No Solution to Wind Power’s Hopeless Intermittency: Cost Kills Big Battery Myth

The big wind drought in Europe has acolytes ranting about giant batteries saving the day. It’s a typical but delusional response to wind power’s hopeless intermittency.

True enough, at the margins, it is possible to store electricity. But, the cost of doing so on any kind of scale is simply out of this world. Then there’s the way giant batteries are developing a habit of spontaneously exploding into giant, toxic fireballs (see above and below).

Eric Worrall reports on the latest ‘batteries will save us’ wheeze, this time it’s the US Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen taking us down the rabbit hole.

Treasury Secretary on European Wind Drought: “Energy Storage … Can Be Deployed”
Watts Up With That?
Eric Worrall
4 October 2021

If Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has calculated how much must be spent on energy storage to stabilise a 100% renewable grid, she does not seem keen to share.

Why Treasury Secretary Yellen testified that climate change ‘must be addressed’

Grace O’Donnell
Assistant Editor
Mon, October 4, 2021, 11:54 PM

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen recently reiterated her stance that climate change poses a threat to the U.S. economy.

“Climate change is an existential threat, and it is a very high priority of President Biden’s and of mine to address it,” Yellen told the Senate Banking Committee last week.

Yellen also responded to a question about the Biden administration’s plans to shift U.S. energy to be reliant on renewable sources by 2035.

“I don’t believe that the president’s program is going to lead to increases in the cost of energy,” Yellen said, referring to the fuel shortage and high gas prices in the UK and Europe more broadly.

She added that “in the case of the UK, there’s a question of what to do if the sun isn’t out and the wind doesn’t blow, and I believe there is storage technologies that can be deployed and, you know, other means to address that, and of course that has to be part of a plan to switch to renewables and address climate change.”

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A while ago I performed a rough calculation, total cost of wind turbines to produce enough annual power, to replace the current US generator fleet is around $20 trillion.

But the cost of battery storage to redistribute the peaks and troughs into a smooth supply throughout the year, by my calculation, was around $50 trillion. My rough calculation didn’t take seasonal variations in supply and demand into account – that $50 trillion only buys you five days backup, and assumes the batteries have a full charge at the start of the 5 day “energy drought”.

Maybe my rough calculation is wrong. But hand-waving proposed expenditure of anything like that magnitude just isn’t good enough.

US Treasury Secretary Yellen must be totally candid about her department’s green energy generation and storage cost calculations, her calculation parameters, her expenditure timeframe, and explain to the American people how the USA will be more financially stable after the USA borrows or raises 10s of trillions of dollars, and somehow passes those costs onto US businesses and consumers.

Watts Up With That?

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November 5, 2021 at 01:31AM

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