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Old 03-21-2016, 01:25 PM   #61
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Demand is measured in MW-hours,
Sometimes. But demand for planning and procurement purposes is stated in MW because they plan around available capacity, not MWH.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:39 PM   #62
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Sometimes. But demand for planning and procurement purposes is stated in MW because we're buying capacity, not MWH.
But then you have to throw in capacity factor, which varies with the technology, and other things. It gets even more confusing.

I'll address your other post later, I gotta run some errands. But as a preface, if demand is growing faster than RE can be installed, the planners will meet demand by not shutting down the fossil plants as they add RE.

You're acting as if there is no other constraint to adding RE, and that it is only done in response to increased demand (which I've already shown to be false), and that RE is the only option available (I'll check figures later, but I'm pretty sure we've been adding NG fossil plants).

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Old 03-21-2016, 01:41 PM   #63
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I'll address your other post later,
Don't bother.

I think everything that needs to be said was summarized in Post 52

You assume that adding a boatload of new electricity demand will have no impact on supply. I think that is an untenable assumption. As long as we disagree on this key point, we won’t agree on the rest.

So my final word on this topic is simply . . . Cheers.
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:00 PM   #64
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You're acting as if there is no other constraint to adding RE, and that it is only done in response to increased demand (which I've already shown to be false), and that RE is the only option available (I'll check figures later, but I'm pretty sure we've been adding NG fossil plants).

-ERD50
RE is only half of new plants, as of 2014. Big trend, though.
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Old 03-21-2016, 05:18 PM   #65
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Sometimes. But demand for planning and procurement purposes is stated in MW because they plan around available capacity, not MWH.
Before I continue, (and for the sake of others if you are going to bow out), I'll explain why it is important to this discussion to distinguish between MW of capacity and MW-hours of generation. The distinction is the capacity factor - basically the average power delivered over time (MW-hours) compared to the rated power capability of the generator (MW - a peak reading, not over a time scale).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacity_factor

In the US - Nuclear–90.3%; Coal–63.8% of available capacity. But solar PV is ~ 15%-30% since it only runs while the sun shines, and due to seasonal variations. The gas peakers are all over the map, depending on conditions.

Now, if most EV charging occurs at night (the most likely scenario), we don't need any additional capacity at all. Night time demand is ~ 1/3rd of daytime demand, so there is plenty of available capacity. The gas peakers are idled, and the coal plants are likely throttled down somewhat as well.

So a fleet of EVs don't require any added installed capacity at all - completely contrary to your premise. What it does require is the fossil fuel to provide the added demand.

That said, wind generally provides more output at night, right when a fleet of EVs could utilize it. Again, until we regularly produce an excess of wind power to the point that it provides a significant % of the average EV charge source, it won't make much difference. But it does provide an opportunity worth discussing.

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Don't bother.

I think everything that needs to be said was summarized in Post 52

You assume that adding a boatload of new electricity demand will have no impact on supply. I think that is an untenable assumption. As long as we disagree on this key point, we won’t agree on the rest.

So my final word on this topic is simply . . . Cheers.
I see that is what you think - and I've provided info to show that thinking doesn't hold water. I'm disappointed that you are not willing to engage in a challenge to your beliefs, we might both learn something - but if that's the case - Cheers! right back at 'ya!

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Old 03-21-2016, 08:44 PM   #66
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Erd50 - thanks for the continuing this excellent discussion. I'm sure there are many like myself just listening in and learning quite a bit.

I think I better understand now why pure electric cars are so slow to catch on and hybrids are doing better. It's good to see the technology advancing. Even if slow to make a huge impact, it stretches out our available energy which at some time in the distant future will be very important. Probably more important to our children than us.


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Old 03-21-2016, 09:17 PM   #67
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Erd50 - thanks for the continuing this excellent discussion. I'm sure there are many like myself just listening in and learning quite a bit.
Yeah me too.

I get the impression that many people think that if they believe in something hard enough, both engineering and economic issues will go away. It's just not so.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:40 PM   #68
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... It's good to see the technology advancing. Even if slow to make a huge impact, it stretches out our available energy which at some time in the distant future will be very important. Probably more important to our children than us...
+1

Solar and wind energy cannot displace fossil fuel until they become abundantly cheap AND we have a practical solution for energy storage. Until then, whatever help renewable energy provides is good, but we cannot schedule inventions or have a timetable for when desired earthshaking discoveries will occur.
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:20 PM   #69
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Thanks for the support Whisper66 and mpeirce.

