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US can reach 100% clean power by 2035, DOE finds (utilitydive.com)
177 points by epistasis 70 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 192 comments

We can have 100% clean energy by 2035 if we assume the US is China and the state can build whatever it wants despite any local objections. And assume we increase battery supply by 40x (even though lithium price is going up dramatically now). And assume that clean power is actually 100% clean.

It's good to have a vision for clean energy though that is shared with the country that we start working towards. I can see the benefit of not letting reality weight down an initial brainstorm of that. Hopefully we can come up with a realistic vision as a next step.

> local objections

That's a big component of all this. NIMBYism in this country is becoming a big problem in a lot of ways.

Want to build a dense, mixed use development that is less carbon-intensive than single family suburbia? NIMBYs oppose it.

Build a transmission line from your green energy source? NIMBYs, again!

Build a solar farm? NIMBYs will try and block it.

Our local library wanted to put in an automated drop-off bin that patrons could drive up to and return books into. It was bitterly contested because the adjacent home owners association was worried about the increased noise and traffic. Keep in mind they were already living next to this library and it already had a parking lot. The city paid to construct a high wall as a compromise. It wasn't terribly expensive, but it wasn't cheap either.

I really do think there is such a thing as "over democratizing" our development process. Sometimes you really do just need to tell someone "this is getting built" and they can get bent if they don't like it.

Agreed 100%. You may like this article, that has academic research to back up your thoughts— Not Everyone Should Have a Say; To speed up permitting for energy projects, we’ll need to rethink community input:


This sort of "participatory democracy," where the most motivated can dominate those with less time, can be traced back to the New Left, which was criticized by social democrats at the time.


And it goes back further to the 30-40s where communists would drag out meetings late into the night in order to thin out the crowd, and then wait until they had a majority for a vote.

The commoner should have a say, unless they oppose the ideas of Those Who Know Best. The bureaucracy is made of Those Who Know Best. The commoner wants Things to be Better but is worried that changes will make their lot worse.

The commoner has few choices: find other commoners with reasonably similar concerns and use the power of numbers (and perhaps law) to represent their concerns to The Powers That Be (union, HOA, PAC, gang/mafia/mob/activist, some voters); capitulate to Those Who Know Best and hope Things Will Get Better (other voters, slacktivists, Eternally Online people); or, wait for Someone Else to rectify the concern (Enlightened Centrists, anarchists, 9-5ers, mostly everyone else).

Lots of other options and variations are possible, but I can't think of them at this time.

I don't have a point, I just wanted to document a stray thought you inspired.

Where I live in a town of about 100K, 46,000 people voted in the election for mayor.

If there's a hearing for some project, maybe 10 or 20 people show up, mostly old, wealthy people who 'got theirs' and want to complain about change.

People's votes are a far more inclusive way of letting 'the commoner' have their say than hearings at 11AM.

> the power of numbers

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but isn't that the point of democracy? If enough people agree with your view then that's what gets implemented. The point of the parent is that you can't let people with the loudest voices and most free time abuse the system.

Jerusalem Demsas is a fantastic writer. One of the highlights of my year was getting to meet her and say "thank you" at the YIMBYTown conference in Portland.

>>I really do think there is such a thing as "over democratizing" our development process.

I 100% agree, though think a better way to term it is over localizing and over veto-abling governance over the development process. Democracy means collective control, with one vote per person. Not necessarily that the votes on each decision are held at a very local level, and certainly not each person/voting-block getting a veto.

Take Japan: it has a democratically elected national government, and that government controls all zoning, with local municipalities having no say. That's both democratic, and pro-development.

HOI is some damn dystopia on its own.

> I really do think there is such a thing as "over democratizing" our development process. Sometimes you really do just need to tell someone "this is getting built" and they can get bent if they don't like it.

If they pay me market value plus 35% for being unexpectedly uprooted, that's OK. If the gov wants to steal it, things will get interesting.

That's more of a NIMY - Not in My Yard kind of thing.

I think the parent post is referring to the library example. At a certain point you don't get to keep the land around you from being used in any way other than it was exactly when you moved in.

Eminent domain is a different issue that should have a much higher barrier to use, and has likely been abused historically.

I think you're falsely putting a variety of different people into a single group called "NIMBY" -- people will object to all sorts of measures, and outside of the fact that they have objected they might not necessarily have anything else in common.

You're correct that it's not necessarily a single group of people. The broader point is that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in favor of people who say no to... a wide variety of things, many of which would benefit society.

Parking lots should be ripe for solar canopies. Every viable roof could have panels.

There will always be obstacles but it doesn't mean we should give up trying to make it work.

I can still think of reasons to think of local people.

What if transmission lines increase the risk of forest fires in specific areas? What if windmills mix with residential neighborhoods?

Additionally, what if local people are prevented from putting up solar panels, or prevented from selling their power?

And if they don't exist, they can be manufactured quite cheaply.

If by NIMBYs you mean paid actors attending council meetings and incredibly loud reactionaries from other places, then yeah.

There aren't that many actual NIMBYs for this shit.

Clearly you haven't dealt with the over 60's crowd-who-has-nothing-better-to-do.

There are a lot of those, but there are just as many people who have real objections to fossil fuel and highway expansion plans that get steamrolled through with no consultation.

They're also not the ones funding faux environmental studies that say replacing the coal plume with some solar panels will kill all the frogs, and they're not living in bumfuck nowhere where suddenly 4x the town's population shows up to object to the wind turbine saying it gave them seizures.

The NIMBYism only works if it manufactured and then allowed to work by the people who have actual power over these things (media owners like murdoch and lobbyists). Without that they'd just be tear gassed and told to go around the back alley to the frew speech zones like everyone else.

you'll get there one day

I relish the thought.

> If by NIMBYs you mean paid actors attending council meetings

Exactly, most anti-renewable objections are outright fraud by the oil companies, it is groups like 'Citizens for responsible solar' that are recieve fossil fuel donations through shell companies. Theu go and complain that a solar farm will spoint the veiw on somw derelic wasteland and robbing locals of job opportunities ities. There isnt a single local person in those groups.

And what about situations like the following,

"‘It’s got nasty’: the battle to build the US’s biggest solar power farm", https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/30/its-got-...

