Evidence grows by the day that the Net Zero fantasy is a societal and economic disaster waiting to happen. Not only is it based on the giant propaganda lie of ‘settled’ science, but it is almost laughably unaffordable. On just one level around the storage of ‘green’ energy, a new report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) is scathing. Noting a “heads-in-the sand” approach by politicians, it says that “one would have to conclude that the entire effort is either wholly unserious or breathtakingly incompetent”.
For just one country alone, Germany, fully replacing natural gas back-up with battery storage “is a multi-trillion dollar project, likely costing a multiple of the country’s GDP, and thus completely infeasible”. Across the globe, existing plans to store energy, vital since wind and solar are highly intermittent, are producing only a “tiny fraction” of the capacity that will be required to avoid electricity blackouts. “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the people planning the Net Zero transition “have no idea what they are doing”, states the report.
Political pressure to resist the imposition of the command-and-control Net Zero agenda is being increasingly targeted in the UK and elsewhere at the unrealistic costs involved. In the U.K. Parliament, a Net Zero Scrutiny Committee was recently formed and led by the Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay. For its part, the GWPF has started a Net Zero Watch unit. The GWPF’s battery storage report is the latest in a string of publications asking serious questions about the finances behind Net Zero. It is written by the American lawyer and mathematician Francis Menton, who also runs the Manhattan Contrarian site.
Menton writes that the push to Net Zero without a fully demonstrated and costed solution to the energy storage conundrum “is analogous to jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, and assuming that the parachute will be invented, delivered and strapped on in mid-air in time to save you before you hit the ground”. He continues:
“Now, before our advanced economies are destroyed, it is time to demand from our politicians and energy planners that they level with the public about the huge costs and the likely impossible technical requirements of the goals to which they have committed us.”
In a detailed report, the arithmetic behind Net Zero battery costings is laid out in detail. It is explained that no grid based on wind and solar is viable unless it has full back-up from another source. That source needs to provide 100% of power when the wind and sun stop blowing and shining. During calm periods in a cold winter, that could be a week or more. Remarkably, notes the author, none of the jurisdictions implementing crash Net Zero have paid much attention to storage programmes.
Storage demands for Net Zero are enormous. Five days without wind and solar require at least 120 Mega Watt hours (MWh) for each megawatt of average demand. But some calculations based on historical weekly and annual spikes suggest a requirement as high as 1,000 MWh to ensure reliability of a grid over a long time.
Truly scary is the work done by Ken Gregory who calculated that the United States would need an annual energy storage requirement of around 233,000 GWh. It is noted that a current lithium-ion battery installation is currently under construction in Australia for grid back-up with a storage capacity of 150MWh. Menton writes that 150MWh is 15% of one gigawatt hour, and 233,000GWh of storage would require some 1.55 million of these facilities.
Back in the real world, Menton reveals the planned battery storage capacity that will be delivered in many countries is “trivial” – typically from around 0.1% to at most 0.2% of the amount that’s necessary if Net Zero is to be achieved.
The figure is hardly surprising when the costs in battery storage are considered. Menton reviewed recent official cost reports and found that “even on the most optimistic assumptions” the cost could be as high as a country’s GDP. This was said to render the entire Net Zero project “an impossibility”. On less optimistic assumptions, the capital cost alone could be 15 times annual GDP. Even more impractical, it is noted that such batteries provide about four hours of discharge at maximum capacity, but weather patterns mean that grids need batteries that can store as much as a month’s demand, and then discharge that energy over the course of six months or more.
“Such ‘long duration’ batteries have not yet been invented,” he observes.
Last October, the Daily Sceptic reported on the findings of Associate Professor Simon Michaux who told the Finnish Government in no uncertain terms that there were not enough minerals in the world to supply all the batteries required for Net Zero. And this doesn’t even take into account that lithium-ion batteries need replacing every eight to 10 years. Michaux observed that the Net Zero project may not go fully “as planned”.
Those, less charitable, might ask: “what plan?”
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.