Electric vehicles could ‘fix the grid’? Still pushing an optimistic theory

Posted: May 13, 2022 by oldbrew in Batteries, Emissions, opinion, Travel
Tags: ,

Electric car home charging point [image credit: evcompare.ie]

Looks like yet another visit to cloud cuckoo land for climate alarmists fretting about trace gases in the atmosphere. They’re creating a massive problem with insistence on an EV-only future and now cast around frantically for solutions, as the clock ticks to chaos. Let’s try a food analogy: juggling oranges doesn’t give you more oranges.
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Transportation is the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for about a third of all emissions, says TechXplore.

We could quickly lower those emissions by electrifying vehicles, but there’s just one hitch: we don’t currently generate enough power.

“If all transportation goes electric, we are effectively doubling demand,” said Matthias Preindl, an EV expert at Columbia Engineering. “And the grid isn’t built to withstand that.”

Despite some investment and expansion since the 1950s, the U.S. grid has a mostly aging fleet of generators, and maxed out transmission loads due to congested lines. Making matters worse, extreme weather events like heatwaves and wildfires have repeatedly melted power cables.

The U.S. would have to invest $125 billion by 2030 just to keep up with EVs’ growing demands for power, according to a 2020 study. But what if the EVs themselves could be part of the solution, adding power to the grid?

Columbia News spoke with Preindl, a professor of electrical engineering, and Daniel Bienstock, a professor of applied physics and applied mathematics, as well as industrial engineering and operations research.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology

By 2030, some 145 million electric cars, buses, trucks, and vans will be on the road. Sort of. On average, drivers park their vehicles 95% of the time.

With close to $5 billion in federal money recently allocated to build a nationwide network of EV charging stations along interstate highways, all those idle EVs could be put to work via vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology—an idea experts say could transform the already overwhelmed electrical grid.

V2G technology involves using bidirectional chargers to carry unused power from an EV’s batteries into the smart grid. As an EV gets charged, the grid’s AC (alternating current) electricity is converted to the batteries’ DC (direct current)—which is then used to run the vehicle. A bidirectional charger can convert DC to AC and transfer it to the grid from the EV’s lithium-ion cells. It can also simultaneously control how much power enters or leaves the battery.

“Potentially, EVs could become the largest, distributed energy storage facility deployed,” Preindl said. “Together, they could supply more electric power than all conventional power plants combined.”

The extra electricity that V2G technology feeds back to the grid could power homes and businesses in states like California that heavily rely on renewables for 24-7 access to electricity.

Often, green energy efforts have primarily focused on using large wind or solar farms located in remote areas. These farms require new and expensive transmission lines to provide electricity to areas with high-energy demands.

And wind and solar energy can experience large real-time variability, said Bienstock, who is also an expert on power-grid dynamics at Columbia Engineering.

“Today, without large renewable penetration, variability is addressed in real-time using conventional generation,” he said. “Large, real-time swings in power flows can be challenging and require proper set up of rapid generation and adequate transmission resources.”

Upgrading equipment to that extent is no small feat, which means that variability due to renewables will continue to be a concern. “V2G, coupled with more fully distributed generation, is one of the most viable solutions moving forward,” said Bienstock.

Full article here.

  1. rogercaiazza says:

    Great description: “clock ticks to chaos”

  2. stpaulchuck says:

    OMG!! ROFLMAO! thanks guys, I need a good laugh.


  3. Gamecock says:

    “We could quickly lower those emissions by setting a fixed price on gasoline. Worked in 1973.”

    Fixed it.

  4. Saighdear says:

    Watch your analogies though: with this doughball lot incharge, juggling oranges WILL produce sticky JUICE! – and that’s good for some. THis is the trouble – a;lways a few going to benefit greatly at others Pain of expense.
    HOwever, we have Mega times more Phones than EVs, maybe they should / could all collectively power the grid: Wow what a grgeat thought, the blobbies w ill realoly appreciate that, smart phones and the power to run SMART METERS, too. Millions of Smart meters at x watts consumption each, as bad as tvs on stand-by, eh ?

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    “juggling oranges doesn’t give you more oranges” especially if you drop 25% of them. (losses in generation, distribution and storage).

  6. bewhitebarry says:

    The first thing to be understood about electric cars is they are not coming in because of global warming and co2. The rush to evs is because the oil companies are planning how to exit the oil industry.
    The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell laid it on the line to shareholders at their 2017 AGM at the Hague; We have formed a group within the company to study how best to leave the oil industry.
    A couple of years later the motor manufacturers are announcing electric cars are to be their main product. BP adopts new motto Beyond Petroleum.
    Shell announces all Shell servos world wide will have chargers.
    Reason; Search and Development of new oil fields too costly.
    BTW ev batteries life depends on how many charge/discharge cycles.
    You want you car being charged and discharged at someone else’s convenience ?

