Virginia’s 100% renewables mandate has been estimated to cost its people billions of dollars, buta more realistic estimate is trillions.Dominion Energy, the big Virginia utility, must know this, but they are hiding it so they can builda lot of expensive wind and solar generating facilities.
The more money Dominion spends underthe mandate, the more it makes for its shareholders. The Legislature has no clue it is beingconned.The law in question is called the Virginia Clean Economy Act or VCEA. (Does Virginia nowhave a dirty economy?) It mandates 100% non-fossil fueled power statewide by 2045. Given theold age of their nuclear reactors this could well mean 100% renewables.
Here is a simple back of the envelope estimate of what the real cost might be. For simplicity weinitially assume 100% wind power, because wind is the renewables workhorse. We will use biground numbers as they are easier to read and remember.
The huge issue that the public is in the dark about is the astronomical cost of batteries to supplypower when the wind generators do not. As a benchmark we will look at the 7 day heat wavesthat Virginia gets every few years. These heat waves are due to massive stagnant high pressuresystems called Bermuda highs.With temperatures around 100 degrees these are periods of peak power usage. But they are alsotimes of low wind, so low that there is no wind power.
The standard wind turbine requires windspeeds of around 30 mph for full power and 10 mph for any. During a week long Bermuda highheat wave folks are lucky to get a 5 mph breeze.So what might it cost for batteries to supply the desperately needed power to get through one ofthese awful heat waves?Here comes the math:A. Virginia consumes about 100,000,000 megawatt hours a year (rounded down from118,435,380 MWh in 2019).B. This works out to about 11,500 MWh an hour.C. A week has 168 hours which gives roughly 2,000,000 MWh of no wind power.D. The average cost of grid scale batteries is reported to be around $1,500,000 per MWh ofstorage capacity.E.
The 2 million MWh of storage required will cost a staggering $3,000,000,000,000That is THREE TRILLION DOLLARS just for the batteries to get through a heat wave.Nowhere is this stupendous sum mentioned.
Neither the People of Virginia, or their Legislatorswho passed the VCEA, has heard about the horrendous cost of batteries. Dominion Energy’s planfor VCEA compliance does not mention it, but the numbers are so simple that they must knowabout them.No doubt Dominion is happy to let this horror slide, while they build tens of billions of dollarsworth of unreliable wind and solar power facilities. After all, the more they spend the greatertheir profits. Keeping Virginia in the dark is a trillion dollar con game.The profound ignorance of the Legislature is demonstrated by the truly strange power storagerequirements in the VCEA, which deems 2,700 megawatts (MW) of storage to be in the publicinterest.To begin with, MW is not a measure of storage capacity. It is actually the discharge rate. It ishow fast you can poor the juice, not how much is in the container.
It is true that grid batteriescome with a MW rating, but this is for when they are used to stabilize the erratic output ofrenewables generators. For stabilization you need a lot of power really fast so every MW counts.For storage it is the MWh that matter.Stabilization is not storage so this 2,700 MW number tells us nothing about how batteries mightsupply a low wind heat wave. However, as a rule of thumb the MWh of battery storage capacityis typically from two to four times the MW of discharge capacity.So the VCEA batteries might provide from 5,400 to 10,800 MWh of power storage. But we need2,000,000 MWh to weather our heat wave. This makes the VCEA numbers so small as to benonexistent.
Clearly the Virginia Legislature did not know about this enormous storagerequirement.Also, batteries are sometimes listed by MW in order to make them look like generators, which infact come in MW. This is a deceptive practice. A 100 MW generator running constantly for 7days produces 16,800 MWh of juice. A 100 MW battery only produces as much as it holds,typically 200 to 400 MWh. Thus making the battery sound like the generator is extremelymisleading. Perhaps the Virginia Legislature was misled.
As for the THREE TRILLION DOLLARS cost estimate, that might come down if grid scalebatteries get cheaper. After all, electric vehicle batteries have come down in cost quite a bit. Thisis due to a combination of innovation, standardization and mass production.But there are also big reasons why this staggering cost might actually be very low.
Here areseveral looming drivers of higher cost:
1 Our estimate is based on average power usage, but these heat waves create peak power usage,which can easily be 30% greater or more. So we might need 30% or so more batteries.
2 There is also the goal of converting all cars and trucks to electric power. Nationally the energycontent of all the gasoline and diesel we use is much greater than the electricity we use. Thusswitching to electric vehicles might require more than double the present electric power output.So we might need 100% or so more batteries.
February 5, 2021 at 04:08AM