Don’t Bet On Batteries

Wind and solar energy are notoriously unreliable sources of electricity, with the best wind turbines producing electricity a little over 40 percent of the time, and solar panels faring even worse. Where I live, solar panels work around 18 percent of the time, and the electricity they produce is so faint that when they are covered by snow in the winter–I know, it’s a shock, but that happens in Minnesota and other northern states–they aren’t worth shoveling off.

Can anything save wind and solar energy from irrelevance? If you ask a liberal that question, his answer will be: batteries! Batteries that will store electricity when wind turbines and solar panels actually work, and discharge that electricity the rest of the time. Do batteries approaching such a scale actually exist? Well, no. It’s a concept.

But how does the total quantity of existing battery storage, which all of us rely on every day for our laptops, phones and other devices, compare with an industrial society’s need for power? Bjorn Lomborg does the math; the result is pathetic:

Batteries are incredibly expensive compared with the power that can be generated by reliable energy sources–nuclear, coal, natural gas and hydropower. Cranking up the world’s battery capacity with vast mining projects to acquire the necessary lithium and other minerals would entail massive environmental degradation along with driving up the price of those materials. And obtaining and processing the materials needed to manufacture the turbines and panels needed to convert the world’s economy to wind and solar energy–a hopeless pipe dream in any case–would be a mining and manufacturing project unprecedented in human history.

Also, one that would be mostly under the control of the Red Chinese–they are not major players in fossil fuels, but utterly dominate “green” energy. But for liberals, that is probably a feature rather than a bug. If you think that America deserves to be destroyed, this is a quick way to do it.

At some point in human history, there must have been a dumber idea than converting our industrial base to wind, solar and imaginary batteries, but offhand I can’t think what it was.

BTW, I came across Lomborg’s tweets on Lara Logan’s Twitter feed, to which I followed a now-forgotten link. Ms. Logan’s Twitter feed is excellent, and I commend it to you if you are on that platform. One is tempted to say that she has come out as a conservative, but then again, she may just be sane. These days, that is a subtle distinction.

Logan posts this graphic, which sums up the world of journalism very well:

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