  7. Phoenix44 says:

    So EVs are charged but then that charge is raking so that other EVs can be charged…?

    Who is deciding on the priority of charge here? Why does my charge get taken so that somebody else’s EV is charged?

    And who pays for the degradation of my battery, since its charge-discharge that determines its life? This could halve the life.

    What absurd solution.

  8. Hasbeen says:

    And why do you think that would be bewhitebarry?

    Do you think it might have something to do with governments legislating no more sales of ICE cars in the near future?
    Do you think car manufacturers might decide they have to build cars that they will be allowed to sell?
    Do you think oil companies might want to have products they can sell after ICE car sales are banned.
    I hope you don’t think it is because either industry thinks battery powered cars are in any way superior in either emissions, performance or economic return on investment, as that would show your thinking to be very poor.

  9. Gamecock says:

    “Who is deciding on the priority of charge here?”

    I guess how it’s supposed to work is a guy on the tele says, “We have a dire emergency. Electrical blackouts abound! Please hook your car up to a charging station so you can help feed the grid. It’s for the children.”

    It’s like the reverse of hoarding. A shortage is declared, so you give up what you already have.

    How many will be shot (wait . . . England . . . knifed) at public chargers? “The bastard was charging ‘is car during an emergency!” (Note that a car charging and a car discharging look exactly the same.)

    “Sorry, boss, I can’t come in today. I gave my all charge to the grid.

    “No, don’t know when. It depends on when lecky comes back.”

    BWTM. Like all battery backup, you can only do it once, til you have to recharge them. If the shortage lasts for more than a few hours, you are dead for the duration of the shortage.

    What they propose is utterly impossible. Unless . . . you cede power to government to force all this. As we have seen in the last decades, government WILL force you to do what they say is “saving the planet.” Well, at least it’s for a good cause.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Britons without a driveway or garage can expect EV charging costs to be almost $1200 a year higher


    RAC: ‘Currently, VAT on domestic electricity is charged at 5% whereas those using public charge points unfairly have to pay 20% VAT. FairCharge and the RAC believe this is an unnecessary barrier to switching to an electric car for the estimated 38% of people who aren’t able to charge an EV at home and have no choice but to rely on the public charging network.’


  11. Gamecock says:

    ‘whereas those using public charge points unfairly have to pay 20% VAT’

    Whah! Whah!

    ‘the estimated 38% of people who aren’t able to charge an EV at home and have no choice but to rely on the public charging network.’

    Colossal absurdity! You’d have to be dumber than a red brick to buy an EV if you couldn’t charge it at home or office, or some place in your normal routine, with security and guaranteed availability. Modernity requires personal transportation. Depending on finding a public charger – and not having your tires slashed or being unplugged in the middle of the night or the tragedy of the commons is just stupid.

    Famous last words:

    ‘rely on the public charging network’

    Even ‘network’ is a lie.

  12. Phoenix44 says:

    So if I pay 20% VAT when I charge, do I get the VAT back when my charge is taken by the Grid? Or do I sell to the Grid with 20% VAT and so have to do a VAT return if I charged at 5%?

    Mindless complexity driven by a ridiculous scheme.

  13. oldbrew says:

    MAY 12, 2022.
    Electric Vehicle Charging Sparks Multiple House Fires

    As EVs become more common, the risk of fires associated with these vehicles cannot be overlooked or underplayed.


  14. Coeur de Lion says:

    It’s nonsense, isn’t it? Nobody discharges my EV or I’ll ….I’ll …… just you wait

  15. michael hart says:

    Hmmmm….would you go to the petrol station to remove fuel from your tank?
    The logical EV-owning human will probably avoid plugging in at times when they are likely to be tapped for electricity.

  16. prematurepostulations says:

    Necessary comment I don’t see often in these discussion of the coming V2X grid. Good eyes.

  17. prematurepostulations says:

    You should look up a company called Nuvve; they have a system that answers a lot of your questions.

    I hope to write up a post about V2G companies & points of debate amongst manufacturers & consumers soon as I’ve noticed many folks don’t come across the answers to those questions easily or frequently enough.

    Coming V2G & V2X legislation is going to be interesting to say the least.

  18. OG says:

    Think a society of cities and communities with no cars.

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