Renewable Energy's $2.5 trillion problem



Posted by Ed 8 mths ago
The $2.5 trillion reason we can’t rely on batteries to clean up the grid

Fluctuating solar and wind power require lots of energy storage, and lithium-ion batteries seem like the obvious choice—but they are far too expensive to play a major role.

Apair of 500-foot smokestacks rise from a natural-gas power plant on the harbor of Moss Landing, California, casting an industrial pall over the pretty seaside town.

If state regulators sign off, however, it could be the site of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery project by late 2020, helping to balance fluctuating wind and solar energy on the California grid.

The 300-megawatt facility is one of four giant lithium-ion storage projects that Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s largest utility, asked the California Public Utilities Commission to approve in late June. Collectively, they would add enough storage capacity to the grid to supply about 2,700 homes for a month (or to store about .0009 percent of the electricity the state uses each year).

The California projects are among a growing number of efforts around the world, including Tesla’s 100-megawatt battery array in South Australia, to build ever larger lithium-ion storage systems as prices decline and renewable generation increases. They’re fueling growing optimism that these giant batteries will allow wind and solar power to displace a growing share of fossil-fuel plants.

But there’s a problem with this rosy scenario:


Ed 8 mths ago
How much more electricity do we need to go to 100% electric vehicles?

As reported in Blowout week 146 the EU is drafting legislation to mandate the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in new homes while Germany and the Netherlands are considering legislation requiring that all cars and light vehicles sold after 2025 or 2030 must be 100% electric.

None of this legislation has as yet been approved, but if it is how much extra electricity will be needed to power the millions of EVs involved, and how much will it cost? I’ve seen no numbers on this, so in this post I present some, starting with Germany, the Netherlands and the EU and adding a few more countries – and the world – as we go.

Because of the uncertainties in the data and assumptions used the numbers should be considered as ball-park estimates only.

The World: An 18% increase in generation and a 30% increase in installed capacity, costing $5.0 trillion. These numbers increase to 26%, 44%, and $7.3 trillion if we assume that the number of vehicles in the world continues to grow at 2.7%/year through 2030.

See country breakdowns and further details:

Ed 5 mths ago

Ed 4 mths ago
Why Wind Power Isn’t the Answer

As a new study confirms, turbines would have to be stacked across state-sized swaths of the American landscape.

On October 8, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report warning that nations around the world must cut their greenhouse-gas emissions drastically to reduce the possibility of catastrophic climate change. The report emphasizes “fast deployment of renewables like solar and wind” and largely ignores the essential role nuclear energy must play in any decarbonization effort.

Four days earlier, to much less fanfare, two Harvard researchers published a paper showing that trying to fuel our energy-intensive society solely with renewables would require cartoonish amounts of land.

How cartoonish?

Consider: meeting America’s current demand for electricity alone—not including gasoline or jet fuel, or the natural gas required for things like space heating and fertilizer production—would require covering a territory twice the size of California with wind turbines

Ed 3 mths ago
The cost of wind & solar power: batteries included

For some time now we here on Energy Matters have been harping on about the prohibitive costs of long-term battery storage.

Here, using two simplified examples, I quantify these costs. The results show that while batteries may be useful for fast-frequency response applications they increase the levelized costs of wind and solar electricity by a factor of ten or more when used for long-term – in particular seasonal – storage.

Obviously a commercial-scale storage technology much cheaper than batteries is going to be needed before the world’s electricity sector can transition to intermittent renewables.

The problem is that there isn’t one.

Ed 35 days ago
Renewable Storage Myth Busted: Elon Musk’s Great Battery Conjob Exposed

We’re now told the solution to the chaos delivered by wind and solar is giant lithium-ion batteries, of the kind peddled by Elon Musk. The reefer-smoking, Californian carpetbagger managed to offload one unit in wind power obsessed, South Australia, collected $150 million, and was never seen again.

Here’s Liberal MP, Craig Kelly explaining just how brilliant a salesmen was Musk and/or what suckers South Australians must be.

To keep the subsidies flowing and the public hoodwinked, green-rent-seekers have peddled the delusion that the intermittency of solar/wind can be solved with ‘’big batteries’’.

This conjob was first sold in South Australia, as with their experiment of a 50% Renewable Energy Target descending into a costly farce, and to cover-up the fact they needed spend several hundred million on emergency diesel generators to keep the lights on just before the state election, with Hollywood fanfare SA announced they were installing ‘’the world’s largest battery’’ to save the day.

And unsurprisingly, the green useless idiots of the left have swallowed this hook, line and sinker – as rent seekers continued to go laughing to the bank to cash their millions from subsidies.

Well the performance of the ‘’world’s largest battery’’ last Thursday exposed what a complete con job it’s been – and delusion that we can power our economy on solar panels, wind turbines and big batteries is as dangerous to the economy as rabies is in a dog.

Let’s look at the evidence from 24th Jan …

As wind power collapsed into the afternoon, prices in South Australia surged to $14,500 Mwh (they averaged around $40 Mwh before all these ‘cheap’ renewables flooded into the grid) at around 4.30pm ‘’the world’s biggest battery’’ started to dribble in 30MW to the grid.

The 30MW was less than 1% of South Australia’s total demand, and less than 0.1% of the National grid’s demand.

The world’s biggest battery continued to dribble out around 30MW until 7.30pm, then it ran flat, rendering it completely useless as peak demand hit at 7.30pm.

Meanwhile the emergency diesel generators (chewing through a reported 80,000 litres of diesel an hour) were doing the real work in SA, pumping out over 400MW at a time on demand – and they continued to so as demand peaked at 7.30pm, when the world’s largest battery had given up the ghost.

So at peak demand, in the renewables paradise of South Australia, 97% of their electricity was coming from fossil fuels.

Over the afternoon, I estimate the ‘’world’s biggest battery’’ delivered only around 100 Mwh of electricity – compared to 2000Mwh by the diesel generators.

The facts should be clear from the evidence that it’s a dangerous delusion that Australia can run the economy with solar/wind backed up by big batteries.

But sadly once leftists have been radicalised by green propaganda – evidence, engineering & economics no longer matter, because their belief is a semi-religious one based on feelings and emotions and their minds are closed to rational thoughts and logic.

Ed 7 days ago
The growing dependence of renewables on fossil fuels comes into sharp relief when we look at the declining ore grades of mined copper.

According to Fitch data, the average copper mine grade in Chile had fallen from about 1.5% in 1999, to below about 0.6% in 2017.

As ore grades decline, higher amounts of copper ore need to be mined and processed to reach the same level of copper concentrate output. Companies would increasingly be drawn to new technology or upgraded equipment to improve operational efficiency, Fitch said. Clearly, energy use per tonne of refined copper will need to increase.

A paper co-authored by Australian geologist Gavin Mudd in November 2016 quantifies, on a global level, the relationship between ore grade and energy intensity. The study shows that the average copper ore grade is decreasing over time, while the energy consumption and the total material production in the mine increases.

Analyzing copper mines, the average ore grade has decreased approximately by 25% in just ten years. In that same period, the total energy consumption has increased at a higher rate than production (46% energy increase over 30% production increase.

Continued growth in the deployment of renewables depends on growth in the availability of affordable copper.

Every electrical technology we think of as ‘renewable’ energy, wind turbines, solar P.V., inverters, electric cars, needs copper windings, cables and circuit boards to operate efficiently.

Nothing else on the table of elements has the physical or electrical properties of copper, at least nothing with a cost of production as low as copper.

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