Odd thing is, I'd really like to believe that EVs are good for the environment too. But my research has not supported that. I love the concept of an EV - the simplicity of a motor versus ICE and transmission, quiet, great acceleration. I really thought I'd be driving one by now, but it has not gone that way.

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+1

Solar and wind energy cannot displace fossil fuel until they become abundantly cheap AND we have a practical solution for energy storage. Until then, whatever help renewable energy provides is good, but we cannot schedule inventions or have a timetable for when desired earthshaking discoveries will occur.
It would side track this thread, and I've only just thought about it vaguely - but I keep trying to find ways to make use of intermittent sources like most RE. It's tough, most production is capital intensive, and you want to keep that production running 24/7 if you can. It's a tough fit.

But as long as I'm on a sidetrack, I'll just mention that I read an interesting article recently - the guy was promoting using hydro power directly in a mechanical form, rather than turning it into electricity, and then using the electricity to run a motor. A hydraulic motor bypasses those conversions, and is more efficient overall. But of course, it would only work for places situated near a waterfall, and you need big water pipes to/from. But they showed hydraulic motors for home use in the late 1800's, they were popular for a short time between municipal water coming to homes, but before electricity was common. You could save a lot of tedious manual labor with a 1/4 hp hydraulic motor connected to your tap.

Back to EVs/oil.

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Old 03-21-2016, 10:26 PM   #70
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There are still water-wheel driven sawmills in operation today. Skip to 1:00 in the following video to see the scary assortment of large belts to transfer the mechanical motion of the water wheel, and to 3:00 to see the scary reciprocating saw blade.

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Old 03-21-2016, 11:08 PM   #71
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Back on electricity, it is the perfect means of transferring energy a long distance, or a short distance for that matter. We still have not solved the problem of energy storage. Hence, most of the energy that we use is generated continuously, or on demand from fossil fuel.

It would be great if someone could invent a long lasting battery that can be scaled up to store solar and wind power. Right now, we cannot even afford to store the solar energy generated during the day to use at night. Once we can do that, then how about storing it for the next few days of cloudiness or calm air? Then, how about storing it to compensate for seasonal variations through the year? How big a battery do we need, and how much of the GDP it takes to build such a colossal battery bank?
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Old 03-22-2016, 10:14 AM   #72
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Even if you discount the ability of EVs to enhance the environment (because it's a wash grid-wise etc.), there is a much better reason to go that route IMO - to get us in a position where we don't have to fight resource wars for oil, and to reduce/remove the influence of the corrupt and authoritarian governments that come with it.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:25 PM   #73
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I see that is what you think - and I've provided info to show that thinking doesn't hold water. I'm disappointed that you are not willing to engage in a challenge to your beliefs, we might both learn something
I'm too easily baited, it seems.

I really do think we’ve both been engaging to the point of diminishing returns. And as you'll see, I'm prepared to demonstrate that point - at length.

But first I want to remind you that my position was always that new EV demand will be met with new supply as a first approximation. To go further than first approximation guesstimates we really do need a detailed model of all the moving parts. And such a model we don’t have, so not much more can be said.

Now your “first approximation” model, as I understand it, is that new EV demand will be powered by the average existing power infrastructure or worse. But you’ve already moved off that simple model by adding plant capacity factor considerations and time of day EV charging.

So let’s follow your lead on these issues and see where it goes . . .

EVs charged at night
Residental EV charging currently adds load roughly about the magnitude of residential air-conditioning. So yes, during most off-peak hours that load can generally be met by existing infrastructure.

But it matters greatly to our discussion which generation units get fired to meet this load.

To know that we need to know what power plants are “on the margin” during the night and will be throttled up to meet the new demand from EVs. And we don’t know that with any degree of specificity.

Even worse, it changes from region to region.

In Texas wind power is so abundant that it’s been known to drive power prices negative in off-peak hours. In the PJM market that includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and 10 other states the night-time marginal power plant is mostly natural gas with a small mix of coal. In California it’s almost all gas. In the Midwest, it’s mostly coal and some gas (are people buying a lot of EVs in the mid-west?).

So if you're recharging an EV in Texas at night, you're probably powering it with a lot of wind. If you're doing it in California and in the North East, it's mostly gas. And in Illinois, you're probably mostly coal.