Unfortunately, I don't think people like Connie Ehrlich are rare, especially considering that you typically don't need much money to be as obstructive as she has. Yes, there are corporate-funded "grassroots" lobbying organizations, but when you look at how this stuff plays out across the country, it's not obvious who is using whom. (Also, from what I've seen following disputes over the years, most "grassroots" organizations that fight projects are fronts created by local citizens--or local citizen, singular--at least in California.)

The fundamental problem is that 1) local zoning laws permit too much discretion and 2) are too deferential to public input. These policies were supposed to be empowering to communities, but they're in tension with the principal of rule of law. Rule of law says that a community first makes the rules, then applies them in a principled, arms-length manner to individual cases as they arise. Contemporary zoning policies and procedures permit so much discretion that what we have is a system that effectively makes up the law on a case-by-case basis. It's a system that is fundamentally arbitrary, capricious, and unjust. It's also unconstitutional as a violation of Due Process (even under strict conservative definitions of Due Process), but the Supreme Court is deathly afraid of unleashing a tsunami of constitutional objections to zoning policies so has historically made it very difficult to appeal such cases up to the Federal courts. They usually languish and die in administrative and states courts if they even make it that far, because projects and their developers tend to be time sensitive (you don't spend money, even on lawyers, unless you have a firm time horizon on RoI) and also averse to antagonizing zoning boards.

This is just idiot Republicans being idiots.

Want to start a backyard steel-smelting campaign? NIMBYs will block it.

Want to eradicate sparrows who seem to be eating crops? Environmental review will block it.

Want to set up a space launch facility near a village and jettison booster stages over agricultural fields? NIMBYs will block it.

Want to operate a pig farm in a residential neighborhood? NIMBYs will block it.

This is a weird straw-man of the YIMBY argument. There's a huge (gaping) chasm between blocking heavy industry and grievous environmental damage and standing in the way of your neighbor being allowed to add an ADU to their house.

I have a real problem with statements like "100% clean energy by 2035". What does that even mean? You will have electric aircraft by 2035? Completely electric ag? Electric trains and trucks? No, not a chance.

The article used the term "power" and when you click through to the energy.gov site, it is clear that it is referring to the electric grid. But you said energy and when people make that mistake I often wonder if they even know the difference.

We may have electric trains and trucks. I don't think very many people are counting on transatlantic electric planes. The current plan that is being funded is synthetic aviation fuel (SAF).

At a certain point, it's just an argument about semantics. They mean the grid.

They don’t. Common problem when discussing electricity and energy unfortunately :/

Biofuel or green synfuel for aircraft seems like a fair compromise.

Ag seems like it should be easy enough -- they have the space for solar or biodiesel or such.

We just have to keep adjusting the incentives so that it's a natural choice.

> What does that even mean?

Uh... the linked article actually discusses exactly that. Do you disagree, or did you not read it?

Yes, and I even clicked through to the energy.gov article. The article does not define what "100% clean energy" is. It doesn't even use the term 100% clean energy except in the subtitles of a couple of graphs. It uses the term "100% clean power", which again, is very sloppy. Do you understand the US uses a lot of energy besides electric? Is that going to be clean or not? If not, what does the term "100% clean energy" mean?

You left out an important step - assuming that all the planning and modelling has been done correctly in and doesn't turn out to be politically motivated, have mistakes or miss unknown unknowns.

Reconstituting all of society's energy consumption is a large project with a lot of technical uncertainties that will be discovered along the way. These sort of forecasts routinely turns out to be very wrong. Centrally planned economies often look like they are about to power ahead when the plans are still on paper. It is only when people start starving that there is the "oh, the plan wasn't actually very good" moment and/or crackdown to cover up the disaster depending on how authoritarian the government has gotten.

> Reconstituting all of society's energy consumption is a large project with a lot of technical uncertainties that will be discovered along the way. These sort of forecasts routinely turns out to be very wrong

I frequently see this type of comment, and I like to imagine what if people with this attitude won the debate that was happening 300 yeara ago.

300 years ago, thousands of people in London were dying of cholera and the city was debating development of a sewage system.

They would argue that its not proven that shit in the streets causes disease, and a system of this size was never tested, and how much would it cost?

If they won the argument back then, we'd still be shitting in pots and throwing it out of the window.

Todays debate is literally the same problem, it's about cleaning up and about not tossing a different kind of waste out into the environment irresponsibly.

People with this attitude are never the ones i proving the human condition.

Do you have an example more current than 3 centuries past? Because Germany launched an impressive project to reconstitute their grid quite recently and are now at risk of freezing because it turns out their plan didn't work, they shut down a bunch of perfectly serviceable nuclear plants and went heavily in on Russian gas rather than developing local options. The 20th century was full of big ambitious projects that led to some of the greatest human catastrophe's in recorded history. The US has proven unable to build infrastructure for decades, being shown up by such people as literal communists.

The problem here is nuclear works great and regulators legislated until it wasn't cost effective. Indeed, they've shut down all the options that might cause pollution, which includes ... all the ones that work. The issue here is not cholera.

> Because Germany launched an impressive project to reconstitute their grid quite recently and are now at risk of freezing because it turns out their plan didn't work

Germany did not follow the plan and did not deploy enough renewables to cover their energy needs. They barely did anything to shift their energy generation profile.

However, it was still enough to have a big effect on the solar industry, even if it didn't affect Germany that much. They drove down solar costs for everybody else, which we can all now enjoy. And now there's 100s of GW of solar produced annually, and in nearly every area it's the cheapest power you can get.

Well, that giant impressive green energy project was also put in place by the voted in (democratically) folks in power, and widely popular at the time I believe?

Despite a minority that was objecting it would cause these exact issues?

What's that quote? "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." - H.L. Mencken

The International Energy Agency has under-forecasted renewable growth for something like 20 of the last 20 years. I don't think it's a given that a model is overly optimistic.

Their recent adjusts are not little tweaks...


(I realize that this article is about a different, US DOE forecast, I'm just saying that they are working from a model that has assumptions in it and it has proven difficult to model this space)

There is clear political motivation in those who oppose the energy transition. Despite hundreds upon hundreds of papers on 100% clean energy electricity grids, they are produced by scientists that tend to follow the data rather than use data to justify their politics. There are a few counter examples (perhaps Marc Jacobs?) but there are so many other modelers coming to the same conclusion as DOE here, and nobody has seriously refuted these models in any way.

Agreed except for the dig at Mark Jacobson. He was my undergrad and grad advisor, and I only knew him to be driven by data and a deep concern for the welfare of people and the planet. There are bad scientists out there but Mark isn't one of them. lol I recall him declining my request to put something about Al Gore in our common area because he didn't want to politicize the space.

