Batteries May Not Solve Renewable Energy Non-Dispatchable Problem


The greens believe that solar and wind farms will be the way to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.  The reality of today’s solar and wind farms is that these sources are unable to be worked into the grid because of their unreliability. It is necessary to install natural gas powered turbines or diesel power generation along with the solar and wind farms. The fossil fuel units are required to generate electricity to balance the power grid when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

The greens’ solution is a battery system that stores enough energy to eliminate the need for fossil fueled energy backup systems.  Much research effort is underway to develop a battery to accomplish this objective. To date nothing stands out as a likely candidate for the job. 

But even if a battery that can do the job and does not cost too much emerges, there is another problem.   That problem regarding solar farms is discussed in an American Thinker posting by Viv Forbes titled “Batteries: Another green scam”.  The following is from that posting: 

The idea of producing reliable grid power from intermittent green energy backed up by batteries looks possible in green doodle-diagrams, but it would be absurdly inefficient and expensive.

Solar works a six-hour day

Consider a solar panel rated to collect, say, 100 units of energy per day at full capacity, in full mid-day sunlight, with a clean panel, properly aligned to face the sun.

No solar energy arrives overnight, and only minimal amounts arrive during the three hours after dawn or before dusk.  That means that solar energy can be collected for only about six hours per day, providing it is not cloudy, raining, or snowing.  No amount of research or regulation will change this.  The solar energy union works only a six-hour day and takes quite a few sickies.  So instead of feeding 100 units of energy per day into the grid, at best, the panel supplies just 25 units.

Can the addition of batteries give us 24/7 power from solar?

To deliver 100 units of energy in 24 hours will require an extra 75 units of energy to be collected, stored, and delivered by the batteries every sunny day.  This will require another three solar units devoted solely to recharging batteries in just six sunny hours.

Cloudy and wet days are what really expose the problems of solar plus batteries.  (This is why isolated green power systems must have a diesel generator in the shed.)

To insure against, say, seven days of cloudy weather would require a solar-battery system capable of collecting and storing 700 units of energy while still delivering 100 units to consumers every day.  However, if several consecutive weeks of sunny weather then occur, this bloated system is capable of delivering seven times more power than needed, causing power prices to plunge, driving reliable generators out of business, and wasting the life of solar panels producing unwanted electricity.

Solar energy obviously does best in sunny equatorial deserts, but that is not where most people live.  And the huge Desertec Solar Power Dream for the northern Sahara has failed.

cbdakota

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