Dublin to Cork in less than 10 hours

A trained cyclist can probably do it in that time. An all-electric vehicle would manage in three and a half with a bit of luck. The drive is about 3 hours, but the car would need to be recharged half-way through. If there is no queue at the “fast” charging point, you need at most half an hour. But as batteries wear or your driving style does not get you the nominal range, you would need to re-charge twice. And maybe you’re out of luck and need to recharge at the kerbside rate (60-90 mins) or from a standard socket (6-8 hours).

The government announced its support for electric vehicles yesterday: No VRT and a €5000 grant. In addition, the ESB gives away electricity and is investing in infrastructure, all courtesy of the shareholders (aka taxpayers).

All-electric vehicles are not yet ready for prime-time. They are fine for city driving and the perfect choice for those who can afford a second car and want to polish up their green image.

The current investment will not result in any intellectual property for Irish companies. Given the dire state of the public purse, it would be better to let others pay for the demonstration of all-electric vehicles and roll them out in Ireland when (if?) the technology is ready.

189 replies on “Dublin to Cork in less than 10 hours”

These are high voltage, fast charging points so there is only a 20-25 minute recharge period.
http://www.esb.ie/main/sustainability/ESB-ecars-how-is-an-ecar-charged.jsp

Dublin to Cork in 10 hours may be a misleading headline, when the point of the announcement was that the new charging points would allow the journey in the same time as a regular car, plus 40-50 minutes.

A third of households (141,000) in Dublin had >1 car at the last census. So it’s feasible that people will opt for 1 electric city car and 1 conventional.

The naivety of the Government!

They announce a subsidy and abolition of VRT and then let the manufacturer set the sales price? The manufacturer won’t do simple demand/supply economics in maximising revenue per unit encompassing the goodies it has just been given?

The mind boggles as to what passes for government by the politicians and the civil servants. Classic gombeenism.

Holbrook

I believe that Richard would agree that the most positive outcome of this announcement would be the beginning of a real energy debate, based on reality rather than ideology.

There might even be room in the debate for a little economics

@ Pat Gill

Thanks for the reply – I understand Richard’s point about being realistic about the greening of the economy – but I was wondering are there any other benefits to the introduction of the scheme – Richard seems to be implying that the costs to the taxpayer outweighs the other benefits – but what are the other benefits and how are they measured ?

@Ossian
There will be only 30 slow chargers (20-25 min is not fast), at yet to be disclosed locations. So, for the moment, you should count on very slow or exceedingly slow charging.

@Holbrook
Emissions of carbon dioxide and air pollutants will fall, but only slightly.

All the equipment is imported or standard, so there is no technical progress that can be turned into an Irish profit.

@Richard

Is the reduction in pollutants the only benefit you can see? Would there not be expertise built up within the ESB in the rollout of the charging point technology – expertise that could be used to develop an international business. I understand that ESB International has been successful at providing expertise in electricity in overseas markets such as Africa and former Soviet states – is there not a case for a benefit in potential work for the ESB in new markets as electric cars become more commonplace? Can you see any benefit in terms of marketing Ireland as a green economy that embraces new technologies ? I’ll work on trying to think of any other benefits myself what I’m trying to see is the overall picture of what benefits this scheme might bring to Ireland.

@Holbrook
What is there to learn about providing electricity?

There are open questions about the integration of smart batteries in a smart grid, but that is beyond the horizon still.

@Ossian

From the information you have provided it seems to me that the headline is misleading. I don’t see how it would take one of the new electric vehicles 10 hours to travel from Dublin to Cork unless the times quoted for fast recharging are very inaccurate. Also, the announcement yesterday emphasised that the current crop of electric vehicles are ideally suited for most trips that people take which tend to be under 75km.

@Richard

You ask “What is there to learn about providing electricity?” – the point I was trying to make is that ESB International afaik is a successful international business that provides expertise to other countries on electricity generation. If there was nothing to learn about providing electricity as you seem to be suggesting then presumably ESB International would not be in business as there would be no demand for their services. Does the rollout of charging points make it likely that the ESB will garner some benefit from what it will learn so that it can provide consultancy, expertise and infrastructure to other countries when they choose to rollout EV infrastructure?

Do you have an opinion on whether there is a cost savings to consumers (apart from any subsidies provided) in running an electric car compared to a conventional car?

At first glance I am very skeptical with the 25 minute recharge time.

You don’t get something for nothing with technology.

Take the analogy of filling a swimming pool with a hose.

Filling the swimming pool over 8 hours can be done with a small garden hose for example. But if you require to fill the swimming pool in 25 minutes then a much bigger hose is required, a large pipe for example. The flow rate has to be much higher to fill the required volume in a shorter time.

Its the same with electricity, to pump energy into a battery, can be done slowly (i.e. overnight) with normal household cabling. But for rapid recharging much heavier cabling is required. Electric cable size has to increase to carry more Amperes.

But as Amperes increase I squared R losses also increase. Hence it will cost more to recharge your car in 25 minutes than over 8 hours. The equipment has to be upgraded, and the efficiency of recharging is reduced as against longer recharge times.

There is also the possibilty of reducing the life time of the battery if it is subjected to more frequent rapid recharging. Although this will depend on the design of the battery and technology used.

Its going to be very interesting to see how it all pans out over the next 3 to 5 years as more stories are shared on Liveline.

“It was Sunday evening Joe, and I was stuck in Abbeyleix, you should have seen the queue for the charging terminals, it was a mile long” Then the warehouse forklift broke down so they could not get the new batteries off the pallet and onto the forecourt. Then some numpty started the rapid recharge, but the plug was not propery fitted so it was overloaded and the connections burnt out. So there was only two working rapid recharge points for 50 cars. It’s unbeliveable Joe.”

