I recently posted the comments below in response to another commenter at theEnergyCollective.com
“The point that you are missing is that Renewables advocates are never up-front on the need for FF back up their product Forevermore.”
In the quoted portion above FF stands for Fossil Fuel
My response below:
I do not agree that fossil fuel is the only backup. Where it is available, hydroelectricity is dispatchable. In Europe Norway is providing a significant demonstration of this. In the Northeast US, we could use that model and build cooperative agreements with hydro-quebec to get a significant amount of hydro backup. In the Northwest there are large hydro resources as well.
But hydro is not sufficient to provide all backup. And while many disagree, I am optimistic about battery storage. Using this graph, assuming 30% growth for EVs and shifting the curve to todays battery price of ~$550 / kwhr it appears we will be hitting $100 / kwhr by 2029 and $50 / kwhr by $2035. This is pretty consistent with recent studies out by Navigant and McKinsey. And that assumes we don’t find anything better than Li-ion. It also assumes that the primary purchase is for grid storage. With V2G much of the grid storage capital cost is paid by the car owner. Only the asset depreciation cost is paid by the utility and that, on an as needed basis. Additionally, as the EV’s batteries are retired, they can lease them to bulk storage providers which has the effect of prolonging their useful life and further reducing the effective per kwhr storage cost.
Maybe my numbers are off by a decade, but certainly no more than that so we end up with affordable non-fossil fuel backup by 2035 and worst case by 2045.
In the near term I agree that renewables need to be offset by fossil fuels but it is by no means a “forever” proposition. This report by the DOE offers their proposed roadmap.
It is also worth pointing out that some are claiming that $250 / kwhr is the “magic number” for grid storage. If so, Li-ion will hit that by around 2020 according to a growing chorus of analysts. Flow batteries are nearing that number now.
While the cost data is already obsolete, this article has some interesting information on the characteristics of Li-ion batteries.
Leaf offers V2G Solution