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.. is not a small. Gah.
by Thomas on Wed Apr 16th, 2014 at 05:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
California's annual energy consumption was  250,384 million KW-hrs in 2010, or 250.384 TeraWatt-hours/year. We require 10 cubic KM of fresh water per year, or 10x109 cubic meters. At 5 KW-Hr per cubic meter that would be 50x1012 Watt-hrs or 50 TeraWatt-hours/year, ~ 20% of present annual consumption, if my math is correct.

The levelized cost of wind power in 2010 dollars was $90/megawatt-hr. 50TW-Hrs would cost $4.5 billion/year. Note that intermittentcy is not a problem for desalinization unless underestimated. Overestimated, the system could load balance the western grid. In 2012 the value of California agricultural production was $45 billion, so getting the irrigation water from desalinization instead of ground water would add about 10% to the cost. And average wind speed is only going to increase.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 17th, 2014 at 10:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An additional advantage to irrigating from desalinized water is that it would stop accumulation of trace elements such as selenium in agricultural soil from ground water. The percentage increased cost estimated above is low, because it is based on the total California agricultural production, while the proposed system only serves the San Joaquin Valley and adjacent areas.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 17th, 2014 at 10:15:42 PM EST
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