Electric vehicles will play a important role, no doubt about it. But a lot of joined up thinking will have to be in place to make it work. Unfortunately we do not have a great record in joined up thinking in Ireland. But the economics of it will be interesting.

Would it be fair to estimate that the VRT subsidy is of the order of 2500 on average, making a total subsidy per vehicle of the order of 7500? The rate of motor tax payable on these vehicles will presumably be minimal also and they will pay very little pollution related taxes. If ultimately these vehicles replace second vehicle city runabouts it will be a costly exercise for a small gain on the emissions side.

@Holbrook
Again, there is nothing to be learned about providing sockets.

Electric vehicles are expensive to buy and cheap to run. You need to drive quite a lot to get your money back. Unfortunately, the cars are not designed for long distance driving, so this an attractive proposition only for those who make many short trips.

@Richard

Thanks for the replies – I’ll hold off on agreeing with you on this point as I still see some potential for the ESB, at the very least in consultancy, in being one of the first movers in this field.

@ Richard

Given your point that EVs are expensive to buy and cheap to run – would it be safe to presume that the purchase cost will reduce over time and that it will become easier for consumers to make savings in future? If that is the case, is there not a benefit in Ireland being amongst the first movers in rolling out an EV infrastructure to maximize the cost benefits to consumers when purchase costs do start to fall?

One of my concerns is whether the EV infrastructure is the right one. I read that Israel and Denmark are investing in battery swap infrastructure that is more comparable in time to filling up a petrol tank. Could we be betting on the wrong recharging infrastructure?

@Holbrook
No and yes. No, there is no advantage to buying things while they are expensive, particularly not if you can indeed be reasonably sure that prices will fall. Yes, the first mover runs the risk of being locked into obsolete technology.

@Richard

Okay, but say the technology is the right one and EV purchase prices do come down – is there not an advantage in having the right infrastructure in place so that consumers can buy an EV at a good price that will provide cost savings? Also, would the infrastructure ever be obsolete? Conceivably the two methods of recharging could co-exist? What I’m trying to get at is the potential benefit of building an EV infrastructure that has a cost to the taxpayer now but will allow consumers to make cost savings in the future and even now (with subsidies).

@Richard

I don’t get your point about dinner partys and food. Food goes off but does infrastructure – rail networks last a long time, so do electricity networks and water networks. As I say, I don’t really get your point.

There’s a problem here. The article said that leasing the battery could cost between 80 and 100 euro PER MONTH!! MMMM. Now here’s the thing. The optimum use of such a vehicle is for those who do little driving or only drive short distances. I am one of those people. I spend less than 100 euro per month on petrol. You see the problem. The battery costs wipe out the benefits for the only group who (at the moment) stand to benefit from EVs: those who drive short distances regularly.

@Richard

Again, I’m not really sure I get your point although you do seem to be suggesting something about obsolescence. Is there a real possibility that the infrastructure now will be rendered obsolete and useless in years to come? To my non-expert eye I would think that risk wouldn’t be huge – there appears to be a consensus that in the future a lot of cars will be running on electricity and these charging points provide electricity. Surely it is not money down the drain to roll out this technology now? Surely there is some first mover advantage? Can we presume as well that the cost of fueling a conventional vehicle is likely to go up in future years as the cost of producing EVs will come down so is there an advantage to building the EV infrastructure now to prepare for the future?

@Paul MacDonnell

Given the cost of leasing the battery perhaps this is where short term renting/car sharing schemes could put EVs to good use for short term trips in the city.

@Richard

That’s a fair point. And that’s what leads to my questions – is there an advantage to being a first mover? And is there a significant risk in adopting this technology now rather than waiting five years as you ask. You mentioned that it will lead to slight carbon reductions – that is one benefit. It will position Ireland as a country that embraces new green technologies – something that is hard to quantify but presumably another benefit. Also I see from the GP’s press release that Padraig McManus ESB states that: “Ireland will be one of the first countries in the world to have a nationwide electric charging network which will offer opportunities for enterprise and job creation, as well as the obvious environmental benefits of ultimately having a decarbonised transport fleet.” Does anyone have any idea what opportunities for enterprise and job creation he is talking about?

@Holbrook
There may be first mover advantage to Renault, but there is no advantage to Ireland. What is the advantage of having more expensive, lower quality transport?

Call it 30mins charging time.

Working flat out each charger could charge 24 cars between the hours of 8am and 8pm.

10,000 chargers would charge 240,000 cars, working flat out and with no queuing (that is every car arrives just as the other car leaves). To avoid substantial queuing surplus charge points would be needed (say 5 times). That would be 50,000 charge point for 240,000 cars.

How many chargers are proposed?

It better be more than 500 (2,400 cars).

It better be more than 1000 (4,800 cars).

If it isn’t what’s the point?

There must be more than 1,500,000 cars in the country.

Is my math correct?

Richard,

I hesitate to comment on this article as you are so sure of your facts and so dismissive of any opinions at odds with your own.

Stop and think for a second. There are opinions other than your own and all just as valid.

There is a huge amount to be learned from rolling out a fast car charging infrastructure and enormous benefits to be had in economic, environmental and intellectual property terms.

One issue which is being worked on internationally, for example, is billing for roaming. Billing people who charge at home is trivial, but how do you identify people charging at work, in public car parks, in charging stations on main routes, etc.

There are enormous benefits to be accrued from vehicle-to-grid applications as well and this too is being worked on with several trials ongoing in the US, for example.

