August 2021

Background.  The Energy Security Board is preparing recommendations for market reforms to make the green energy transition as quickly as possible

The Problem.  The fundamental problem is the gap in supply of wind and solar power on windless nights. Very high levels of installed RE capacity provide no power in the absence of wind and sun.

Windless nights are the limiting factor in the process, in the same way that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link and the flood protection wall is only as effective as the lowest point. For information on the depth and duration of wind droughts see note 20.2

Grid-scale storage is the answer but neither pumped hydro nor batteries will be feasible or affordable at that scale in the foreseeable future.

For the limitation of pumped hydro see note 21.5

For the very small capacity of the so-called “big batteries” see note 21.12

It seems that extensive development of RE capacity cannot work in the absence of adequate storage and further waste of resources should cease until storage is available. The process has been done the wrong way around.


Conclusion: Further investment in RE capacity will be wasted until the storage issue is resolved