Detailed analysis of 100% solar, wind and hydro plan has many flaws and crazy costs

There is a video where critics of a proposed 2015 plan to power the US with 100% renewables lay out their case.

They are not anti-renewables but they are pro-math. They worked out the issues of spacing of large scale solar panels and wind turbines.

Jacobson agreed with them that his base proposed system will cost $15.2 trillion. If there is need for 24 hour and not 4 hours of energy storage then the cost of the plan goes up to $22.8 trillion. This assumed various efficiency and other factors were granted as improvements to the 100% renewable plan.

These critics propose all nuclear options which would cost $3 to 6.7 trillion.

Other scientific critics of the 100% renewable and the Jacobson lawsuit

Jacobson’s paper appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Bernie Sanders and others pushed the proposal as a solution to climate change. The PNAS journal published a lengthy critique by environmental scientist Christopher Clack and 20 co-authors. They questioned Jacobson’s assumptions and methodology, appeared Feb. 24, 2017. Jacobson launched a $10 million lawsuit against Clack but then dropped the lawsuit in Feb 2018.

The baseline value for cost of capital in the Jacobson paper is one-half to one-third of that used by most other studies. Using more realistic discount rates of 6–9% per year instead of the 3–4.5% would double the estimate of a cost of 11 cents/kWh of electricity to 22 cents/kWh, even before adding in other unaccounted for capital costs.

Both hydroelectric power and flexible load were modeled in erroneous ways and that these errors alone invalidate the study and its results.

More from the Pro-nuclear critics

Using Jacobson’s own numbers of how many hours per days they would be able to generate power and using the Jacobson numbers for pumped hydro backup power. The Jacobson 100% renewable plan will be short 90% power in the winter.

Natural gas industry says the national leak rate is 1.6%. This is leaking methane gas into the air. Natural gas backing up renewables would eliminate 40% of the climate benefits of solar or wind.