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It’s absolute fantasy to think we can move to all electric cars without fossil fuels

July 30, 2017

By Paul Homewood



A good summary from Booker on the electric car saga:




To the few of us who have long been trying to follow the Government’s woefully unreported plans for Britain’s energy future, the news of the switch in 2040 to electric cars was hardly a surprise. But the full implications of this drive to phase out virtually all use of fossil fuels in the coming decades have not yet begun to sink in. And there are many more shocks to come. Brushed aside in the daylong blizzard of propaganda to which we were treated in favour of all-electric cars, there are of course many practical reasons these have not caught on.


Despite hundreds of millions of pounds in taxpayer bribes to persuade motorists to buy them, they make up only 0.3 per cent of the 31.7 million cars on our roads. It didn’t take long for the crucial question to be asked: where is all the extra 30 gigawatts (GW) of electricity needed to charge these cars to come from, when this would add nearly 50 per cent to our current peak electricity demand, half of it still supplied by the fossil fuels the Government wants to eliminate?

The answer from Michael Gove, our Environment Secretary, was that it would come from wind and nuclear power. One estimate suggested that to provide 30GW from wind would require 10,000 new turbines, on top of the 7,613 we already have. But this was based on the familiar mistake of confusing the full capacity of these turbines with their actual output which, thanks to the wind’s intermittency, is less than a third as much. To achieve 30GW of output would thus require 100GW of capacity, bringing the necessary number of new turbines to 30-40,000, five times as many as now, each taking six months to install. And on windless days these could not charge the batteries of many electric cars.



A flock of gulls flies through a row of wind turbines in Cumbria

Are we really going to more than double the number of wind turbines in Britain? Credit: Ashley Cooper/Alamy Stock Photo



As for nuclear, to produce 30GW would require us to spend a minimum of £200bn on nine more nuclear power stations the size of Hinkley Point, although this itself is unlikely to be built before 2030 (if ever); and no more are yet firmly in the pipeline. To say that Mr Gove and his colleagues are living in cloud- cuckoo land is the most generous of understatements.

But so is the most recent forecast by National Grid, which talks blithely of how by 2030 we will need 146GW of capacity to meet all our electricity needs, of which they claim nearly half will come from wind and solar, although this is based on the same confusion between capacity and actual output, which would be barely 14GW. Scraping around desperately to justify its 146GW figure, National Grid also assumes that by 2030 we will still need 18GW from gas-fired power stations to provide instantly available backup for when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

But this will be nothing like enough to close the gap when we have no more coal-fired power stations, and many fewer than now using gas. Amazingly, National Grid also anticipates that another 18GW will be supplied by interconnectors from other countries, six times more than now. But this will be at a time when every other European country is struggling to meet the EU’s target of a 60 per cent cut in CO2 emissions by 2040. I said there were many more shocks to come, not least the Government’s plan that, after 2030, we will not only be switching to electricity for our transport system but also for all our heating and cooking.


A Parliamentary report, based on an Imperial College study, estimates that this will boost our electricity needs to 350GW, nearly six times higher than our current peak demand. This is all such insanity that eventually the penny will drop that it is leading us to a complete national catastrophe. But as we saw from last week’s propaganda- fest, that day is still a long way off.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    July 30, 2017 11:49 am

    Is it absolute fantasy that after carbon emissions reach zero we can use “alternative” energy to then lower atmospheric CO2 by 50 ppm? Can Space programs go forward without fossil fuels? Will those you pay be able to “pollute”? Fantasy indeed!

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      July 30, 2017 12:20 pm

      If the rich (including MPs) are disressed about the public resenting the wealth gap between the rich and poor, it will be as nothing as the anger at the rich having everything and the poor not being able to afford the basics like heating, meat and transport. Eventually the public will even wise up to the damage to their job prospects.

  2. tom0mason permalink
    July 30, 2017 12:14 pm

    “Brushed aside in the daylong blizzard of propaganda to which we were treated in favour of all-electric cars, there are of course many practical reasons these have not caught on.”

    Was not a similar a similar “blizzard of propaganda” campaign technique used to get the UK populous to buy diesel vehicles previously, and look how that turned out.

