HATE new, big power lines. They are fighting against such a line comming from Canada which could deliver a vast amount of really cheap hydro power to southern New England- because some trees would have to be cut! And, they HATE pumped storage projects. And, they hate solar “farms” which would have to be build in forests or fields – which is the only land left. And of course, they HATE dams on rivers. You know, the fish won’t like them. 🙂 These idiots think if we only put solar on every building- we’ll have enough energy to power our entire civilization. Try telling that it’s not possible.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 10:46 am

Nick, are you going to pony up all the money to accomplish this? Just to replace something that already works? Broken window fallacy, much?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  David Wojick
March 20, 2023 2:26 am

Gregory found that just to replace existing fossil fuel generation with renewables, taking a recent year not an extreme case, would take about 250 million MWh of storage. How would you cover that?”

OK, I looked into Gregory’s “breakthru” report to see why he gets such ridiculous numbers. The reason is that he replaces FF with just enough W&S to cover year-average FF generation. This is not enough W&S to meet the seasonal peaks. So he says that enough storage must be provided to cover the seasonal demand fluctuation.

But of course seasonal fluctuation in demand is the same problem for FF and W&S. FF does it by providing enough generating capability to cover the peaks. Otherwise it would have to use storage too.

And so there would be enough W&S, not just to meet the average, but to meet the seasonal demand peak, just as with FF. Then the need to provide storage for seasonal demand variation goes away. Storage comes back to only have to cover W&S variability.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 9:27 am

Wrong. The capacity of wind and solar required to meet the annual total consumption plus round trip losses going to and from storage is theoretically capable of producing a large excess to peak demand, and indeed will do so, but not necessarily when it is needed – which is why you need storage or backup.

You can try to reduce the need for storage through overgeneration and curtailment, but you will not eliminate it. A cold windless winter evening will produce no output and lots of demand. Are you proposing to overbuild by a factor of 1,000 to try to correct for that?

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 20, 2023 11:49 am

A cold windless winter evening will produce no output and lots of demand.”

Yes. And for that storage is needed. But your Gregory-style calculation gets ridiculous numbers by requiring storage not for cold evenings, but for the annual demand cycle.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 2:29 pm

The first thing you have to do is make sure you can cover a bad year (or even run of years) for renewables. Of itself, that probably requires a 30-50% overbuild against an average year. Then you can start looking at what is required in that bad year to reduce the need for seasonal storage.The economics will try to drive storage out, but the balance even with low cost storage such as pumped will still leave you with somewhere around 3-5 times the generation (depending on locale) needed to match annual demand totals. That is a direct multiplier on the LCOE cost of renewables when you assume no curtailment/zero value output. The storage will still be very large. That’s before you consider things like “the year without a summer” which is probably something like a 1 in 200-500 chance, absent nuclear war.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 20, 2023 2:57 pm

You can see the fault in Gregory’s arithmetic here

comment image

He calculates total demand for 2020 was 2741 TWh. So average power=2741/365/24=313 GW. So level through the year that is the amount of S&W he provides. Wind vagaries are superimposed. Now you need storage to get rid of those. But he is quoting cost of storage to meet the peak demand, having only provided for the average.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 7:29 pm

You have misunderstood. His Case 2 looks at the implication of overbuild on storage requirement.The degree of overbuiild is an assumption – the round figure wind and solar multipliers. It immediately implies that curtailment will be needed, because we are looking at reducing storage, finding the smallest storage consistent with meeting demand at all times at the given level of overbuild and constrained to have the same level of storage at the end of the year as at the beginning. You can slice and dice how you achieve the curtailment according to different rules and it makes no difference to the outcome. He is not showing curtailment at 313GW, but more like 340GW eyeballing it. The area under the curve equals the total demand. Demand must equal supply. A logic for imposing a ceiling to define the curve is that it reduces grid costs if you don’t have to provide capacity to transmit outsize surpluses to storage.

If you allowed less curtailment early in the year then the storage would fill sooner. Once full, the curtailment would increase until storage levels dropped to the point where it was no longer liable to fill completely at any point in the rest of the year. Meanwhile in order to ensure that the storage returns to the opening stock level the remaining curtailment has to be sufficient to ensure that.

It is irrelevant whether on the day of peak demand there is sufficient generation to meet it or even a curtailed or stored surplus or whether it has to be partly or even wholly supplied by storage. That’s why you have the storage in the first place. The only real constraint is on the storage redelivery capacity, which has to be large enough to cope with high demand during Dunkelflaute. That’s the point.

A different approach would have been to set a limit on the storage and find the capacity of generation needed to ensure that demand is met and the storage returns to its opening level. You can extend the calculation to cover many successive years. I’ve done work with over 30 continuous years which soon teaches you that the bad years are the ones that define the whole system and how much waste is implied in good years, or even simply normal ones.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 20, 2023 8:51 pm

I have done some timkering with his spreadsheet, but using R. His 250 TWh storage is based on having F=6.71 times our present S&W level. I ran it using a simple storage principle that it adds in the difference between target and generation, but will not exceed a storage level M. I don’t at this stage allow for loss, but since there is surplus overflowing into storage, this doesn’t matter much.

So I tried; these combinations proved adequate – the storage lasted the year:
F=7.3, M=250 TWh
F=10, M=51
F=12, M=8
F=15, M=2.5
F=20, M=0.5
F=25, M=0.11

So Gregory’s provision of W&S is just too low. Doubling F brings storage down from 250TWh to 2.5TWh.

Last edited 9 days ago by Nick Stokes
Nick Stokes
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 21, 2023 2:45 pm

I have written a Moyhu post here setting out these calculations, with graphs and link to zipfile of code and data.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 21, 2023 7:32 pm

Are we taking 1 TW as 1,000 GW and 1 GW as 1,000 MW?