Hah, point taken. When he sued other research over their research, I think he became highly political within the field, even if not along US national political lines.

A clean power grid means cheaper power. And the faster we push towards that future, the more money we save.

Every day of delay, every bit of FUD about renewables, only serves to keep our energy costs higher, and make our future CO2 cleanup problem harder.

The future for energy is cheap and clean, and the major roadblock are the people who profit from expensive and dirty electricity.

> A clean power grid means cheaper power.

That's a pretty wild assertion, given current events. Care to back it up with some evidence from a neutral source?

A big flaw with most current models is that their learning curves for tech are either completely ignored, or are way too small to match empirical reality. Here's a popular news article about research using empirical modeling of the learning curves, which says that the models are overestimating the cost:


And here's a podcast episode about it that goes into a lot more detail:


However, if you're not willing to take the other link in a sibling comment because it comes from an investor, I'm not sure what you consider to be a neutral source.

I would say that what's actually wild are the "accepted" models from the IEA, which have been catastrophically wrong year after year because they encapsulate "common sense" of the industry instead of data based methods:


Again, as with the sibling comment, I would like to see empirical data on the cost viability of existing solar and wind installations. Most of the links posted so far seem to present projections about the future, which seems to imply that wind and solar tend to be higher cost today.

Empirically, building more of these technologies reduces the costs of these technologies. This is often called Wright's Law across a wide range of industries. These links look at real data for this.

If you are unwilling to accept this premise, of changing costs, then there is no neutral or accurate source that you will accept. Which is kind of what I expected when I responded, so I regret taking the time. I hope other readers of these comments can benefit from the knowledge, however.


This research is solid and goes in depth about the costs etc.

The PDF you linked does not contain empirical data on existing solar and wind installations. It's an investment pitch.

Not who you are asking, but here is some recent research using probabilistic cost forecasts: https://www.cell.com/joule/fulltext/S2542-4351(22)00410-X

I am not asking for forecasts of what could theoretically happen in the future: I want to see an analysis of existing installations.

It’s literally there in figure 1. Wind and PV are now cheaper than oil, but still more expensive than coal and gas. I’m not sure what you’re getting at though, looking at the price of existing installations is not sufficient to account for future costs. What we do know is that wind and solar are new technologies and costs have been dropping rapidly with increase in production. Carbon fuels meanwhile have remained historically the same inflation adjusted price for the last century.

> given current events

The sun, the wind and gravity got really really expensive this year.

Thank god for variable priced fossil fuel inputs that saved us from having really expensive electricity bills.

Some objections are reasonable. Achieving 100% clean energy in one country by moving "dirty" industries to less scrupulous countries is not a very good idea. It kills the local engineering culture, destroys meaningful jobs and makes us dependent on dictatorships that would just lie to your face.

If you want a more meaningful goal, how about "all physical goods consumed in the U.S. being manufactured with 100% clean energy"? Otherwise, it's just not fair to say "look, we are all green" while completely ignoring the emissions from refining lithium and making non-recyclable batteries from it.

If we go further down that lane, we will discover that 100% will never be realistic, but there are some nice compromises to be had, and we might end up with some economic growth that is not about reselling crypto tokens and ads in a circular fashion.

Lithium price declined recently due to over supply.

The US can do this without objection by declaring a state of emergency. We’ve done it before and we can do it again

That's a huge problem, you think that's a viable way to get things done and I don't fault you as I am sure you truly believe it's an emergency. However ,I don't see things as being that dire and instead I see your state of emergency being an act of authoritarianism.

> And assume we increase battery supply by 40x (even though lithium price is going up dramatically now).

It sounds like you're assuming at large scale, Lithium is required for storage (it's not - consider pumped water), and at small scale Lithium is required for storage (it's not - consider flow batteries).

Point being, increasing storage by 40x is not infeasible because of any constraints around Lithium cost / availability.

A 40x increase in battery production by 2035 seems like a pretty reasonable goal, tbh.

1) sodium ion goes into mass production next year: CATL 150 wh/LG.

2) there's this thing called roofs. Residential / commercial solar can go into lots of places and makes the buildings they are on partially / fully grid independent.

3) battery supply will go up by that amount, I'd bet earlier than 2035 by years.

don't forget where the vast majority of the solar, wind, and battery tech is currently built... and we're going to trust the source completely as we transition? I don't see that happening. Also storage simply isn't ready. Until they can all store 2-5 days of power at a generating facility you're living in a pipe dream to claim "reliable power". Over 200 people in Texas died because of a shitty design during the 2021 arctic blast. Imagine 10x of that because of unreliable sources on a regular basis if we just assume everything will just be okay.

Much is easier is to simply ban anything not labeled clean. Redefine things to clean when power grids fail.

Or just let millions suffer insane prices.

Helping people rarely a priority.

Eminent domain might overcome NIMBY

If the fashion is to approve of the gov taking our stuff, then that includes your pot too right, you know, like for the clean biofuel plant man?

Eminent domain means that you get paid market price for your stuff.


And if Americans simplify their lives and stop using so much energy.

Indeed, noone talk about this. An average french person emits 3 or 4 times less CO2. Does an average american live 4 times better than an average frenchman?

French people live longer on average, have less obsesity and other health issues.

Insulated homes or apartments, smaller cars and less meat in diet could cut CO2 footprint 2x.

But also we must not fool ourselves, majority of energy emissions are industrial - as a consumer I have no control over 70% of emissions

Cars, it's all transportation and land use really.

Food choices are a rounding error compared to the terrible transportation options available for Americans. If you want to live in a walkable neighborhood in the US, good luck. Want to live in a desert where you have to drive 15 minutes to accomplish the most basic errand or buy a pound of usage? Here you, go have your choice of place to live cheaply.

> Does an average american live 4 times better than an average frenchman?

I don't know about that "4 times better" (how do you measure that, diminishing returns, etc).

But your average house in the US is for sure more comfortable than your average house in France.

>> But your average house in the US is for sure more comfortable than your average house in France.

"For sure more comfortable"? Like you said though, by what measure? I'm visiting my sister in London right now. She lives in a 750 sqft two bedroom apartment. Sure, it's smaller than my 1700 ft house back in the US, but she seems fairly comfortable.

