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California sees solar + storage domination by 2030 with 11 GW / 44 GWh of batteries

California sees solar + storage domination by 2030 with 11 GW / 44 GWh of batteries

The state’s 2019 IRP sees just over 11 GW solar power, and at least 11 GW – with up to 19 GW – of energy storage necessary to meet resource adequacy as part of the state’s legally required 60% renewable portfolio standard by 2030 as prices have fallen 50% since 2017.   November 12, 2019, John Weaver

Excerpt (that was not fit to print):

In the document are multiple modeled cases, with the 46 million megaton (MMT) of emissions as the current recommended model. It was noted, that while not equivalent, the state’s 60% renewable portfolio standard by 2030 and the 46 MMT model had similar procurement outcomes.

Per the document, all batteries considered in the IRP are 4-hour batteries, though it suggests that lithium ion will transition into 6 to 8 hours batteries by 2030. A battery recently approved by the New York State Public Service Commission is a 316 MW / 2528 MWh 8 hour energy storage facility.

Part of the reason for the very large increase from prior IRPs for solar and energy storage is that both technologies have decreased in pricing much faster than projected (below image) – modeling that utility scale costs are roughly half of the 2017 IRP values. As well, in 2018, the preferred IRP noted that the Marginal GHG Abatement Cost was $219 per metric ton and had fallen almost 50% to $113 per metric ton.

Observations (based on current technologies):

It is not clear what they are smoking in California with announced goal of 100% renewables while the actual availability of solar and wind is around 25% of the time, requiring 4 times the grid capacity. 

As of today, California grid has 11.40% of solar, mostly domestic and 11.46% of wind, mostly imported from the Pacific NW.  It is still a long way, a far cry, from 100% renewables, excluding hydro and geothermal that are limited by those resources’ availability.

Not to undercut the fact that today’s technology does not include utility scale storage batteries, not yet, anyway.  Those have prohibited cost, not a realistic, feasible investment for any utility, bankrupted (PG&E) or functioning (SCE, SDGE).

Executive Summary (based on a known hoax):

Considering the above observations, in the best scenario, California in 10 years (2030) will be where the climate change hoax was 30 years ago (1989).

According to his article from 1989 (30 years ago) we should not exist today.  Ever wondered where ‘AOC’ and her gang the ‘Squad’ get their ‘ideas’ (10 years to the world's demise) from?   This might be one - please notice published date . . .


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T Conroy's picture
T Conroy on Nov 18, 2019

Hello Noam, I also remain astonished at CA (and other states) embrace of batteries as a declared solution to the dispatchable-resource problem with higher renewables penetration on the grid. I have not found a single technologist or economist who suggests that (absent an unforeseen technology breakthrough) existing battery technology will become economic for the high capacity / long duration storage needed for high renewables penetrations. While multiple long-duration technologies are in the early technology/pre-deployment development stage (thermal, CCS, flow batteries, CAES, phase change, etc.), pumped storage hydro remains the lowest cost and only mature (130 years) technology solution. It is deeply puzzling why the CA CEC isn't going after PSH aggressively.

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Nov 19, 2019

Mr. T. Conroy - you write a lot of sense. Not only is pumped storage hydro (likely) the lowest cost - it does not leave a trail of thousands of chemicals, unforeseen burdens on hundreds of generations (nuclear waste) - or another chemical bomb (who knows what the cost will be of millions of tons of Lithium battery cells to destroy or repatriate to nature in non-polluting form?) ...

Similar is the very power generation made via plain vanilla solar concentrators going to steam/Karnot-cycle generation of power also both reliable and durable - bearings can be changed - then brushless generator systems do exist (with initial magnetizing done via coils during start, and then maintaining themselves when operating) - where little or no maintenance is needed.

Finally pumps can be made based on pure heat - no conversion loss - we are designing one toggle-based pump for pure solar concentrated heat. 