    • Stonyground permalink
      July 31, 2017 6:59 am

      How exactly did that turn out? I don’t see that there are any problems with diesels that haven’t been invented by the green shirts. Air quality has been steadily improving since the industrial first kicked off and messed it up. Diesels caught on because they are economical and practical, I would be very reluctant to go back to a petrol car. Electric cars are only economical because their energy source isn’t heavily taxed in the way that petrol and diesel is, as for them being practical, you have to be kidding.

      • dennisambler permalink
        July 31, 2017 8:49 am

        Absolutely correct. The process is to creat unsupportable target levels for something that can be labelled as “toxic”, (the dose is the poison), claim that “thousands are dying prematurely”, again with no evidence to support the claim, bring in some heavily funded “social justice” lawyers, like Client Earth, and the judiciary go along with it, with no-one challenging the science of either the targets, or the effects of breaching them.

        Client Earth is an American entity, spreading its tentacles around Western countries. The whole exercise is another piece in the global socialist governance project of the UN, via controlling energy, as one of the most basic aspects of daily life.

        Client Earth was founded by a guy from California, (where else), and his husband…

  3. TinyCO2 permalink
    July 30, 2017 12:15 pm

    The maths is so simple that you have to wonder what is going through the heads of people like Gove. Either they’re total idiots and surrounded by green corrupt advisors or they think that if they aim way too high, they might meet modest targets. But doing something ludicrous is not a way to inspire confidence. If they can’t get their sums in the right ball park for the easy stuff, how good can they be with the hard stuff with loads of unknowns ie climate science?

    The only answer to an energy shortfall is nuclear. Until they get enough built to replace existing demands, building a new demand is mental. Wind and solar just pander to the greens who then feel confident rejecting nuclear and fracking. If the lorry drivers and farmers want to go on fuel strike again. I might just join them. Not because I’m wedded to fossil fuels but I’m very fond of a functioning economy and energy system.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      July 31, 2017 12:44 pm

      But – but – but – won’t the lorries all be electric as well? And the farmers’ tractors? And even the aircraft? Oh well, maybe not – but then anyone going between Europe and the U.S. can always catch the next sailing clipper, and be seasick for 3 weeks!

  4. Harry Passfield permalink
    July 30, 2017 12:25 pm

    The answer is to stop the subsidies.
    If you want solar on your roof; if you want battery back-up; fine. Pay for it yourself and feel the full reward for doing your bit for the environment. Don’t expect me to pay for it.

    And then we need to get rid of the Greens in our civil service.

    • ardy permalink
      July 30, 2017 9:15 pm

      Harry, there is no way you can do that! This is a feature across all of the western world and they fight hard for their ideology. Australian local government is full of them. The madness of building a house here is a shock to first time home builders.

      They genuinely could not give a toss about serving you or what you want. You are a non-believer.

      Public Servants! what a poor, bloody joke.

      • Russ Wood permalink
        July 31, 2017 12:45 pm

        A commenter on another blog referred to the tribe as “Civil Serpents”, and was rousingly acclaimed for the accuare description!

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      July 31, 2017 7:55 am

      If you believe that that burning carbon produces externalities that the burner should pay for (a reasonable economic and moral argument), then ditch the subsidies and have a carbon tax.

      Then non-carbon burning technologies can compete and we can see what works best.

      The system we have now is an abomination, even if you believe in AGW, as it is guaranteed to produce the most expensive solution.

      • dave permalink
        July 31, 2017 8:54 am

        The burners of carbon-based fuels ALREADY pay ENORMOUS taxes at point of use. Who do you think £50 out of £65 goes to, when you fill up your car?

  5. July 30, 2017 12:42 pm

    It doesn’t matter how many excellent articles are produced by people like Christopher Booker, the message won’t get through to the Government or the MPs. They are insulated from reality by the green civil servants, their green advisers and most of the MSM, particularly the BBC, led by green idiots such as Harrabin.

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      July 30, 2017 2:07 pm

      Because we’re not the types to go on a screaming march or send death threats, the government forget we exist. We haven’t got a Bob Ward whose sole task is to make trouble for fossil fuel users and suppliers. The green brigade have a whole business model in place to support useless idealist whingers. Much of the social services strata is open to those who make demanding impossible stuff a career. Even the teaching profession has a warm home for crusaders who want to retire from active campaining and are happy to just brainwash the future generations.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      July 31, 2017 7:58 am

      Because in the main they are insulated from the effects, which will happen at least one election away. In the meantime, the virtue-guzzlers can feel good and might vote for you.