Vehicle-to-grid offers the ability to stabilise the grid from the effects of variable suppliers like wind turbines, thereby allowing a higher penetration of them on the grid.

This is an especially important factor in a country like Ireland which has a small, isolated grid and a stated aim of reaching 40% energy from renewables by 2020 – without some form of energy storage and grid stabilisation, this will not happen.

If ESB pull this off (and, in fairness, it is a big if) they will be able to go into direct competition with Better Place, for example, internationally selling their expertise around this new technology

@Greg
In 2006, there were 1.8 to 1.9 million private cars in Ireland.

The current plan is build 30 slow chargers (20-25 min), and 1,500 very slow chargers (60-90 min) by Christmas 2011 for 2,000 vehicles.

That would imply, indeed, that the real plan is to either not drive a lot or rely on infra-slow chargers (6-8 hours).

@Richard

The advantages I can think of are:

1. reduced carbon emissions (which according to you are slight but presumably these will rise as the EV fleet increases)
2. increased expertise for ESB that may profit them in future work at home and overseas
3. potential reduced costs for current and future users of EV vehicles
4. a hard to quantify advantage to Ireland’s image as a green economy and a country that embraces new technologies
5. possible opportunities for enterprise and job creation (according to Mr McManus of the ESB but I genuinely don’t know what he is referring to)
6. having an infrastructure that will support the rollout of EV cars in future years. Paying for the infrastructure now rather than later – i.e. reduced costs in future.

That’s what I can think of so far but perhaps there are more advantages? To assess the benefits of the scheme it would be good to see a cost-benefit analysis.

The Government seems to be backing the Nissan model for their EV network at the exclusion of other EV models in development.

Take for instance the development of the Chevrolet Volt, which will be marketed as the Opel Ampera in Ireland, due for launch at the end of the year. It’s design is based on a plug in hybrid electric vehicle. It’s different from other hybrid designs as it runs off a smaller lithium ion battery for the first 60km and then switches to an internal combustion engine to power the electric motor to power the car. This design is perfect for city driving and then also gives the range for longer 300km+ trips.

This model negates the need for charge points en route and can still reduce emissions from shorter commutes.

Yet, still no word from Government if designs such as this will be considered for grants.

@ Greg,

Don’t forget to factor in a maintenance interval for each recharging station. Electric cables which are being fitted and removed from cars will require replacement at some stage. Parts wear out, and electric cables don’t normally like being moved as they are prone to fatigue.

Electric connections have to be checked for integrity, normally ensuring they are secure and tight. If a lose connection occurs then heat damage can ensue. On the plus side it means employment for trained people to carry out checks /servicing on the equipment. On the negative side more charging points have to be built to have a redundancy ratio.

But if it is not properly thought out and designed to work in reality then the puplic will lose trust and see it just as a gimmick. As Michael Hennigan pointed out in a previous article, less of the political Spin.

In addition running a car can be very costly in Ireland, with a whole range of taxes etc. If everybody switches over to cheaper transport then there will be a revenue shortfall.

The Govt will just tax something else instead to make up the numbers. But it is going to be very interesting to see how it all pans out.

@ Richard Tol

Excuse me? 2,000 vehicles by the end of 2011.

Unless the medium term plan (cars being replaced every five years?) is to get 250,000 (12.5% of the fleet?) by the end of 2015 the idea is utter nonsense.

Is there a medium term target?

If the idea is to move away from fossil fuels mere tokenism will not do.

Better to wait for the tech to evolve.

Or better still. Let Ireland invent the tech and retain the patent.

@Holbrook
The ESRI does not submit FoIs.

@Greg
The target is 10% by 2020 (230,000 cars). The average lifetime of a car is over 10 years. So, electric vehicles need to capture 10% of the market soon, or much more later to make the target.

@ Sporthog

Quite.

Also, is the distribution infrastructure built to carry these “quick” charge points?

I presume I cannot have my domestic supply altered to allow the levels required.

Where are the high capacity cables?

Malin Head? Ballydehob?

@ Holbrook Fields

190,000? Call it 200,000.

And if 20% need a full recharge on the road each day?

Say 40,000 for round numbers at 30 mins per charge between 8am and 8pm, you would need 833 fast chargers working flat out.

Multiply that by 5. You need (say) 4000 chargers to avoid gridlock.

Sounds like nonsense to me.

@richard and Holbrook – Would be easier to have a private phone call.

Now what about the point of the Government setting out incentives before manufacturers set their price?

By the way,

I recorded an interview with Jon Wellinghoff (Chair of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) last week which I will be publishing on GreenMonk on Thursday where he talks up some of the benefits of vehicle to grid applications and how they can be a significant revenue generator for electric vehicle owners!

@Pa
You’re right. The early announcement of the subsidy implies that the manufacturer can set its price at a higher level. I’m not sure that it’s by a large amount, though.

Has anyone done some basic economic calculations on this? That is, calculations that take account of the economic costs of the extra electricity required, the chargers and charging points, the disutlility and extra costs incurred by drivers and other road users and of the net benefits generated (taking account of the fact that the mix of fuels and sources used to generate the extra electricity will include fossil fuels – both indigenous and imported). I realise the €5,000 subvention, the VRT exemption and the free electricity during the intial roll-out are transfers (and not properly part of this analysis) – and, hopefully, are temporary, but, in a time of severe fiscal constraints, there must be a high opportunity cost associated with these transfers (if any measure of social equity is taken into account).

I don’t have a firm view as to what the right way forward is, but I would point to two issues that have not yet been raised here.

One is that I understand the technology behind the battery exchange model is proprietary, so the technology lock-in risk we face under the strategy adopted in Ireland is lower.