In that case, annual power usage is 3,750 TWh, and Gregory’s 250 TWh storage covers 24 days, and your 2.5TWh is about 6 hours.

I agree that calculating generation and storage capacity based on average rather than peak is incorrect, but 6 hours provides very little safety margin., especially for somewhere like the US which is subject to extended widespread low wind periods in winter.

It looks to me as if you are both off by an order of magnitude in either direction.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  old cocky
March 21, 2023 7:44 pm

but 6 hours provides very little safety margin”
It was enough (just) to get through 2019. Of course, you should allow more.

But the reduction of storage need with overbuild is dramatic. 2.5 TWh corresponds to expanding W&S to match the current (2019) output of all types. If you overbuild by 60%, the storage needed comes down to 110 MWh. At some stage there will be a balance where marginal building costs matches storage cost.

old cocky
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 21, 2023 8:18 pm

It was enough (just) to get through 2019. Of course, you should allow more.

That’s where a much more detailed knowledge of the variability of demand and the W&S sources come into play, similar to plotting out 20, 50, 100 and 1,000-year flood events.

Similarly to using peak demand, a corresponding trough in supply is the spot to watch out for.

It may be that 2019 was a benign year in the USA. Perhaps 2021 is a better example.

If you overbuild by 60%, the storage needed comes down to 110 MWh. At some stage there will be a balance where marginal building costs matches storage cost.

Not entirely, because that’s working on the “wind is blowing or sun is shining somewhere” basis. You really need to base storage requirements on the worst case, then add a bit for luck. Sticking a finger in the air, that’s probably a week of W&S providing 10% of their average, but the US hourly wind figures may be available back many decades to provide a much better basis.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 8:43 pm

Hundreds of reports say you are grossly mistaken, Nick. eg.from the IEA: Grid-Scale Storage “Pumped-storage hydropower is still the most widely deployed storage technology today, but grid-scale batteries are catching up [..] grid-scale batteries are projected to account for the majority of storage growth worldwide.” [my bold].

Do you want to argue that the article doesn’t mention intermittency? It’s true that the article doesn’t use the word “intermittency” – none of them ever do, they avoid that word like the plague – but the article certainly does address its analysis at intermittency: “The rapid scaling up of energy storage systems will be critical to address the hour‐to‐hour variability of wind and solar PV electricity generation on the grid, especially as their share of generation increases rapidly in the Net Zero Scenario. Meeting rising flexibility needs while decarbonising electricity generation is a central challenge for the power sector, so all sources of flexibility need to be tapped, including grid reinforcements, demand‐side response, grid-scale batteries and pumped-storage hydropower. 
Grid-scale battery storage in particular needs to grow significantly. In the Net Zero Scenario, installed grid-scale battery storage capacity expands 44-fold between 2021 and 2030 to 680 GW.”. [my bold]

The above isn’t from some tin-pot Twitterer, it’s from the IEA. As I said, Nick, you are grossly mistaken.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Mike Jonas
March 19, 2023 12:21 am

You have left out the very next sentence, which makes clear what they are for:

Batteries are typically employed for sub-hourly, hourly and daily balancing.

Daily grid balancing means chipping in at the demand peaks, thus competing with gas peakers. Here is an S&P article expanding on that balancing role.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 18, 2023 10:00 pm

Quite correct. All the greens think that battery storage is there to counter intermittency. It isn’t. It is there to replace the spinning mass of the steam and gas turbines that have been taken off the grid.
There is no proposal for real grid scale storage at all. Instead therwe are handwavey bullshit terms like ‘hydrogen encomy’ ‘flywheels’ etc etc mooted – none of which are safe, viable and practical..
But that won’t stop governments throwing a few trillion dollars at them before they realise it was all a scam. Like windmills

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 5:51 am

Thank you, Leo,
You have given some serious outcomes expressed in a few words.
The “ambition” by some is to defer discussion of plans to counter intermittency because some academic studies like those from our AEMO here refuse to describe the impossibility of 100% renewables penetration without conventional spinning reserve.
The dream persists, 100% renewables has the AEMO nod in the vague form of not rejected,, so let us do it.
That is not how realistic engineering proceeds. Geoff S

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 19, 2023 2:33 am

“planners”? – Socialist state and federal govt central planning = Fail.

Ron Long
March 18, 2023 3:43 pm

NERC AND FERC, I saw that movie once, it was subtitled: DUMB AND DUMBER.

David Wojick
Reply to  Ron Long
March 18, 2023 5:03 pm

FERC has a rulemaking in progress to tell NERC to do something about renewables and reliability. Unfortunately it is far too narrow, but it is a start.
See my https://www.cfact.org/2022/12/27/ferc-considers-constraining-renewables/

Dave Fair
Reply to  David Wojick
March 19, 2023 12:32 pm

David, FERC is simply considering it. Wait until their political masters weigh-in before counting them chickens.

March 18, 2023 4:50 pm

Back in 2015-16 I spent a few evenings studying the excellent data available online from the German grid and the Energiewende transition then well under way. The obvious conclusion then was precisely what we see here: the system would require some combination of fantastic overcapacity/under-use of renewable sources AND staggeringly huge quantities of energy storage (almost certainly battery for 90 + percent) to replace all dispatchable sources.

Today, one must only glance at the CAISO web site (serves about 80% of California’s grid capacity) to also see this quite clearly. Despite the huge and ever-growing quantity of solar power available during the day, renewable sources can only meet 10-20% of demand between 8pm and 7am night after night. All the solar power in the world couldn’t fix this, and it remains (almost) comical to ponder that every new EV which is recharged at night will be 100% serviced by “non renewable” sources, primarily natural gas. But some day soon that huge solar hump will meet 100% of daytime demand and where will that leave nuclear power? Dead in the water forever. Just where every windmill and solar cell salesman wants it.


Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 18, 2023 5:17 pm

As grid penetration increases, W&S becomes increasingly problematic because of unreliability, intermittency, and wildly fluctuating variability. W&S produce too much when it’s not needed, and too little when it is. Battery storage, for a few days of cloudy and calm, is forever too expensive, that’s a simple fact, no doubt about it, so it can never fully replace conventional electrical generation.

Unique Grids with a high penetration of flexible surplus hydro can handle higher percentages of W&S, but hydro power is typically a byproduct of flood control. Building a dam and reservoir for municipal water supply is pricy, for irrigation questionable, but solely for electrical generation? Not a chance.
Denmark is the poster child for wind generation, being about 50% wind. That’ll keep working as long as they can continue getting flexible hydro from Scandinavia, but don’t try 50% anywhere else on the planet.

The U.S is <12% wind, <5% solar right now in 2023 for electrical generation. Only slightly economically damaging. Combined <5% total energy that begs the question: “Why bother”? Does anyone honestly believe we will ever be 50% W&S? Surely not. Biden is going to spend $300 million over the next 10 years making it worse. But by 2032 NuScale’s (see their website) small scale modular, factory assembled, cookie cutter identical, semi-trailer delivered, walk away safe and affordable nuclear will be proven and ready to replace W&S as the go-to non-carbon electrical generation source (This month NuScale ordered the first of the required long-lead time reactor components. It’s a go).

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
March 19, 2023 5:16 am

I think it’s 300 billion, not million.

March 18, 2023 5:41 pm
March 18, 2023 6:46 pm

Renewables cannot be made reliable with storage so their penetration must be constrained and managed. The North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) must develop Reliability Standards to ensure that the reckless growth of renewables does not destabilize the grid.

wojick doesnt know what he is talking about

America today has less than 20 thousand MWh of grid scale battery storage, which is next to nothing. Grid scale batteries today cost around $700,000 a MWh. 

700K per MWh?


We estimate costs for utility-scale lithium-ion battery systems through 2030 in India based on recent U.S. power-purchase agreement (PPA) prices and bottom-up cost analyses of standalone batteries and solar PV-plus-storage systems. When we scale unsubsidized U.S. PV-plus-storage PPA prices to India, accounting for India’s higher financing costs, we estimate PPA prices of Rs. 3.0–3.5/kWh (4.3–5¢/kWh) for about 13% of PV energy stored in the battery and installation years 2021–2022. These estimates are 34% higher than U.S. prices, excluding any impact of taxes and import duties. Our bottom-up estimates of total capital cost for a 1-MW/4-MWh standalone battery system in India are $203/kWh in 2020, $134/kWh in 2025, and $103/kWh in 2030 (all in 2018 real dollars). When co-located with PV, the storage capital cost would be lower: $187/kWh in 2020, $122/kWh in 2025, and $92/kWh in 2030. 

next i’ll be headed for finland to check out


sand batteries!!!!

There’s nothing special about the sand – the company says it just needs to be dry and free from combustible debris. Indeed, the company sees it as a super-low or even zero-cost storage medium. The whole thing’s so simple and cheap that Polar Night Energy claims the setup costs are less than €10 (US$10.27) per kilowatt-hour, and it runs itself in a fully-automated fashion, using no consumables, at a minimal cost as well.
The company says it’ll scale up, too, with installations around 20 gigawatt-hours of energy storage making hundreds of megawatts of nominal power, and the sand heated as far as 1,000 °C (1,832 °F) in certain designs.

so you take excess electricity and heat sand or brick or rock

  1. heat last for months
  2. it can be used for district heating
  3. used for industrial heating— steel need 600C

or use flow batteries


The Hubei project’s cost for 500MWh of VRFB, along with a combined 1GW of solar PV and wind generation from which it will charge, was cited as around US$1.44 billion.
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).

bottom line when wojick says impossible he means

” i stopped researching when i found the first negative number i liked.

hint strawmen arguments are not fireproof.

old cocky
Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 18, 2023 8:06 pm

i’ll be headed for finland to check out


sand batteries!!!!

Brush up on thermal conductivity before you go.
Sand has a good thermal capacity, but getting the heat in or out is a different matter.

or use flow batteries

Some of the flow battery technologies seem to have quite a bit of potential for stationary applications, depending on their maximum number of recharge cycles and the rate of degradation.

Reply to  old cocky
March 18, 2023 8:40 pm

Not only that, but insulating the sand so that it won’t lose it’s heat over the days and weeks that the energy must be stored is pretty much impossible.
Thermal might be good for load leveling, it’s impossible for it to work as long term storage.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 18, 2023 8:39 pm

Thermal storage? Really, are you that dense or are you that desperate.

I love the way alarmistas come up with ever more fanciful, ever more impossible schemes as their earlier schemes once again fall apart.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 18, 2023 9:26 pm

So why is Tesla charging $500/kWh for grid batteris if you can find them at 20% of the cost in an article on modelled costs? That’s just for the battery. Storage site, grid connection, transformers, installation etc. extra.

Your Finnish company admits that using sand storage as a way to provide backup power is “economically challenging” with a round trip efficiency of 20-25%.

