There's something fundamentally broken about capitalism and economics if having an abundance of something we want is viewed as a "Bad Thing(tm)"

"The problem is that solar panels generate lots of electricity in the middle of sunny days, frequently more than what’s required, driving down prices—sometimes even into negative territory."



Yeah, this is an extremely ridiculous statement 🤦

I guess the only *actual* problem is missing storage capacity.

The problem of storage can and should be solved. I wonder what's holding that up anyway. Batteries aren't exactly rocket surgery.

So I venture a guess that it's not a technical issue, but economic and social again.

@quincy I wouldn't belittle @ColinTheMathmo for his ignorance when you are just as ignorant about batteries and why they aren't grid scale.

Maybe be a little less condescending next time. Nobody knows everything.

@loveisgrief ,

You've thoroughly misunderstood my toot. I'm not criticizing or even "belittling" @ColinTheMathmo in the least.

On the contrary, I was signalling my general agreement with the original post, and musing about what could be done about it.

I'm not claiming to be an expert on batteries (which you accuse me of without ground) but instead hoping for one to come along, and explain the challenges to us all.

Maybe assume a little less about me (or whoever you next accuse of being "condescending") next time. Text is notorious for hiding nuance.

@quincy I'm assuming that the "This is a ridiculous statement" is referring to the quotation from MIT review, not to my comment about capitalism and economics.

I think we all know that the technical problem is energy storage and transportation. We still have no technically viable way to store and transport *large* amounts of energy with any degree of efficiency.

The things that's so galling is that the "solution" people have at the moment is to not produce the energy.



@quincy It's like the old Steve Wright quip, where his car mechanic says:

"I couldn't fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

Or the doctor who, when you say "Doing this hurts" replies with "Well don't do that!"

But economics and capitalism isn't really trying to solve the energy storage problem, and that's the frustration. For all of us.


@ColinTheMathmo @loveisgrief

What I'd like to understand is, what is the worst bottleneck?

Wouldn't it at least make sense to store the extra energy produced at noon in, say, used car batteries and then use it locally?

Or am I already making some erroneous assumptions there?

@quincy Some initial thoughts ...

(a) This would be a distributed system, which makes sense from some perspectives, but is harder to build, maintain, and control. Centralising services gives scales of economy and efficiency, and decentralising can be a problem.

(b) Car batteries don't have the storage density you need, unless you're talking about the really modern ones, and (i) they are expensive, ...



@quincy ... (ii) there are none unused, and (iii) when they reach end of life, they no longer have the density anyway, otherwise they wouldn't be EOL.

(c) Used car batteries (using that specific example, the same applies to nearly everything) are really, really inefficient.

Possibly none of this is insurmountable, but it comes down to the same problem:

How can we efficiently store (and transport) energy?

(2/n, n=2)



@quincy It's worth noting, I have no answers, but seeing the technical problem stated baldly and cleanly, along with the observation about needing to make TPTB paranoid to get them moving to provide the resources to solve it, might have value.

(3/n, n=2 ... 8-)


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@ColinTheMathmo @quincy @loveisgrief We probably need more than one solution here. For example, run your energy consuming gadgets like washing machines around midday. Have a well-insulated water-tank so that you can use some of it to produce hot water. My flat comes with one that is being heated at night when energy is cheapest - that could be switched to a noon cycle.

@gunchleoc I agree completely that changing consumer behaviour would help, and possibly would help a lot.

Having dealt with consumers before, I'm not entirely hopeful that it will happen /en masse/, and certainly not enough to make a significant difference in the long run.

But absolutely yes, these things should be done.

@quincy @loveisgrief

@gunchleoc @ColinTheMathmo @loveisgrief

Regarding car batteries, yes I meant modern batteries from EV, not lead acid starter batteries.

I've heard from several (!) house-owning acquaintances who've rigged up some of these at home (still at 70-80% storage capacity when they're no longer good for vehicles) to store electricity ...

And given that there seem to be a multitude of candidates for storage, this should be a major R&D focus by now!

@gunchleoc @ColinTheMathmo @loveisgrief

Also nice: there seems to be a lot of R&D going on regarding cell types.

Lithium and other relatively expensive materials can be swapped out for cheaper, or at least more diverse, ones

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