The other is that many are claiming internationally that wind generation and electric vehicles will be complementary, with batteries in electric vehicles connected to the grid offering demand/storage capacity for wind power when supplies are high. It’s still early days (there’s a pilot on some Danish island), but if it turns out to work in practice, then we may be very glad to have moved early on deploying electric vehicles within a few years as we move towards 40% of Irish electricity coming from wind by 2020.

@Richard,

Please don’t take this as a personal or professional slight, but I think you might concede that one could be forgiven for asking what are SEI, the ESRI and its Energy Policy Research Centre for?

@Paul
No slight taken. No one has asked us to look into this, so I’m doing this on the side and progress is slow. I suspect that ESB and SEI have done more work, but they did not release anything substantial.

@ Greg

Presumably there will be a lot more charging points provided in time. Also, I heard that these should be ‘smart’ points so that you could book time at a point and see which ones are free at any given time. Ireland could develop smart technology to facilitate this leading to expertise in the area and more opportunities at home and overseas. I had forgotten that as a possible advantage and perhaps that is where some of the job creation and enterprise could come from that Mr McManus from the ESB mentioned.

@ Paul Hunt,

Hard to quantify the costs, for example what is the cost of digging up a footpath, laying a cable, fitting a charging point etc

In addition how many times have we seen a road dug up for pipelaying, and then restored. Only to see a very poor restoration of the road to its original condition. The road has to be then repaired (sometimes several times) until finally the repair is satisfactory.

The cost of putting in cables is one thing. But in a electrical distribution network transformers have to be used. Transformers like any machine have a maximum rating. So for fitting more rapid charge points transformers will either have to be replaced with a higher rated unit or doubled up in numbers. Transformers are not cheap items to buy. So more cost is incurred. On the plus side transformers tend to be long lasting items, they don’t wear out provided they are not vandalised, maintained and kept within their rating.

Rather than to be seen as poo pooing the idea it might be better if instead of putting cables underground if a cable was to be run overhead of car parking spaces on a street. Drop down lines could then be installed with a smart meter at the end of the plug. A bit like the LUAS tram system which gets its feed from above rather than below.

But again there are disadvantages to this idea as it is a bit of a eyesore.

We may never know the true cost. But one thing is for certain. We will pay for it.

@Tom Raftery
The first to master the integration of smart batteries into a smart grid will indeed have knowledge to sell.

That’s not what the ESB is doing, however.

I’m a bit surprised that people will argue that this whole scheme could be a great money-maker (in terms of first-mover advantage etc.) without even being curious about numbers (great for measuring money).

If this is the kind of risk-return consciousness we have, why not 32-red?

If it’s really more part of the ‘Green Agenda’ (I actually don’t mean that in a bad way), then why try so carelessly to dress it up as an investment?

@Richard,

It’s unfortunate that you’re compelled to do this “on the side”, but I think I understand the constraints. I’ve being toying with some very crude “back of the envelope” – more like “back of the postage stamp” – calcs and it doesn’t look clever.

Could FoI be used to extract some of the projections and assumptions underpinning this?

The answer is probably not, as this looks very much like the ESB being allowed to expand its empire to compensate for the reduction in its generation market share and the likely reduction in its retail supply market share. It’s also part of the price FF has decided the public must pay to keep the Green Party in government.

In this context it’s probably futile attempting to highlight the holes in this exercise. The powers-that-be and the vested interests will circle the wagons and rubbish any critique. It could be a career-limiting move – or, as I have found, a business-shrinking move.

The first to master the integration of smart batteries into a smart grid will indeed have knowledge to sell.

That’s not what the ESB is doing, however.

Oh? The ESB are not integrating EVs into their smart grid?

Care to expand on what they are doing (or point me at some links – or both)?

@MarcusOC

not sure if your comment was directed at mine but it sounds as if might have been, what i have been trying to get at is what are the advantages of this scheme? If I could find hard numbers to support it I’d be happy to post them. I’ve fired an email off to SEAI to see if they can help with a cost-benefit analysis. If you look at the scheme in terms of taxpayers money – okay, that’s on the negative side and easier to see (cost of subsidies and installing the charging points) but what balances that on the plus side so we can get a fuller picture of what the benefits are?

@ Paul Hunt,

Sorry to hear about your “shrinking” experience. Ireland is just too small a place for the truth at times.

In addition we don’t have a great history of rewarding our heroes. Not much incentive for sticking ones neck out.

Unfortunately Giorgio Scali found this out to his cost, “He who builds on the people, builds on the mud.”.

Makes one wonder sometimes, is it worth it?

@ Richard

Chevrolet are arguing in the US for a new designation as they feel the traditional ‘hybrid’ model classification doesnt apply to their ‘Volt’ because the majority of daily trips are under 60km so there are no emissions from the new plug in hybrid model.

I’m not a sales rep for GM or anything but if the plug in hybrid model overcomes a lot of the range problems with fully electric vehicles and would appeal better to consumers then why are they not being subsidised the same as other EVs in order to meet high short term targets?

Also, interesting to note the ESB have snubbed the ‘Better Place’ battery swapping model…

@Tom Raftery
Car batteries would become part of the smart grid (yet to designed) if the grid could draw power from the battery; electric vehicles would be somewhat smart if the grid could decide when the batteries charge.

The charging points that the ESB is currently building do not have these features. They’re just sockets.

The charging points that the ESB is currently building do not have these features. They’re just sockets.

Ok, but do the ESB have a stated aim of not upgrading them at some point in the future?

This is a classic chicken and egg situation – vehicle-to-grid only provides significant benefits with a high penetration of EVs and you won’t get large numbers of EVs without the charging infrastructure

@ Tom Raftery

The smart grid will need always on broadband available at the majority of electricity meters in the country

It’s interesting to see economists discuss engineering!