But if I wanted to make a generalization I’d point out that the nation’s coal fleet was originally designed to run at full capacity as baseload units. These plants are generally not easily or inexpensively throttled up and down. It’s also true that many of the least efficient coal plants that would normally operate as mid-merit facilities have already been shut down.

And while coal capacity factors have steadily declined on average, they’re still higher than those of combined cycle natural gas plants, indicating that coal is less often "on the margin" than are gas plants.

That also suggests that our night-time EV demand would most often be met with natural gas fired plants. And if we power EVs with natural gas, they are still less polluting than gasoline cars as per your initial chart.

EVs charged during the day
During the day people are going to want to charge their vehicles fast. And while residential charging adds load similar to that of air-conditioning, fast charging stations add the load equivalent of an entire house.

Now electric grid reliability regulators require power companies to build enough supply to meet 100% of summertime peak demand plus a reserve margin. If we’re going to add millions of potential new house-equivalent loads to the grid that may plug in during peak hours, regulators are going to want to build some new plants to accommodate that load.

So how much new supply do you need to build to just meet the outsized demand loads of fast charging EVs? I don’t know. But it could be significant.

What kind of facilities will we need to build to meet this demand? Again, we don't know. It could be that we just need to build some gas peaking plants if the load is purely sporadic. Or it could be that we'd need to build a ton of base load and mid-merit facilities if the load is pretty reliable. I think it's probably safe to assume that the more EVs you integrate, and the more fast charging stations you build, the more you move from a peaking kind of demand to one that is much more steady state.


What does it all mean?
Who knows?

We need a detailed model of all the relevant factors to push this conversation forward. We need to model how many EVs are added and over what time period; where those EVs are added regionally; what their demand profile looks like; what the power plant fuel stack looks like in each market along with peak and off-peak reserve margins; how much new generation capacity we'll need to build to meet EV demand; and what type of capacity gets built.

We could also throw in demand side management and EVs as distributed electricity storage to further complicate matters.

We don’t have any of this information. And even if we did, who’s going to work out the model?

So back to “first approximation” estimates
My first cut was that we’d just build new plant to meet the new demand. And that new plant would be of the same mix as what we’re currently adding . . . mostly renewables and gas with a much smaller contribution from nuclear and coal. As a result EV's environmental profile would roughly match the profile of the new power plants we built to fuel them.

That still seems mostly right to me, with maybe a bit more heavy tilt toward natural gas than renewables.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:12 PM   #74
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"Companies placed bids with the operator, PJM Interconnection, to supply electric capacity to its grid, competing to offer services at the lowest possible prices. Which technologies fared best in this free-market auction? The top-performing technology was neither renewables, like solar and wind, nor fossil power, like coal and natural gas. The winning resource, which will supply 47.5 percent of all new electrical capacity for PJM in 2017–2018, was "demand response," a set of techniques for reducing peak electricity demand."

From: The Cheapest, Cleanest Way to Meet Electricity Demand

Lots of cats to herd in trying to model something like this, not the least of which is politics.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:59 PM   #75
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I'm too easily baited, it seems.

I really do think we’ve both been engaging to the point of diminishing returns. And as you'll see, I'm prepared to demonstrate that point - at length. ....
Glad you are engaging. I only have a few minutes, so I'll keep this short and in 'big picture' form - probably best for all involved

So if we agree that most of the night EV charging will be met by NG, if you look back at that NAS chart (post #36), an NG powered EV is only slightly better than the current gas/hybrid. What about in ten years? I recall posting an improvement chart on the Prius since introduction - it has seen considerable improvement, and that is likely to continue (maybe a slower pace, but it's not standing still). There's a huge gap between 'slightly better under certain conditions', and the 'pollution free' tag the that has been sold to an uninformed public.

Mix in even a little coal with that NG (or even wind), and that really pulls the EV average over. And since we agreed that it only makes sense to talk about large scale adoption of EVs, small numbers make no real difference either way, then the Midwest will need to have some significant % of EVs as well. It seems likely that coal will be used, to some degree.

I agree that excess wind can be a great source for EVs for night time charging - do we have numbers that would indicate when this could actually power a large % on average, of a large EV fleet?

I think it may be misleading to talk of negative or free kWh at night - I read a recent article about free power at night (on the retail side), but to get it, you had to accept a higher price during the day - a form of demand shifting noted in bld999's previous post.

