By David Wojick
New York City will soon be home to the world's largest supply-scale battery system designed to underpin the growing reliance on intermittent renewable energies. At 400 MWh, this battery charge will be more than three times that of the 129 MWh world market leader in Australia.
Mark Chambers, Director of Sustainability for the City of New York (I don't make up the title), is delighted and brags, “Expanding battery storage is a critical part of our progress in managing the climate emergency while meeting the energy needs of all New Yorkers . Today's announcement shows how We can meet this need to a considerable extent. "(Emphasis added)
In reality, the scale here is incredibly insignificant.
In the same nonsensical way, Tim Cawley, president of Con Edison, New York's utility company, raves: “Utility-scale battery storage will play an important role in New York's clean energy future, especially in New York City, where it will help Maximize The benefits of offshore wind energy. "
This brings the Con in Con Edison.
Here is the reality when it comes to the scale required to reliably secure intermittent renewables. For the sake of simplicity, let's say New York City is 100% wind powered. Including solar in the generation mix makes things more complicated, but doesn't change the unfortunate outcome.
NYC is currently peaking around 32,000 MW, which is required to keep the lights on. If Mr. Biden made all cars and trucks electric it could be closer to 50,000 MW, but let's stick with reality.
This peak occurs during summer heat waves caused by stagnant high pressure systems called Bermuda Heights. These highs often last a week and because they stagnate, no wind power is generated. Wind turbines require something like sustained winds of 10 mph to move the blades and more like a whistling 30 mph to get full power. During a Bermuda, tall folks are happy to get the occasional 5 mph breeze. These huge heights cover many states so it's not like we can get the juice next door.
For example, for reliability we need seven days of backup, which corresponds to 168 hours. Here's the math:
32,000 MW x 168 hours = 5,376,000 MWh of stored juice that is only needed for production. For normal reliability we usually add around 20%. Did I mention electric cars?
It is easy to see that a trivial 400 MWh is not a “significant scale”. It's an infinitesimal scale. Nothing. Nada. Couldn't exist either.
(I estimate 45 seconds of emergency power from the facility. Somebody corrects me if I'm wrong ~ CR)
To be more precise, 5,376,000 divided by 400 = 13,440, so only 13,439.
On the flip side, that paltry 400 MWh battery array could well cost half a billion dollars, which is especially significant for the New Yorkers who will pay for it. No cost information is given as the system is privately owned. However, EIA reports that the average supply-scale battery system has a storage capacity of approximately $ 1.5 million per MWh. That's the equivalent of $ 600 million for this insignificant toy.
So what would it cost to reliably secure wind energy at these MWh costs and on the order of NYC? Just over $ 8,000,000,000,000 or $ EIGHT trillion. I did not see this amazing sum that was mentioned in the media. Maybe Con Ed didn't mention it.
New York State also has the same problem. Only much bigger when it includes New York City, which it often is.
But hey, maybe the cost will drop by a few trillion. Not if we create a sellers market by jumping into intermittent renewables, which is certainly our goal. After all, this is only New York City. Imagine what it could cost to secure America on batteries. Don't worry because it's impossible.
I should also add that we have no idea how 5 million MWh batteries can work together. The tiny 400 will be a challenge. It may not be possible.
Perhaps fracked geothermal, the most reliable renewable energy source, is the answer. Or how about coal, oil, gas and nuclear power? It's a shame they're all out of style.
All of the hype about battery backups is a scam, and it's not just New York City. The papers are full of this fraud from coast to coast. Utilities know full well that these heavily touted battery purchases are a joke, but they get rich building the wind and solar systems politicians are calling for.
Voters are unaware of these impossible numbers as they are told that intermittent wind and sun are cheaper than reliable coal, gas and nuclear power. Only when the sun is shining brightly and the wind is blowing strong, which is not often the case.
Reality just sits there and waits. It can't work, so it won't work. At this point, it's all about how and when we figure out the difficult path