Electric Cars are about 3kW so that they are the same size as thr immersion heater in your house, so the Charging Posts on the street don’t need to be too numerous as most people will charge at home. IF this is done at night using a timeswitch when electricity is half price then there are basically no infrastructural issues for many years – certainly if 10% by 2020 no impact. as the infrastructure is already designed to feed the day load, and is relatively free at night.

Effectively the Electric car is making better use of infrastructure that is already available, so it should be quite economic.

If you use an electric car and it is charged at home then you’ll only use a street charging point to top up if you need to – so the real purpose of charging posts in a country like Ireland is to overcome peoples fears that they could be caught without charge. So when someone uses a street charging point they only need to do so to top up enough to get them home – 20km would take 2kWh (16kWh = 160km) which at the slow rate of 3kW per hour would take 40minutes. Obviously street chargers can be connected into large existing cables so that a 3kW limit would not necessarily apply.

In relation to the remainder of the technology there are no set standards – the market is completely open. Some solutions are very elaborate and costly and carry the risk of becoming stranded as technology moves on – this is where engineers use the economists ‘Real Options’ to make smart decisions.

Existing Charging Posts are very sophisticated bespoke computer and communication hubs, with the only thing more complex the system that they will integrate into. The trick will be to find out how to buy this off the shelf at a low price and integrate into existing systems.

In regard to battery swapping, this is a good idea if you can persuade all car manufacturers to standardise on their battery so that the one battery can be used in all cars. This is difficult when the carmakers decide that in order to make a nice car they will spread the battery out around the car in a shape specific to that car. Then you spend several million euro building a swapping station – but at this price you can;t afford many. So everyone has to drive out the few that exist and then queue to use them. And if car makers install faster battery charging on their cars then cheap fast charging is available and the battery swapping station is obsolete.

@Tom Raftery
There is learning by doing, but not learning by promising to do. The ESB is currently rolling out dumb chargers, and it therefore is learning nothing about the smart grid.

@AntoinB
Thanks for that. Electric cars are indeed fine for day to day use. The issue is the occasional long trip. If can choose between a car that takes me around Dublin and a car that takes me around Dublin and to Cork, I’ll take the latter.

Why do you assume the ESB Chargers are dumb? – the chargers are the same as in the UK and in the US and are currently the most sophisticated available on the market. I think you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg?

@Richard Tol
“The ESB is currently rolling out dumb chargers, and it therefore is learning nothing about the smart grid.”
+1

@Paul Hunt
“In this context it’s probably futile attempting to highlight the holes in this exercise. The powers-that-be and the vested interests will circle the wagons and rubbish any critique. It could be a career-limiting move – or, as I have found, a business-shrinking move.”
It becomes more and more clear that we need a revolution in our establishment so that it embraces and accepts foreign (and domestic) based criticism. The reaction to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent comments showed a church that is more concerned with defending its reputation than acknowledging reality. Official Ireland’s dismissal of foreign based criticism during the Celtic Tiger years must have been a huge contributor to the economic depression they caused.

@AntoinB
The chargers may be smart but they play dumb. For instance, they do not differentiate prices between time of day or year — the price is zero all the time. They do not discharge the battery to the grid if need be. The chargers may be capable of doing that, but they do not do it.

At a price of 66c per hour at 3kW to charge during the day and 33c per hour at night, time of day pricing would be a hard sell! Capability to discharge from the battery back to the grid is worthwhile if it gives benefits and these benefits can’t be obtained at a lower cost by other means. Given that the turnover from a Charging post working 24hrs a day would be €13 then the complexity which this turnover can justify will be low.

The issues of demand side management, the technology platform required, the cost of this platform and how it will be provided and whether this is economically justified are all live issues.

Anything technical can be done – but at a cost. What is essential is that the cost is proportional to the benefit, and arises from the optimal use of technology. In other words there is a huge background to the issues you raise and what is appearing now is only one manifestation of the technology.

@ AntoinB,

I am not too sure about your idea of “Only a few chargers required”.

For example, if using a EV is much cheaper than a conventional car, then people will be more inclined to use the EV more often.

This happens with lots of technologies and is a feature of economics.

Hence if something is really cheap to use then its use will become more frequent and widespread, hence it will have to be recharged / replenished more frequently.

The detterant has been reduced.

In addition, existing grid infrastructure is o.k. for trickle charging at home etc. But battery development will continue, energy density increase, hence the existing grid may be o.k. for the Lithium Ion batterys of today, but that does not mean it will cope with higher performance batteries of 10 to 15 years time.

In relation to cheap electricity at night, I personally thought it was a bit of a scam. You have to pay for the night meter as well as the day meter, even if it was physically one meter not two seperate units. Then include VAT. In addition I was reluctant to use heavy electrical appliances at night, such as washing machines + immersions etc. The inconvienience of the noise, risk of flooding or possibilty of fire put me off as I am sure it does many others. Yes I did recharge the storage heaters, but only in the winter. The night saver was hardly worth it. Maybe if I had a EV charging it might have been different.

Eamonn Ryan said on Prime Time that the part of the business we want to develop ourselves is the software. He also pointed out that savings on fuel keeps money in the economy. Makes sense to me. Eamonn Ryan seems to have a far better grasp of the software industry generally and the potential it has for growth in a constantly changing market more than any other Minister or opposition spokesman. Fair play to him.

Some useful and interesting comments, so let me do a Morgan Kelly. EVs are a complete waste of a very valuable and useful resource and anyone advocating or promoting the use of such a resource to move a ”private bum’ or two around is either an Easter Islander in disguise or clueless.

