Wind Power Battery Storage Myth Battered: Total Annual Global Battery Production Would Power Germany for 30 Minutes


A myth that just keeps on truckin’ …


Wind industry hucksters, and their wind worshipping political enablers, like Josh Frydenberg, continue to chant the ‘battery technology is rapidly improving’ mantra, as if truckloads of giant batteries will soon magically rain down from heaven; and, thereby, save the wind industry from its imminent and inevitable demise.

Not only is there NO grid-scale storage of electricity anywhere in the world, the bulk battery storage of wind or solar power sits in the same category as turning lead into gold and the ever elusive perpetual motion machine: an enticingly lucrative but unachievable myth.

Ignoring the astronomical cost and assuming that it were even technically feasible, if every megawatt of lithium battery capacity built this year were available to store Germany’s intermittent wind and solar power, what was stored would power Deutschland for all of 30 minutes – barely enough time to bake the Sunday strudel.

Battery Storage Fallacy Exposed…Entire Annual Global Production Would Power Germany For Only 30 Minutes!
No Tricks Zone
Pierre Gosselin
16 November 2016

Frank at his German-language blog here makes a good point on the potential feasibility of renewable electricity storage using lithium batteries, which is supposed to be key to successfully using wind and solar energy.

Often proponents of renewable energies such as the wind and sun like to claim that the problem can be solved simply by using the common lithium battery packs, similar to those that for example power your electric drill or notebook. They insist that today it’s no problem to install large-scale battery storage units for powering homes and businesses whenever wind and solar energy stall, as they often do.

But is it really possible?

Frank asks how many battery power-packs would be needed to bridge Germany’s entire power supply if the country indeed were running 100% on renewable energy.

In general one has to expect that to bridge over periods with little sun and wind, there would need to be at least three weeks worth of storage capacity to be on the safe side. But to make the calculation simpler, he calculates using the energy storage capacity to bridge over just a single week.

He found that Germany needs about 11.5 TWh (11,500 gigawatt-hours) of electricity each week. Would the current worldwide lithium battery production capacity be able to cover this?

According to Tesla here, total battery capacity production in 2013 was only 34 gigawatt-hours.

Rounding the figure up to 35 giganwatt-hours, you would need to increase the global annual production of lithium-ion batteries by some 300-fold just to cover Germany’s power supply for a single week. Or in other words, the current global annual production capacity would be enough to cover Germany’s power demand for a whole 30 minutes!

Globally, an entire year’s production of lithium batteries would supply the global demand for about a single minute. And this is without taking losses from factors such as efficiency and age into account.

Of course today’s global production of storage batteries is higher than it was in 2013, and their efficiencies are probably higher as well. But the difference amounts only to a few extra seconds or minutes.

Powering the entire globe for any significant time with batteries would require boosting current production capacity by far over a thousand-fold. Mining the lithium needed to produce such a massive amount would pose major challenges. Time to sober up, people.

Naturally there are applications where using wind and sun makes perfectly good sense. But trying to power the entire global economy with them is lunacy. Why dig up the planet to extract lithium for inefficient, indirect energy production when you can just dig coal and get great quantities of energy quickly and directly?
No Tricks Zone

giant battery 2

Will it last long enough to bake the Sunday strudel?

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Brian Johnston says:

    Josh Frydenberg does not understand. He has to leave the debate

    Batteries do not store electricity
    Batteries produce electricity
    Batteries are alive. It is how they work

    It is not possible to take 230 volt, 50hz, AC electricity off the grid pour it into a battery and come back later and boil a jug

    Coal fired power stations produce electricity
    Electricity is not like petrol at a service station
    Petrol can be stored electricity can’t

    Electricity does not exist
    Electricity is produced
    Electricity does not pour out a cable like water from a hose
    Water can fill a tank
    Electricity can’t

  2. Let’s give industrial wind a pass. Give it a rest. Doesn’t work. So we want to recharge wind, an obsolete fossil fuel driven endeavor that produces net nothing? I don’t think so. Time to reboot.

  3. I can see more sense in trying to turn lead into gold than to try to store the planet’s power in batteries, just think of the pollution that would be created in making lithium batteries that just burn up when charging. I had a phone battery that did that in my car and did not stop until it was totally discharged. I stopped and put it on the ground until it stopped burning and discharged. IT IS BETTER TO STAY WITH COAL FOR POWER.

  4. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Questions – How much electricity would be needed to re-charge them and how big would the chargers need to be? Oh and yes don’t forget when no longer serviceable they need to be disposed off in an safe environmental manner

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