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FUD Article in the Times: EVs Will Need 20 New Nuclear Power Stations

dpeilow

Moderator
May 23, 2008
9,152
891
Winchester, UK
The following article appeared in the Times over the weekend Electric cars mean UK could need 20 new nuclear plants

It has since also turned up in the Mail and other right wing locations. '20 new nuclear power stations needed for electric cars' | Daily Mail Online

"Electric cars mean UK could need 20 new nuclear plants" - The Times - 11/02/2017 - Graham Paton, Transport Correspondent.

They are seen as an antidote to the wave of pollution clouding Britain’s biggest cities. Within the next few years, it is hoped that a fleet of electric cars will clear the air by driving diesel and petrol engines off urban streets.

However, analysis has found that the burgeoning fleet of plug-in vehicles may create a new headache of its own.

Switching all cars to ultra-low emissions may place a massive strain on the power network because of the additional resources needed to recharge batteries, research suggests.

Figures produced by Transport for London (TfL) suggest that switching to an all-electric vehicle fleet in the capital would demand five times the amount of power needed to run the entire London Underground network.

The analysis, seen by The Times, says that moving to an electric or hydrogen vehicle fleet “has implications for London’s energy supply system”.

At the maximum level of uptake in the city green cars would demand between seven and eight gigawatt-hours per year.

Experts said this was equivalent to the output of more than two nuclear power stations similar to that being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset. Extrapolated nationally, it would require the equivalent of 20 new nuclear power stations nationwide.

The conclusions will prompt new questions over Britain’s strategy to take conventional vehicles off the road in favour of a low-emission fleet, in order to drastically cut carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.

They come days after the government announced further measures to increase the number of plug-in cars in the UK, with a requirement that larger petrol station owners will have to build new charge points.

Critics said that it underlined the need for investment in alternative fuels, beyond electricity and hydrogen. These include LPG, the gas already available at around 1,500 filling stations across Britain.

Paul Blacklock, head of strategy at Calor, which produces the gas, said: “Everyone is saying that we need to go to a wholly electric vehicle future, but they aren’t being honest about what the possible cost of this will be . . . We have to seek alternatives. The frustration is that the vehicle manufacturers are choosing not to make other options available to UK drivers.”

London has led the way in the crackdown on petrol and diesel vehicles in recent years. An estimated 9,500 people in London die each year as a result of the capital’s toxic air.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor, has already announced plans to make London a zero carbon city by 2050. He wants to initially impose a toxic charge — £10 a day — on the most polluting vehicles entering the city centre.

All single-deck buses will be zero emissions in central London by 2020 and the entire fleet will be clean by 2040, with taxis expected to be “zero emission capable” by 2033.

However, Lilli Matson, head of strategy at TfL, admitted in a presentation last month that the move to electric vehicles would place a strain on the city’s energy supply.


Seems more than a little coincidental that this nonsense came out the same week that the results of the government's rapid charger survey were published, among other things requesting that large petrol stations and motorway services install PAYG rapid charging.


Anyway I sent the following to the editor.


Sir,

Your 11th February article "Electric cars mean UK could need 20 new nuclear plants" by Graham Paton shows both a lack of understanding of charging patterns of electric vehicle drivers and a failing of basic arithmetic.

Ninety per cent of all electric vehicle charging is done at home (source: OLEV) and of this the vast majority is done at night. Like many EV drivers, I programme mine to charge during the Economy 7 period to take advantage of cheap electricity rates of 8p per unit (kilowatt-hour). That charge is enough to cover my typical daily needs. Nationally, 73% of all vehicles are garaged or parked on private property overnight and even in urban areas the majority of cars are parked on private property (source: RAC Foundation), so there is scope for much of the fleet to be charged at off peak times today, even in cities.

Your article states that "At the maximum level of uptake in the city green cars would demand between seven and eight gigawatt-hours per year" and "Experts said this was equivalent to the output of more than two nuclear power stations similar to that being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset". Hinkley C will have an output of 3.2 gigawatts, meaning that in one hour, two such power stations would produce 6.4 gigawatt-hours. Clearly 8 gigawatt-hours in a year is not going to trouble such a facility, but in fact your total is very wide of the mark.

An electric vehicle like mine typically drives 4 miles with one kilowatt-hour. Therefore, taking average annual mileage of 7,900 miles per year (source: RAC Foundation), annual usage is just under 2,000 kWh or 2 megawatt-hours per car. Thus the 8 gigawatt-hours quoted in your article equates to only 4,000 cars' worth of electricity in a year. This is clearly incorrect, as London already has more electric vehicles on the road than that. Furthermore, it is 0.8% of the just over 1 Terawatt-hour (1,000 Gigawatt-hours) Transport for London states London Underground uses in one year (source: TfL).