Yes I know plenty of people who rather live in the big city with all its amenities and interesting people than in a giant house in suburbia. There is a reason why housing prices are so high for the Amsterdam's and New York's of this world.

Google says <5% of homes in France have air conditioning.

It does not typically get that warm in France.

Quickly finding an annual weather calendar for Paris, the seasonal high is 78 F (26 C), one month of the year.

That's just the average, and it's hard to stop it from being warmer inside. A quarter of days are at least 5 degrees hotter and that's well into too hot.

If it was properly unimportant then the majority of stores and offices wouldn't have it.

So you are saying that the geography and socioeconomics of an established (over 10's of thousands of years) country in an already well developed and urbanized continent with high population density is different than one that is sparsely populated and only recently started to be developed by any modern definition?


Maybe in another thousand years, it'll seem more similar.

This is a bizarre response: even in larger US cities, Americans produce more emissions (and waste) per capita than their European counterparts.

Density plays a large role, but consumer behaviors play a larger one. And American consumes prefer diets with more meat, cars that burn fuel less efficiently, and products that are designed to be disposed more frequently.

Edit: we also prefer larger houses, built more cheaply.

When you say larger US cities are you actually comparing apples to oranges? Comparing Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, or Chicago to Paris, Marseille or Lyon makes sense. But Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Miami, etc are large "cities" but are basically not cities, they are a collection of sprawling suburbs that never end.

And why do those consumers prefer that diet?

Could it be because of a history of large amounts of open plains with cheap, accessible water and grass, and easy transportation of that meat (rails)? It's quite nutritious too (in a combination with other foods).

In Europe, farmland is at an extreme premium in most places given the higher population density and often unfriendly climate and geography.

Even more obvious a comparison is India, where veganism is obligatory for a large part of the population because the population density vs farmland would otherwise cause large portions of the population to starve.

Could they be using those cars because there is generally more space in US cities (with a few exceptions that have been around longer, like NYC, Boston, Baltimore, etc.) so there is less need to restrict them in size, AND most of the United States has incredibly low population density, AND a lot of nice places to visit, so folks are more likely to go sizable distances - for friends, family, vacations, etc?

And since the US has been developing rapidly, as compared to already developed, infrastructure is constantly struggling to keep up, so there is a lot of value in a general purpose vehicle that doesn't require existing infrastructure as much.

And why are there more cheaply built houses? Because unlike in Europe, there aren't any old houses where most of the economic and population growth is occurring. Unlike Europe, most of the US has still never had European style development, and it shows. There hasn't been time.

And due to large shifts in the US economy as it figures out how to adapt, grow, and change (with no existing historical industrial/residential base to contend with either), it has to build it now. And if you constantly have to keep building new housing in places because of growth, and you don't know where people will actually want to stay (because no history), why spend more than you have to do so? You might end up abandoning it in 10 years because someone found somewhere better.

The whole 'a hundred years is a long time in America, and 100 miles is a long way in Europe' (or 100km - you pick).

I've spent a lot of time in Europe and the US.

The socio-economics and historical time to develop are wildly different, and those socio-economics and time are a large part of why you see what you see.

In Europe, there are very few places that someone doesn't already have a stake in the ground - and they will use that to force you to pay them to get out of your way, or comply with some expensive standard too.

In the US, that is starting to occur, but hasn't happened yet except in the Urban areas. Most of the US is still completely, totally empty.

It isn't because American's are somehow more gluttonous or evil. They're using the tools they have to fit the problems they have given the constraints they have. Same as everyone else.

The continental (contiguous) United States has a population density of 36 people per sq km.

Western Europe has a population density of 181 per sq km. or 5 times the US.

India, for instance, is 464 per sq km, or 12 times the US.

North America was colonized by European Migrants and started European style development only 3-500 years ago.

Most major (and minor) cities in Europe formed thousands of years ago, and anything less than a 100 years old is often 'new'.

First, I want to clarify: I haven't made a value judgement like "gluttonous" or "evil." We're operating within the same framework, which is constraints (and incentives).

That being said, I think it's overly reductive to chalk it up to the country's size and density. If you take any mid-sized city in the US and wind the clock back by 80 years, you'll see a very different urban structure: dense radial development built around streetcars, multi-family housing next to retail construction, inter-urban and long-distance rail to the next city, etc.

Much of the US, including the extremely sparse parts, looked a great deal like Europe. But where Europe's cities and exurbs were rebuilt to more or less the same character after each war or disaster, the US intentionally razed its cities in favor of (subsidized) personal car travel, commercial zoning, low-density housing, etc.

Cleveland had an urban population of nearly 1 million in the late 1920s, and was one of the largest cities in the country. It's about a third of that today. That didn't take hundreds of years; just a handful of decades.

In other words: we (the US) have intentionally pursued policies and incentive structures that encourage low-density (and correspondingly high-consumption) living, as a departure from our historical arc of development. We don't get to play that off on physical geography; it was a political pivot we made.

Edit: And we don't get to play it off on colonization either: New Zealand is both less dense and younger than the US (and more remote, to boot), and yet their emissions are well under half of ours.

Europe wise, probably because cars weren’t mass produced until 1910, and weren’t well developed until post WW1 - let alone comfortable, reliable, etc.

WW2 changed that. However in Europe, the industrial base was bombed out, and most of the economy was directing it’s energy towards rebuilding - and even then the density in Europe and existing buildings and housing stock (even with things bombed to smithereens) didn’t support the type of wide open projects and free space the US enjoyed then and often now.

The population in Western Europe in 1950 was 142 million. The population today is approx. 191 million, or about 35% growth, even after that terrible war.

Europe couldn’t do what the US did because it was already too dense, and at the time, too poor.

The United States population in 1950 was 151 million. The population is now 332 million.

In 1950, not only did the US have a fully intact industrial base and economy, it had essentially the only one left in the world. So it could and did pursue aggressive expansion and growth, and adopt new technologies which supported it and worked well at the time. Even with more than a doubling in population in that time, it still mostly works - if we ignore wider environmental impacts, of course.

And still outside of the few areas with dense inner cities, it really makes no sense to try to use public transit - there is no public!

As far as NZ goes, I don’t know enough about them to comment one way or another.

"Cleveland had an urban population of nearly 1 million in the late 1920s, and was one of the largest cities in the country. It's about a third of that today. That didn't take hundreds of years; just a handful of decades.

In other words: we (the US) have intentionally pursued policies and incentive structures that encourage low-density (and correspondingly high-consumption) living, as a departure from our historical arc of development."

