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goodsam2 t1_j7y3zot wrote

The point is not maximum 100% is easy but 100% on the cloudy not windy days you need electricity. There is 0 downtime.

There is enough to continue to reduce consumption but there basically is not a 100% renewable grid. The natural gas would be run sporadically contributing around 10% of power on the low end.

Getting to 100% electricity is hard with renewables. I'm not disputing 60% or even up to like 80%, 90% is a little niche these days.

We have the technology to make massive improvements but not the answer to 100% renewable 0 down time.


dunderpust t1_j7yo1i9 wrote

Some people thinks that this means we can just give up on renewables. As if in 20 years time, when we are reaching the crunch points, we will had have no technological development at all. Heck, if massive electrification happens and we get, say, 70% of our energy needs from low-carbon sources, we have already bought ourselves time for further technological development, and that's a huge boon already.


goodsam2 t1_j7z6xd1 wrote

Yeah but it's a huge distinction. We don't have the technology to finish the job but we do have the technology for the next steps for a decade+


dunderpust t1_j828fx6 wrote

Yep, no excuse for not going full speed ahead.


rileyoneill t1_j830cq4 wrote

We have enough natural gas to run the entire grid during a windless and cloudy day. Our demand on those days is usually fairly low. The extra deman for brownouts was due to us having brief periods of 50GW of demand during an extreme heatwave.

The periods of extreme demand do not occur during cloudless days, the demand is brought on by AC. I have never seen on the CAISO where the daytime solar demand is under 20%, statewide storms like that are extremely rare.

My point is that if we are 90% renewables and 10% natural gas, that is a huge improvement. Then perhaps it can be 91% and 9% natural gas.

Because 6 months out of the year is extremely predictable weather regarding sunshine, we can probably get by with 300GWH of battery, 70GW of solar, and 25GW of wind. May 1st, October 31st could likely be 95% renewable.

Tony Seba of Rethink X made a presentation where they actually went and tracked historical weather data, then designed a system that would have 100% uptime. They then took the cost projected prices for renewables and gave capacity numbers for solar, wind and battery storage for California, Texas, and New England.



The main idea is that solar will be so cheap that it will be viable to just overbuild by some huge factor so that on cloudy days where output is diminished by 80%, the remaining 20% is still collecting and that 20% is enough to satisfy demand, taking the edge off the batteries.

In one example he proposed 330GW of solar for California. Our normal demand is 20-35GW (with peak summer at 50GW). But it would be 30GW powering the grid and 300GW charging batteries. So every 1 hour of sunshine covers 8-10 hours of battery storage.