AND YES, Conroy - these methods are maybe 10%, 20% or 50% less efficient than some super-nano-material-based hyper system - but - it works and - let us say it is 50% less efficient - then double the solar power which is in plenty!

What do you do, professionally? I work with solar concentrators for the lowest incomes in the <12MW(e) size, solar driven pumps (without electronics/electrics) and systems to extract water from air (also purely heat driven). Finally we expect in 2021 to complete on a heat based refrigerator.


David Svarrer

David Svarrer's picture
David Svarrer on Nov 18, 2019

Danish RISØ research institute (part of the Danish University of Technology) has finally taken up the mantle on heat storages, as these heat storages can provide very efficient (some 45%) non-deterioriating storages. Danish Rational Intuitive has worked with such heat storages for almost a decade. More than 40 other known industries are working with the very same heat storage technology. 

This storage technology and conversion technology is simple and durable - and was originally introduced around 1973, when the energy crisis spurred by the OPEC countries's closure of the oil valves sent oil prices sky rocketing.

There is no chemical residual to be removed or dealt with. No chemical waste either. The insulation of these storages is mostly soil (plain soil), and the heat storage medium are plain stones (no particular stone type needed, almost any kind of naturally occuring stone will do).

The cost of such stone storage, is approximately 2.8 times the cost of the stones in material cost, plus the digging work. A typical price is some USD 18 per cubic metre (2.3 metric tonnes), plus digging work and plus finishing.

One such cubic metre of 2.3 metric tonnes of stones has a heat capacity of 325 kWh, when heated to 600 degrees. Given a loss of 75% (terms and conditions applies...), the net storage capacity per cbm stone is in the vicinity of 80 kWh. 

We therefore, including all cost, are discussing a cost of such storage of some USD 0.50 per kWh storage *capacity*, or USD 500 per MWh capacity. When assuming that 40% of the energy will end up in the sockets when converted to electricity, the cost of storage capacity for electricity made this way increases to USD 1,250 per MWh electric storage CAPACITY.

So now to the point: When now you write (quote) the following

A battery recently approved by the New York State Public Service Commission is a 316 MW / 2528 MWh 8 hour energy storage facility.

then I wonder what is going on? The stone storage/electricity conversion scheme is well known, has been tried numerous of times, it is so well documented that you can simply google for it. If failing - check out the commissioning of RISØ (Denmark) doing the research on this, starting March 2019 (this year)... 

So - a 2528 MWh storage would take a stone storage of 2528 = 31,600 cubic meters of stone AFTER loss, conservatively estimated, has been deducted. 

At a going cost of USD 18 per cbm, and USD 2 per cbm for the digging - the total cost of such a quite enormous storage can be safely estimated to USD 73,200 - or - roughly USD 30 per MWh of storage.. 

Why then, are these energy storage producers not exploring this well known technology? Is it due to that it is low-tech? Have I miscalculated anywhere? Even if I am wrong by a factor 10 (which I hardly believe), a cost of USD 300 per MWh of storage is extremely low, considering that a stone storage may be one of the most stationary, non-destructible storages one can think of. 

As an example: One of the stone occurrences is called Sand. Deserts have plenty of it. Billions and billions of tonnes of it. For free. No USD 18 per cbm.

Why am I saying that? Well. Think about it: Sand is easy to grab, transport, mould/shape - fill into tanks... Most large continents has such plenty of it, so that it only cost transportation to fetch it.

Comments welcome. Critique welcome. 


David Svarrer

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Nov 19, 2019

David, that was great information about R&D.  We are in the real world - the power generation industry stores electrical energy using pumped storage (aka water).

We heard about compressed air, fly wheels and other promising technologies including a slew of batteries in different technologies - all very promising.

That is not my area of expertise, those are theoretical R&D research projects, great for venture capital speculators... 

Do you suggest the New York, Michigan, Florida and California would use those Danish storage technologies in 2020?

Would you bet on that?  I rest my case - wet dreams are still dreams...  Noam Mayraz, PE.

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