What you are discounting is the personal preferences of most Americans. Suburban living is chosen by many people as the right balance between urban amenities and preferences for space, nature, less pollution, etc.

Also people follow jobs and the urban cores of the early 20th century were no longer as attractive once people, again exercise choice, chose to work and live where they did not need to rely upon public transportation.

I think you’re confused with what I’m arguing.

People fled Cleveland because they could, when it sucked there because there were options they could use which sucked less.

Automobiles and lots of open space made it possible to do so economically in the US.

In Europe, there isn’t much of a ‘somewhere else’ to go without fleeing the entire region, and, well coming to the US. not even counting the language and legal barriers.

It’s why Germany kept pushing for ‘libensraum’, it’s tight. And why it was so terrible, because there is nowhere to go without invading a bunch of unhappy neighbors.

In the US, if Cleveland sucks, there are plenty of options. And if you can afford a car, they are cheap and easy to get to as well.

No passport required either to move between states, and the US is waaay larger than Europe.

And it’s that way because there wasn’t anyone there beforehand that could make it any other way, and there is a ton of empty space. Unlike Europe.

Republicans want to burn coal out of sheer spite to own the libs.

At the beginning of the article is says:

"But it does not explain how adequate land to reach a 90% clean electricity penetration can be acquired or how reliability will be protected beyond that 90% penetration, stakeholders acknowledged."

I'm confused that they can put a time frame on a problem they have no idea how to solve yet.

> confused that they can put a time frame on a problem they have no idea how to solve yet

The purpose of the study [1] was to explore what a realistic solution would look like. Then you can work backwards and identify roadblocks. For example, if land acquisition is really the sole bottleneck, there are a myriad of legislative solutions that could address it.

[1] https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/nrel-study-identifies-o...

Or just put stuff on water.

> I'm confused that they can put a time frame on a problem they have no idea how to solve yet.

You are writing on a developer forum, they work in Agile and ruotinely provide estimates or work to deadlines when business does not even know the requirements of their system, let alone how to build most of it.

If a developer tells you they can deliver by x, and they also don't know how to do it, what is the level of confidence you have that will occur?

As a developer, the ugly truth about Agile is that something (TM) is delivered and fallout is labeled Technical Debt.

Been there, done that, literally got all the t-shirts.

One challenge I’ve seen though, in the situations where that’s what happened, is that I didn’t see at the time (and still, looking back, don’t see) any alternative that was likely to work either.

But no one likes that answer, especially not the folks paying for it.

Most of the difficulty was just figuring out what needed to be done, not sitting down and actually doing it.

And software is so incredibly picky, it was always in doubt for many projects if it was actually going to work well enough until the hard parts were all almost done anyway.

CRUD apps? Sure, not as hard - but even there it’s common to run across issues like ‘that doesn’t actually make sense to do’ once you go to actually do it. The new checkbox makes everything really confusing, or it tips the whole CRUd page into ‘too many things’ without a rethink, or if the bit of data that logically is associated with everything else is actually stored in a different backend, and the semantics of clicking ‘Save’ get too scary if you combine them all.

Waterfall, while pushing forward some of the planning, can help compared to what Agile has devolved to sometimes - like people literally not trying to figure out what they even want to do this week.

Waterfall was always an issue because the plans just get more unrealistic because the time to discovery of issues gets bigger, and everyone spends tons of time churning in their GANTT charts instead of just trying it, or realizing you can’t plan something accurately if you don’t know if it will work and being honest about it.

And then tighten the screws when the people doing the work are late.

It’s a story about overwhelm, in my experience. Most business problems are always in need of more decision making ability, and process tends to be used as a crutch instead of solving that problem.

This paper is saying they can deliver by x, if y is figured out.

It's a perfectly cromulent way to make a projection.

Where we have no idea of how expensive or not y will be, or how long it will take to do it.

Like saying ‘The UI will be ready in 6 months if the backend is figured out’.

Also not a realistic projection.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s something. But the error bars are larger than the graph.

I'm sorry, but that characterization of 90% versus 100% is not remotely fair.

"Only 90% unless people let us buy enough land" is a far cry from not having any clue at all.

It isn’t just land though, it’s also storage and other tech. Aka ‘the backend’.

Or ‘the other 90%’

I'm not much less confident than if they do know how to do it.

These are roadmaps about how to get somewhere, but the map is not the terrain, and there are a few parts that are known to only be 90% mapped. That doesn't say that the 10% unmapped contains an impassable cliff or easily crossable plains, but we will likely find out.

You'd think what they want is a solution to switch over to renewable energy sources that can meet or exceed current demands at comparative costs.

No, they just want to get rid of fossil fuels. It doesn't matter if the new system can meet the demand at all, or how much it will cost.

Look at California. Banning lawn mowers and ICE cars. Their power grid can't even support EV charging, and they're sending out notices asking people to charge their cars at off hours.

It doesn't have to work. It just has to disrupt oil at any cost, even if the cost is human suffering.

That does not represent anything in the article.

> Their power grid can't even support EV charging,

This is categorically false, and a ridiculous thing to say.

> The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, sent a Flex Alert asking all residents to voluntarily reduce their electricity use between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and warned that more alerts were possible through the Labor Day weekend.

> A spokeswoman for the governor, Erin Mellon, said that the request to avoid charging electrical vehicles has been misrepresented by critics of California’s efforts to curb emissions.

> “We’re not saying don’t charge them,” she said. “We’re just saying don’t charge them between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.”


That’s peak air conditioning load, and it nicely disproves the claim you’re defending: most cars charge aren’t plugged in at peak commuting time but they’ll charge just fine in the middle of the day when solar production is maximized or at night when the grid has plenty of excess capacity after AC demand has dropped significantly.

To be blunt, they weren't saying "Don't charges EVs". They were pretty much saying "Don't do ANYTHING that requires a lot of power.".

Don't wash you clothes.

Don't dry your clothes.

Don't run your oven, hair dryer, blender. Let the arc furnace lie idle. Practice your metal turning hobby later in the day.

Oh, and if you could, shut down the A/C kthx.

That's what they were saying.

> We’re not saying don’t charge them,” she said. “We’re just saying don’t charge them between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.”

Exactly. During the worst, off the charts weather event ever experienced, with statewide heat never seen before, there were a few hours where people were asked to not use much energy, but they still had plenty of energy to charge cars.

