Residential Batteries Actually Increase Carbon Emissions

Ars Technica reports that a University of California San Diego (UCSD) study of the use of residential batteries actually results in an increase in air emissions – and that’s for cases where homeowners are “economically rational and trying to minimize costs”. If homeowners were to operate their battery systems in a way that reduced emissions, researchers found that would prove “costly”.

Tesla Powerwall
Tesla Powerwall

This is chiefly because most people will discharge their batteries when power plant emissions are high (e.g., when power demand and commensurate costs are high), and will recharge them when plant emissions are low (i.e., when the cost of grid power is low in the late evening). This is a cost-based strategy to reduce the electricity costs of the household.

By not “dumping” back stored energy to the grid during high demand hours more fossil fuels are used as opposed to renewables to meet aggregate demand, resulting in increased emissions.

The remedy according to UCSD? A “demand shifting strategy” – essentially push people away from economical rationality to do something irrational. How would UCSD propose accomplishing this?

The researchers found that the only way to reliably decrease emissions using batteries is if utilities incorporate a “Social Cost of Carbon” into their pricing schemes—that is, charging people extra for using electricity during carbon-heavy periods of generation.”

So in other words, manipulate rational economic behavior using socially engineered pricing schemes.

Hmmm. That sounds like a tax to me.

UCSD further states that in order to make residential battery systems attractive:

…the monetary incentive that customers would have to receive from utilities to start using their home systems with the goal of reducing emissions is equivalent to anywhere from $180 to $5,160 per metric ton of CO2″.

And that sounds like a subsidy to me.

Subsidies, social engineering, and punitive taxation – it’s the only way the “Green Jacobins” know.

Read the UCSD source paper for more detailed information.

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