Posted by Curt on 16 April, 2023 at 10:09 am. 4 comments already!



Central planners have a way of brushing unpleasant and inconvenient questions away without bothering to come to an answer. Those promoting electric vehicles (EVs) are no exception. One of those awkward questions concerns how already shaky electricity grids, undermined by the decarbonization process, are going to cope with the extra demand that will come with EVs.

In an article for Cal Matters published before the administration’s recent announcement of the way that the EPA would be used to “encourage” consumers to buy EVs, Nadia Lopez examined exactly that question:

Under a groundbreaking new state regulation, 35% of new 2026 car models sold in California must be zero-emissions, ramping up to 100% in 2035. Powering these vehicles and electrifying other sectors of the economy means the state must triple its power generation capacity and deploy new solar and wind energy at almost five times the pace of the past decade . . .

At the same time as electrifying cars and trucks, California must, under state law, shift all of its power to renewables by 2045. Adding even more pressure, the state’s last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, is slated to shut down in 2030 . . .

Wait, there’s more. Lopez explains that, to provide enough electricity to meet total demand, California must (my emphasis added):

Convince drivers to charge their cars during off-peak hours: With new discounted rates, utilities are urging residents to avoid charging their cars between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. But many people don’t have unrestricted access to chargers at their jobs or homes.

Build solar and wind at an unprecedented pace: Shifting to all renewables requires at least 6 gigawatts of new resources a year for the next 25 years — a pace that’s never been met before.

Develop a giant new industry: State officials predict that offshore wind farms will provide enough power for about 1.5 million homes by 2030 and 25 million homes by 2045. But no such projects are in the works yet. Planning them, obtaining an array of permits and construction could take at least seven to eight years.

Build 15 times more public chargers: About 1.2 million chargers will be needed for the 8 million electric cars expected in California by 2030. Currently, about 80,000 public chargers operate statewide, with another estimated 17,000 on the way, according to state data.

Expand vehicle-to-grid technology: State officials hope electric cars will send energy back to the grid when electricity is in high demand, but the technology is new and has not been tested in electric cars.

Increase electricity production by up to 42% in 2035 and, under a recent scenario, as much as 85% in 2045, according to California Energy Commission estimates. Generation capacity — the maximum that must be installed to meet demand throughout a given year  — would need to triple by 2045.

I am, I admit it, something of a pessimist, but when central planners are involved — and have no doubt, that’s what’s going on here — pessimism is the appropriate frame of mind.

Looking out from California to the U.S. as a whole, here’s Utility Drive (April 11) on grid interconnection:

The total capacity of energy projects in U.S. interconnection queues grew 40% year-over-year in 2022, with more than 1,350 GW of generation and 680 GW of storage waiting for approval to connect, according to a new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Queue wait times are increasing as the number of projects getting in line has grown.

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