      The alternative is simply to lose the next election, and perhaps even lose office now.

      W get the MPs we deserve, and far too many people want everything for free, including their feelings of virtue.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 31, 2017 12:51 pm

        But there is no choice at the next election other than to simply not vote but people feel they must vote.

      • July 31, 2017 1:01 pm

        Well, in my heart of hearts I agree – however, if Labour get in they will crash the economy and we’ll be on our hands and knees to the IMF again within months. Their manifesto is full on Socialism – so there will be mass capital flight, the price of government borrowing will rocket, our debt will rocket and we’ll be buggered.

        No choice but to vote Conservative, even if they are now to all intents and purpose a Social Democratic party, with very few real conservative instincts.

        In other words, FUBAR.

  6. July 30, 2017 12:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    YET MORE environmental virtue-signaling: the noble belief that “electric (fossil fuel) powered” cars/transport will “save the planet”.


    Q// When did the phrase “actions (reality) speak louder than words” die?
    A// When the “climate change” aka “global warming” revolution began.

  7. July 30, 2017 1:08 pm

    I am not aware that any government in the late 1800s or early 1900s ever initiating a policy whereby there would be X million cars on our roads by the 1950s. And setting about the banning of horse drawn vehicles to that end.
    In fact it just happened due to the wish of the people and the governments reacted to make sure the technical revolution took place in a civilised manner.
    It seems now that there is a major mindshift in government circles whereby technical revolution is now deemed to be a top down decision to be imposed on the population.
    Indeed it is a dangerous mindset to have, particularly when the technology base has been in this case.
    The plethora of misinformation resulting from this top down mindset confirms it all.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      July 30, 2017 2:23 pm

      A very good point, cognog2, and one that occurred to me. What do you call a democracy that accepts progress by diktat? (I love the way that the diktat can be so far out – in time – that the authors of it may be long gone and never be affected by it – except they are enriched by the gravy train they started).

  8. July 30, 2017 1:14 pm

    But top propagandist Simon Evans (of CarbonPants PR campaign) asserts we only need 10% extra electricity.
    He’s found a report and he’s not going to do anything to challenge it
    Tweeting to @JosephHBorn
    \\ Sorry, I don’t have time to ask them to deal with your doubt.//

    • July 30, 2017 1:37 pm

      10% seems wishful thing, cos the energy in the transport fuel the UK uses is almost the same our entire ELECTRICITY consumption.
      Many people will notice that their annual petrol bill is close to their annual fuel bill.(8,000 miles pa)
      So do you really think that the £1,000 of petrol you buy/year is just going to cost you £100 in electricity.
      ICE engines might be less efficient than electric in terms of heat loss and braking energy loss, but to think that an EV can take you 10 times further per KWh seems incredible.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        July 30, 2017 2:26 pm

        Of course, Callow has forgotten to add the lost duty from FF to the new electric needs. That’s going to make the electricity bill even higher.

    • TinyCO2 permalink
      July 30, 2017 2:10 pm

      But Massara, who is now chief executive of North Star Solar, said that ‘these predictions were the most extreme cited by the grid.’ So he’s not going to be fibbing right?

      • Rowland H permalink
        July 30, 2017 9:20 pm

        Unfortunately, Utilityweek appears to be an exclusive club judging by the size of its subscriptions.

  9. July 30, 2017 1:15 pm

    Interesting that this article fails to feature prominently on The Telegraph website. Doesn’t appear on the main page, wasn’t there last night. Can’t find it in the Opinion section. Have to go to Our Columnists and there it is way down at the bottom. Makes one wonder. Is Booker being hidden away because of his controversial views? Has the “Green Blob” suddenly taken ho0ld at the Torygraph, too?

    • Rowland H permalink
      July 30, 2017 9:24 pm

      Christopher Bookers column has been relegated to the back of the “Sunday” section of the printed edition of the Sunday Telegraph. How long before it is quietly removed altogether.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        July 31, 2017 12:56 pm

        I think he is upsetting the morons at the Telegraph for making realistic observations on Brexit and the effects of the hard Brexit they support.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      July 31, 2017 6:43 am

      Would be entirely consistent with green blob strategy of isolating opponents before silencing their voices altogether.