More importantly, the article also completely misses the point that demand on the National Grid is not constant, but during the winter period varies from approximately 30 gigawatts at night to 50 gigawatts in the daytime peak (source: National Grid Demand). It is even less during the summer. Average annual mileage is under 22 miles per day, equating to a demand of under 6 kilowatt-hours per car, per day. If everyone recharged 90% of their needs during the seven hour Economy 7 period, each car would require under 1 kilowatt (or about 4 amps, less than a single electric heater). So today, during the Economy 7 period, 20 million cars can recharge before electricity demand reaches the same as the daytime peak. If all 31 million cars in the UK were electric, peak overnight demand (including existing demand) would be approximately 62 gigawatts - which was the peak demand in 2007 before LED lights and A+ appliances were commonplace. The other 10% of "away from home" daytime charging, which the government's proposed new initiative is aiming to meet by rolling out new fast chargers, will also comfortably remain within this historical threshold.

As the National Grid currently has a total generating capacity of 75 gigawatts and a further 3 gigawatts of foreign interconnectors (source: National Grid Winter Outlook Report 2016/17), it is therefore apparent that no new capacity is needed for a mass uptake of battery electric vehicles (note this is not true of electrolysed hydrogen, also mentioned in your article, which requires over three times as much electricity per mile to manufacture). In fact, a mass uptake of electric vehicles benefits the grid by allowing assets that would be idled overnight to continue to operate at full capacity. An electric vehicle fleet is complementary to existing National Grid domestic and industrial demand, not a burden to it.

What is needed is demand management - the so-called "Smart Grid" - to ensure that 31 million drivers do not arrive home and immediately recharge during the evening peak. To an extent this is done today through tariffs like Economy 7, but overnight charging should be the default option rather than merely encouraged (of course, like with a heater, this would not preclude an immediate boost if essential). As many domestic charging stations already include remote management via cellular links, by comparison this is relatively easy to implement and certainly not comparable to the expense and complication of an unnecessary build of 20 new nuclear power stations.


Yours faithfully,

David Peilow



OLEV: Drive an EV and you may never have to visit a petrol station again - Electric cars, low emission motoring - Go Ultra Low


RAC Foundation: Mobility


TfL: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/london-underground-carbon-footprint-2008.pdf


National Grid Demand: G. B. National Grid status


National Grid Winter Outlook Report: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=8589937050
 

TC56

Member
Jan 26, 2015
86
17
Worthing, West Sussex, UK
Excellent. One thing missed off which is the power needed to refine oil into petrol or diesel which is far more that required to power the car. Having said that, these people wouldn't see that argument or that renewables periodically have to be taken off grid due to over production and there being no way to store the excess power (in this country at least).
 

dpeilow

Moderator
May 23, 2008
9,152
891
Winchester, UK
The whole power to refine oil thing is dodgy. Yes there is energy needed - the figure I recall is 17% loses - but it is not necessarily electricity.

I didn't go there both for that reason and also to not throw too many arguments into it. Concentrate on the one and do it well I think.
 
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tonyj01

Member
Apr 3, 2015
125
69
Manchester, England,
Good letter.

Sadly, they are bound to butcher/edit it to fit their space and the readers' attention spans.

My long term heavy foot/short journeys/ four wheel drive means about 380Wh/mile, so each kWh takes me about 2.5 miles. Hey ho.

Regards,

Tony
 
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dpeilow

Moderator
May 23, 2008
9,152
891
Winchester, UK
I've plotted the argument in my letter on a graph.

- The red area is demand on the UK grid over the past week.

- The green areas is extra overnight demand if 20 million EVs were charging during Economy 7 to take average annual mileage.

- The light blue is extra demand if a further 11 million EVs were charging during Economy 7, giving a total of 31 million or all cars in the UK.

- The purple line is the peak demand reached in 2007

- The orange line is the total generating capacity of all plants in the UK.


As you can see, in the past week all cars could charge without breaching the historic level a decade ago when we had less energy saving lights and appliances etc.

(By the way, I am aware that Economy 7 is slightly staggered around the country, but here I have used 23:00 to 06:00)



upload_2017-2-13_16-52-28.png
 
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Reactions: GSP

brucet999

Active Member
Mar 12, 2015
2,685
1,493
Huntington Beach, CA
The following article appeared in the Times over the weekend Electric cars mean UK could need 20 new nuclear plants

It has since also turned up in the Mail and other right wing locations. '20 new nuclear power stations needed for electric cars' | Daily Mail Online




Seems more than a little coincidental that this nonsense came out the same week that the results of the government's rapid charger survey were published, among other things requesting that large petrol stations and motorway services install PAYG rapid charging.


Anyway I sent the following to the editor.


Sir,

Your 11th February article "Electric cars mean UK could need 20 new nuclear plants" by Graham Paton shows both a lack of understanding of charging patterns of electric vehicle drivers and a failing of basic arithmetic.

Ninety per cent of all electric vehicle charging is done at home (source: OLEV) and of this the vast majority is done at night. Like many EV drivers, I programme mine to charge during the Economy 7 period to take advantage of cheap electricity rates of 8p per unit (kilowatt-hour). That charge is enough to cover my typical daily needs. Nationally, 73% of all vehicles are garaged or parked on private property overnight and even in urban areas the majority of cars are parked on private property (source: RAC Foundation), so there is scope for much of the fleet to be charged at off peak times today, even in cities.

