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Energy demand in EV era

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Roger_wilco, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. Roger_wilco

    Roger_wilco Member

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    Dont know if this was discussed before, but I wonder how much pressure will be put on energy supply, if x percent of ICE cars are swapped with EVs?

    I believe millions of EV cars will become the major electric consumers and wondering where we will find out a "clean" source which is able to handle this much demand, in the (near) future?

    I am also pretty sure that the transformer box (or whatever its name is) in my neighborhood, not quite prepared to handle such a demand from soon coming home-superchargeable cars, especially hundreds of them, in very same night.

    Your opinions ?
     
  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Well-Known Member

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    In grid infrastructure terms any strain would be at local level rather than a regional or national level. Cars can easily be charged at night (and time-of-use pricing would help) which means that they would be charging during times where production and grid use would otherwise be low.

    On the energy side, in order for EVs to put pressure on energy supply there would have to be lots of them, and that would imply lots of batteries being manufactured at low cost.

    Batteries are a scalable way to take non-dispatchable electricity generation, store it, and use it as a dispatchable resource. Aside from the dispatchable hydro, the cheapest and more efficient sources of electricity are non-dispatchable; that includes solar and wind which both continue to fall in price.

    If we have lots of batteries, we can use them for demand response and production response to integrate better renewable generation, which would allow us to eliminate the low-efficiency dispatchable fossil fuel generators and to lower overall fossil fuel generation.

    There are seasonal issues with renewable generation, but the overall benefits of having production of cheap batteries at massive scale are so overwhelming that I do not see it as any cause for concern.
     
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  3. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Active Member

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    Here is a long article summarizing what California utilities companies are doing. This has been on on-going discussion for the last few years. California is already 30% clean energy and getting cleaner every day. Large # of EVs do add significant load to the grid but the load is different from traditional electricity usage so there are new concerns, and also new approaches, such as a BMW/PG&E trial using 100 i3 to test how to shift EV charging timing to better suit peak grid power usage. Further extending that V2G (vehicle to grid) could provide battery backup for the grid. Given state regulatory support, this could also be an opportunity for utility to spend CapEx towards the charging infrastructure, not just passively handling the load demand, but actively owning a piece of the pie on the future EV economy.
    How California utility regulators are turning electric vehicles into grid resources
    PG&E and BMW Partner on Next Phase of Pilot Studying Advanced Electric Vehicle Charging | PG&E
     
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  4. Roger_wilco

    Roger_wilco Member

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    Thanks for these informative replies, but I am not quite sure that night time charging will present a great adventage by means of load, thinking hundreds of thousands of thirsty cars. There may be more complicated scenarios, like rush for a small vacation as happened on short holidays, all vehicles will be plugged in same night, or maybe worst, like evacuations due to weather anomalies etc.. I think govts have to be well prepared, since we all know how mobile phones collapse in case of a regional event..
     
  5. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    If you look at the big picture, it'll be fine. Our grid experiences a 2:1 demand swing during the day most places, which means there's a lot of slack in it that could be used to charge EVs, and the overall impact of charging cars on power generation isn't that large (~26% increase/EVs would represent ~21% of total production.) Here's a long analysis with reference sources I put together a while back:

     
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  6. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Active Member

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    In your example, what's more important may not be the # of cars plugged in, but the # of miles that these cars need to recharge to full again. Not every cars that are plugged in to charge will have an "empty tank". Many of them will only need to recharge 30 miles of electricity as that is the average distance people drive. However, an argument could be made for the day after the holiday long trip, that would be the day when many people will recharge a lot of spent miles on the same day. According to US government, holidays increases long distance drives by ~20-50%, and the driving is pretty evenly spread out over several days around the holiday, so it's not a huge spike. Also many of these drivers will be able to charge en-route which will distribute their charging time. So I suspect the impact it has on the grid will be gentler than you suspected
    U.S. Holiday Travel | Bureau of Transportation Statistics
     
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  7. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Another perspective: A quick napkin calculation of converting California's current ground based gasoline consumption to EV would be the equivalent of three times the current total electrical load.

    This won't happen overnight so they have decades to figure it out. But just TOU shifting, batteries, and even V2G is not going to solve the long term infrastructure requirements when you triple the amount of energy you are delivering. And on top of that the energy itself will probably have to come mostly from solar with either battery and/or hydrogen storage so that will also be a huge capital increase too.

    Any way you look at it, the shift to a mostly EV infrastructure is going to be expensive and vast. BTW this is the exact thing that electric utilities like PG&E like. They are paid to create and maintain electrical energy delivery systems. After de-reg, they get very little income from producing power.
     
  8. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Active Member

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    Exactly, PG&E will be more than happy to eat oil company and gas station's lunch, and get government incentive to do it.
     
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  9. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    Considering that I'm only coming up with a 26% increase using national statistics from the government, could you show us your napkin, please?
     
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  10. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    It's a rough napkin but you can check my work.

    California consumes approximately 13 billion gallons of gasoline per year. If that energy was consumed by electrical vehicles, using 34 kWh/gallon of gas), the impact to the power grid would be over 612,000 (GWhr). This is over twice the total 2014 consumption of 296 (GWhr) .

