Reply to post: Re: Interesting study, bad subject

Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

DougS Silver badge

Re: Interesting study, bad subject

do you think wind and solar can ever replicate the sheer megaJoules that 100 million barrels of crude per day produces?

Eventually yes. I did say "decades", did I not? This isn't something you do overnight - all you have to do is bring enough solar/wind online to replace any new generating plants that are needed (for either new capacity or existing) and then it is just a matter of time. Obviously some areas are more amenable to wind and especially solar than others, but fortunately the places with the greatest peak to peak demand cycles tend to be ones with a lot of sunshine to exploit - and unlike wind that can be effectively exploited in small scales on people's rooftops. So there's a lot you can do before you start looking at replacing base load capacity.

As for how you would store it, there are already utilities making use of flow batteries and other storage technologies to store renewable energy. That's just getting started, but I would expect by the end of next decade it will be commonplace. Distributing storage batteries around the grid would also buffer the grid, making it more resilient to the sort of domino effect outages where one transformer blows, overloading another and a localized outage grows in scale so it is desirable even before renewable + storage is lower in price.

The mistake people make in thinking about wind and solar replacing fossil fuels is thinking in too short of time scales, and ignoring that wind/solar get cheaper over time as technology improves while fossil fuels grow more expensive due to more challenging recovery methods. The market is going to make this happen, though subsidies can (and have) helped push the technology more quickly and could help pull the timescale in further.

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