So Alexandria “How do I balance my checkbook?” Ocasio-Cortez is all on board with the Democrats’ “Green New Deal” to convert the entire country to renewable power in ten years. Poor baby; however did she manage to get a degree in economics?
Total US power production: 4,034 Billion kWh.
Convert that to nameplate capacity, and you need 460,502,283,105 W continuous power production 8760 hours per year. We’re doing this over ten years, so let’s see what we need to convert 10% per year for ten years. I’m still researching wind power, so let’s just pretend we’re doing this with photovoltaic (PVC) panels.
We’ll need 45,945,330,297 W capacity in PVC.
But… best possible case, solar only works for half of a 24 hour cycle on average. For the night half, you need to double capacity and store half of that.
Now we need 99,787,532,846 W of PVC capacity.
Let’s round that up and say you need to install 100 GW capacity each year. There’s a little problem with that.
Annual worldwide PVC manufacturing production is only 40 GW. You need more than twice as much PVC capacity as is manufactured on the entire planet.
Every. Year. For ten years.
Can’t be done. That’s without considering the freaking batteries to store 230,251,142 kWh for night use, for best possible case. You’ll need PVC capacity — and storage — because rain, snow, clouds, smoke will reduce your production. And more PVC capacity, the manufacturing of which doesn’t exist. That half a 24 hour day is an average; you need even more capacity for winter (shorts days of production, long nights of consumption).
You pretty much need to plan for a minimum of 125 GW PVC capacity; more than three times annual worldwide production.
Interestingly, at 2018 prices, PVC runs about a dollar per watt. So just to buy 125 GW worth of PVC panels is going to run $125 billion. Not counting installation, or battery/inverter systems. Or wire, PVC racks, maintenance, etc. SWAG is you’re looking at $250 billion, per year for ten years.
$2.5 Trillion for the project. And the ATF already has dibs on $129 Trillion for bump-fire stocks bans.
As Ron Popeil used to say, “But wait, there’s more!” PVC panels lose efficiency as they age. By ten years of age, they may be producing half their rated capacity. By the end of the project, your first installation is only producing half its share, meaning your total capacity is down 5%.
Except the other year’s installation are ageing, too; albeit not as badly. Yet. At the end of the Ten Year Plan (Yay! Twice as good as the Soviet 5 Year Plans!), expect overall production vs. nameplate capacity to be down 20%.
You’re gonna need more PVC panels.
For rational people I think I’ve made the point. I’m not even going to run the wind generation numbers. I’ll leave that to our little economics major. She might want to consider that wind gennies are less reliable than PVC, more expensive, and always have shorter than projected lifespans. And she can use her international relations expertise to figure out how to get her hands on the world’s — especially the major supplier, China — supplies of rare earth elements to build them.