EVs are an example of a totally preposterous and insane psychological displacement behaviour. Electricity should be mandated for trams or trains, – and cooking you food and lighting your home. Are any of you keeping tabs on the cost of a bbl of oil?

Of course – if you have a defective economic Model-in-Use … …!!!

B Peter

@AntoinB

i am a little confused. maybe you can confirm that night-time electric power has a higher carbon intensity compared to day-time power (a greater proportion derives from coal)?

sounds like moneypoint will run at full tilt to charge the latest green toys of the wealthy urban elite .. with bills sent to taxpayers.

This project is classic spend someone else’s money because the boss says so.

I cant find a price anywhere for these cars. I cant see any details on how good or otherwise they are. They are giving away the fuel and still every piece of information just confirms my belief that I’ll be driving the trusty diesel Skoda for a good while yet.

I wonder can a Prius be hacked to be plugged in and ran on batteries only? I’d nearly do it just to game the system.

This looks interesting…..

http://www.therawfeed.com/2007/04/california-utility-hacks-prius-for-home.html

@Zhou
We ran out of time.

The software for the smart grid will be written by the best software engineers. If they’re Irish, they’ll win it — regardless of where the smart grid will be rolled out first. But an non-Irish company may win this market too, even if smart grid will be physically in Ireland. It’s called globalisation.

The second argument is even more outdated. Import substitution (wind for oil) does not lead to economic growth. Ireland is one of the few European economies where this strategy failed in living memory — but that was another dead prime minister.

@ Hollybrook

I’m a bit late here, but actually it wasn’t directed at you – you do seem keen to get some numbers on this!

@ BP Woods,

I was wondering just when you were going to stick your oar in!!!!!

“an Easter Islander in disguise or clueless”

“EVs are an example of a totally preposterous and insane psychological displacement behaviour”

While I don’t always agree with everything you say…. you give me a great laugh sometimes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His arguments about queueing for these “fast chargers” is a total red herring.

There is a branch of statistics – queueing theory – that considers the optimization of queues – how many servers ( in this case fast chargers) for every station should be installed so as to avoid even moderate queues.
Presumably more than 8 – the usual number of pumps for a petrol station.
It is nothing more than undergraduate maths.

Also – why cant the cars be recharged when parked? I dont see the necessity to follow the petrol car paradigm (i.e. go looking for a petrol station).

” They are fine for city driving ” – Seeing as most journeys are “city driving” (5km or less) I think that the time has come for Electric Vehicles.
Fine – we will still need petrol vehicles for the time being – but we are going to run out of oil sooner or later.

How do you get wind generated electricity in Donegal to charge a car in Kerry ? Do we have a grid?

@ Holbroke Fields

Is the reduction in pollutants the only benefit you can see? Would there not be expertise built up within the ESB in the rollout of the charging point technology – expertise that could be used to develop an international business. I understand that ESB International has been successful at providing expertise in electricity in overseas markets such as Africa and former Soviet states

Bingo. I thought of ESBI too, when I read that. “What is there to learn about providing electricity?” is the height of ignorance, really.

Maybe the productive (real) parts of the economy such as ESBI might put on tours for clueless propeller-head economists. Maybe ESRI ought to tighten up their recruitment policies.

I think the AA and other rescue services could do worse than invest in some high power battery chargers. “Me Kangoo’s broken down on the Red Cow!!!”

How do you jump start an electric vehicle – do you need a Genny??

Having read this and other threads on Battery powered cars, I’ve still to see some explanation as to how they will heat the interior- There’s been over a month of sub-zero temperatures this past year (during the day) How are the cars to be heated? Even excluding heated seats, I’d imagine at least a rear window defogger would be needed – or else air con systems to clear the air would be needed to keep the interior clear; another power hungry application.

There was a review in the IT motors section about a car that barely made it from Dublin to Drogheda on a charge……

@JeromeK:
“How do you jump start an electric vehicle – do you need a Genny??”

No: you just need a shilling for the meter.

Incidentally, in the early years fo the twentieth century there was a proposal that barges entering Dublin should be powered by electricity from overhead cables.

bjg

@Holbrook Fields
As a country we are looking for the proven, cheapest options. Electric cars may well be the transport of the future but the public mood is “safety first”.

@Sporthog
All of the posts on the pin were negative. This was the most memorable.
This bit isn’t fair but I confess it made me laugh: “We are being led up the garden path by a bunch of fairies in green hats.”

Willie Slattery, head of US-owned State Street bank in the IFSC and a contemporary of mine from Bandon, is a dissenter from the pro-NAMA former bubble boosters’ consensus:

“It is not credible to put all of the private sector infrastructure assets of the country, equivalent to 60pc of an economy, into one body with no transparency, subject potentially to political influence, in any way,”

Mr Slattery told KCLR radio according to the Irish Independent.

Slattery added that it was “ridiculous” that the country was not taking a cheaper solution to our problems.


Report

@Carrawaystick
Simple. If you turn on the heating (or the airco, lights, radio), your car will run out of juice before you reach the nominal 160 km range. So, you may get to Cork in under 4 hours on a nice spring day, but probably not on a winter night.

@EWI
It has been known for a while how to put up a socket. ESBI will not be able to sell this on as a precious secret.

There are things to be learned about smart grids, some of which is marketable. But in order to learn that, you’d need to build a smart grid. The ESB is not doing that yet. The current chargers are dumb.

@Pat Gill

The smart grid will need always on broadband available at the majority of electricity meters in the country

No it won’t.
Smart grid communications can go over Power Line Communications, WiMax, 3G, GPRS, or any number of other technologies. Always on broadband is not a requirement.