  10. July 30, 2017 1:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. July 30, 2017 1:31 pm

    Just put the comment below on Booker’s article. Don’t know if it will ‘survive’:


    Not 1 in 10,000 people have any appreciation of the staggering amount of 24/7, low-carbon electricity a nuclear power plant delivers, compared to the dribble of intermittent electricity from renewables.

    1 x 440 MW Small Modular Reactot [SMR] on a 0.08 sq km site = 1,865 x 2 MW wind turbines, occupying 205 sq km:
    Search for: “666,667 east midlands”

    Wind turbines use 19.2X more metals and 9.6X more concrete than nuclear power plants:
    Search for: “metal x19.2 concrete x9.6”

    True environmentalists despair when another 10,000 more wind turbines are talked about.

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 30, 2017 1:56 pm

    The press has a lot to do with the problem that most people just don’t realise how bad wind energy is and how spectacularly wrong-headed the push for wind/solar renewables is.

    Every time the wind blows the press obsequiously publishes articles from vested interest groups claiming various records (e.g. half of electricity came from wind – at one instantaneous point of low demand, or, wind outperforms coal – coal turned down deliberately and nuclear/gas ramped up).

    But they never report when the wind does little for 10 days straight like this July. Or the coldest days/nights in winter when it offers no energy at all.

    So most people think a successful plan is being implemented to replace fossil fuels with wind. They are oblivious.

    As the table from another article shows – between 2015 and 16 –

    – all that has changed is that coal has been substituted by gas.

    Now that is sensible – but it is nothing to do with the ‘success’ of windmills, and windmills will do nothing to help with the electrification of transport.

  13. July 30, 2017 1:58 pm

    The way that people just assume that the gov’s 2040 means only EV’s shows a lack of imagination.
    – There’ll be other alternatives
    … Maybe magic solutions like a sponge block to capture and store all/most of the exhaust gases.

  14. HotScot permalink
    July 30, 2017 2:23 pm

    There’s something else going on here.

    No one even moderately sane could fail to understand even the simplest numbers around this. The late Prof. David Mackay, a committed green, wrote a book on the futility of chasing renewables. Matt Ridley wrote a blog article recently confirming the environmental consequences and the land area required to energise the world with turbines, and now, amongst others, Chris Booker has his view published in the Telegraph.

    In my opinion, this is a Conservative government initiative to generate green voter support in the event of an inevitable general election over the coming couple of years or so. They know full well 2040 is too far away for anything other than their popularity to change over the next few years, so they are chucking taxpayers money at an election much of the country is afraid they will lose to Corbyn.

    It demonstrates the depth to which we allow our governments to stoop, to whitewash their abject failures, and I include all mainstream political parties in this, not just the Conservatives.

    Just where is the Labour party, supposedly the party of the working man, with the ‘principled’ Corbyn at the helm? Where are the accusations from Labour of obvious Conservative incompetence incompetence and malfeasance on this subject. The discrepancy in numbers is staggering and warrants investigation, one that Labour should be calling for, but they’re not.

    So what else is going on? As someone earlier on this thread pointed out, our governments screwed up the diesel issue in their blind observance of the CO2 is bad mantra. Clearly, either they haven’t learned form that fiasco, or like I said, there’s something else going on here.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      July 31, 2017 8:03 am

      Labour will do nothing, as their core support outside traditional working class areas is middle-class virtue-seekers. If Corbyn cared about the cost of living of the poor, he would resist all Green efforts, as they do nothing but make the poor poorer and a few richer. But then much of his membership would be up in arms.

      • HotScot permalink
        July 31, 2017 8:17 am

        Tim Hammond,

        Agreed, which demonstrates just how corrupt our governments really are. Taxpayer money is meaningless to them other that for their own purpose of seizing power.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      July 31, 2017 1:02 pm

      Either Labour want to believe all this is truly possible or they are just as thick and incompetent as the Tories, or even a combination of the two.

  15. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 30, 2017 2:34 pm

    When Gove announced this ‘ban’ I thought he’d gone nuts, but I think (hope) it might be strategic – after the Client Earth nutters court ‘victory’ – and all he has done is announce what car manufacturers were intending to do anyway.

    Essentially all cars were going to become ‘light’ hybrids – a beefed up 48V electrical/regeneration system to take the load off the ICE and hence enable even tighter emissions/CO2 limits to be met.

