Utilities Battling "Green-Outs"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some time ago, I posted on an article that debunked several myths about electric cars. On top of that, the article warned that the vehicles could pose problems for people with legitimate uses for electricity:

Here's another catch: Electric cars aren't necessarily green at all. Electric vehicles require large amounts of electricity -- so much that Toronto Hydro chief Anthony Haines says he doesn't know how he'd get it. "If you connect about 10 per cent of the homes on any given street with an electric car, the electricity system fails," he said recently.
More recently, the MIT Technology Review painted a more complete picture of the grid failure problem, which has become worse with the advent of fast chargers. In fact, utilities in California are "scrambling to upgrade the grid to avoid power outages":
The trouble arises when electric car owners install dedicated electric vehicle charging circuits. In most parts of California, charging an electric car at one of those is the equivalent of adding one house to the grid, which can be a significant additional burden, since a typical neighborhood circuit has only five to 10 houses. In San Francisco, where the weather is cool and air conditioning is rarely used, the peak demand of a house is much lower than in the hotter parts of California. As a result, the local grid is sized for a much smaller load. A house in San Francisco might only draw two kilowatts of power at times of peak demand, according to Pacific Gas & Electric. In comparison, a new electric vehicle on a dedicated circuit could draw 6.6 kilowatts--and up to 20 kilowatts in the case of an optional home fast charger for a Tesla Model S.
There are ways to get around the problem that are kind of interesting -- until one realizes how much time and money is being wasted (by people other than the car owners) on top of that represented by the electric cars themselves.

We can blame government subsidies and "incentivization" for the easy availability of electric cars, and, I strongly suspect, government regulation of utilities for the fact that the car owners themselves aren't footing the full bill for their folly. Not only do the greens want to dictate to the rest of us how we can produce or use power, they are already being insulated from the practical costs of their crusades by the mixed economy now. The article states that, "The upgrades are paid for by all rate payers, not the electric car owners."

Capitalism can't make men see the truth, but it is obvious here how it could protect one man from the foolishness of another.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, in my employment experiences for major corporations, it was not uncommon for high-level managers, directors, VPs, and even CEOs to leave for "personal reasons"
when the quality of their feasibility planning for large investments turned up unforeseen difficulties not even as major as the "electric car" effect on the electrical grids.

If the vaunted braintrust in D.C. must be protected by public subsidy of their Obamacare premiums, should not the public know what these leaders are actually pushing and how successful it is?

Obviously, pursuits of "personal interests" are very overdue in D.C., in my opinion.

Gus Van Horn said...

Fun to contemplate, but, given our current culture, we'd also need lots of people to start abstaining from voting (for "personal reasons" or otherwise) to not just have an equivalent set of dolts wind up in office.