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Old 03-22-2016, 03:17 PM   #76
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So if we agree that most of the night EV charging will be met by NG, if you look back at that NAS chart (post #36), an NG powered EV is only slightly better than the current gas/hybrid.
I think it's also helpful to make sure we're talking about the same things.

I never once said anything at all about hybrid vehicles. Going back to my very first comment, this is the sum total of what I said . . .

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My thinking is that the environmental impact of new electricity demand from EVs should be measured by the new power supply that is installed to meet that demand.

So if you're comparing the marginal impact of new EVs powered by the marginal production capacity added to meet new electricity demand, the result looks a lot more like the EV / WWS bar in your graph than the EV / Grid Average one.
If you want to change the above quote from saying "the EV / WWS bar" to "the EV / Natural Gas bar", I won't quibble much because the new power builds have a big chunk of gas anyway - my comment was always meant to average the two. So that's mostly consistent. But even with that change we're still a long way from the pollution we'd get using the EV / Grid Average bar, let alone the assertion that it's even worse than that.

I have no position on the merits of hybrids vs. plugins.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:53 PM   #77
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I think it's also helpful to make sure we're talking about the same things.

I never once said anything at all about hybrid vehicles. Going back to my very first comment, this is the sum total of what I said . . .

...

I have no position on the merits of hybrids vs. plugins.
?

What's the point of talking about the environmental impact of EVs unless we compare it to viable alternatives? EVs replace other vehicles.

And modern hybrids are reasonably affordable, don't have the range issues, or plug availability issues of EVs.

I suppose we could go deep down a rabbit hole and maybe figure that NG production goes mostly hand-in-hand with oil production, so if NG is going to power future EVs, maybe there isn't much/any effect on oil production anyhow (getting back to the OP)?

And don't forget to add in some amount of that coal bar - it's bound to be a contributor, and weighs heavily on the average even in small doses.

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Old 03-22-2016, 06:47 PM   #78
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?

What's the point of talking about the environmental impact of EVs unless we compare it to viable alternatives? EVs replace other vehicles.
Because the original chart that I commented on already compared various scenarios against gasoline powered vehicles. A discussion comparing EVs vs. hybrids is an entirely different discussion than the one I intended to join with my original comment which was launched by this sentence . . .

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Even using the present 'average grid', total pollution is far worse for an EV.
I never thought using "average grid" pollution was the right way to evaluate the impact of powering EVs. I still don't.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:53 AM   #79
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Because the original chart that I commented on already compared various scenarios against gasoline powered vehicles. A discussion comparing EVs vs. hybrids is an entirely different discussion than the one I intended to join with my original comment which was launched by this sentence . . .

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Even using the present 'average grid', total pollution is far worse for an EV.
I never thought using "average grid" pollution was the right way to evaluate the impact of powering EVs. I still don't.
OK, so I'll go back to your original comment:

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... I agree that using the "average grid pollution" isn't the right approach to measure the impact of all-electric EVs ...
OK, we agree on that, but you go on....



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... unless the grid and utilization stays constant. But that isn't what's happening.

My thinking is that the environmental impact of new electricity demand from EVs should be measured by the new power supply that is installed to meet that demand.
And here we part ways, and I've explained it. EVs will mostly charge at night, and we have plenty of installed capacity (power plant capacity and grid capacity) to power those EVs. We have enough to power the grid during day time peaks, we certainly have enough capacity to power an increase from EVs during the night time lull.

All the power companies will do is some combo of less throttling down of coal at night, and/or more throttling up of gas plants at night. We don't need any "new power supply that is installed to meet that demand".

That demand will be mostly met by existing NG and some coal, and some existing wind. And that wind power is being added to now, totally independent of any 'demand' from EVs. It's being installed to meet green policies, and pushed with subsidies.

And I'll recap the other point I made. The kind of RE that we can increase (solar & wind, we need to mostly exclude hydro) only makes up ~ 7% of our generation. It isn't growing solely to meet power demand (the other ~ 85% if you exclude hydro), and making that 85% represent a larger absolute number with another ~ 10% (or whatever) from EVs simply won't budge that needle. Because that's not the driver anyhow, policy is. And growth in solar & wind have other constraints, or that ~ 85% 'demand' would have brought us an increase of more than a few % in the last decade.

A bit more, but I have to run.

-ERD50
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:01 PM   #80
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People lining up to "Put down money today for an electric car, sight unseen, while hoping to drive it in 2017."

This EV stuff just might for be real.

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