Flow batteries depend on relatively scarce supplies of vanadium, which would become challenging if there were any attempt to scale up their use on a global level. They are rather more expensive than lithium, although they have some characteristics that can justify their use in particular circumstances – mainly high cycle rates (and therefore number of charging cycles) and fluctuating charging levels. They are not economic for longer duration storage.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 18, 2023 11:04 pm

Unfair. The real issue is economic viability.I stop when the total cost of the unreliable vulnerable insecure unsafe renewable solution exceeds nuclear costs by an order of magnitude. I refuse to be drawn ino the leading questioin of how to make renewables work, There is no point in even tryung when a reactor works far far better in every possible way, At far lower costs

Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 19, 2023 1:35 am

Pumped Hydro and sand batteries both use much more power than they produce .
There are no free lunches .
Small hydro schemes that can store water for 10 hours and generate for 2 hours do work well in New Zealand but try getting permission to dam any more small rivers now is all but impossible.
Hydro dams are far the best storage as in New Zealand we have 8 power stations on the Waikato river plus control gates at lake Taupo about 1000 feet above sea level .
The water is held back and used 8 times on its way to the sea as required .
This is true load balancing with automatic control as the wind and solar fluctuate .
Most countries do not have this luxury .
We also have a lot of hydro in the South Island with an undersea cable under Cook Strait.
The Greens are pushing to set up a pumped hydro scheme at lake Winslow in the South Island but it takes more electricity to pump the water up the hill than can be generated .
That is why small dams storing water till needed on small rivers make far more economic sense .

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 19, 2023 5:25 am

“There’s nothing special about the sand….”

But, there’s a shortage in many places. Here in New England, the enviros HATE anyone opening up a new sand/gravel mine. There is no shortage of sand and gravel on the landscape, just a shortage of permits to mine it.

apparently, it’s now a world wide problem


“The most-extracted solid material in the world, and second-most used global resource behind water, sand is an unregulated material used extensively in nearly every construction project on Earth. And with 50 billion metric tons consumed annually—enough to build an 88-foot-tall, 88-foot-wide wall around the world—our sand depletion is on the rise, and a completely unregulated rise at that.”

Reply to  Steven Mosher
March 19, 2023 8:02 am

Steel melts at >1200 deg C
Iron ore even higher, varying with content

Walter Sobchak
March 18, 2023 7:38 pm

I think David is old enough to understand that Congress and the Federal Bureaucracy are not going to stop anything. Only a disaster of unimaginable magnitude will do that.

March 18, 2023 7:43 pm

The solution lies in the development of AI to produce factories which are not reliant upon human labour.

If one excludes the cost of dealing with the intermittency of wind and solar, then the electricity generated from wind and solar could be the cheapest form of energy.

In order to reduce the amount of battery storage required, more interconnecting, long-diftance, power lines are part of the solution, but also the construction of a significant over-supply of windmills and solar panels.

An over-supply would require frequent shedding during windy and sunny periods, which is inefficient and adds to the overall cost of the energy.

Robotic factories which are designed to be shut down, and restarted quickly, could use all that surplus energy, as well as provide cheap products for our consumption. Problem solved.

Reply to  Vincent
March 18, 2023 8:46 pm

In addition to having trillions of dollars in wind and solar that spend most of their time sitting around unused, now we have trillions of dollars in factories sitting around unused most of the time.

And this is supposed to be more efficient?

The best wind and solar sites have already been taking. Given the fact that we have to increase the number of wind and solar sites by a factor of at least 10 to 20, where are they going to go, and how badly will the average up time of wind and solar be degraded by all this marginal sites?

Beyond that, transporting energy across continents means a lot of that energy is going to be lost.
Trillions of dollars in new inter-ties are not the panacea that you want them to be.

Reply to  MarkW
March 18, 2023 11:48 pm

“In addition to having trillions of dollars in wind and solar that spend most of their time sitting around unused, now we have trillions of dollars in factories sitting around unused most of the time.
And this is supposed to be more efficient?:

Most ‘entities’, of various descriptions, ‘sit around’ unused most of the time. It’s a normal state of affairs. For example, there are hundreds of millions of personal vehicles that sit around unused most of the time, either in the home garage over night, or in a car park most of the day when people are at work. Would you recommend that everyone should travel by bus and/or train because they operate most of the time and are therefore more efficient?

All equipment has an operational life-span and requires maintenance, partly in accordance with its degree of usage. A robotically controlled factory will require less maintence if it is used, on average, only half the time, and will probably last about twice as long before it needs replacement.

“The best wind and solar sites have already been taking. Given the fact that we have to increase the number of wind and solar sites by a factor of at least 10 to 20, where are they going to go, and how badly will the average up time of wind and solar be degraded by all this marginal sites?”

I agree that windmills are more of a problem because they are an eyesore, create harmful sonic vibrations, and kill birds. However, solar has great potential. Imagine if every roof in the world were completely covered with durable solar tiles or panels. Would that provide enough energy? If not, then a few additional Solar Farms in arid regions that are not being used for any other purpose, might solve the shortage.

The current limitation to roof-top solar is that most houses are not designed to maximize the generation of solar electricity. Australia has a high percentage of homes with PV panels, about 1/4th of all homes, but only a small proportion of the roof area is covered, maybe as little as 1/8th on average.

“Beyond that, transporting energy across continents means a lot of that energy is going to be lost.
Trillions of dollars in new inter-ties are not the panacea that you want them to be.”

There’s little loss with UHVDC cables, especially when under the sea.

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 5:26 am

Wake up Vincent here-
Wind Energy in Australia | March 2023 | Aneroid
Run your cursor over the high (59.9%) to the low (2.3%) and imagine that boondoggle when the sun goes down. That’s when all the fantasised EV owners come home from work wanting a cooked meal in pleasant comfort while the EV refuels. Those of us with any modicum of human intelligence can immediately see why the climate changers are grasping at AI straws here.

Reply to  observa
March 19, 2023 8:06 am

It’s not just after the sun goes down. Outside around 10am to 2pm, the amount of power from solar starts dropping.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 5:31 am

“The current limitation to roof-top solar is that most houses are not designed to maximize the generation of solar electricity.”

