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Old 05-19-2019, 04:41 PM
SamuelA is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,903
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
One other point on grid responsiveness is that hydroelectric is very responsive, very cheap, and green. There's a maximum amount of energy you can get out of any given facility over the course of a year or so, but that amount of energy can be distributed during the year in many different ways. If smart metering can get the variation in demand below the total averaged output of hydro plants, then the hydro plants can take it the rest of the way.

The biggest catch is that, due to global warming, there are a lot of places where we don't really know what that maximum yearly amount of energy is. We used to know, based on past history, but now rainfall patterns are different from what they used to be.
Hydro also doesn't scale with population or industrial growth. The closest tech equivalent is I think flow batteries, where tanks of somewhat toxic chemicals are serving the same purpose, just using a different mechanism and with higher density. Obviously, flow batteries can be built anywhere in any quantity, so long as the materials used to make the liquid reagents are available at a economical prices.

While leaks of toxic chemicals aren't great, in principle, flow batteries can be recycled forever, especially since they are kept in central locations.