If California reaches the 80% mark for renewables there will be massive amounts of surplus generation during the summer months and would need 9.6 million megawatt-hours of energy storage. Achieving 100% would require 36.3 million.
California should reach on 50% of its electricity from clean sources by 2020 and could pass a bill to legally require 100% by 2045. In January, they voted to close a nuclear plant which is a carbon-free source that provides 24% of the electricity.
The amount and cost of the storage will go over $350+ billion because of the wide variation in solar and wind power generation.
$350 billion would still be less than 17 over-priced pairs of Vogtle AP1000 nuclear reactors. The two 1.1 GW AP1000 reactors are coming in over budget at about $20 billion for both. Twelve pairs of AP1000 reactors would cost $240 billion even with bad cost overruns and generate over 200 TWh that California needs in electricity.
A study found meeting 80% of US electricity demand with wind and solar would require either a nationwide high-speed transmission system, which can balance renewable generation over hundreds of miles, or 12 hours of electricity storage for the whole system. At current prices, a battery storage system for 12 hours for the USA would cost more than $2.5 trillion.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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