The wind and solar scam attracts scoundrels, whose audacity is matched by their capacity to spin fantastic tales. One of which is the claim that giant batteries are all that’s needed to deliver an all wind and sun powered future.
It’s a fiction, to be sure. But, as the old propaganda adage has it, the bigger the lie, the more often it’s told, the more likely the gullible and naïve will swallow it.
And, so it is, in New York, where renewable energy rent seekers are pitching a staggeringly useless giant battery proposal, with an equally staggering price tag.
New York Can’t Buy its Way Out of Blackouts
24 December 2020
New York City will soon be home to the world’s biggest industrial-scale battery system. It’s designed to back up the city’s growing reliance on intermittent “renewable” electricity. At 400 megawatt-hours (MWh), this cluster of batteries will be more than triple the 129 MWh world leader in Australia.
Mark Chambers, NYC’s Director of Sustainability (I am not making this title up), is ecstatic. “Expanding battery storage is a critical part of how we advance momentum to confront the climate emergency,” he brags,” while meeting the energy needs of all New Yorkers. Today’s announcement demonstrates how we can deliver this need at significant scale.”[Emphasis added]
In the same nonsensical way, Tim Cawley, president of Con Edison, New York state’s power utility, gushes thus: “Utility-scale battery storage will play a vital role in New York’s clean energy future, especially in New York City, where it will help to maximize the benefit of the wind power being developed offshore.”
In reality, the scale here is vanishingly insignificant. The official enthusiasm puts the Con in Con Edison. (And few New Yorkers and other East Coast residents are going to tolerate thousands of 850-foot-tall wind turbines off their shores. People don’t want them in their onshore backyards either.)
When it comes to the scale needed to reliably back up unreliable pretend-renewable electricity generation– and keep business, industry, social media and civilization functioning – New York’s and America’s policy makers need to start living in the Real World. Otherwise blackouts will become common.
For simplicity, let’s suppose New York City is 100% wind powered. (Including solar in the generating mix makes it more complicated but does not change the unhappy outcome very much.)
NYC currently peaks at around 13,000 MW – just to keep the city running. If Mr. Biden makes all the cars and trucks electric, total demand could eventually hit 20,000 MW. But let’s stick to present day reality.
This peak occurs because of enormous air conditioning demand during summer heat waves, which is bad enough. But to make matters even worse, those heat waves are caused by stagnant high pressure systems called Bermuda highs. These highs often last for a week and because they involve stagnant air masses – and an absence of breezes – there is no wind power generation.
Wind turbines require something like sustained winds of 10 mph to move the blades and more like a whistling 30 mph to generate full power. During a Bermuda high, folks are happy to get the occasional 5 mph breeze. These huge highs cover many states, so it is not like we can get the juice from next door.
So for reliability we need, say, seven days of backup: 168 hours. Here’s the math:
13,000 MW x 168 hours = 2,184,000 MWh of stored juice needed to just make it. Mind you, for normal reliability we usually add 20% or so as a safety measure. Did I mention electric cars? Replacing natural gas with electricity for cooking, water heating and other needs? Charging all those batteries? Maybe they need to add 40% to account for emergency circumstances. But let’s ignore that for now.
It is easy to see that 400 MWh is not “significant scale.” It is trivial, infinitesimal scale. Virtually nothing.
Nada. It might as well not exist. It might be enough to power Gracie Mansion and City government offices during a summer heat wave, but that’s about it.
More specifically, 2,184,000 divided by 400 = 5,460. That means New York City just needs another 5,459 additional battery clusters to meet those peak needs.
On the other hand, this measly 400 MWh battery array may well cost half a billion dollars, which is significant, especially to the New Yorkers who will pay for it. No cost figures were given, because the system is privately owned.
However, the Energy Information Administration says the average utility scale battery system runs around $1.5 million per MWh of storage capacity. That works out to $600 million for this insignificant climate-obsessing toy.
So what would it cost to reliably back up wind power, at this MWh cost and NYC scale? Just over $3,000,000,000,000. THREE TRILLION DOLLARS! I have not seen this stupendous sum reported in the media. Perhaps Con Ed has not mentioned it. They certainly know about it.
But hey, maybe the cost will come down a trillion – though not if we create a seller’s market by rushing into intermittent renewables, which is certainly where we are headed. After all, this is just New York City. Imagine what backing up America with batteries might cost. Don’t bother because it is impossible.
I should also add that we have no idea how to make 2 million MWh of batteries work together. The tiny 400 will be a challenge. Millions of megawatt hours on demand may not be possible.
Then too, New York State has the same problem. Only much bigger if New York City is included, which it often is. New York State peaks at about 32,000 MW, which works out to 5,376,000 MWh of stored juice at a cost of EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS for enough batteries to make 100% wind reliable. And again, this is without phasing in electric cars and trucks, phasing out gas heat, a 20% reserve, etc.
Note that New York State has a law saying they will build at least 3,000 MWh of batteries over the next decade. Like NYC’s grand 400 MWh battery system, this is as nothing compared to what is needed to keep the lights on. Nor does the New York Power Authority mention the many trillions of dollars needed to make renewables reliable.
