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Energy: 24/7 - EVs Plus Solar Equals Disruption [PODCAST]

Deborah Lawrence's picture
CEO Energy Policy Forum
  • Member since 2015
  • 65 items added with 14,753 views
  • Apr 4, 2015

solar and evs

Prior to Tesla, when we thought of electric vehicles (EVs) it often conjured up images of Jetson flying cars or funky looking contraptions that were really glorified golf carts. They were anomalies that might have made you smile when someone drove past. That is not the case anymore. Tesla took care of that once and for all. We now have a sexy, powerful automobile with zero emissions that will take your breath away the moment you touch the accelerator.

They also cost $100K and are clearly out of reach for most of us.

There is, however, an underlying current which is swelling and could potentially disrupt the transportation markets and thereby strand crude oil assets. No, we are not all going to get super wealthy and be able to buy a Tesla. Tesla will come to us. So will BMW…and Google. Listen for all the details…

The post Podcast: Energy: 24/7: EVs plus Solar equals Disruption appeared first on Energy Policy Forum.

Photo Credit: Energy Efficient Transformations/shutterstock

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Clayton Handleman's picture
Clayton Handleman on Apr 4, 2015

Thank you for articulating clearly the future that seems likely to unfold over the next decade and a half.  Many like to think about disconnecting from the grid, seeing the utilities as oppressive.  I hope a different scenario plays out.  If homes, buildings and other solar infrastructure feeds back to the grid it can support much higher density usage such as heavy industry or high population density regions.  Using EVs as distributed storage supports a higher penetration of renewables.  If a real time power marketplace is created then load shifting can be added to the toolbox for a low carbon infrastructure while adding to the robustness of the grid and better monetization of the transactions related to electric power and emissions.

There also are interesting synergies with wind that I have found interesting.  Wind at optimal sites in the Great Plains is very low cost but there is limited transmission access so it is barely used.  HVDC offers a very high density, high efficiency and relatively low cost way to move enormous amounts of power on a transcontinental scale.  The night peaking nature of wind could further improve the synergies of wind solar and EVs.  You pointed out in your piece that solar, EVs and onsight batteries make the whole greater than the sum of the parts.  That is further true when wind is added into the mix.

My concern is that lower gasoline prices may slow the scaling of Lithium Ion battery price collapse and stall or kill this coming disruption.

I have aggregated links in several blog posts that offer insights into a high penetration renewable energy scenario:

Huge wind resource in the Great Plains with only transmission access limiting growth here.

Great match between wind and EV night time charging here.

HVDC power basics here

Next gen high CF wind here – current average in Great Plains is about 40% CF.  This could go to 50% CF with access to higher wind areas which currently are transmission limited.

Links here to Li-ion cost projection summaries by Navigant and McKinsey as well as graphs of Li-Ion cost collapse.

Deborah Lawrence's picture
Deborah Lawrence on Apr 5, 2015


I always enjoy reading your comments! And thanks for your fantastic links. I agree with you. I, too, hope that the symbiosis we see with EVs, solar and storage plays out because it will give greater scope to the grid overall.

Robert Bernal's picture
Robert Bernal on Apr 6, 2015

I want the EV revolution but I want to be able to charge at night (whenever I can afford one).

Hopefully, battery storage will continue to come down greatly in cost, however, the most important requirement is that they do not cost too much energy. Some reports say that the old lead acid can only ever store twice the amount of energy required to make them (I know these are old reports and am using it only as an example to make a point). Coupled with PV, and especially, with an overbuild necessary to “power the night”, these energy costs could add up into the negative. If the PV gets a low Eroei and we need a whopping 4x for the overbuild, we would definately have to rely on other sources for energy inputs.

However, I believe that the new batteries will fair much better with an Eroei ( I mean Energy Stored On Investement, or ESOI) of about 10, that other clean (and even nuclear) sources will help to alleviate the storage problem, AND that PV will continually get better Eroei, thus overall EROEI should become acceptable for a still developing world.

We also need energy to sequester a trillion tons or so of excess CO2 – if only there was a way to make batteries out of carbon dioxide…

Grace Adams's picture
Grace Adams on Apr 10, 2015

I followed your link to high capacity factor wind turbines to see what was said about it.  It seems that raising the height of the mast holding up the wind turbine from 80 m to 100 m raises the capacity factor of wind in Kansas from 40% to 50% of rated capacity. and the graphs make it seem that that 25% increase in capacity factor by reaching up higher into the wind really helps a whole lot in making wind cost effective. It will go really great with HVDC.  I was already wishing US would get HVDC (preferably in tunnels both to keep coal mining firms busy with something more constructive than coal mining and to get HVDC out of the way of both weather related disasters and NIMBY) both along 100th meridian to pick up wind power and along Mason-Dixon line to have an expressway for electric power from Pacific coast to Atlantic coast about half way between southern edge of US and northern edge of US.  It wouldn’t hurt to add a spur from where Mason-Dixon line crosses Mississippi River to Chicago.

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