By David Middleton
Vox’s David Roberts has a green epiphany…
Batteries have a dirty secret
Energy storage is considered a green technology. But it actually increases carbon emissions.
By David Roberts Jul 21, 2018
Energy storage (batteries and other ways of storing electricity, like pumped water, compressed air, or molten salt) has generally been hailed as a “green” technology, key to enabling more renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
But energy storage has a dirty secret. The way it’s typically used in the US today, it enables more fossil-fueled energy and higher carbon emissions. Emissions are higher today than they would have been if no storage had ever been deployed in the US.
In and of itself, energy storage is neither clean nor dirty — it is neutral, as likely to boost the revenue of fossil fuel plants as it is to help clean energy.
It all boils down to “arbitrage.” Buy electricity when it’s cheap, store it and sell it when it’s more expensive. Since utility companies are “businesses,” they buy and sell electricity with “dollars,” as opposed to Btu or carbon credits. If the old coal-fired plant is selling cheap electricity at night and the new solar PV plant is only selling electricity during the day, when it’s expensive… Guess which source will be the preferred purchase for battery storage? (Hint: Not solar).
Irony can be so ironic!
What the heck are they burning in Kansas?
450 kg CO2/MWh… They must be injecting extra CO2 into the flue gas of their coal-fired power plants! (/Sarc)