Wind and solar installations produce electricity well under 50 percent of the time, a fact that never will change. So, in a “green” world, how do you keep the lights on? Battery storage, liberals tell us. (The electric grid is not a storage device. Electricity on the grid must be consumed in the moment in which it is produced.) Amazingly, however, no environmentalist or liberal has made any effort to demonstrate that battery storage on the scale needed is possible, let alone affordable. In fact, it is not even remotely possible.
The main point of the paper is that an electrical grid powered mostly by intermittent generators like wind and sun requires full backup from some source; and if that source is to be stored energy, the amounts of storage required are truly staggering. When you do the simple arithmetic to calculate the storage requirements and the likely costs, it becomes obvious that the entire project is completely impractical and unaffordable. The activists and politicians pushing us toward this new energy system of wind/solar/storage are either being intentionally deceptive or totally incompetent.
Thus, for example:
Consider the case of Germany, the country that has gone the farthest of any in the world down the road to “energy transition.” My Report presents two different calculations of the energy storage requirement for Germany in a world of a wind/solar grid and no fossil fuels allowed…. One of the calculations, by a guy named Roger Andrews, came to a requirement of approximately 25,000 GWh; and the other, by two authors named Ruhnau and Qvist, came to a higher figure of 56,000 GWh. The two use similar but not identical methodology, and somewhat different assumptions. Clearly there is a large range of uncertainty as to the actual requirement; but the two calculations cited give a reasonable range for the scope of the problem.
And against these projections of a storage requirement in the range of tens of thousands of GWh, what are Germany’s plans as presented in this “20-fold expansion” by 2031? From my Report:
In the case of Germany, Wood Mackenzie states that the planned energy storage capacity for 2031, following the 20-fold expansion, is 8.81GWh.
Rather than tens of thousands of GWh, it’s single digits. How does that stack up in percentage terms against the projected requirements?:
In other words, the amount of energy storage that Germany is planning for 2031 is between 0.016% and 0.036% of what it actually would need. This does not qualify as a serious effort to produce a system that might work.
This absurd situation is duplicated in every other jurisdiction that has purported to mandate wind and solar energy. For example, California:
The Report cites another article from Utility Dive stating that the California Public Utilities Commission has ordered the state’s power providers to collectively procure by 2026 some 10.5 GW (or 42.0 GWh) of lithium-ion batteries for grid-scale storage:
The additional 10.5 GW of lithium-ion storage capacity, translating to at most about 42 GWh, would take California all the way to about 0.17% of the energy storage it would need to fully back up a wind/solar generation system.
This is a joke. There are nowhere near enough batteries in the world to back up the world’s need for electricity, nor will there ever be. My colleague Isaac Orr prepared this simple graph, which shows the entire battery capacity of the world as projected in 2030 against the electricity consumption of a single state, Minnesota:
Is there a single place, anywhere in the world, that has actually satisfied its citizens’ need for electricity through wind or solar energy, plus batteries, as liberals now demand for all of us? No, actually, there isn’t:
Here’s what tells you all you need to know: not only is there no working demonstration project anywhere in the world of the wind/solar/storage energy system, but there is none under construction and none even proposed.
The whole green energy project is a gigantic fraud. A handful of shysters are getting rich, along with some activists and politicians, while the rest of us will be left holding the bag. In the dark.