    This was actually what Volvo announced – but the press reported as Volvo ceasing ICE cars – not true.

    It seems it has been clarified that this Gove ‘ban’ does not include hybrids – so the death of the ICE may have been exaggerated.

    Anyway, the situation is still evolving, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      July 30, 2017 5:55 pm

      You raise a very good point in that the UK government did lose a court case and therefore HAD to offer some sort of proposal. That it’s over 2 decades away may amount to nothing more than the expected direction and time of travel for engines.
      I’ve said before hybrid has huge potential, especially if air pollution really is an issue. Just ensure the electric motor works up to 40 mph and that’s the majority of urban driving (where the majority of pollution is) done via zero-emission electric motors. Sorted, for next to nothing.

    • July 31, 2017 8:21 am

      I’ve commented on this before but their stated target is ‘zero emissions’, which rules out hybrids in the long run at least, so let’s not kid ourselves.

  16. July 30, 2017 2:52 pm

    “Wind turbines are the most visible symbols of the quest for renewable electricity generation. And yet, although they exploit the wind, which is as free and as green as energy can be, the machines themselves are pure embodiments of fossil fuels.”

    To Get Wind Power You Need Oil.

    • July 30, 2017 4:06 pm

      That engineering perspective is sadly lacking in the utterances of politicians and in the MSM, also electric vehicles need much more copper and other metals than conventional vehicles. The engineering bodies such as the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Mechanical Engineering should be shouting this from the rooftops, but even they seem to have been captured by “green” bunnies.

    • July 31, 2017 8:32 pm

  17. Sheri permalink
    July 30, 2017 3:09 pm

    An interesting question came up a bit ago concerning the number of charging stations, time required to recharge and percentage of vehicles needing recharged. Some brave soul pointed out that since you can’t just pull up and “fill ‘er up” like with gasoline or diesel, there is a huge potential for people to end up forming long lines to recharge. This could result in what I call “charging station rage” where someone late for work decides to appropriate the charging station another is using because he feels he should have priortity. The more electric vehicles out there, the larger the problem. Even if we could produce enough electricity, can we provide charging at a speed that is similar to filling up at a gas station or at least does not result in long lines (shades of the oil embargo crisis)? It seems highly unlikely.

  18. AZ1971 permalink
    July 30, 2017 3:17 pm

    This is for the UK alone, a small player in the global energy consumption market.

    Imagine what the maths would look like for the U.S. alone, or (for shits and grins) the US, China, and India. Would there even be any land left that wasn’t covered in wind turbines?

  19. Athelstan permalink
    July 30, 2017 3:21 pm

    I don’t know what it will take.

    It seems to me that, it would have to be something rather catastrophic, some kids have to learn about fire by having their hands burnt.

    If we alter the analogy slightly, a cold winter, blocking anti cyclonic weather conditions a small outage would produce a trigger effect knocking out step down transformers and the grid would simply not cope and consequently be in melt down, that would concentrate minds quite wonderfully if, they survived the aftermath.

    Or, the single currency goes tits up and the consequent financial meltdown would mean the UK government would get such a kick up the rear. Thus, only necessity becomes the order of the possible, plus the inevitable retrenchment would be merciless, the last thing on the agenda would be aught remotely green daubed..

  20. BLACK PEARL permalink
    July 30, 2017 7:07 pm

    Don’t worry I’m sure they’ll bring out a Govt. App to install on your phone that will sort it all out, together with all those useful Smart meters, that can now easily flick your mains power off remotely, (now we know what they’re really for).

  21. sean2829 permalink
    July 31, 2017 5:15 am

    350 gigs watts of electricity to eliminate all fossil fuels?!? To paraphrase Maggie T., the problem with climatism is pretty soon you run out of other people’s electricity.

  22. July 31, 2017 8:16 am

    ‘eventually the penny will drop that it is leading us to a complete national catastrophe’

    After the hole has been dug and we’ve been forced into it, the way things are going.

    • dave permalink
      July 31, 2017 9:20 am

      “…national catastrophe…”

      We need to realise that we are in the last stages of a takeover by revolutionaries;
      and, in psychoanalytic terms:-

      Every revolutionary is Peter Pan, the disobedient son, a rebel against the father who was (or was imagined to be) a tyrant. If he takes his father’s power, he will be determined to be twice the tyrant. The more pain he inflicts, the more satisfied he becomes In other words we are often ruled by sociopathic, sadistic paranoiacs. But we already sense this.

