Electric car fears unfounded says National Grid: No need for 10 new nuclear power stations. Concerns focused on a recent analysis from National Grid which said as much as 30 gigawatts (GW) of additional power could be needed at peak times by 2040 – the equivalent of almost 10 Hinkley Point C nuclear power stations. But in a new “myth-buster” document, National Grid said such a situation was an “outlier”, and more likely scenarios predicted much lower extra peak demand by 2040. The extra 30GW would only be needed in a world where there were no petrol or diesel cars on the road by 2040 as a result of plummeting electric vehicle costs, there was little thought for environmental concerns such as tackling climate change and society was rich enough to allow widespread charging of cars at peak time and peak prices. National Grid’s set of four “core” scenarios outlining the likely potential impacts of electric vehicles found that peak demand for electricity could rise by between 4GW and 10GW by 2040. In its new document, the company said the Government’s bid to ban petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 made the scenario in which the UK is taking effective steps to tackle climate emissions the most probable. That would mean most cars are fully electric vehicles by 2040, and they would push up peak demand by around 5GW, around an 8% increase on current levels.
Express 9th Aug 2017 read more »
Professor Jack Ponton FREng, Emeritus Professor of Engineering, Scientific Alliance Scotland: The idea that all cars in Britain should be fully electric within a relatively short space of time is so silly and potentially damaging that it is hard to know where to start criticising it. But let us start with the most serious flaw; where is the electricity to run them to come from? The transport sector currently consumes about one third of total energy demand. Not all of this is due to cars, and electric vehicles can in principle be more efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles. However, one estimate suggests that if all Britain’s cars were electric, electricity production would have to increase by more than one third, from 337 TWh (terawatt hours) a year to 460 TWh. If this were to be supplied by nuclear power stations this would mean more than 18GW (gigawatts) of new capacity. Another estimate produced by National Grid suggests we may need as much as 30GW. Right now we have plans for only one new nuclear power station, Hinkley C, with a capacity of 3.2GW at a cost of at least £20 billion. So we would be looking at between five and ten more Hinkleys at £100bn and £200bn.
Scotsman 8th Aug 2017 read more »
With the exception of a handful of smaller producers, all the mainstream car brands currently offer vehicles that comply with the 2040 rule, in addition to some that won’t. In fact, if the law was passed tomorrow, car buyers wouldn’t find it that much of a struggle to find a model they’d be happy to purchase. That’s because hybrid cars – those with wheels driven by both a normal engine and an electric motor – will still be on the market after 2040. The only cars that won’t be on sale after 2040 are pure petrol and pure diesel cars. These are a dying breed anyway, with manufacturers in every segment embracing hybrid, electric and other technologies in order to save their customers money and reduce pollution. And remember that the 2040 rule only applies to sales – driving and owning a petrol or diesel car will, as far as we’re aware, also be perfectly legal after this date. At the moment, petrol, diesel and electricity are the only practical ways of transferring energy to a car. The millions of plug sockets and thousands of fuel stations make it relatively easy to refuel a hybrid, EV or pure ICE car in Britain. However, for the more adventurous (and geographically serendipitous) there is another way – hydrogen. A hydrogen fuel cell car is refuelled with compressed hydrogen. The car itself then turns the hydrogen into electricity, which it uses to drive its wheels. The emission from this process is pure water – clean enough to drink. The technology is still in its infancy, but there are some clear advantages over fossil fuels, as well as a number of benefits in comparison to plug-in electric vehicles. Hydrogen is generated via a process called electrolysis, which can be done on a small scale in-situ. A tank of hydrogen does not require It can also be pumped into a car quickly, resembling the process of refuelling a petrol car. At the moment, there are only a handful of hydrogen pumps in the UK. The first one at a major fuel station opened earlier this year – we were the first to use it – but we expect this coverage to expand significantly over the next couple of years. It’s too early to recommend this technology to most buyers (only two fuel cell vehicles are currently for sale in the UK anyway) but hydrogen fuel cell mobility has enormous potential. Whatever happens, it’s important to remember that technology develops rapidly, and that there’s more to mobility than petrol pumps and charging cables. It is exceptionally difficult to predict what will happen in the 23 years between now and 2040.
Telegraph 9th Aug 2017 read more »