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National Grid breaking point in UK?

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by tonyj01, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. tonyj01

    tonyj01 Member

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    Article in D Telegraph published on paper yesterday but link below to slightly longer article online for a few days.

    it makes points that sales of full EV cars remain low, and if there were more EVs the lights would be going out more often across UK this winter and onwards.

    Rise of electric cars in wake of VW scandal could cause UK Cars

    It's written by a motoring journalist, and reminds us the UK has suffered from a few decades of energy policy indecision, which means we no longer have the brightest scientists who are able to invent, develop and build another generation of nuclear power stations.

    Tony J.
     
  2. VirtualM

    VirtualM Member

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    Usually EVs are charged at home during the night when people sleep. I only see it as a more useful way of using the energy than burning petrol/diesel. The demand from the grid is low during the night.
    By the time EVs will grow in numbers the batteries will get better too and only night charging will be needed.
     
  3. Henryv

    Henryv Member

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    Solar energy is on the increase.
    Petrol stations use electricity to power everything.
    "If everyone owned an electric car....." dream on.
    Not in our lifetime.
    Most people with electric cars charge for a limited time and not every day necessarily.
    I remember reading that experts in Old London worried that, with
    all the horse draw carriages, Londoners would be up to their chin's in horse manure!!!
    I don't think it ever got above their ankles!!:smile:
     
  4. Adm

    Adm Active Member

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    #4 Adm, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Robert Llewellyn has a great series of videos about electric cars. One of the episodes is about the UK national grid:

     
  5. arg

    arg Member

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    That article is correct to call out the utterly incompetent energy policy of successive governments, but its 'analysis' of the impact of electric cars is just as bad.

    There's good info on the state of the UK grid here:

    http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

    from which you can see that the difference between nighttime load on the grid and the daytime average is about 15GW, and the evening peak about 10GW above that. So if we assume that the grid is taking desperate measures to meet the evening peak, but the daytime average (10GW less) is 'comfortable', then then by running that same level of generation through the night there's about 15GW * 6 hours available for car charging without building any new capacity. That's 90GWh = 9,0000,000kWh = approx 270 million miles of EV travel PER DAY without building any new generation capacity.

    UK driving statistics available here:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/428671/annual-road-traffic-estimates-2014.pdf

    Cars and taxis drive 244 billion miles per year, or 668 million miles/day. So we could cover about 40% of all cars being electric without any extra capacity. If you include light goods vehicles (delivery vans etc.) that goes up to 290 billion/year or 792 million/day, and assuming that the vans achieve similar Wh/mile as the cars because the average speed is lower, then you could cope with about a third of all cars and vans being electric.

    That assumes all charging at night. The article talks about 20,000 cars charging at 50kW fast charging points "that's a whole power station". While that's true, 20,000 cars charging at once all day is a lot of cars - in total that extra power station would be charging 20,000cars * 50kW * 24hours = 24GWh each day, 72 million miles, or about 25% of the miles driven by those 1/3 of UK light vehicles would be supercharger trips rather than local driving within battery range. That seems rather a high proportion, but even if you go with that, it's saying we need just one extra power station (plus some of the slack already in the grid overnight) to allow 1/3 of all UK light vehicles to be electric.

    Seems like this isn't the main thing stopping everybody driving electric...
     
  6. thegruf

    thegruf Member

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    As has been said most of the charging is overnight so the grid as a whole should be a ble to adapt for some time.

    I raised this question previously though, and never really followed it up.
    A greater concern could be in particular localities, one street or estate.

    If you buy a Tesla, then your neighbour goes good idea, I'll get one too and then the word spreads a bit you could easily end up with a peak load that is beyond the rating of the cables/substation.
    Blacking out your local housing estate might render Tesla owners slightly less than popular.

    One thing to bear in mind however is that 11KW (home charging rate) is only 4 kettles .. but they are on for a good bit of time.

    Local (indeed all) installation relies heavily on diversity, as in the peak power available is high but statistically nobody uses it all at the same time so the cabling/breakers are rated nowhere near the sum of all the properties supplies.

    I believe this one reason is why the government is subsidizing charge points as all these report back on the charging use/patterns.
    This will generate valuable information to direct investment in future.

    What is a logical and technically feasible future is that chargers will be required to communicate with the infrastructure and load balancing is enforced.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    That's why:
    - there's a push for smart meters
    - it's a good idea to let the distribution company know if you're addi g a big load: they an upgrade the local network

    On top of all that
    - if there are lots of electric cars, batteries must be cheap, which means that the UK could add more intermittent renewables easily.
    - there is some elec rici y used for petroleum based transportation that could be diverted for electric cars.
    The nuclear decommissioning bogeyman comes up because of the huge capital investment and time lag involved. Other sources move faster.
     
