100% Renewable Electricity Falls on Its Face

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Over at Manhattan Contrarian is a blog post whose title would seem to be the kind of question that answers itself: How About a Pilot Project to Demonstrate the Feasibility of Fully Wind/Solar/Battery Electricity Generation?

My first thought, on seeing this title was: Rant Alert: There isn't one of these because the technology isn't there or close, and too many people are too irrationally invested in believing it's possible to want to ... put their faith to the test ... as it were.

Cue the game-show wrong-answer buzzer.

Francis Menton has found and looked into just such a project, in the Canary Islands, and details his findings, which include the following:

Image by Erik Streb, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
The El Hierro wind/[pumped water] storage system began operations in 2015. How has it done? I would say that it is at best a huge disappointment, really bordering on disaster. It has never come close to realizing the dream of 100% wind/storage electricity for El Hierro, instead averaging 50% or less when averaged over a full year (although it has had some substantial periods over 50%). Moreover, since only about one-quarter of El Hierro's final energy consumption is electricity, the project has replaced barely 10% of El Hierro's fossil fuel consumption.
And, a little later, Menton passes on the following from an analysis by Roger Andrews at Energy Matters regarding the question, What if the island built its hydro reservoir a bit bigger?:
El Hierro would need a pumped-storage reservoir some 40 times the size of the one it had built in order to get rid of the diesel backup. Andrews provides plenty of information as to the basis of his calculations and his assumptions, so feel free to take another crack at his calculations with better assumptions. But unfortunately, his main assumption is that the pattern of wind intermittency for any given year will be just as sporadic as it was for 2017.

Then take a look at the picture and see if you can figure out where or how El Hierro is going to build that 40 times bigger reservoir. Time to look into a few billions of dollars worth of lithium ion batteries -- for 11,000 people. [emphasis in original]
Read the whole thing and know this: Global warming catastrophists aren't simply hanging their hopes on unproven technology. They're arguably covering up evidence that the technology they are trying to force on everyone does not work for its stated purpose of actually replacing power from fossil fuels with reliable power that does not increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

-- CAV

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