National Grid has welcomed the plan to make electric or zero-emission cars and vans account for all new sales from 2040, but said the government and industry now faced big decisions on how the extra power was provided and demand for it was managed. The grid recently warned that, by 2030, electric cars could require 3.5-8GW of additional capacity, on top of the current peak demand of 60GW. By comparison, the nuclear power station being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset will add 2.7GW of capacity to the system. By the middle of the century, when it is assumed almost all cars will be electric, that extra peak demand could be up to 18GW. The l owest estimates of extra demand assume that drivers charge their cars at off-peak times. Smart meters and time-of-day tariffs could incentivise owners to charge when wind and solar power are plentiful and electricity is cheaper. Energy networks could also manage demand via automatic time-shift charging, whereby a car plugged in at home at 6pm is not actually charged until the early hours of the morning, when demand is low. Regardless of how sensibly the extra demand is spread across the day, electric cars will require investment in new power generation. The energy analyst Wood Mackenzie estimates that if one in three cars sold in 2035 is fully electric, the vehicles would collectively account for 3% of the UK’s total electricity demand. Building 400,000 charging points for them all would cost £30bn, the group has said. National Grid said the extra power would be generated from gas, windfarms, imports and nuclear reactors – not from coal, which is scheduled to disappear from the UK’s power mix by 2025 at the latest. And the switch to electric vehicles could even provide an eventual boost to the grid. The government recently announced £20m of funding to support research on vehicle-to-grid technology, where the grid could call on the power stored in the cars’ batteries to help cope with fluctuations from intermittent wind and solar farms.
Guardian 26th July 2017 read more »
Plans to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars by 2040 in a bid to encourage people to buy electric vehicles are a “tall order” and will place unprecedented strain on the National Grid, motoring experts have warned. The AA warned that the National Grid would be under pressure to “cope with a mass switch-on after the evening rush hour”, while Which? Car magazine warned that electric cars are currently more expensive and less practical.According to a National Grid report, peak demand for e lectricity could add around 30 gigawatts to the current peak of 61GW – an increase of 50 per cent. The extra electricity needed will be the equivalent of almost 10 times the total power output of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station being built in Somerset. National Grid predicts Britain will become increasingly reliant on imported electricity, which will rise from around 10 per cent of total electricity to around one third, raising questions about energy security.
Telegraph 26th July 2017 read more »
Do we have enough power to deal with the growth in electric vehicles? National Grid has warned that the boom in the number of people charging up their cars could result in a surge in peak demand, requiring hundreds of billions of pounds worth of investment in new power plants – unless the electric vehicle revolution is properly managed. In one scenario National Grid estimates that electric vehicles alone could cause peak power demand to climb by 1.3 GW a year between 2025 and 2045. This would require the UK’s shrinking generation capacity to grow by the equivalent of two large gas-fired power units a year or one £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear plant every three years. By 2030 the UK would need 8GW, almost three extra Hinkley projects, to meet the need of drivers who choose to top up their vehicles during peak hours. Fortunately, there’s a better way to accommodate the charge-up demand which could cut the extra power needed by more than half to a more manageable 3GW increase by the end of the next decade while saving consumers money. Earlier this week Business Secretary Greg Clarke fired the starting gun on a battery boom through a £246m research and development competition, and a new plan to put home batteries at the heart of its industrial strategy. The support should help the electric vehicle drive, but also help the energy system to cope with the higher demand caused by the fleet of new cars. A heady roll out of electric vehicles is expected to drive the cost of battery storage down at an even faster rate than expected, meaning drivers could be parking their electric cars next to affordable home batteries, which are linked to cheap solar panels. Currently consumers are only able to use around 30pc of the power generated by solar panels because their demand picks up once the sun is setting. But the battery boom means energy users can store the unused solar power generated during the day to charge their cars at night, saving money and easing the pressure on the grid. Major wind farms, including the giant Burbo Bank project off the Liverpool coast, are already connected to batteries so that energy stored during windy nights can power homes when demand lifts in the morning. Using renewable energy more effectively also means costs will fall too. The shift in economics is expected to trigger a deluge of fresh investment into renewable power projects, without the need for subsidies. The cumulative impact of more renewable power – and better use of it – could help meet the demand created by electric vehicles in the first place.
Telegraph 26th July 2017 read more »
The Department of Environment and Climate Change funded study, the AEA’s Pathways to 2050, suggests that energy demand in the transport sector will fall by as much as a third by 2050. Road haulage will mainly use biodiesel, and the report’s estimate of the UK’s 650 billion vehicle kilometres (up from 400 billion kms in 2010) will be largely and equally fuelled by hydrogen and battery electric. And what if Gove’s soothsaying does come to pass? Is there enough electricity? Probably not at the moment. Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) represented almost two per cent of the new-car market last year and likely over two per cent this year. So that’s an additional 200,000 EVs in 2017 to join the estimated existing 800,000 EVs already on UK roads. Just to give you an idea here, if you have one million electric cars plugged into 50kW ch argers that’s a demand for 50,000 mega watts (MW) of electricity. To put that in perspective, the installed capacity of Hinkley Point B nuclear power station is 1,310MW and the London Array, which is the world’s largest offshore wind turbine farm, is 630MW. Even if we can make electricity, how will we charge all the cars? EV users frequently complain of overcrowded charging points, not to mention blatant profit taking by some charge-point providers. Infrastructure needs to be governed and invested in, without ripping people off and stopping us all driving around using electricity to find more electricity. The TRL laboratory recently came up with a plan to have an induction electric vehicle charging lane on the M25, but that would cost Â£3.9 million a mile and the replacement of the entire carriageway on the 117-mile motorway, costing almost half a billion pounds in total, not to mention the resulting congestion. So what about Clark’s plan for us all to have batt ery-storage facilities in our homes? Spoiler alert here, this is going to cost you money. All the projections are for the costs of lithium-ion battery storage to fall at a similar rate to that of solar photovoltaic generation, but right now 5kWh of Li-ion storage is going to cost you in the region of Â£3,000 and that’s in a big cardboard box at your front door. Fitting it, and buying and fitting the solar panels and smart electricity meters is going to be several factors of that. Government grants? Hum, the Government’s own renewable energy commitment turned out to be anything but. Besides, it’s not really us that need to store electricity. Several papers on the subject assert that it’s large-scale utility level energy storage that provides one of the most cost-effective investments in energy, not you with a couple of ex-submarine batteries mouldering in your garden.
Telegraph 27th June 2017 read more »