  8. Belly Buster

    Belly Buster Member

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    A potentially good article ruined by extrapolation of bad maths to make terrible maths.

    Their starting point is that charging is done at 50kW. Most owners will charge overnight. If you have a 70 kWh battery and need 50% to top up, the power needed is 35kWh; over 7 night-time hours that’s 5kW on average, so you can charge 200,000 cars per 1GW power station.

    The quoted 45,000 cars can be supplied overnight with a fraction of the grid’s capacity (225MW or about 0.5% of current capacity). Don’t forget that most nuclear plants operate baseload, meaning the power has to go somewhere overnight anyway - nuclear can’t “two shift”, meaning it has to run all the time. Hence why Dinorwig pumped storage hydro power station was built to provide an overnight demand sink.

    Of course if all 37 million cars are electric, there’s a problem, but that won’t happen within the next 30 years, if ever. And you won’t need 1,850 power stations, unless every car is charging at 50kW 24 hours a day.

    The margin squeeze at the grid last week was an unusual situation where wind was light and other plant were unavailable for a variety of reasons. These tend to happen at times of peak demand (4-7pm in the winter), and not overnight when most EV owners are charging.
     
  9. Belly Buster

    Belly Buster Member

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    #9 Belly Buster, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Also I love how this is a "secret" location when you can google it and find out it is St Catherine's Lodge, Sindlesham, Wokingham.
     
  10. tonyj01

    tonyj01 Member

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    I do enjoy the collective knowledge found in forums.

    We think we know a little something about a topic, a "pinch of knowledge" and then the group has loads more, then links to some experts.

    Regards,

    Tony
     
  11. martinwinlow

    martinwinlow Member

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    OK. 2 things -

    1/ The *average* car in the UK does a mere 30 miles a day. Thats roughly equivalent to 10 hours charging (overnight) at a paltry 1kW! I *really* don't think this would cause issues even if *every* household in the country was charging their EV overnight. If they had 2, then there might be an issue. Except...

    2/ No-one's calcs (above) have factored in the amount of electrical energy used to refine petrol and diesel. Since almost all the UKs P&D is refined here, the amount of kW no longer used to make P&D would go a long way to offset the increase in kW used for charging EVs - day or night. The grid might need 'adjusting' as the power would be going to a domestic end use rather than industrial. Also, despite the fact that a gallon of PorD uses ~6kWh of electricity to make, refineries don't take all this from the grid as they burn (yuck!) unwanted distillates to make their own, in a process called 'co-generation'. I can't find *any* figures on the proportions - perhaps not surprisingly as I suppose the oil industry is more than happy to keep Joe-public in the dark :)rolleyes:) for as long as possible on this one.

    It comes as absolutely no surprise to learn that HMG have utterly cocked the issue of national power generation and distribution up as they have done an equally poor job at 'planning' our EV charging infrastructure, giving us street-side EVSEs that no-one uses or needs (at this stage) and home charging points costing the public purse £1000's a pop when a simple, ruggedised 13A socket would suffice for the vast majority (or a 16A Ceeform socket if you must).

    Happy days!
    Martin Winlow
    EVBitz.uk
     
  12. This is a copy of a posting I made on this subject on a UK professional website.
    "
    If just one nuclear power station was all it took to get rid of all the noxious pollution and co2 caused by our road traffic that would be the best deal ever done by mankind in the modern era.
    Every one of our 37 million cars on the road is in effect its own highly inefficient, highly polluting power station.
    If you took all the fuel used in road transport, and used it to run power stations, you would generate 2.5 times as much electricity than you would need to run that number of electric cars for the same journeys.
    As I have posted in detail before, you get 2.5 times the motion for the lotion even taking into account transmission and distribution loss.
    A full electric conversion even based on fossil fuel generation would therefore require just a little over a third of the fuel currently used to be burned, and because power stations can be built to control pollution, and capture carbon, there would be far, far less pollution, and that pollution would be far away from our cities.
    It is ironic in our health and safety obsessed culture that we knowingly kill tens of thousands with pollution in our cities every year, when the technological answer to this scourge is well known and well developed already.
    Of course with the move towards renewables and nuclear, we could effectively have a zero carbon economy in the lifetimes of our own children.
    That's a legacy I would be proud of.
    And we would no longer be enriching Putin, some vary nasty theocracies and the Islamic State by buying their oil.
    While en-route rapid charging infrastructure is essential, most people will simply power their cars overnight on cheap rate electricity for 99% of their journeys.
    I use less than 50 pence worth of electricity to do my 30 mile average commute per day, and the car charges at home in about 30 minutes on three phase power to do that. It used to cost me £5 in petrol.
    A supercharger will do en-route charging at up to 360 miles in an hour of charge.
    This scaremongering about a lack of electric power is just oil company sponsored trolls posting unscientific bull online.
    At present power companies in Germany and California are getting very worried that the huge increase in micro generation, renewables and energy efficiency is losing them market share, and they haven't even got enough customers for the power they are generating at present.
    Audoen
     
  13. martinwinlow

    martinwinlow Member

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    FullyCharged's video on the National Control Centre is fascinating. Mr Williams really knows his stuff and I can only hope he has a chance to talk to the movers and shakers in HMG to help guide them with future EV-related issues. Going by current performance, they need all the help they can get.