@Richard Tol

The current chargers are dumb.

You keep saying this. It is not true.

As @AntoinB stated earlier

the chargers are the same as in the UK and in the US and are currently the most sophisticated available on the market.

You answer to this was

The chargers may be smart but they play dumb

So the chargers are smart and you admit it.

Their initial incarnation may not take advantage of all their smart features but that is a completely different issue.

@bg

maybe you can confirm that night-time electric power has a higher carbon intensity compared to day-time power (a greater proportion derives from coal)?

No, nighttime electricity typically has a much lower carbon intensity.

This is because the wind generally blows more over night than during the day so the contribution from wind energy is higher at nighttime than during the day.

Also, on the wholesale market, night time is when electricity is cheapest. Renewables are price takers on the wholesale market so as the price of electricity falls, the % of renewables in the genmix increases.

In the case of a fall off in wind, this is made up by gas-fired plants, not coal as gas is easier (and cheaper) to throttle up and down.

@Tom Raftery
So, what do you think you can learn from installing a smart piece of equipment and turning off all the fancy bits? Do you think you can take the experience to the US or China and impress them with your ability not to hook up the parts that matter? Do you think they will pay you $1000/hour for your service?

@Brian Goggin

“No: you just need a shilling for the meter.”

Ah yes, of course – just always make sure you never stray more than 5 meters from a meter. Very practical.

Just hope the EVs work better than those **** CFL bulbs – had to replace the second one in 3 years in my bathroom (you know the ones with 2000000 hours lifetime – that costa lotta).

@ Tom Raftery

“No it won’t.
Smart grid communications can go over Power Line Communications, WiMax, 3G, GPRS, or any number of other technologies. Always on broadband is not a requirement.”

I should have stated always available connectivity, broadband is not solely a term used for fixed line providers, my own telephone and broadband services are provided by Wimax.

My point still stands however as vast tracts of the country are not covered as yet by any of these tech’s.

You are of course by implication bringing demand side management into this debate and this too is unproven technology.

The fact remains that this enterprise is a storm in a tea cup at the moment, as a first step I have no problem with it, the only concern I might have is if the ESB were to be the only provider of charge points in the country.

Richard

“So, what do you think you can learn from installing a smart piece of equipment and turning off all the fancy bits? Do you think you can take the experience to the US or China and impress them with your ability not to hook up the parts that matter? Do you think they will pay you $1000/hour for your service?”

They probably would part with a few bob to learn how to build and operate a generation system and grid robust enough to deal with the energy challenges of the next decades.

Now if only we could build such an enterprise

@Tom Raftery

“No, night-time electricity typically has a much lower carbon intensity.”

Really? Much lower? In Ireland? Links?

Coal generation, like nuclear, can’t be ramped up and down efficiently like gas. Therefore in Ireland, with no nuclear, night-time electricity is dirtier (CO2) than day-time. That’s because we keep Moneypoint going at night.

Wind (i.e. stochastic power with capacity factor about 30%) is similar here day/night. Cyclones don’t only appear over the North Atlantic at night. During summer, if anything sea breezes mean that there is a little wind more during day-time in coastal areas. That’s the opposite of your assertion.

This week there is a beautiful anti-cyclone over Ireland and little wind. Anyone charging an EV here tonight is effectively driving a coal-fired car. This should not be subsidised for incentivised by government.

@JeromeK
This is off-topic. CFLs have a long life if they are constantly on (and even longer when they’re always off), but they wear rapidly when you switch them on and off all the time. You should therefore not put them in the bathroom.

@Richard Tol

I saw the look Miriam O’Callaghan gave you at the end. It looked like she was trying to calm you knowing you had more to say. I had to smile.

Whether or not the s/w is developed by an non-irish company it is likely it will be developed here and will emply Irish people to test it with the hardware and new configurations. Even if the company leaves, we should have gained expertise and reputation.

As for driving to Cork, isn’t this just part of the Chelsea Tractor dematerialisation of consumer goods that makes people buy vehicles on the basis of where they might go rather than where they actually will go? If its suitable for urban living then let urbanites buy them. Rome is full of Smart cars and Hugh Hendry drives something the size of a thimble. The world is changing.

I also think that this technology is obviously more advanced than previous technologies [e.g. hydrogen fuel cell] if the cars are commercially avaialble.

It is politically legitimate for a green Minister to promote the use of such a technology as it is an important step in changing behaviours and how people view consumption. Changing behaviours and attitudes to prepare for future challenges is important.

There is a bigger picture. The protectionist mind-set of only promoting innovation that exclusively benefits one’s own economy is outmoded and unsustainable.

@Richard Tol

o, what do you think you can learn from installing a smart piece of equipment and turning off all the fancy bits? Do you think you can take the experience to the US or China and impress them with your ability not to hook up the parts that matter? Do you think they will pay you $1000/hour for your service?

Is there really any need to be so facetious? It is not adding to your argument.

The smart features in the chargers can’t be turned on until the ESB have a smart grid in place. These things take time to roll out.

This is a first step. Every journey necessarily begins with a first step.

Having a charging infrastructure in place, with smart chargers deployed throughout the country means that when the smart grid is deployed vehicle-to-grid functionality will be immediately available.

This expertise will be extremely valuable which is why it is being pursued in many trials in the US at present as well.

It takes a lot of ICT infrastructure behind the chargers to make them and the grid do smart stuff together. Clearly, that isn’t all in place yet. With the high level of investment in the grid currently underway, clearly it will be at some point in the future.

