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Reblogged:Green Energy: A Battery-Powered Fantasy?

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Over at Reason Magazine is a pretty good summary of California's government-induced energy shortage.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about the article is the insistence on the part of green energy advocate Amol Phadke that battery power is the way around the inherent unreliability of solar and wind power.

Batteries are cheaper now, but they are nowhere near as ready as environmentalists would have you believe. . (Image by Claudio Schwartz, via Unsplash, license.)
Phadke thinks the solution is for California to build even more solar power plants and invest more money in giant batteries that can store power from the wind and sun during off hours.

"In the long run, if you have enough batteries to transfer that solar energy during the day into the evening hours, you are good," says Phadke. "And the good news is that the cost of those batteries has dropped by 90 percent since 2010." [link omitted]
If that line of "reasoning" sounds familiar, that's because it is, and I have noted it before, along with an analysis of the exorbitant cost such backup would entail on a national level.

The Reason piece takes this line of analysis a bit further, by also considering when such a backup could become available.

Engineer-investor Mark Mills is blunt:
"The constant babbling about batteries is an embarrassing failure of arithmetic," says Mills.

Mills has calculated that storing a barrel of oil's worth of energy in a battery costs at least 100 times as much as storing the oil and that it would take 1,000 years for the world's largest battery factory to produce enough to store two days' worth of America's energy needs.

"Batteries are never going to get cheaper to store energy than storing oil in a barrel," says Mills. "Until we develop a room-temperature superconductor." [bold added, links omitted]
To hear people like Phadke discuss it, solving the unreliability of wind and solar wouldn't be much harder than a trip to the store for some Duracells. But battery technology is simply not there as a realistic alternative within the time frame environmentalists want to force everyone to adopt solar and wind power.

With the able assistance of Apocalypse Never author Michael Shellenberger, the article goes on to discuss nuclear power -- the one technology that is even remotely close to being able to replace fossil fuels. Oddly enough, in California's wholesale substitution of green fantasy for energy policy (good or bad), that option remains effectively off the table.

-- CAV

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