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Response to progree (Reply #29)

Tue May 15, 2018, 08:56 PM

32. Nice dream... but the math doesn't support it.

Adding even a few hours storage to "free" wind and solar power pushes the the cost per megawatt hour up through the roof.

The current Tesla "Power Wall" stores 13.5 kwhr and costs $5900. Optimistically that's enough to run a small window air conditioner (and nothing else in your home) for about 24 hours.

The basic problem doesn't go away with scale, it's the same for a private home or a regional electric grid. The sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. People off-the-grid tend to buy dirty fossil fuel generators as "backup" to their dream solar and wind systems and end up making a much bigger environmental mess than they would have if they just moved to the city. Urban and high density suburban living can have a surprisingly small environmental footprint.

Germany's ambitious wind and solar program has brought the price of electricity to about 35 cents a kilowatt hour for home and small business users, but it's a sleight of hand because heavy industry is exempt and use coal generated electricity at less than 5 cents a kilowatt hour. The problem is simple, if German industry had to pay for wind and solar energy they couldn't compete in world markets.

In places amicable to pumped hydro storage the cost of storage is about $150-$200 a megawatt hour and the lifetime of the plant is indefinite, provided climate change doesn't dry up the supply of water.

Big Lithium battery plants are about $200 a megawatt hour, and Tesla is aiming for $100, but the lifetime of batteries is limited and this does not include recycling costs. Last I heard, Tesla is claiming their batteries will go 5000 cycles before they reach 80% of their original capacity.

Lead acid batteries cost less initially but I don't know anyone who has had to care for them who doesn't loathe them, not to mention the extreme toxic lead problems they've caused in less developed nations where battery recycling technology is primitive and poisons entire communities.

Batteries become very problematic if they have to be replaced every ten years and stations have to install excess capacity to account for battery degradation.

Here's the thing to remember: None of these costly storage schemes are necessary if you have responsive gas and hydro power systems.

Batteries can compensate for less responsive power systems, but in such cases battery capacities are measured in minutes.

There are some interesting numbers and analysis here:


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Quixote1818 May 2018 OP
SWBTATTReg May 2018 #1
Quixote1818 May 2018 #2
Sophia4 May 2018 #8
blugbox May 2018 #24
duforsure May 2018 #3
stopwastingmymoney May 2018 #4
diane in sf May 2018 #10
Sophia4 May 2018 #9
procon May 2018 #5
SunSeeker May 2018 #6
sarchasm May 2018 #7
NBachers May 2018 #11
Eko May 2018 #12
madinmaryland May 2018 #25
Eko May 2018 #26
Eko May 2018 #13
RandomAccess May 2018 #14
NBachers May 2018 #15
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NeoGreen May 2018 #17
NNadir May 2018 #22
Eko May 2018 #27
cannabis_flower May 2018 #18
packman May 2018 #19
modrepub May 2018 #20
BlueJac May 2018 #21
Demovictory9 May 2018 #23
hunter May 2018 #28
progree May 2018 #29
grantcart May 2018 #30
LineLineNew Reply Nice dream... but the math doesn't support it.
hunter May 2018 #32
progree Nov 2020 #33
BSdetect May 2018 #31
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