Your article states that "At the maximum level of uptake in the city green cars would demand between seven and eight gigawatt-hours per year" and "Experts said this was equivalent to the output of more than two nuclear power stations similar to that being built at Hinkley Point in Somerset". Hinkley C will have an output of 3.2 gigawatts, meaning that in one hour, two such power stations would produce 6.4 gigawatt-hours. Clearly 8 gigawatt-hours in a year is not going to trouble such a facility, but in fact your total is very wide of the mark.

An electric vehicle like mine typically drives 4 miles with one kilowatt-hour. Therefore, taking average annual mileage of 7,900 miles per year (source: RAC Foundation), annual usage is just under 2,000 kWh or 2 megawatt-hours per car. Thus the 8 gigawatt-hours quoted in your article equates to only 4,000 cars' worth of electricity in a year. This is clearly incorrect, as London already has more electric vehicles on the road than that. Furthermore, it is 0.8% of the just over 1 Terawatt-hour (1,000 Gigawatt-hours) Transport for London states London Underground uses in one year (source: TfL).

More importantly, the article also completely misses the point that demand on the National Grid is not constant, but during the winter period varies from approximately 30 gigawatts at night to 50 gigawatts in the daytime peak (source: National Grid Demand). It is even less during the summer. Average annual mileage is under 22 miles per day, equating to a demand of under 6 kilowatt-hours per car, per day. If everyone recharged 90% of their needs during the seven hour Economy 7 period, each car would require under 1 kilowatt (or about 4 amps, less than a single electric heater). So today, during the Economy 7 period, 20 million cars can recharge before electricity demand reaches the same as the daytime peak. If all 31 million cars in the UK were electric, peak overnight demand (including existing demand) would be approximately 62 gigawatts - which was the peak demand in 2007 before LED lights and A+ appliances were commonplace. The other 10% of "away from home" daytime charging, which the government's proposed new initiative is aiming to meet by rolling out new fast chargers, will also comfortably remain within this historical threshold.

As the National Grid currently has a total generating capacity of 75 gigawatts and a further 3 gigawatts of foreign interconnectors (source: National Grid Winter Outlook Report 2016/17), it is therefore apparent that no new capacity is needed for a mass uptake of battery electric vehicles (note this is not true of electrolysed hydrogen, also mentioned in your article, which requires over three times as much electricity per mile to manufacture). In fact, a mass uptake of electric vehicles benefits the grid by allowing assets that would be idled overnight to continue to operate at full capacity. An electric vehicle fleet is complementary to existing National Grid domestic and industrial demand, not a burden to it.

What is needed is demand management - the so-called "Smart Grid" - to ensure that 31 million drivers do not arrive home and immediately recharge during the evening peak. To an extent this is done today through tariffs like Economy 7, but overnight charging should be the default option rather than merely encouraged (of course, like with a heater, this would not preclude an immediate boost if essential). As many domestic charging stations already include remote management via cellular links, by comparison this is relatively easy to implement and certainly not comparable to the expense and complication of an unnecessary build of 20 new nuclear power stations.


Yours faithfully,

David Peilow



OLEV: Drive an EV and you may never have to visit a petrol station again - Electric cars, low emission motoring - Go Ultra Low


RAC Foundation: Mobility


TfL: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/london-underground-carbon-footprint-2008.pdf


National Grid Demand: G. B. National Grid status


National Grid Winter Outlook Report: http://www2.nationalgrid.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=8589937050
Please don't choose blue text for your posts. Many of us on this forum use the dark gray background option to reduce glare and that makes your blue text practically unreadable.

Thanks
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
5,758
2,894
Suffolk, UK
I sent the following to the editor

Well done that man.

Tne thing missed off which is the power needed to refine oil into petrol or diesel which is far more that required to power the car

Already mentioned, but my understanding is that the majority of the "power" required to refine Petrol / Diesel comes from using up the mucky stuff that is left over. So not much grid-electricity imported / used in the process.

However, saving all that lot lowers imports, reduces balance of payments deficit (provided we don't burn that same oil to make electricity!) and, if we have to go to war to protect the supply, saves lives and mega-humongous-bundles-of-wonga!

My long term heavy foot/short journeys/ four wheel drive means about 380Wh/mile, so each kWh takes me about 2.5 miles.

Yeah, I'm not a good average either. But my hope is that improvements in tech and smaller / lighter cars/batteries will drive that figure down. That said, I find it interesting that a Tesla PxxD driven "normally" is only using a few tens of percent more than the most frugal EV on the road. That differential is much much bigger in ICE cars - I'm guessing but 20 MPH plays 60 MPH would be a fair ICE comparison, which is 300%. So extrapolating my own though I'm not expecting to see massive reductions in EV energy-per-mile as the technology advances, but converting the whole fleet to EV should dramatically reduce the energy-per-mile overall
 

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