Given the physics of the universe we live in and the scale of the global challenge, there is simply no chance that the New York Times green vision will come to pass any time in the foreseeable future… period.
..... Global lithium battery factories collectively manufacture enough capacity to store 100 billion watt-hours (Wh) of electricity annually. Sounds like a big number, but here’s the rub: the world uses over 50,000 billion Wh every day, with America alone using about 10,000 billion Wh daily. To achieve the ‘pure’ green solar-battery vision, quite obviously each home needs on average at least 12 hours of storage any given day. (We’re being generous here ignoring issues like cloudy days.) Thus, do the math on what’s required to manufacture a total of 25,000 billion watt-hours of storage systems to hold that half-day’s worth of electricity: it would take 250 years of production from all of today’s global battery factories. Yes, we could build more factories, but these are very big systems with enormous capital costs that already use astronomical quantities of materials.
...... consider the scale needed for batteries to replace gasoline. At any given moment the fuel tanks in more than 1 billion vehicles on the world’s highways and in garages hold about 10,000 million gallons of gasoline (and diesel). That quantity of energy expressed in electrical terms totals 400,000 billion watt-hours. If we reduce this to take into account the efficiency advantage of electric motors, typically 4x better than an engine at converting stored energy into motion, then one needs only 100,000 billion Wh of batteries. That’s a quantity 5x greater than the already massive number needed for the solar vision. This. Won’t. Happen.
.... In the real world where consumers and policymakers have to live, we’ll need a lot of fuel-burning cars and grids for the foreseeable future.
Read Mark's article in entirety. Unlike the fanatical proponents of electric cars who live in Wonderland, Mills deals with hard reality and confronts the appropriately named "Battery Derangement Syndrome".