Air conditioners were the problem, not EV's.

The solution for air conditioners ... more solar power.

Except for those hours 4-9... the solution to that is more storage, a solution which is ready today, shipping, and in demand in excess of current supply, even though supply is ramping up at tremendous speeds.

You can significantly reduce storage requirements by moving the solar peak to 4pm. Just install the solar panels upright rather than flat.


It also impedes other land use even less and can go in places like highway sound barriers.

CSP with thermal storage is also cheaper than storage now in high resource/low cloud areas.

What if, instead of localized salt reactors, we have hyper local chemical flow batteries.

I didn't see enough data to understand how 100% clean power will be achieved that can satisfy baseload energy demand.

The simple fix of course, would be to add a substantial amount of Nuclear to handle the intermittency problem of the renewables.

Also, given how much untapped methane we have on ocean floors, and how we appear to be accumulating it still, it might be smart to think about it as a somewhat renewable resource also.

Appreciate the graph in the article , this time the numbers actually are calculated by engineers from DoE , not by Journalists...

Even if the plan is there , without an “economy of war” and the implication of basically every single American it’s nearly impossible to reach those types of deployment.

Money is not the answer to everything , as pointed we are also going to reach “civilization” types of limits with land and ressource exhaust...

My humble opinion is we should simply consume far less energy and accept a much simpler lifestyle, that would be much easier ...

Did we read the same article? The land usage for wind and solar is about that of golf courses and coal. Getting permits to use the land is the main obstacle.

As for resource constraints, the limiting factor is the speed on which a lithium mines can come online. The bulk of the that being environment reviews and lawsuits.

Americans are just going to have to come to terms with building or mining stuff causes localized environmental damage and other externalities for the communities that live close by. We should weight the pros and cons and move swiftly with whatever the decision is.

Lithium isn't even in the top twenty of mined metal. It would also be relatively cheap to recycle at scale.

Problems are political, i.e monied interests not environmental, technological, or even financial.

Should also be optimistic about non lithium solid state batteries!


Honestly as a golfer, a windmill in the middle of the fairway would make for an interesting hole

Mini-golf, but life size?

Perfect :)

What is the plan for revamping all the residential units that have non-electrical heating in the parts of the country which have winter?

We switched to a heat pump a couple years ago. It soaks up all but the coldest (5-15°) days in winter (when the resistive heater kicks in as well) and uses only a little more energy than our old gas system’s fans did. It’s way more efficient in the summer than our old AC was so our annual usage actually went down and we have less maintenance.

Over the course of the year, our entire HVAC load is roughly what our modest solar setup produces. Obviously there are distribution issues, which is why we buy wind-generated electricity, but this is something we can do now and I’m quite confident the thousands of engineers working in the space will improve as it becomes our generation’s Apollo project.

How much did that cost you?

It was about $20k as part of a larger project replacing things like our water heater & closing up the old gas line. Solar panels were like $15k and should hit break even on SREC sales in another 4 years.

Heat pumps!

They work great on cold weather now, as long as you can find a competent HVAC contractor. HVAC folks tend to not like new tech, though, so it's hard to find one.

I think the cost is more the issue than the tech. There are plenty of electric options as well. Per room conditioning can help

This post really is a scathing look into a deep hostility I would not expect from HN readers. The number of people on here that seem OK with institutiying some form of boot in face opression to all those OTHER people causing the problem. Very few conversations about personal choices that could make a difference.

"Nuclear is likely to be 9% to 12% of generation in 2035" - this is absurd. We should have much more aggressive targets for nuclear. Because it is the cleanest, safest and most reliable source of 0-emission power.

France gets 70% of its electricity from nuclear now.

Before the typical "nuclear is too expensive/takes too long to build" comments start: https://whatisnuclear.com/economics.html. Understand why this is the case and how it's entirely reasonable to fix those problems with sufficient will & funding.

That page doesn't really describe how to fix the problems. Nobody really knows, and there's lots of speculations, but if there was an answer it's easily a trillion dollar reward.

> That page doesn't really describe how to fix the problems.

Clearly you didn't actually read it because there's a large section describing exactly how to improve the economics of nuclear construction: https://whatisnuclear.com/economics.html#improving-modern-nu...

From the conclusion:

- Multiple hypothetical approaches to reduce nuclear costs are ongoing. No one knows for sure if any of them will work, or which one will work best

And it didn't address the time scale issue at all.

OTOH, solar power has a 5 decade history of 90% cost reductions per decade.

What's your point? The guy doesn't have a few billion to single handedly throw at the problem to test them out. There are feasible solutions to make it less expensive, whether or not they get put into practice is a different topic. The point is that nuclear is not inherently and permanently as expensive as it has been for the past few decades.

> And it didn't address the time scale issue at all.

The time scale issue is directly related to the cost issue. Costs are so high not due to material costs, but because of the engineering and construction overheads. Standardize the designs, streamline the approval processes and both construction time & costs will decrease.

And to your solar point, until there's a viable way to store the energy that solar produces it's not a solution on its own regardless of how cheap it is. Same goes for any renewable that doesn't have the on-demand characteristic of nuclear.

To be clear: I'm not saying to not use solar. I'm saying to build solar, wind, nuclear, AND whatever else. I honestly don't really care how expensive any of them are anymore because the costs of not stopping carbon emissions will be far higher than the cost of building these renewable/nuclear generating stations.

How can the design be standardized? Each location has its own risks to deal with. Extreme heat in Arizona, earthquakes in California, flooding in Florida. Every nuclear plant is a bit different. There is no economics of scale when building nuclear plants.

Reactor designs such as the AP1000 can be and are standardized.

> Extreme heat in Arizona, earthquakes in California, flooding in Florida.

Earthquakes happen everywhere to varying degrees and flooding typically doesn't happen with some warning. I'm not sure about extreme heat being a large problem? If it is, then don't build there. Build elsewhere and then build powerlines to get the power where it's needed. Sure, different areas involve different threats, but you can make a set of designs that work in different areas instead of doing bespoke designs for every one.

> There is no economics of scale when building nuclear plants.

There is to a certain degree. Consider the Vogtle 3 & 4 project. It was hugely over budget in costs and time. Westinghouse went bankrupt during its construction. One (of many) reasons for this was the lack of nuclear construction knowledge left in the US because we stopped building reactors. There are other pending nuclear projects that will now benefit from the knowledge and experience that was re-learned from the Vogtle project. Having an active industry most certainly does bring some economies of scale to life.

this is not true, designs for Wind turbines and solar panels are standardised.

