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ACCount82 t1_je56unt wrote

Yes. But electricity is notoriously hard to store. Building enough storage gets really expensive really quick - preventing it from being competitive with natural gas.

It's not an impossible challenge to solve though.

First, the larger a grid is, the more resilient it is to the intermittent nature of renewables, and the less storage it needs. Being able to shift electricity around at great distances is great for grid stability, and a hypothetical planet-scale grid could go full renewable with impressively little storage. A large and robust joint grid, like that of EU or US-Canada, offers a lot of benefits still. Which is why a lot of industry voices are calling for more grid integration, both within the countries and between the countries - like between US and Mexico.

Second, "smart grid" tech can be used to balance the grid on the demand side instead of the supply side. If electricity prices are allowed to change during the day in small intervals, and consumers, ranging from industries and to home appliances, are designed to take that into account, you can get a lot of flexibility by soft-controlling demand. Raise power prices for 19:00 to 19:30, and watch all the ACs pre-heat or pre-cool beforehand to sit the "expensive" interval out, all the parked EVs suspend their charging process, all the washing machines shift their cycle around, all the home-scale batteries shift to using internal power, all the datacenters undervolt their servers, and so it goes. Thus, you get to "eat" a part of the peak on the demand side, and you need less storage capacity to cover what remains.

Third, "full renewable" is not a good goal to strive towards. Fission or possibly even fusion (not yet, but maybe in 20 years?) could make for "green" baseline generation that can be controlled to cover for deficiencies of renewables.