Why modern renewable power doesn’t need a breakthrough in energy storage | Amory Lovins

Why modern renewable power doesn’t need a breakthrough in energy storage | Amory Lovins



thank you so much for dinner solar power is scaling up faster than cellphones for six years running half the world's editions of electric generating capacity have been renewable and the fastest-growing parts have been the modular mass-produced renewables like solar and wind power in each of the past three years they've added over eighty billion watts and won a quarter trillion dollars of private investment so America now has more solar jobs than we have coal or steel jobs China last year added more solar power than the United States has and the year before China got more electricity from wind power than from nuclear power nuclear and coal plants prospects are fading worldwide because wind and solar power are cheaper and can also make grids resilience preventing cascading blackouts but these modern renewables also scale up in a fundamentally different way traditionally we built giant cathedral-like power plants each costing billions of dollars in taking many years to license and build but now each year you can build a factory that produces each year thereafter enough solar cells to generate each year thereafter as much electricity as your Cathedral ultimately will so solar output skills up incredibly quickly mass producing solar and wind equipment makes it cheaper so it grows faster so it gets cheaper so it grows faster in 20 states today entrepreneurs will put solar power on your roof with no money down and beat your utility bill and soon they'll offer cashback yet many people still claim but solar cells and wind power are too variable to produce much electricity reliably because we can't cheaply store huge amounts for when the Sun doesn't shine or the wind doesn't blow that's a myth we do not need a storage breakthrough we do not need supposedly 24/7 baseload : nuclear power plants to keep the lights on and here's why first variable does not mean unpredictable we can predict solar and wind power at least as accurately as demand in this stormy winter month forecast output from all the French wind farms almost exactly match they're at you'll output a day later but also we secondly we built the electric grid because no kind of power plant is 24/7 they all break those giant power plants are shut down about 10 or 12 percent of the time losing a billion watts maybe in milliseconds often for weeks or months often without warning the grid handles this intermittence by backing up failed plants with working plants in exactly the same way but often in lower cost the grid can manage the for castable variation of solar and wind power by combining them with renewables in other places or of other kinds let me show you how this can work for example the isolated Texas grids summer electric loads can get much smaller and less peaky with more efficient use profitably now combining 86% wind and solar power with 14% other dispatchable renewables creates surpluses that can charge up I storage air conditioners and electric cars and then recovering that distributed storage when needed and filling the last gaps with unobtrusively flexible demand can then deliver 100% renewable electricity every hour of the year with only 5% left over using such choreography some European countries without adding bulk stores are already delivering 25 to 58 percent renewable electricity far more reliable that America's Iowa and South Dakota as well are over one fourth wind powered today so they in Europe have already far transcended renewable power supposed reliability limits whatever exists is possible the National Renewable Energy Lab is also choreographed reliable eighty or ninety percent renewable electricity for the lower 48 United States bottom line bulk electricity storage and fossil fuel backup are the costliest ways to make the grid more flexible so we would use them last not first a breakthrough in cheap bulk storage would be helpful but not vital we needn't wait for it and the market isn't waiting only the myth holds us back thank you you [Applause]

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