Reactor designs in China and France are standardised. There are suitability requirements towards the site ofcourse, that is normal

Solar power also has a decades long history of only working during a day.

And lithium batteries have a 3 decade history of 80% price reductions per decade.

There's not enough lithium on planet Earth even for all the electric cars we'll need, don't even start on using lithium batteries for large-scale storage.

The only hope here is that Magnesium-based batteries will become a thing.

EDIT: OK, it seems that I mistook the "mineable lithium deposits" number for the whole lithium available :)

Anyway, unless there is a major technological breakthrough we are looking at few decades of lithium shortages. I expect countries to actually fight wars over lithium they way the US used to fight over oil. So, in the end, building nuclear plants seems more reasonable than building solar and then praying for cheaper batteries.


Lithium is roughly 0.002–0.006 wt% of the earths crust (concentrated in brines to much higher levels of course).

It's no Iron (5% of the earths crust), but it is widely prevalent, and at #33ish most common elements on Earth, it's more about proving reserves of what used to be a niche material, than ACTUAL rarity. Nickel, Zinc, Copper are #23, 24 and #25 for instance, and lead is #36.

We have no shortage of Lead, but mostly because it is a byproduct of Silver mining. It's typical for lead to go for $1/lb.

So that means the price reductions will continue at that same rate? Extrapolation of a trend is not a forgone conclusion with anything. In fact, the price of lithium has gone UP in the past two years. Batteries may very well not be getting cheaper for the foreseeable future.

How many decades untill it is affordable as backup storage for a country?


China started building 6 new nuclear plants this year: https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/China-greenlights-6-...

I guess just like high speed rail, China will leave the US in the dust.

China is planning on building 150 reactors in the next 15 years


So yes, once again we have to listen to Americans say “it won’t work here”

If we were to start that now, it would add only 1% generation capacity, and that's assuming that all projects finish within 13 years (unlikely) and that none of the construction projects are abandoned as unfinishable in any way that makes financial sense (which happened to 50% of the reactors started in the US in the 2000s).

There's an assumption that we can simply rebuild what we built in the past, but technology has changed quite a bit, construction costs have risen quite a bit, and the lessons we have learned from prior reactors means that we dont want to build the prior designs.

Nuclear is a technology without a solid track record, and which has failed in the US, and in France, and in Finland. In these latter examples, we can't blame regulations or public support. Personally, my hypothesis is that construction productivity has been so stagnant compared to manufacturing productivity growth, that nuclear no longer makes sense for advanced economies. Economies at earlier stages of development with lower labor productivity and therefore lower labor costs, may be able to build nuclear cost-effectively.

> ... and in France, and in Finland ...

We might be about to discover that every power policy in Europe has failed, there are a lot of people hoping for a warm winter. I'd be very nervous if their fossil fuel, nuclear, renewable or gas policies were being adopted where I live. There is a serial problem in the west where people aren't taking energy security seriously. If we were, we'd have been building nuclear reactors 13 years ago and we'd be building them now for 13 years in the future.

For this comment, I also looked up the Texas thing [0] from last year to see if there was a solid consensus on what happened yet RE wind energy's contribution. I imagine there must be some Wikipedia edit wars happening over whether to show the 7th on this graph [1] because it makes it look like Wind was pretty useless at stopping people from freezing to death in winter.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Texas_power_crisis

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Texas_power_crisis.png

The plan for Texas was never to rely on wind, and how could they, wind is not reliable!

The plan was to rely on natural gas and nuclear, which are supposed to be reliable, but which were not in Texas.

Therefore, more solar and storage is probably the best way for Texans to gain reliability. Texas had the same problem with frozen gas and nuclear plants a decade earlier, knew it was a problem, and refused to fix it.

Decentralization is the only way for people to protect themselves with grid mismanagement like that, which means home solar and storage.

And it comes down to, utilities didn't spring for the cold weather package on their turbines. Effectively deciding that during extreme cold snaps they would rely on natural gas power plants. Which were also brought down by the cold snap.

Interestingly, because they didn't spring for the cold weather package for the natural gas stuff either.

Natural gas can have moisture in it, and that can cause valves and regulators to freeze, hydrate slush or ice to form in pipelines, etc.


They just flat out were unprepared.

With enough energy almost anything can be done. The most extreme example I go to is solving adverse effects of climate change on crops: simply build giant greenhouses - you have the energy to power artificial sunlight, desalinate water, etc.

With that in mind, this isn't the sort of lead you could easily (or even reasonably) catch up to. The manner in which an energy superpower would operate would be completely alien to compared to what we know today. China will come to economically dominate the planet unless America (or some another country) catches a wake-up call.

High speed rail is a convenience by comparison.

China is also where most of the solar panels are built

The full paragraph is:

"Nuclear is likely to be 9% to 12% of generation in 2035 under three of NREL’s scenarios but could more than double to 27% with siting and permitting constraints on generation and transmission, models found. But that is unlikely because the cost-effectiveness of investments in wind, solar, storage and transmission is “clearly” better than that of new nuclear, NREL’s Denholm said."

It apparently took about a decade or so to go from planning to running most of these power plants...

What does the cost of nuclear vs renewables and storage look like in a decade? The cost curve is what will define success. Nuclear never gets cheaper.

More than half of France's nuclear reactors are out of commission right now, so for the foreseeable future that "70%" is more aspirational than anything.

We are obviously not going to meet all of our energy needs — especially for certain high-demand applications — from solar and wind alone, but there are some significant advantages to a decentralized power grid that the pro-nuclear folks don't seem to factor into their arguments. Assuming we can build it out, a decentralized grid ought to be much more resilient to the sort of problems France is facing right now.

This is fairly liberal use of the term "decentralized." Building many more nuclear plants is still "decentralized" in that some of them can be offline and the system still works.

Major solar and wind installations are typically concentrated in similar generating stations as nuclear plants are. Many more people will likely have solar on their homes, but it's not like wind and solar is going to lead to a purely decentralized grid where every small community is generating their own electricity. There will always be large scale generating stations for the bulk of grid electricity.

> More than half of France's nuclear reactors are out of commission right now

COVID and corrosion issues being investigated led to that, but the fact is that France has had a reliable clean electricity supply for decades before that.

The US can't build a nuclear plant in 13 years.