OK, then we’ll just rebuild the entire housing stock of the planet. No problemo. 🙂

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 19, 2023 6:36 am

No building on North facing slopes in the Northern hemisphere, or other shaded locations. No apartment blocks or offices more than say 4 stories. Got to have enough roof space for the solar panels.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 8:31 am

What’s the problem with taller buildings? I never gave that a thought.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 19, 2023 9:48 am

They have a small roof area relative to floor area and therefore energy consumption cannot be met from the roof.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 12:41 pm

Makes sense. I wonder if anyone large wind turbines are installed on tall buildings? Not that I think it’s sensible- just curious. It would certainly look odd.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 19, 2023 7:04 pm

They also shade shorter buildings.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 19, 2023 8:10 am

It’s not just the housing stock, but how roads are laid out will have to be adjusted.

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 6:04 am

Take a look at a typical Melbourne suburb, play spot the panels on the root tops and then revise your estimate of uptake downwards.
It is like those who scream that there is a very large rate of species extinction based on various academic guesses. The response is, show us the bodies. Geoff S

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 8:02 am

Most big factories are 24/7 operations.
Saying that private cars sit idle much of the time therefore it’s no big deal if major factories also sit idle is not a valid comparison.

If factories are never used, then they will never need maintenance, imagine how much money we could save if we never use anything. /sarc

Solar has zero potential, because it doesn’t produce power when power is needed and the cost of storing that energy is prohibitive.

Any loss means that more wind and solar are needed. Small is relative, plus the longer the run, the greater the loss.

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 11:35 pm

Put Your money where you mouth is Vincent
Set up say a small scale saw mill run by robots .
Very simple logs dropped off one end ,sawn timber out the other ready to be loaded on to transport or if soft wood treated on site .
You could negotiate a very sharp price to use only surplus electricity.
Let us know how it is going .
Float the idea to green investors .
What could go wrong ?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MarkW
March 19, 2023 5:29 am

“Given the fact that we have to increase the number of wind and solar sites by a factor of at least 10 to 20…”

I dunno, but I bet it’s WAY more than that- to include the energy needs of the entire world.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Vincent
March 18, 2023 11:17 pm

a lie and a straw man. SMR nuclear is cheaper than renewables excluding cost of intermittency remedies. Add those in, and if you are lucky and have rain and big mountains, you can double the cost. Otherwise the sky is the limit.

Nuclear is ALWAYS cheaper than renewables

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 1:08 am

Can you provide a reliable LCOE comparison, which excludes the cost of intermittency.

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 5:40 am

No you’re the one who wants to tear down the wisdom of generations with nuclear coal gas and oil generation trying to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering that you can’t build a reliable system from unreliable componentry. Up to you and like dreamers to show us one large demonstration net zero grid or desist with this madness.

Reply to  observa
March 19, 2023 6:37 am

“…trying to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering that you can’t build a reliable system from unreliable componentry.”

Solar panels are very reliable componentry. They always produce power when the sun shines. (Unless they are faulty, of course.)

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 8:13 am

If they can’t produce power when the power is needed, they aren’t reliable. Neither wind nor solar are anywhere close to being reliable.

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 6:08 am

Standard question, debunked long ago.
LCOE is not the correct comparator.
The better way is to examine working systems like King Island to get practical information on both renewable penetration ability as well as correct, practical cost comparisons.
Dreamtime economics are not valued. Geoff S

Reply to  Vincent
March 19, 2023 5:59 am

So how do you make pure aluminium metal? Geoff S

Reply to  sherro01
March 19, 2023 6:47 am

Net zero does not mean zero emissions of CO2. For example, one could build a coal-fired power station surrounded by a large number of ‘real’ greenhouses, and channel the CO2 emissions from the power plant through to the greenhouses where the crops would absorb the CO2 and flourish.

Reply to  Vincent
March 20, 2023 1:24 pm

Our farm crops already do that Vincent .No need for green houses .
But we are vilified because we have farm animals that produce minute amounts of methane .

March 18, 2023 8:07 pm

Hello David, It is quoted here that “Grid scale batteries today cost around $700,000 a MWh.” (USD)
In Victoria, Australia, the State government recently paid $870,000 (USD) to install a 360KwH “Neighborhood battery”


Is the installation cost of a 360Kwh battery in the USA a similar cost to Australian prices, or are Australians being ripped off, paying more than 3 times the battery price per KWh?

No-one has thought about the possibility of a prohibitively expensive replacement cost or availability in 8 to 10 years when these batteries need replacing. All Western Nations are facing a national security risk with Net Zero. China is laughing at us as it builds an additional 100 coal fired generators over the next 12 months, while Australia closes them down and blows them up.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  skepticoutsider
March 19, 2023 5:33 am

All the money the West is spending on undependables will be need to fund our militaries to keep China from dominating all of east and south Asia and the western Pacific. It won’t be cheap.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 19, 2023 1:04 pm

Not to worry. Joseph: The Leftist/Greens assure us that there is not only such a thing as a free lunch, but they will pay us to eat it. You know, all those high-paying jobs and the money we will save by not going anywhere of owning anything. Of course, they never factor in the massive disruption of economic activity has on the very survival of many people, not just everybody else’s lower standards of living.

Anyway, none of this Nut Zero nonsense will go anywhere. Leftists make the same old mistake that Communism made: That they can perfect Man and alter human nature. People in general will not voluntarily accept austerity, and especially privation. Tree-hugging ideologues may think they want to go back to nature, but nobody will do that, even those that advocate the current green version of it.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Dave Fair
March 19, 2023 2:08 pm

I might not be so ticked off at the greens if they didn’t have a plan to stop all forestry- so that trees can only have one function- sequester carbon. It’s a new fantasy imagined by a professor William Moomaw. He calls it “proforestation”.