      The motivation of women revolutionaries is a little different, since they lack the power of imagination for true paranoia. It is imitative or – as Freud put it – penis envy.

  23. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    July 31, 2017 8:23 am

    If anyone can point me at the source of (and justification for) the figure of 30GW extra demand to cope with the peak power requirements for the all-electric cars in 2050 scenario, I would be grateful.
    I cannot find it in the National Grid’s Future Energy Scenarios (FES) 2017 reports which have been covered by Paul Homewood and Christopher Booker recently.
    The FES, in Chapter 3, states that in the Two Degrees scenario (the greenest and most-managed) peak demand will be a mere 6GW whereas in the Consumer Power scenario (the most market-driven), the peak demand will be 18GW.
    Nowhere can I find any scenario where 30GW peak demand is mentioned so you start to wonder how much of this is fag-packet calculation.
    (My calculations suggest that in a completely demand-controlled scenario just under 20GW would meet peak demand but in an unconstrained, charge when you want, scenario, a worst case peak load is some 222GW !!!).

    But the sense of fantasy only increases as you read the FES and consider the world it postulates in 2050.

    The greenest Two Degrees scenario assumes 25M electric cars in 2050 with “50% of the vehicles that are autonomous are shared and tend to be smaller and more economical to run. Technological advances have some indirect impacts as well, such as enabling activities like home-working, thus reducing the average mileage each person undertakes”.
    No argument from me about how having 100% UK superfast broadband could enable all sorts of geographically-dispersed businesses and dramatically reduce the need for commuter travel and who knows, by 2050, BT OpenReach might have reached a stage where they can promise to achieve this by – say – 2075.

    The point I am making is that once we are in such crystal-ball gazing mood looking out some 33 years, pretty much anything can be dreamed up.
    I am slightly surprised that Fusion Power doesn’t feature in the list of energy sources such is the sweeping optimism that is demonstrated.

    I recommend people read the report.

    • July 31, 2017 8:39 am

      The nearest I can get is Figure 3.2, on page 24, Dermot

      It gives peak demand of about 86GW, though this includes all factors, not just cars

  24. July 31, 2017 8:43 am

    Never mentioned. Conventional fuel backup will be needed to support this massive new load. Who will provide that without MASSIVE subsidies.

    Good job we’re all loaded eh? I see myself now as an ATM for government

  25. William Baird permalink
    July 31, 2017 10:58 am

    I am a great admirer of Christopher Booker and always read his articles. As an engineer & environmentalist I cannot do other than wonder just how far we have to go down the ‘yellow Brick Road’ before somebody listens to Booker and those of reason, thought and sanity.

    Michael Goves brave announcement on the elimination of internal combustion showed that he has no idea or concept of either the demands or supply of the real world.

    Of far greater concern, it seems, is our ‘ambition’ to commit national suicide. to be the first lemmings who will throw themselves into the abyss and, in so doing, seemingly inspire other nations to destroy themselves.

    The latest horror that has been wished upon us is, it seems, pollution by very small particles.

    Not so long ago the Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency were stating that almost half a million were dying each year from this pollution. A change of President and questions the EPA probably did not want to hear, resulted in the EPA admitting to being unable to show that any deaths had occured by such pollution.

    No doubt millions will be claiming illness due to these particles and support/recompence, from the state for countless imagined illnesses.

    The greatest danger is not CO2, or tiny particles. It is economic collapse of the the Country and its ability to defend itself.

    Personally I am not keen upon a return to the middle ages where millions will die of disease cold and starvation whilst idiots try to reduce CO2 substantially below natural levels in the vain hope that this bringer of life will somehow control the climate.

  26. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    July 31, 2017 3:22 pm

    I have finally found the 30GW figure !
    In FES 2017 Chapter 5 Sensitivities, there is a scenario called High EV in which “100% of cars sold will be PEVs”. So this sounds like Gove’s future and Figure 5.9 shows a 30GW Peak Demand value for High EV (compared with an 18GW value for the Consumer Power scenario).
    This is an odd chapter since it seems t use the word “sensitivity” when it means this High EV scenario but it is particularly wooly on Supply issues and there are various phrases dotted about referring to “balancing the system”, “decentralised sources”, “demand management”, etc. which acknowledges the huge challenges which the distribution network will face.
    But there is at least one acknowledgement of reality where it says (in Chapter 5.4 under “Sensitivities) – almost in passing – “highest solar generation O/P typically coincides with periods of low electricity demands during the summer. Conversely, in winter, solar generation falls to zero early in the evening during times of peak demand”

  27. dave permalink
    July 31, 2017 7:55 pm

    FES says: “…in winter, solar generation falls to zero early in the evening during…peak demand.”