The US can build a plant in 13 years. It's a matter of dedication and willingness. And pissing off a minority of vocal opponents.

It takes longer because of the crazy regulations driven in part by environmentalists who complained about nuclear for decades while fossil fuels were the only other option.

But the USA has the resources, skills, technology and money to do so in a short period of time.

The USA hasn't built a sizable number of reactors for 40 years. We haven't completely lost the skills, but they've sure atrophied.

It takes China 10 years to build a reactor, and they've built lots of them in the past 20 years and don't have the regulations you decry. There's no way that the US can do it in anywhere close to the same time frame that China can.

It's not just the rules and attitudes about nuclear making things slow. We can't build a subway station in any sort of reasonable timeframe or budget.

I believe there are some. If you want to build new reactor designs, it is almost impossible because of the approval you have to get for the design. If I recall, Terrapower was pretty much told they had to prove the tech somewhere else before building here. They planned to build a reactor in China but that was halted because of the trade war? If you are building a reactor with older designs most people say we shouldn't build with, yea there isn't as much push back.

Aren't NuScale, Rolls Royce, etc planning to deploy several Gigawatts per year of mini reactors within 5 years?

That could be close to 1% of energy usage per year...

They should build it then, and be willing to suffer financial penalties if they can’t. Otherwise they’re making empty promises. Watch what someone does, not what they say.

None of this is correct, the projects have not been stopped due to environmentalists, or regulations, or even willingness. It's just been construction incompetence that caused billions of dollars to be abandoned on a half-finished project at VC Summer. And it's the same construction incompetence that caused Vogtle to be so far behind schedule and so far over budget.

If somebody has regulations to change, it's time to propose them.

US can build reactors in 13 years in the same fictional scenario where Russian government can be competent and can substitute all the foreign components it needs, especially electronics, with home grown ones.

Back in the real world, US is taking decades to build a railway and Russia's import substitution programm is 90% fraud - they buy from Czech Republic kits for assembly of Tractors, out them together in Russia and call them 'russian-built'.

You cannot just hand-wave away political issues, incompetence and corruption.

That’s less than the 20% we get now.


“ for 20% of the nation's total electric energy generation.[3] In 2018, nuclear comprised nearly 50 percent of US emission-free energy generation.”

Didn’t the United States build 100 nuclear power plants in about 25 years?

Yes, and the problem was that way too many of them were over budget and delayed. Even before Three Mile Island, orders for new nuclear had slowed massively because utilities realized that ther massive risk for financial boondoggles.

Those nuclear reactors are now reaching their end of life, and will need to be phased out. France is realizing what happens when you don't replace your aging fleet fast enough: massive unreliability and extended shutdowns for maintenance and fixing things.

France also started to build new nuclear in the 2000s, at Flamanville, but it has been an utter debacle, that's ongoing to this day. It's to the point that even though the president has said he's going to order more reactors, it seems unlikely that many of them will ever complete.

What if you just kept building them, learning each time, building tacit knowledge and economics of scale?

Building the same model of reactor a second, third, and fourth time has resulted in increasing cost in both the US and France.

There are a few countries that have shown positive learning rather than negative learning, but there's questions about how much of that is from corruption and cheating rather than actual process improvements. (I'm thinking of South Korea here)

Define now, because there's a now in which we'd really like to be able to make that much...

Nixon originally wanted a thousand plants to be operational by the year 2000.

Technically feasible... unfortunately you had too many politicians with ties to fossil fuel industry telling the locals that windmills and solar cause cancer or some other inane thing.

Okay, so I'll assume that 2035 is their most optimistic estimate. Assuming it's true, why have we dramatically reduced our energy supply now in 2022? Has the role of our governments changed into one that forces policy upon us, even when the policy is ill planned? How does this make us stronger, better, or safer? I'm not trying to shoot it down, but shouldn't such a drastic national/worldwide government policy get some review and maybe even a vote from the people (under the democratic governments)?

This is the same DOE that is tapping strategic petroleum reserves to manipulate gas prices, right?

This is PR to support the “inflation reduction act”.

The alternative is being at the behest of foreign oil price manipulation. Moving away from oil seems like a pretty good way to prevent dipping into strategic reserves to me.

Relevant username?

Finds? Or predicts?

does that mean nuclear power?

Maybe, but that’s the slow option so we should be doing renewables now, which can come online in just months, while the much slower process of adding nuclear capacity unfolds. If we shift the large amount of power generation which renewables can provide over that buys us enough time to build nuclear.

No it doesn't since nuclear waste is not clean and as the article says: renewables are cheaper already.

Oh, nice! Didn't know battery tech and PV panel production were clean now. That's a great leap.

Much cleaner than nuclear waste.

Predictable derailment though.

OK, fine, but to what extent will it impoverish working people or reduce their wealth? It's more important to consider human happiness and wealth, rather than sacrificing the poor on the altar of carbon emissions.

True, we should serverely reduce military spending to divert into a comprehensive fission program while reintroducing 1950s-level tax brackets and eliminating capital gains exemptions. We could solve the upcoming energy crising while saving money for the impoverished.

> It's more important to consider human happiness

Do you think that the people that are starving to death in Madagascar from climate-change induced drought are happy?

When the problem comes further north, do you think we will be happy?

People driving cars in the Americas =/= a seasonal drought in Africa.

Rich people generate far more carbon emissions than the poor, and the heaviest impacts of climate change will be borne by the poor, who have the least reserves to cushion the blow.

Poor people are disproportionately affected by the climate catastrophe and benefit most from mitigating it.

Storage is the bottleneck that makes 100% clean energy even before 2099 unlikely. I recommend the whole video but this part is relevant to my comment:


Link is to a a Stossel TV segment which right out of the gate misrepresents the problem. They cite some staggering numbers about how many batteries you'd need to match "the energy Europe has in storage right now" failing to note that those are petroleum reserves stored for geopolitical insurance, not to buffer instantaneous shortfalls in electricity generation. Those reserves are designed to be many months of use; no one thinks you need that for grid buffering, where a few days is plenty.

And in any case that oil is going to be used for vehicle fuel, where the linked article is talking about electrical grid generation. No one thinks we're going to be off of fossil fueled vehicles in a decade, though it's definitely possible to reduce the net usage by a ton.

Sorry, that's just a terribly spun video segment. What the linked article claims is absolutely doable.

Imagine saying this 80 years ago about any number of technologies that are cheap and commonplace today.

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