All of this battery backup hype is a scam, and not just in New York. The papers are full of this con, from coast to coast. Solar plus batteries or wind plus batteries, as though the batteries mattered, when they do not. The utilities know perfectly well that these loudly touted battery buys are a hoax, but they are getting rich building the mandated and subsidized wind and solar systems the politicians are calling for. Adding a trivial battery makes it sound like renewables work. Which they don’t.
On a larger scale, consider PJM. This is the electric power coordinating group of utilities that oversees the central part of the Eastern USA (not including New York State). Its primary mission is system reliability, so it should be very interested in this impossible battery-cost problem. This includes big cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington DC
PJM peaks at around 150,000 MW, so a week of backup battery juice is 25,200,000 MWh. At $1,500,000 per MWh, that is just under a mere THIRTY-EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS! This too is without electrifying all our fossil fueled cars, trucks, buildings, appliances and whatever else the climate emergency central planners can think of. Yet PJM says not a mumbling word about the impossibility of delivering reliability using all renewables and batteries.
Note that PJM plus New York is $46 billion and this is just a small part of America. The voters are oblivious to these impossible numbers, since they are repeatedly told that intermittent wind and solar are cheaper than reliable coal, gas and nuclear. Only when the sun shines bright and the wind blows hard, which is not all that often.
Maybe fracked geothermal, the reliable renewable, is the answer. Or how about reliable coal, oil, gas and nuclear power? Too bad they are all out of fashion.
Reality is just sitting there, waiting. 100% renewables cannot work, so it will not work. At this point it is just a question of how and when we find out the hard way. The key then is for voters and electricity users to learn this stuff, ask hard questions, demand honest answers, and not be Conned any longer.
No Renewables Recharge: Busting the ‘Big Batteries Will Save Wind & Solar’ MythIn “Australia’s renewable energy target”
Fractions & Fantasy: Grid Scale Battery Storage Completely InsignificantIn “Australia’s renewable energy target”Filed Under: Batteries, Big wind industry, Big wind politics, Green New Deal, New York, USA Tagged With: Andrew Cuomo renewable energy, Battery backup for wind power, Battery storage renewables, Cost of battery power storage, Cost of power in New York, Cost of storing renewable energy, Grid scale battery storage, New York energy policy, New York power prices, New York renewable energy policy, New York renewables, New York solar power, New York wind power« Where Never Reliable Wind & Solar Perpetually Fail, Ever Reliable Nuclear Power Just WorksClear & Present Danger: Industrial Wind Turbines Pose Permanent Wildfire Threat »About stopthesethings
We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.
- gds44 says:January 22, 2021 at 5:07 pmReblogged this on Gds44’s Blog.Reply
- 120 bpm says:January 22, 2021 at 7:24 amThe Inauguration certainly didn’t ‘Look’ like the government America voted for. It looked like the government America was getting whether it liked it or not! My gut feeling is that the election result turned up in the boot of a Ferrari in the early hours of the morning. But I also suspect that the Paris Climate ‘Ponzi’ Scheme could not have survived another 4 years without the direct input of Barack Obama 2.0! They had to win at any cost.Reply
- David says:January 21, 2021 at 8:56 pmYou have overestimated the cost of the battery because the cost ratio for different capacities equals 0.6 times the ratio of their capacities. The South Australia battery is 129 MWH and cost $200 million. So using the 0.6 ratio we get an estimated cost of about $370 million for a 400 MWh battery. But this point is irrelevant in comparison with the 2 minutes of peak demand that such an installation would provide. Even if the demand is only 20% of the peak load, the battery will only provide 10 minutes of power.Reply
- Peter Pronczak says:January 21, 2021 at 7:16 pmDefinition of a Utility:
1. A company that performs a public service; subject to government regulation
2. The quality of being of practical use
3. The service (electric power, water or transportation) provided by a public utility
4. (economics) a measure that is to be maximized in any situation involving choice
5. (computing) a program designed for general support of the processes of a computer
6. A facility composed of one or more pieces of equipment connected to or part of a structure and designed to provide a service such as heat or electricity or water or sewage disposalFirst of all put the cart before the horse and define what is desired, not what is necessary, ie., An Inconvenient Truth – trading carbon credits.
Secondly ensure that the choice is restricted to those who know what is best for others.
Thirdly make sure a supplier is independent of government interference.
Forth design the system to benefit the supplier.
Fifth make the process too complicated for most to understand.
Sixth complicate the process with as many side issues as possible.Olé! We have RE and all required to make it necessary.Electric transport but what about aeroplanes? Mainly made of aluminium that requires lots of electricity in the smelting process, has resulted in manufacturing closures. So carbon fibre with its high strength to weight ratio is replacing it. Stealth aircraft and drones make use of its radar invisible properties, but the military-industrial complex tends to have a bottomless money pit. With unfortunately carbon fibre production needing heat to produce. Like big batteries and the rest, the hope is that its cost will also come down.
Never mind, we can shiver and sweat as we continue to live in hope.
Or go back to slow hot air balloons.
Funny how not wanting to rely on the weather has us progressing backwards.Talk about hope! What an awe inspiring history spanning speech by Joe Biden; enter the masked ranger; never mind the CO2 what pretty fireworks to welcome in the impossible dream of practical, affordable RE. Whoohoo!Reply