Meanwhile, I’ve started a podcast and now have 3 up. The first simply is a short one mentioning the topics I intend to discuss in future podcasts.


The second has to do with that idiot proforestation fantasy. The Dogwood Alliance down in Dixie has a magazine and in 2017 there was an article about this fantasy. So, back then I sent Moomaw an ultra polite email (not easy for me to be so polite) asking him if he could respond to several questions regarding this new “vision” of his. Of course he didn’t respond. Every few months I’d try again- still no response. So, in this video- I discuss that email that I sent to him. Instead of slashing his fantasy, I played nice. 🙂 This proforestation fantasy is now becoming scripture with the forestry haters.


The third video- I just put up. It’s simply a slide show with 50 forestry photos taken in the 3rd millennium, mostly.


I intend to really start pumping these out- I have thousands of photos, many hours of videos, countless documents of all sorts, spreadsheets I developed and much more. Then I’ll start interviewing the “players” in the forestry world in MA.

The idiots really want to stop all forestry. As time goes by my videos will get revved up and much more aggressive. First I need to get people watching them and especially the green idiots. Then I’ll start talking more about the climate “emergency” and why it’s lame- might even interview some of the “players” here. 🙂

It doesnot add up
March 18, 2023 8:57 pm

I took a look at this issue at hourly resolution for the lower 48 states for 2022. My procedure was slightly different. I looked at the hourly generation from wind and solar, and the hourly demand. Starting from a solar only assumption, I calculated the hourly surpluses and deficits against demand that would feed from and to storage. I looked at two different storage scenarios: a “battery” or “pumped storage” storage system with a round trip efficiency of 75%, and a Power-to-Gas solution with a much lower round trip efficiency of 36%. The total volume of surpluses had to exceed the deficits to cover the round trip losses, and generation capacity was calculated to deliver the same volume in storage at the end of the year as we started with.

I then looked at the trade-off from cutting solar progressively, and adding in wind to replace it while maintaining the same constraint on storage that generation must be sufficient to replenish storage over the year to its starting level, finishing with an all wind, zero solar solution. Of course initial storage has to be sufficient to ensure that the amount in store never falls below zero over the year. The time of minimum storage is at the end of summer before demand tails off in the shoulder fall/autumn months.

The idea was to look at how the storage requirement varied with changing relative proportions of wind and solar for a wind and solar only grid. I also looked at the maximum total hourly production for each scenario to see what grid capacity would be needed to transmit it to demand and to or from storage. These trade-offs are summarised in this chart:

comment image

There is a surprisingly broad range of mix of wind and solar with a relatively constant storage capacity required of around 300TWh, but extremes of depending on one or the other are to be avoided, because storage requirements escalate sharply. That is slightly higher than your figure of 250TWh because I included no nuclear or other generation, but we are in the same ballpark. Here, storage capacity is defined as redeliverable storage after the round trip loss. So if you are using gas as an intermediate store, you have to boost the amount of gas in storage to cover the losses due to the inefficiency of gas generation, which would set the gas storage at ~500TWh if we assume a 60% generating efficiency. Perhaps surprisingly the redeliverable storage requirement differs little between the very different round trip efficiencies over most of the range of wind to solar ratios: it is the extra capacity for both generation and grid transmission required to cover the round trip losses that takes the strain. Grid capacity required tends to be lower at higher relative amounts of wind capacity because solar is much more peaky in output.

In reality we really need to start by looking at the most difficult years, with low capcaity factors for wind and/or solar generation. If we can’t keep the lights on for these we don’t have a viable system. The corollary of course is that there will inevitably be years of high renewables output, but whether it is worth storing the surplus against future extended Dunkelflaute some years ahead is likely to produce the answer no. So that means that the surplus would be curtailed at least once the storage is full. There will be ongoing self-discharge losses from any kind of storage to further dampen the economics of inter year storage.

Your paper makes many excellent points about why the simple copper plate (any generating surplus can fill any demand anywhere) analysis for sample years is inadequate, and it certainly makes the point that storage is infeasibly expensive. There are two ways out of this conundrum. One is to invest in overgeneration, and the other is to cheat by using backup generation which would inevitably be fossil fuelled. Another cheat method favoured by those playing with the numbers in green think tanks and consultancies is to assume that it’s OK to have unsatisfied demand imposed via “demand side response”. Here the assumptions tend to be hidden from public view: my guess is that they are assuming you can cut large swathes of heating demand for days on end in a lengthy winter cold snap without provoking riots at the next election or killing too many people.

The reality is that long before we reach the point at which renewables are close to numerically generating enough over a year to meet demand we will be seeing rising periods of surplus generation, starting mainly in the lowest demand hours or locally around solar peaks when air conditioning demand is not too high – a sunny day in May for example. The duration of these surpluses will increase as more generation is added, and the size of the surplus will increase in the lower demand hours. The result is that we will have a small number of hours with a very large surplus, tailing down to many hours with smaller surpluses. That of itself creates an economic problem, since it will not be economic to transmit and store very occasional large surpluses, so much of that output will have to be spilled/curtailed. Already curtailment starts to eat into renewables economics. Initially, it rises roughly quadratically as the number of hours and the size of surpluses increase. Later, as the marginal useful generation from each capacity increment drops because it is simply adding to surpluses at times of reasonable output, but doing very little to solve Dunkelflaute deficits, curtailment asymptotically approaches a very high percentage of incremental output. The effective marginal cost of useful renewables generation can become a large multiple of any simplistic levellised cost calculation.

