California's Renewable Energy Problem A reality check on renewables - David 2 days ago   18:01

Real Engineering
Be one of the first 500 people to sign up with this link and get 20% off your subscription with!

New vlog channel:


Get your Real Engineering shirts at:

Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
Editor: Stephanie Sammann (
Animator: Mike Ridolfi (
Sound: Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster


[2] (verified with own calculation)

Music by Epidemic Sound:

Unfinished Story - Kikoru
Strange Tech 11 - Gunnar Johnsen
I See Blue - Dye O
Timetable 20 - Gunnar Johnsen
Quietly Tense 1 - Gunnar Johnsen
A Trip To The Moon - Aiolos Rue
Scripts Untold - Magnus Ringblom

Thank you to my patreon supporters: Adam Flohr, Henning Basma, Hank Green, William Leu, Tristan Edwards, Ken Coltan, Andrew McCorkell, Ian Dundore, John & Becki Johnston. Nevin Spoljaric, Jason Clark, Devin Rathbun, Thomas Barth, Paulo Toyosi Toda Nishimura

Comments 6562 Comments

Real Engineering
So I have some big news. I have joined forces with Wendover Productions, CGP Grey, Kurzgesagt and many more EDU friends to start our own video streaming platform. We currently have some original content from Isaac Arthur, Polyphonic and Real Life Lore/Second Thought online. I will be adding my own Nebula Original series in the next month or two. This platform was created to remove the creative shackles that the algorithm places on creators. I want to be able to make more military content without worry of demonetisation. I want to experiment with new ideas without worry about my views being affected. This platform is going to allow me to make more content for you!
Soooo what happens when a volcano inevitably decides to blow and block sunlight for a year or two?
Jonathan Langlois
This is rather interesting. It's a very different perspective from where I live where we are already running on 97% renewable energy, the 3% extra being composed mostly of energy imported from the north est of the US during very cold days in the winter. I live in Québec. Unlike most other places with harsh winters, electricity is the main source of heating. While our grid peaks during winter, the northern US peaks during summer. Our grids already have a number of interconnection and more are planned. Given that our grids peak at different times of the year, it makes a lot of sense.

Renewable are also something that we have the luxury of being able to approach differently. Currently, a large portion of the electricity flowing through our grid comes from gigantic dams a thousand km north of major load centers. Since the turbines of dams can rev up relatively quickly, that means that we've already got quite a bit of flexibility on that side. What's even more interesting is that while it wasn't planned that way, we've already got high voltage lines going right through high wind areas. The northern US is seeking clean sources of electricity, and it's obvious that part of the answer is further interconnections of our respective grids.

I think this might offer answers on what we have to do on a continental scale in order to add more renewable to the mix. Adding more interconnections on a continental scale could be a good way to compensate for over and under production in some areas. It could also be a part of the answer to how we deal with peak power during hours where local production isn't quite enough.
mach one
Learn to generate , store , and distribute your own .
I did.
the real take away from this video: nuclear is the answer.
Ricardo Montana
Carbon dioxide is not pollution and is beneficial to life on earth.
Use that wasted energy to pump water to higher hill, and use it when needed. Battery cost is too damn high.
Joel Bruns
To all the discussion about needing to store the energy rather building batteries: please have in mind that the conversion from electrical power to any other kind of power (by separating h2o to hydrogen and oxygen for example) always brings a certain loss due to inefficiency with it.
jigga jaw
I like watching those libtard worms suffer. Deport all those illegals and their kids, and you wouldn't have such power problems.
mage davee
You mean MWH, correct?
The continued existence of humanity is dependant on improved battery storage solutions, hence the focus on battery storage for energy grids. Batteries required for major infrastructure projects=battery production=investment=better technologies sooner. I think California is doing it right
Freddy Gold
What about Power-to-gas technology? According to some experts on the topic (e.g. Volker Quaschning) Power-To-Gas is the solution for long term, high energy storage and batteries are mainly there to deal with small scale, short term imbalances in the grid as caused e.g. by a cloud above a solar farm. Your video seems a litle too onesided to me as you completely left out that huge part of the future energy supply system without witch it is impossible to realise (as you have presented in your video).
Dan Kole
Your out of your freakin mind. China and India are still building coal plants. Do some research.
jax rammus
Those retards in cali dropped their nuclear... utter stupidity. And leave it to Democrats to ignore facts. Germany went full greens and they have to import energy from France, whose nuclear focus
Adam Vaughn
Would it be worth using that extra solar power every day to something mechanical like pumping water uphill and providing Hydro needed at night?
Sean Sbragia
Why can't your just cover the solar panels with a sunscreen when excess power is being produced?
Sean Sbragia
These calculations never take into account the long term costs of climate change, pollution/health costs, and nuclear waste storage and nuclear disaster cleanups. I think that when you factor those in, solar/wind/battery will always come out far cheaper in the long run.
Why didn’t you include the costs of running of nuclear plants and storage of nuclear materials? Which have massive perpetual costs due to indefinite storage.
California has a shitload of problems
Google made me do it
All these calculations are fine, but no one is addressing the elephant in the room: we're simply using too much energy at this moment.We sincerely need to slow down.
Add Reply

A reality check on renewables - David California's Renewable Energy Problem 2 days ago   18:35

How much land mass would renewables need to power a nation like the UK? An entire country's worth. In this pragmatic talk, David MacKay tours the basic mathematics that show worrying limitations on our sustainable energy options and explains why we should pursue them anyway. (Filmed at TEDxWarwick.)

Lesson by David MacKay.

Related Videos