Mike Barnard

São Paulo, Brazil

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Mike Barnard
Posted over 3 years ago
Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy
While Mr. Sadoway's battery approach is fascinating, he vastly oversimplifies both intermittency and storage of power on the energy grid. 1. Wind and solar do not instantly start and stop without warning. Their precise power characteristics are well-modeled 24 hours in advance and 24 hour energy contracts are common. 2. Grid interconnectedness allows purchase of energy from other jurisdictions and transmittal of energy to other jurisdictions on long and short term contracts. Jurisdictions with significant hydro provide excellent remote storage of energy merely by not letting water through, or by selling it to nearby jurisdictions with energy needs exceeding their 24 hour generation. Quebec is doing this, and Ireland is expecting a $6B export market of wind energy in a decade. Currently Denmark is at 20% wind with plans to go to 40% with no storage and is a net energy exporter. Germany is at 20% renewables with plans to reach 35% soon and is a net energy exporter. Fundamentally, multiple types of generation provide along with smart grid management provide significant grid resiliency. It's a systemic solution, not a magic bullet. A very minor logistical quibble is that the shipping container version would, by my napkin sketch math, exceed the standard weight limits of shipping containers. This would probably reduce it to perhaps 1 MWH storage, which is still excellent. This technology has a place, but stating that it's a major game changer is likely not accurate.