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

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Electric car home charging point [image credit:]

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.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

May 13, 2022

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