California Wastes Tons Of Wind And Solar Power Due To Lack Of Energy Storage

solar windSolar and wind forced California operators to waste enormous amounts of power by cutting green energy from the grid in mid-July, because there’s nowhere to store the power.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out Friday the best way to store the electricity generated by wind and solar power is still a century-old technology that involves moving large amounts of water. Reports by the state’s utility, California Independent System Operator (CAISCO), confirm wind and solar power were wasted due to lack of storage capacity.

The only economical way known to store power is to literally build a giant facility designed to push water uphill, and then let gravity move the water downhill through hydroelectricity turbines to provide extra electricity when needed. Currently, America has about 1/1,500th of the energy storage capacity necessary for wind and solar to provide “100 percent green energy,” according to an analysis of federal data by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

All of America only has the capacity to store 21,378 megawatts of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The country isn’t building enough hydro-pumped storage capacity to change this fundamental equation, as the country added a mere 221 megawatts of storage capacity in 2015. Other methods of storing power exist, but currently account for less than 1 percent of all energy storage.

Academic calculations indicate that to match the amount of energy contained in a single gallon of gasoline, hydro-pumped storage units must lift 13 tons of water 3,280 feet high. The estimates state storing enough electricity for a single day of demand would require roughly 2,500 facilities, each of which would require as much concrete as exists in the Three Gorges and Grand Coulee dams combined.

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    Your leaving something important out, California is already lifting a lot of water to move it around the state. the last I heard, 14% of the state’s electricity is used to move water alredy. It would seem that if reservoirs could be placed near the tops of the mountain passes that the water must be pumped over anyway, that you could hold that water in reserve to at least level out the “duck curve” issue that occurs in the evening as people get home from work but after the sun it too low to generate much solar power. You are only talking about a 3-4 hour period. Surely, because of the infrastructure already in place, it should be a simple matter to make temporary storage reservoirs to align generation with demand.

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