However, there is a trade-off with reduced storage requirement as extra generation is added, and since storage is much more expensive than extra generation, the optimal solutions will have significant over-generation. There is no single real optimum, because of the unpredictable variations in demand and generation. The best that can be done is to head in roughly the right direction so that there is a broad range where costs do not vary too much. The exploration of this range of sensitivities needs to start with the difficult years that impose larger storage requirements and lower renewables output. It is necessary to look at averaged annualised costs for the various elements. That means allowing for asset lifetimes and using an annualised capital charge basis for the asset itself, plus maintenance and other input costs. That applies to grids, wind and solar generation and storage assets. Of course, once you start allowing backup generation into the system you will likely canibalise the whole renewables setup. But it’s probably best to compare with a non-renewables optimised grid as a separate exercise to evaluate the extra costs.

I may have time to explore the rudiments of the over-generation tradeoff in a further post before the discussion here tails off. An introduction to the behaviour can be seen in my simpler analysis of wind and solar on Thursday Island.


Reply to  It doesnot add up
March 19, 2023 6:24 am

I can remember past decades when we did not have to do this type of analysis because here in Australia we had a beautiful mostly coal-based system that was as reliable and cheap and high quality as any in the world. We attracted industry and jobs and income in those golden years.
Then, activism and greed and ideology and control freak thinking got a hold about 2006 and the systematic dismantling started. We have forgotten why we now continue down this backward path.
Here is one way to show cost movements. Geoff S
comment image

Dave Fair
Reply to  sherro01
March 19, 2023 1:34 pm

As a simplistic statement, the electric component of CPI used to hold down the rate of increases to total CPI. With the advent of (to you non-U.S. people) PPE graduates (we call them English Lit. majors) running the energy supply systems, the electric component began to put upward pressure on the overall CPI rate of increase. What a deal!

Leo Smith
March 18, 2023 9:22 pm

Net zero is not impossible if you don’t attempt to do it with renewables.
Let me say here and now that I have no faith in the climate change narrative,but when it comes to peak fossil, absolutely! I believe that conventional oil and gas are getting scarce and expensive, and while coal has potential for a while yet, its pretty hard to make synthetic diesel from it.
For that reasons I spent some time a decade ago assessing how much nuclear power we might need to transition from fossil fuels as far as was practicable.
Not only is it doable and there is plenty of Uranium and Thorium to keep us going until the magic unicorn of Fusion arrives, but if we take on board the real dangers of radiation as outlined by Wade Allison rather than the uber paranoid regulatory environment developed when we had no idea what the long term effects of modest increases in background radiation were, the possibility of generating electricity at a levelised cost about the same as coal is definitely feasible.
Now that doesn’t solve all the problems of no oil or gas, but it goes a long way. As far as feedstock into the plastics industry go, plenty of renewable feedstocks exist – oil is used for plastics but its overwhelming use is energy. We don’t need a lot of feedstock for plastics.
Use of coal and gas as energy and reducing agents in the smelting of metals and the manufacture of cement can in the limit be done with alternative agents like hydrogen, which is easy to make at rather low efficiency by electrolysis.So we might see an increase in the price of iron steel and cement, but in the case of metals, that merely makes recycling viable economically.And aluminum and titanium can be produced by electrolysis directly.
Ships can be nuclear powered. Trains can run on electricity. This has all been done and costs are known.
Domestic and industrial use of gas for heating can probably be undercut by nuclear electricity, espeially in conjunction with heat pumps.
So what is left? The 100% $64000 dollar problem is portable power. A small ship to small for a reactor, freight and car usage, and above all air transport. All these would be severely llimited by the loss of cheap hydrocarbon fuel and the great battery experiment is showing that lmited range high cost, unreliability and safety concerns, as well as the likelihood that peak lithium will precede peak oil..will limit battery power to applications close to the grid and of low power only.

One option is portable nuclear power – a reactor needing maybe only a lake that will fit in a container would enable some applications, but the fact remains that the sort of energy-density<=>safety optimum lies with the kerosene and gasoline range of hydrocarbons. Especially since the oxidiser is present in the air. And the whole infrastructure to distribute these already exists. With low cost nuclear power a free market would transition to synthetic versions of these when fossil equivalents finally rose in cost beyond them. No need to legislate. Let the market decide.

This is not to say that deep changes to how society operates would not take place as the relative costs of energy and transport shifted with respect to other solutions, but by using the market instead of legislation and subsidy, and accepting the inevitability of nuclear power, the transition would be smoother and not involve the current headlong dash down the unbelievably wasteful and ultimately unsustainable dead end street of renewables.

I see the above as the only alternative to a new Dark Age as fossil fuel approaches an EROEI of about 5. The current global elites are preparing for that age, By taking control of what energy remains and fighting wars over it.
Nothing need by done by central government yo bring about the Nuclear age other than removing the punitive regulations that hinder its deployment and promise not to renege on tacit support for it. In this context the free market libertarian political parties would be far more effective than the massive monlithic deep state technocratic bureaucracies of the so called ‘Liberal Left’
But if course, paraphrasing Churchill, this will not happen until all the other alternatives have been exhausted. It is no use to predict, as I did, precisely what is happening now ten years ago, when no one has the background to understabnd the arguments.
All we can do is keep suggesting what we feel is the right course of action in as many places as possible, as a counter propaganda to the deep state green blob. In the hope that finally it becomes main stream.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 5:36 am

“I believe that conventional oil and gas are getting scarce and expensive…”
But is it really? Isn’t it more from political reasons? When Russia is finally rehabilitated from its current idiocy, they can produce a vast supply.

Last edited 11 days ago by Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Leo Smith
March 19, 2023 8:19 am

Gas and oil are only getting scarce because of politics. There’s plenty left in the ground, enough for hundreds of years. All we need to do is to get the politicians out of the way.

