Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'll only charge it full when electricity is cheap though. When there isn't enough wind and sun (say) and prices rise I won't bother charging it to full.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You still need one full charge's worth per week, say.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:43:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, I guess, but it won't happen when the "unreliable" sources are compromised. This is an argument against the "we need nukes" element of Thomas's discussion.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 07:46:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not specifically nukes. Any power source without huge seasonal or day-to-day variability will do. But we are going to need a lot of it.
My personal guess is that this means nukes win the day in the end, and that this will mostly be accomplished by siting them in politically friendly jurisdictions and putting up HVDC lines to places that break out in hives at the sight of a cooling tower. But that is a guess. Paving over a chunk of the sahara and running HVDC lines north would also work. Rooftop solar in europe will, however, not, as people dont stop driving in winter.
by Thomas on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But your starting position is, consistently, that nukes are the answer.

I'm open to nukes as part of the solution - I strongly suspect that if they're necessary their lack will kill more people than the safety issues ever will - but it's not clear that they are necessary.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 08:43:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I got your assumption right, you are counting 100 kWh for 400 km.
In a country like France, with something like 30M cars doing 12,000km per year (ball park figures, but not too far off), you need 100 billion kWh, i.e. 100 TWh for the whole fleet.

French electric demand right now is around 500 TWh. So we're talking an increase by 20% only, a lot of it which can take place at night, as you mentioned. But a smoothing out of demand will actually make the integration of renewables easier, as the capacity to deal with intra-day changes will still be there and will be just as easily able to deal with intermittent renewable generation - it's just that gas-fired plants may work at night, to replace solar, than during the day, as a top up to nukes...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 08:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is another 20 percent power consumption, mostly coming from residential areas at night. - the average nighttime draw from any given residence will go up by 20kwh/8h/220v: 11/22 amps. (one or two cars) The maximum draw (full recharge in 8 hours) from the same residence goes up by 110 amps. This assumes people dont buy speedcharging gear for their homes, which I think is a safe assumption. I certainly do not wish to have electrical equipment able to recharge a 100kwh battery in 30 minutes in my garage. I think the existing grid infrastructure will suffice for this with only minor upgrades, but a lot of residencies are going to need their fuseboxes and bits of their wireing beefed up. Lot of work for electricians.
by Thomas on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 12:51:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"the existing grid infrastructure will suffice for this with only minor upgrades"

Nope, it won't (at least in the system used in the U.S.). The thermal time constants of the transformers supplying residential power is quite long, a day or so. During the day, when demand is high, they heat up. Part of designing the distribution system is to balance the heat generated during the day with the cooling available at night. If the night-time load goes up, then there's not enough cooling time, and the transformers catch on fire.

by asdf on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 03:29:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another data point:

It takes a lot of coal to make gasoline

Quick draw critics of the electric car often (miss their target) criticize EV's because in their words "Electric cars simply replace a tail pipe with a smokestack" The gist of their argument is that the emissions still occur, not at the tail pipe but at the electric power plant. That great observation is usually followed by the statement that 45% of our grid electricity is coal and coal is dirty thus the EV provides no net gain.


It is a simple fact that just the refining of gasoline requires approximately 6 kwh of electricity per gallon of gasoline. In fact electricity and natural gas cost are estimated to be 43% of the US oil refineries total expenses. If you tack on the energy required to extract and transport the oil to the refinery and then to the gas stations as well as the energy cost of the gas station, I'm sure that number jumps a few more kwh per gallon.

So let's be conservative and cut the oil guys a break and say it takes 8kwh to extract, ship, refine and transport each gallon of gas.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.  Drum roll.......

It takes more electricity to drive the average gasoline car 100 miles, than it does to drive an electric car 100 miles. A gas car at the US fleet average of 21mpg will consume approximately five gallons of gasoline which took 40kwh (5 times 8)of electricity to make, to drive 100 miles. An electric car will use approximately 30 kwh of electricity (3.3 miles per kwh) to drive the same 100 miles.

This is California and power uses may be different elsewhere, but this is still an impressive comparison...

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 11:12:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm told by a more reliable source that this is false.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 5th, 2012 at 11:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not specifically nukes. Any power source without huge seasonal or day-to-day variability will do. But we are going to need a lot of it.

But nukes has a somewhat unpredictable security variation which forces them to quickly go off line from time to time.

However, what matters is not the variability of the individual plant, but of the system as a whole. So lots of wind over a large area - say Europe - should do the trick, and so should lots of nukes over Europe, or lots of wind and nuke over Europe.

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by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 11:09:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is what you want to do, but that is not the smart grid way. The system depends on not only you charging your car at night, but you also having your car's battery available in the evening to support the extra demand caused by me watching my TV. So you will be plugging in your car when you get home and leaving it plugged in until morning, because your rate will depend on the times that you have it plugged in and the amount of charge or discharge during that time. If you try to sneak out at 2:00 am and plug it in for charging, you will pay a higher rate than if you leave it plugged in from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm to provide support for my evening TV viewing.
by asdf on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 03:23:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what i don't get about this system is how it will affect length of battery life. surely the more charge cyles a battery endures, the less viable it becomes, n'est-ce pas?

so if you leave your battery disconnected after charging, it lasts longer, but you're leaching without seeding.

unless you're paid for the seeding part, or the batteries are owned by the utility...

how to work around that inconvenient truth?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 05:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The way it works in hybrid cars is that they avoid full charge and full discharge. Apparently the "wear" or damage to the cells occurs at the full and empty points, so they only use about the middle 1/3 of the charge-discharge range. Experience suggests that batteries last a long time using that model.
by asdf on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 06:47:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
talks a bit about V2G (vehicle to grid) charge-discharge scenarios....
by asdf on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 07:40:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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