    Twice the load added to the current load would be 3x.

    Some references used:
    Petroleum-based gasoline and diesel fuel account for more than 90 percent of California ground transportation fuel use
    http://energyalmanac.ca.gov/electricity/total_system_power.html

    The average fuel efficiency for vehicles in was 17 mpg
    Source: CEC - 2016-2017 Investment Plan Update for the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program
     
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  11. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    That would appear to require you finding EVs that average 17 MPGe. The radical difference in energy consumption between the typical gas car and its equivalent EV was why I used the per mile basis and known EV consumptions when I approached the problem.
     
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  12. Waiting4M3

    Waiting4M3 Active Member

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    #12 Waiting4M3, Dec 31, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    My math is this, 13 billion galons * 17 mpg = 221 billion miles that Californians drive each year (sounds right about 10-15K miles for 15-20 million drivers), Tesla typically uses 0.3-0.4 kwh per mile, so this translates to 88 Gwh at the high end (0.4kwh/mile), not 612 Gwh, and ~ 30% of 2014 electricity consumption that you quoted
     
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  13. EV-lutioin

    EV-lutioin Active Member

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    I think you have to figure in the anticipated growth of rooftop solar and who knows what effect of the fledgling industry of Powerwalls, Powerpacks etc. will have on off-grid production. If things play out with battery storage, [email protected] may not see as much growth in demand as folks are calculating. Lots of factors at play here.
     
  14. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Yeah. Good point. I forgot to take in the increased efficiency. But now may math says it should be ~1/4 of my original estimate or ~50% of the grid load, so we would get to 1 1/2 times total current load. The estimated 26% so 1 1/4 times? Close enough. And if cars get even more efficient (or smaller) then it will trend towards the lower number.

    The only thing that might save me is converting diesel semis to MPGe. :)
     
  15. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Member

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    The plan is for +90% of all electric vehicle charging to be done in the evening hours, when municipal electrical generation is ample and often wasted. Little load on the grid at this time means no need for peaker plants to be turned on, and provices the vehicle with a totally full charge that can then be used for transportation during the daytime. Easily spreads out the load and essentially makes EV charging a non issue for the utilities.
    This is often the lowest cost time to charge up your vehicles as well.

    Biggest issue that municipal generators have is dealing with peak power draw during hotter than ususal days. Adding additional load during evening hours simply smooths out the demand to the huge benefit of the electrical generation grid.
     
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  16. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    The 2013 era analyses and numerous utility studies (I quote none specifically because Google produced dozens of them) mostly concluded minimal grid impact from mass EV adoptions, and some even argued it would tend to even demand and reduce volatility. A Texas study of the era concluded everyone would come home and charge after work just as they were turning on their A/C. The more recent ones seem to be concluding taht longer range EV's tend to reduce peak time charging, with TOU rates driving even more use off peak.

    CleanTechnica published this in 2014:
    Grid Capacity For Electric Vehicles Is Actually Not A Problem, Studies Find
     
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  17. Ulmo

    Ulmo Active Member

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    #17 Ulmo, Dec 31, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    Elon Musk himself has been slowly evolving his public comments on this. I find Elon's public comments, looking at the most updated ones as necessary, as the best primer for answering this question.

    From my poor memory, his best and most recent comment is that Tesla's Solar Roof and PowerWall (Tesla Energy) will help contribute to local grid use, and that utilities will also have to play a huge role in upgrading energy supply (using sun sourced power mostly, such as solar panels), and that the grids will need some specific upgrades in various areas. Elon said that 3x the current electrical use will be needed for all human kind's energy use to be converted to direct clean sun use (rather than indirect sun use that tends to be from mining operations and very dirty like oil, coal). He said that a lot of that supply can be from rooftops and other home sources, and a lot of that supply will be from utilities. Elon's fashioned Tesla and its future product lines around all of these concepts: solar panels and shingles, batteries, inverters and other power electronics, and electric cars, and solar and batteries sold directly to utilities and other businesses.

    I'll dredge up the latest quip.

    In following video (link directly to 6:20 in youtube), it is in 6:20:

     
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  18. Evbwcaer

    Evbwcaer Member

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    I have seen it published in a few places that it takes 6kwh to refine a gallon of gas.

    If it takes a car 1 gallon of gas plus 6kwh of electricity to go 17 miles. Switching to EV's, which get something like 20-24 miles on 6kwh and no gasoline, couldn't you see electricity demand fall as a result of EV's?

    Seems crazy, and the fleet average of ICE is going to get way higher than 17mpg, but could be true today and at least a large consideration for planning future infrastructure and generation needs.
     
  19. dgpcolorado

    dgpcolorado high altitude member

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    This is a myth that keeps getting repeated because it seems so compelling on the surface. It may take about 6 kWh of energy to refine a gallon of gasoline, but relatively little of that is from electricity. Most is natural gas or refining byproducts used to heat or power the refining process. Some of that is used in cogeneration to produce electricity.

    There are plenty of good reasons to support the conversion of ground transportation to EVs, but saving electricity used in refining gasoline isn't one of them.
     
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  20. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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