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CBC News: Can our grid take the load?

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by Doug_G, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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  2. WentOffGrid

    WentOffGrid Member

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    Same sorta issue(s) but worse arise when a town with lots of solar incentives installs a lot of PV systems... some smaller substation transformers can't take a bright sunny day, heavily back-fed with no significant loads on at home, all that current flowing for many hours heats things up. A nice challenge to have.
     
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  3. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Member

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    Most Tesla's are charged in their homes at night, when there is a ton of surplus electric power that is going to waste.

    Most power plants throw away much of the electricity they produce at night by pumping it into heat exchangers which simply heat up the atmosphere. No new plants needed when the electric fleet charges when there is super low demand from other users.
     
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  4. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Well if you do the math of converting all of the gasoline produced in California in a year to the equivalent miles of a Tesla, it's 5X the current California grid load. But it might take a few years to get to that point. :)
     
  5. Ulmo

    Ulmo Member

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    #5 Ulmo, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016
    I find this question somewhat amusing. Yes, it is a specific and important civil engineering question. But the answer also involves local generation and local storage (e.g., solar power photovoltaic electricity generation, and batteries), and currently, a lot of the PV+Storage is being installed. A lot of the civil engineering question presupposes a sort of static-state grid that is unchanged, and whether or not to expand it, but doesn't take into account things such as home charging at night with solar-powered batteries, or things like destination charging at work with solar arrays at the work garages.

    Just take a look at VMWARE, Apple, etc., basically any local modern place around here, and you'll see that they all have massive solar arrays atop some of their offices and/or parking garages. Cars can plug into this grid during sunlight hours. They will install their own systems. But they will also connect to grid.

    In addition to that, there are water projects that involve a lot of power use: moving water up, moving water down. Water filtering (desal). These will be power-hungry, and/or release stored power. They will probably install their own systems. But they will also connect to grid.

    Wind farms are going up.

    Massive solar arrays are sprouting up in deserts.

    Sometimes, thousands of new homes go up in some district (which I hate; I prefer organic low-density growth where one doesn't have to smell and hear their neighbor).

    Then there's the constant changes of factories being off-shored, some coming back on-shore, etc. They recently closed many power-hungry factories in my area. Other factories are opening up.

    Will we need grids for cars? Yeah, and everything else, too: it's not just a one-way power suck. There's so much going on, that pigeon-holing the above question like this makes the person asking the question seem really dumb to me. The current and future grid companies have a lot of great fantastic market opportunities here. They will have many field days selling their wares. But therein lies the problem: traditionally, they were not grid companies, but power generation companies, and currently their grids are tied up in legacy power generation economics and business models that simply don't fit the current and future direction of electricity collection, distribution and business. So, they get mad about that, for some reason, and start asking really dumb questions like "um, geee, things are changing ... let's get people pissed off by throwing in a bunch of questions about how are we going to pay for all this new grid stuff?" What they don't seem to realize is that their new business IS the grid(s), and that it is THEIR job to invest in THEIR future, and sell THAT to us, as we see fit to buy it. Technically, they can go out of business and shut down all the grids 20 years from now and we can all just use solar panels and batteries and be fine without any more grids, but in terms of economic efficiency, most of us will continue to see grid businesses as beneficial lower-cost electricity transit providers for times when our local electrical collection patterns don't equal our use patterns using whatever buffers (batteries) we've installed. Or, sometimes the electricity available across grids is a decent price, and there's no need to install 100% local collection.

    But I have a reflexive reaction whenever anyone asks that grid EV capacity question: I ask back at them, have you really seen where this is going, or are you just asleep at the wheel, and just now realizing what's going on?

    None of my jabs are meant at the original poster of this thread, but to the topic raised by the article. I have yet to read the article. I'm sure they discuss this. But the impetus to research and publish the article, especially given its title, is in a long line of outdated business model companies crying wolf, and I almost don't listen any more.

    Edit: confirmed. The word "solar" is not even in the article. I saw that normal math did win out in some places, though; this quote:
    Even so, there's a bunch of false assumptions there. Utilities meet demand? Don't you mean sunlight? No, you don't, because you're prejudiced, as I described above. But, the math that won here is that it is gradual; there will be plenty of time for destination charging facilities and home charging facilities to be built out and integrated with existing and future systems.

    The other thing I liked about the article is that it mentioned clustering, but unfortunately it cried wolf again. This is an opportunity: most businesses would love clustering to happen, so they can just go to the clusters and offer their services there; it's great when business is easy to conduct. But, when they are looked at in the old "power generation utilities" business model, work is not opportunity and delight, but nuisancesome and annoying, especially when most of their "constituents" (i.e., customers) also are trying to install their own solar power and possibly batteries, that "compete" (i.e., would like to purchase grid services) with their outdated business models.

    We need to get grids out of the business of power generation, and power generation out of the business of grids, so there aren't built-in competitive business model imbalances that make the market all wacky. In that entire linked article, it was finely crafted to completely ignore the current state of affairs.
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Don't have too high expectations for a journalist covering a technical or scientific topic. Usually they get more stuff wrong! This was at least a decent attempt to address the issues, and it wasn't a bunch of FUD.
     
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  7. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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