Doing the math on battery storage

Here is the reality when it comes to the scale needed to reliably back up intermittent renewables. For simplicity let us suppose New York City is 100% wind powered. Including solar in the generating mix makes it more complicated but does not change the unhappy outcome very much.

NYC presently peaks at around 32,000 MW needed to keep the lights on. If Mr. Biden makes all the cars and trucks electric it might be closer to 50,000 MW but let’s stick to reality.

So for reliability we need, say, seven days of backup, which is 168 hours. Here’s the math:

32,000 MW x 168 hours = 5,376,000 MWh of stored juice needed to just make it. Mind you for normal reliability we usually add 20% or so. Did I mention electric cars?

It is easy to see that a trivial 400 MWh is not “significant scale.” It is infinitesimal scale. Nothing. Nada. Might as well not exist.


So what would it cost to reliably back up wind power, at this MWh cost and NYC’s scale? Just over $8,000,000,000,000 or EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS. I have not seen this stupendous sum mentioned in the media. Perhaps Con Ed has not mentioned it.

New York can’t buy its way out of blackouts

One thought on “Doing the math on battery storage

  1. And people want to switch electrum cars. Think we will have to switch to no cars. Electric mass transit is our best hope And going to bed at sunset and getting up at dawn. With no aur conditioning Not a lot of hope here.


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