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Electric cars are pollution shifters: we will need huge investment in generation capacity

July 31, 2017

By Paul Homewood



Apparently the Guardian actually has one sensible reader.

From their letters page:

There seems to be little understanding of the simple fact that electric vehicles (EV) are, in the main, pollution shifters – from tailpipe to power generation facility (Ban from 2040 on diesel and petrol car sales, 26 July). The electricity generation and transmission system is already tested to its limits during a harsh winter. Only if objections disappeared to the mass building of thousands of the largest wind turbines, plus similar numbers of hectares of photovoltaic solar generation, could the pollution shifters’ argument be refuted. Even then, there would still be need for conventional or nuclear generation for when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow – doubling the capital requirement.

Then there is the transmission system. Its capacity is based on “averaging”. It assumes that not everyone will be using the full load available to their house at the same time. Each EV charging station takes minimum 3.3kW for around 12 hours – or 7.2kW for fast charging. It would be the equivalent of every house having an electric shower in service for many hours, all at the same time. The distribution system is simply not designed to cope with these simultaneous loads. If the government is serious about no new hydrocarbon-fuelled cars after 2040, we would need to start a programme of upgrades or replacement to the entire electricity distribution system.

Backup power stations, particularly nuclear, need a long lead time. I’ve heard nothing which gives me confidence that the government has any understanding of the size of the electricity infrastructure task to support the 2040 target. Even if that understanding exists, is it really feasible that private capital could be sourced to support a project with returns somewhere in the distant future? The Hinkley debacle suggests not. Can we really believe National Grid and the power network companies would or could build a new high-voltage grid, complete with substations, local transformers and upgraded street cables? I’ll believe the government is serious when I hear a plan to build multiple power stations for completion in the 2040s and I see the digger, followed by a huge cable drum, coming down the street.
Colin Read
New Romney, Kent

  1. HotScot permalink
    July 31, 2017 12:06 pm

    It’s nothing more than a scam to encourage the greens to vote conservative because they are such a green party.

    This will become patently clear over the next ten years as successive governments kick it further down the road.

    The cost to privately fund 8 nuclear power stations and/or sufficient windfarms/solar arrays to meet demand would be horrendous, as would the cost of electricity.

  2. HotScot permalink
    July 31, 2017 12:12 pm


    Didn’t the last government initiative to encourage domestic solar panels also end in a farce when the grid connection returns were so generous they had to be reduced (except for the lucky few early adopters who are still profiting from the scheme) at which point uptake dropped and numerous solar companies went to the wall.

    Not to mention the hard sell techniques they adopted, reminiscent of the double glazing fiasco of the 70’s and 80’s.

    Add to that Dieselgate and governments of any hue are hardly covering themselves in glory relative to environmental schemes.

  3. July 31, 2017 1:00 pm

    Very surprised that the Guardian printed this letter. Is there hope?

  4. Richard permalink
    July 31, 2017 1:24 pm

    Colin Read may need to be enrolled in a witness protection scheme for being so sensible an honest.
    The Emperor’s New Clothes springs to mind

  5. Richard Bell permalink
    July 31, 2017 1:32 pm

    I have been calling them COAL POWERED CARS for years,

  6. July 31, 2017 2:53 pm

    Not so long ago the government was going to top up the grid from car batteries – they can’t have it both ways!

  7. Dermot Flaherty permalink
    July 31, 2017 4:36 pm

    Yep. A good letter and it highlights the difficulty I am finding in taking the FES document seriously.
    If for a moment, I accept the assumptions made to deliver – say – a decarbonised energy landscape in 2050 and indeed the implications of that future (Demand-Side Response, Time Of Use Tariffs, Smart Technology that is 2-way, etc.) I have ZERO confidence in our current politicians to deliver ANY of it – even if it made sense.
    I am afraid Gove is reminding me more and more of Tony Benn at his messianic height during the late 60’s and I am waiting for him to coin the 21st century equivalent of the “white heat of technology”.
    And the fact that we are talking about 2050 (when of course we should be focussing no more than 5 years from now) redefines the meaning of “long grass” – a politician’s favourite “green” policy.

  8. July 31, 2017 4:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    Shock news.
    Study: Tesla car battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of driving on petrol
    Climate Moralomics in action…

  9. July 31, 2017 8:28 pm

  10. August 1, 2017 12:12 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  11. prcgoard permalink
    August 1, 2017 6:59 am

    A report from some one who drove a test EV, found the mileage left decreased by more than distance traveled. Image a dark, wet, cold night in a city, everyone hurrying home when the battery goes flat — there would be dark stalled EVs all over the place! Some may have small petrol motors to get one out of trouble, so petrol would still be required and the conventional vehicles being kept going by many. I sure won’t be around in 2040!

  12. August 1, 2017 12:31 pm

    Dare we believe the great warmist project is unraveling before our eyes? It beggars belief we repeatedly elect governments who spurt this ‘green’ nonsense. What happened to sensible arguments such as reducing energy demand rather than thinking up ever more bizarre politically expedient schemes?

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