    Given that this video was published 2 1/2 years ago, it would be great if Robert L could do an update, particularly with reference to the increase in renewable generation (wind now at 13GW - up from 2GW at the time, apparently), their 'boot strap' DC under-sea power transmission links from Scotland to southern England, the question of how much grid power is used for refining petrol and diesel and how the roll-out of smart meters is going to help (already started).

    One other thing I missed when I watched this when it first came out was Mr Williams talking about the effect of charging Evs on the grid - 500k EVs use about 1GW of power - each therefore using a bout 2kW. From my calcs, a typical EV uses about 3kW whilst charging - it could be a lot less and still be full in the morning bearing in mind the average car does only 30 miles a day - over 8-10 hours that's only ~1kW. Looking at the night-time 'bath tub' (5:44) drop in demand, it looks like there is a good 7GWh of generating power available between ~2300 and 0700 which equates to 7GW / 1kW = 7 million cars. There are currently about 30 million registered cars in the UK. Hmmm...!

    With smart meters starting to roll out I can see electricity suppliers starting to charge for peak demand like they do industrial customers. This isn't possible with current 'dim' meters. That will encourage people to invest in small amounts of storage so they can level their kettle and cooking-induced surges. Tesla PowerWall, anyone? But 7kW is probably about twice what the typical house might need to avoid the worst of peak power costs, should they ever materialise. MW
     
  14. Henryv

    Henryv Member

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    #14 Henryv, Nov 17, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
    It is an interesting challenge for the Government.
    They say no one should smoke, but they still rake in almost £10 billion in taxes.
    Betting is heading towards £2 billion, and rising.
    Spirits stamp duty nearly £3 billion.
    Beer and wine nearly £7 billion.
    Climate change levy - charged to Electricity coal & gas suppliers £.6 billion
    Cider duty £.3 billion
    Aggregates levy £.3 billion Commercial exploitation of Rock Sand & Gravel!!!

    Fuel tax approaching £30 billion
    Petroleum Revenue tax £1.70 billion
    from Oil & gas producers.
    A large chunk to kiss goodbye to!!!!!
    You wonder why they encourage EV.
    Because they will be long gone, before it becomes a problem.
    The truth is the Government will be ruined if we all buy EV cars stop smoking and drinking,
    and cure all illnesses, and abolish crime and have no more wars.

    It is all the crap things in life that make the most money for HMG!!:cursing:
    All the rest is propaganda!!!
     
  15. martinwinlow

    martinwinlow Member

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    Well, you're just a proper ray of sunshine, aren't you?!
     
  16. Sirguydo

    Sirguydo Member

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    Henry must be an accountant and we all know what happy folks they are :biggrin:
     
  17. Henryv

    Henryv Member

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    #17 Henryv, Nov 17, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
    The truth, even if it hurts, it's all right!:biggrin:
    The Gov' rely on people's need to blank it out!!

    A business owner tells her friend that she is desperately searching for an accountant.
    Her friend asks, "Didn't your company hire an accountant a short while ago?"
    "Yes, he is the one we are searching for".
     
  18. Belly Buster

    Belly Buster Member

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    Just to answer this point specifically, this is a long way off. Image a race between that and HS2 to be the first one built, it would be hard to pick a favourite.
     
  19. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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  20. smac

    smac Active Member

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    #20 smac, Nov 26, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2015

    I agree in principle, however having just returned from a council meeting full of non EV owners, the answer to all problems is Rapid chargers.

    Take Tesla's UK Supercharger network: Northampton is clearly running on a genset at the moment, and I'm sure Badgers Farm is being supplemented by a hidden diesel unit :( (Why else would that innocuous fibreglass cabin have great big cables running to it, over a wall hidden, then jumping back into the Supercharger cabinet ?, yes I looked whilst sat in a SC queue)

    So whilst I agree plenty of generating capacity on the grid, local distribution issues coupled with peaky demand, may be more the issue.

    Stationary storage, more sensible dest charging (esp. in city centres for residents), new hydro storage, .... iow long term planning and solid energy/grid strategy that doesn't just involve selling off billing rights to European businesses.....

    Rant over.
     

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