March 18, 2023 9:42 pm

Great article, on my list of recommended articles I read


I can’t resist adding more reasons why Nut Zero is impossible:

Transformer shortage
Lithium shortage
Cobalt shortage
Copper shortage
Money shortage
Time shortage

Lack of global warming for the past eight years

Lack of a detailed Nut Zero plan
for every company involved,
resulting in:

(1) Lack of engineering feasibility analysis
(2) Lack of cost analysis
(3) Lack of timing critical path analysis

Nut Zero leadership intelligence shortage

Nut zero leadership (politicians and activists, not grid engineers) are currently busy developing excuses for the press release when the Nut Zero project collapses. 

In the lead so far are these five excuses:

(1) “Nut Zero is not going according to plan
because there never was a plan”

 (2) “The Nut Zero project revealed an alarming increase
in the number of things we knew nothing about”

(3) “By doing just a little every day,
we gradually let the Nut Zero task
completely overwhelm us”

(4) “The Nut Zero failure was Trump’s fault”

(5) “A big dog ate our Nut Zero plans”

Leo Smith
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 18, 2023 11:19 pm


Dave Fair
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 19, 2023 1:45 pm

A slight clarification, Richard: There is no money shortage when one prints the money. That’s one of the problems we are currently having throughout our economy.

Dodgy Geezer
March 18, 2023 10:58 pm

This is a religion. It is therefore not susceptible to logical argument.

Whole civilisations have died off in the past rather than admit that their religion was wrong. This is now a distinct possibility for us….

Iain Reid
March 19, 2023 12:25 am


I don’t understand why the engineers working for the various grid operators are not more vocal on this matter, they must know that transitioning from fossil fuel to wind and solar is not possible? After all they will be held responsible when there is a serious grid failure.

Steve Richards
Reply to  Iain Reid
March 19, 2023 3:43 am

They have mortgages and families to feed.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Steve Richards
March 19, 2023 5:37 am

Probably true of many academics too- and they certainly don’t want to lose those gravy jobs!

Steve Richards
March 19, 2023 3:47 am

Another cost multiplier.
As the penetration of wind increases, the frequency and length of curtailment increases. This is increase the amount of money paid to windfarm owners.

I expect that with so many additional windfarms, contracts will be renegotiated to increase the level of payments.

The owners have been rather successful and negotiating excellent terms fir themselves so far.

Last edited 11 days ago by Steve Richards
Dave Fair
Reply to  Steve Richards
March 19, 2023 1:48 pm

We will find out if that remains true when UK regulators consider offshore developer’s demands for higher subsidized and guarantied rates.

Tom Abbott
March 19, 2023 4:49 am

From the article: “Grid scale batteries today cost around $700,000 a MWh. For 250 million MWh we get an astronomical total cost of $175 trillion dollars just to replace today’s fossil fuel generated electricity needs with wind and solar. Even the fantastically low cost estimates that some people are proposing puts the cost around the total GDP of America. Even worse, if we get the electric cars the Biden Administration is calling for these astronomical numbers could easily double.”

On top of that, we would have to replace all of those batteries in 10 to 20 years, and then replace those batteries in 10 or 20 years and on and on and on.

Climate Change Alarmists think batteries grow on trees. They think we have an unlimited amount of easily accessable raw materials here on Earth.

Climate Change Alarmists are clueless. Their unreasonable fear of CO2 overrides their common sense (if they had any to begin with).

Last edited 11 days ago by Tom Abbott
William Howard
March 19, 2023 6:43 am

cost is certainly an issue but I like the study that concluded that to eliminate all natural gas with wind & solar you would need a land mass twice the size of California – as our former President like to say – Ain’t gonna happen

John Kelly
March 19, 2023 9:18 am

The world needs the engineers to be heard.

March 20, 2023 3:26 am

There have been some exchanges earlier on this thread about backup, fuel savings etc with particular application to the UK

Everyone read this (and Chris’ other posts):


I now conclude that to be Net Zero in a ‘bad’ wind year like 2021, UK plc requires an extra 270% of wind generation plus 13 million MWh of energy storage. With today’s battery technology (not recommending it) this storage is equal to 27,000 Mornington BESSs. At a cost of AUD 190 million ~GBP 100 million each, we get an indication of the potential cost of energy storage alone: around GBP 2,700 million (£2.7 trillion).Even if the UK was able in future to produce ten times current wind generation there would still be lulls in a typical year when the renewable power produced would not meet demand.

How to produce an economic and social crash by refusing to do proper analysis or conduct a quantified debate, and insisting on attempting the impossible.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  michel
March 20, 2023 11:45 am

GBP 2,700 million”

Again, absolute nonsense figures made up by pretending that UK would try to cover an annual variation with batteries. They wouldn’t. That is not one of the storage options being considered for this situation. It would be better to simply overbuild by 270%.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 20, 2023 2:39 pm

Unfortunately overbuild has sharply diminishing returns absent storage. These curves compare different levels of peakiness in demand, from pure baseload (p=1) through to half demand hours being at a peak of 3 times baseload that applies to the other half. The problem is simply that capcity increasingly simply reinforces curtailment surpluses, rather than providing much additional generation when the wind is still.

When you cull storage you cull the ability to store surpluses because the storage gets full. It can only provide cover in accordance with its capacity, and needs a fresh surplus to refill it once used up – there is no more reserve. That may not come soon enough.

Wind Penetration vs Capacity.png
John Brown
March 20, 2023 3:09 pm

Thanks for your article and report. Yes, not only are such large, unaffordable batteries required but also the additional installed/nameplate capacity of renewables needs to be enormously increased if we are to have reliable/dispatchable power.
I calculate that with an overall battery efficiency of 80% then it is necessary to install 4 GW of wind capacity for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable power.
In the case of hydrogen produced by electrolysis as a store of energy then for wind it is necessary to install 8 GW of capacity for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable power. For solar in the UK we need 30 GW for each 1 GW of dispatchable power.