    Who’d a thunk that!

  28. August 1, 2017 10:22 am

    I believe it was a rushed out sound byte to appease the green blob (and the courts). When we leave the EU we will no longer have to follow their rules, unless these are brought onto our statute book. And I think the debate over ‘green’ issues will be well down the list of priorities for debate.

  29. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 1, 2017 11:42 am

    I had a go looking at the elec gen requirements for an all EV scenario. If we take a cold winter day as the most challenging demand that has to be met, we get a demand profile that looks like this:

    19 Jan 2015 is a good day to pick, because we can see that the contributions from solar and wind are negligible – and scaling up the capacity of these is not going to solve any problems – together they account for just 2.5% of the day’s generation, and while the dispatchable plant can be ramped up they cannot. Keeping the lights on depended on a combination of coal, gas and nuclear (including a fairly steady contribution from net interconnector flows supplying additional coal and nuclear, and topping up the Irish at capacity, who also lacked wind output, apart from a dip in the morning rush hour to keep the French supplied). The peak was met with 1.9GW of pumped hydro, which of course is not dispatchable 24/7, and indeed was a net consumer of about 4GWh over the day for pumping and losses: however, it flatters the achievable output over 24 hours. Note too how small is the element of pumped hydro in overall supply: run flat out, it provided 13GWh across all pumped hydro sites – a tiny volume of storage.

    If we take annual demand for EVs at 125TWh, that’s just over 340GWh/day. However, on a cold winter working day demand will be higher, because battery performance is degraded, and there is additional demand to keep vehicle interiors and windscreens heated – and workdays will see higher mileages than typical weekends. So demand might easily be 400-450GWh, and could run higher if there is a tendency to top up because of range anxiety in the cold (just as we run petrol stations dry when a fuel delivery strike beckons – vehicles mainly used for short commutes might normally be allowed to run down somewhat before recharging to maintain optimum longer term battery performance). The yellow area on the chart is some 237GWh, less an allowance for the pumped storage effect noted above of about 10GWh. So we are already perhaps 240GWh or more short (note convenient number!). Of course, that assumes that the recharging demand profile is always at least as much as the available potential supply. Note there is no recharging during the evening rush hour.

    So the question boils down to how is demand for the extra 240GWh spread across 24 hours. If vehicles recharge for 8 hours overnight or during the working day, we have 30GW of extra supply required. Of course, we need to add in capacity factors in terms of generating capacity required. If there is an element of fast charging during the day for those doing longer journeys, that will of course produce demand spikes, because fast charges run at much higher rates. Some talk of superfast charging at 0.5MW, or just 2,000 cars per GW simultaneously. Even at 50kW, it’s just 20,000 cars per GW, but of course the recharge takes ten times as long – so the effect on grid demand is much the same assuming some randomness in the start of recharge times (this is the argument about kettles writ large, save that extremely rapid charging requires much more expensive chargers and beefier supply cables).

    In trying to estimate demand spikes average data are no longer of use. A starting point is this research from TRL: (may require you to supply an email address, but no charge)

    Click to access MIS016.pdf

    The first thing to note is that mileages differ significantly across the geography. Unsurprisingly, Londoners do low mileages because much of the time they can rely on public transport, while in rural parts mileages are much higher. That is at least some relief, in that there will be less need pere vehicle to provide recharging facilities in the biggest city centres, with all the disruption that would entail in doubling the capacity of the electricity distribution system. Secondly, there is a long tail on the distribution of high mileage vehicles.

    An alternative way to look at the peak demand is to consider that across under 10,000 petrol stations, with perhaps 2 pumps on average being used during the peak (allowing for time to manoeuvre into and out of the space and pay etc.), with each pump capable of 36 litres a minute with 10kWh per litre, and a 25% ICE efficiency we get an equivalent electricity demand of 20,000x90x60 kW: that’s 108GW!

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