I have no particular insight into how ESB and Eirgrid plan to do this, but I imagine it will be through a combination of off-the-shelf technology purchased from others, systems integration that will mainly be done in Ireland, and development of new technology where what’s needed isn’t available off the shelf internationally.

If the bulk of the new technology development isn’t done in Ireland I’ll be most surprised, as the Irish software industry is geographically convenient, as it’s just the sort of thing the industry is great at doing, and as ESB itself has pretty strong capabilities itself in the area. Also, Irish public procurement has been learning quite a lot in recent years from our EU partners about legitimate ways to source locally.

One aspect of Irish electricity supply that may give Irish technology an edge in international markets is that we are early movers on moving to a high level of dependency on wind energy.

@Pat Gill

Actually a better answer to your point about vast tracts of land not being covered by those technologies would have been that anywhere that there is a power cable, you can have power line communication so that’d be any relevant part of the country.

@ Tom Raftery

“That will be news to the mobile carriers who claim 97% coverage (see http://www.meteor.ie/plans/coverage/)”

Tom, there is a world of difference between coverage and useful coverage.

However please do not assume that I am negative to the greater enterprise, this is however merely a baby step on the journey we must take towards energy security.

@ Con

“One aspect of Irish electricity supply that may give Irish technology an edge in international markets is that we are early movers on moving to a high level of dependency on wind energy.”

That would be a large risk indeed, however if that high level of dependence on wind needs an even higher dependence on gas, what is the point in the first place.

Portugal and Spain are ahead of Ireland in this regard and are now taking steps to build large scale pumped hydro to transform wind energy into dispatchable energy, meaning less need for large amounts of spinning reserve.

Don’t agree with Richard’s wait and see (do nothing/let others do it 1st) argument.

Speaking from my own experience.
I drive a 10 yr old electric van, and it works for me.
500kg carry capacity,
50 mile range for €1.40.
60mph max speed but good torque.

I was a bit skeptical when I got the van, but over time it has won me over.
I think if others get a chance to own and drive a well made electric vehicle they’ll have the same experience.

A common Fallacy in the arguments between the talking heads has been the idea that the plan is to have all electric vehicles. This isn’t the case.
The plan is to have a small percentage of all cars on the road being electric.

I am getting a bit confused here. So maybe somebody could politely explain it to me.

Why are we talking about a “Smart Grid”? What does the term smart grid mean? Why do we require a Smart Grid? Is our current grid dumb?

Suggestions have been made about reverse powering the grid from EV’s?

Why would you want to do that? It takes energy to charge a battery, it is not a 100% efficient process. If you were then to develop a system where you could take energy out of a EV battery and run the lighting on the street on which the car is parked then there is a cost to that. Apart from the technology cost of more sophisticated equipment in extracting the stored energy in a EV battery but again there is a efficiency loss.

Imagine the analogy of two buckets, one full of apples the other empty. You transfer all the apples from the full bucket to the empty bucket. But in the process you lose 5% of the apples, they spill out and are lost forever. Then for some reason, you decide to refill the original bucket from the second bucket, the process is reversed. But again in the transfer process 5% of the apples are lost. Why would you want to do that? Imagine the apples are electrons, the original bucket is the Grid, and the second bucket is the battery of your EV. You are losing all the time every time you transfer energy.

What happens if you return to your EV and you find that despite the fact the battery should now be full you discover that the battery was filled but is now discharging 25% of its capacity back into the grid!! You then realise you ain’t gona make it back to Portlaoise.

I must be missing something here, can anybody explain (politely) why we should do this. Is there a future requirement to power the entire country from thousands of batteries?

@Pat,
I’m not commenting on whether the shift to wind makes sense, but it certainly looks as if it is happening, so its one of the framework conditions on policy regarding electric vehicles.

If you want to resurrect the pumped storage debate from some time back, I’m not sure that this thread is the place to do it.

@Pat Gill
Portugal and Spain (I live in Spain so I am quite familiar with the Spanish market) have a slightly different situation – they are well interconnected with other European grids, so as well as pumped hydro, they can sell on electricity to neighbouring countries in times of excess.

Ireland doesn’t have a significant inter-connect. If, in times of over-production, wind farms are curtailed, investors will see them as less attractive and Ireland will never reach 40% target.

So, Ireland has a need to develop demand response technologies using real-time pricing to shift loads to better match supply.

These kinds of technologies will be needed world-wide as smart grids are deployed and the global % of renewables is ramped up.

Ireland could be a world leader developing and exporting this technology. There is a growing need for it.

@Sporthog – perhaps that goes some of the way to answering your question too?

Great perfromance by Richard Tol. The man must be a descendant of Job.

The likely software ‘boon’ from burning taxpayers money to feed Green vanity is a political trope typically Irish designed to hush the critics. The same kind of ‘knowledge politics’ rhetoric was trotted out repeatedly during the boom. How much did the Media Lab experiment eventually cost to taxpayer? The Oireachteas report is eye-opening to put it mildly. When all the cash that has been cooked in R&D over the past half a generation is totted up will the wizards that predicted ‘massive’ (it’s always massive in Ireland) technology employment explain the ‘added value’ to the unemployed and small businesses?

The simple question is how much will this piece of vanity cost per supplied kilowatt?

As far as I am aware, automatic meter reading, available in several EU countries, has yet to be rolled out in Ireland and that in itself does not make a ‘smart’ grid. Whether bringing the internet and power supply together will be cost effective in Ireland is something I’d like to see figures on. Presumably the EV themselves should be IP addressable as well (off the point but something to think about).

The debate here has focused on how much distance the EV can travel (under optimal conditions). Thinks about this common question facing drivers. How long does it take to go from A to B? (a) 250km or (b) 4 hours. Both answers may be correct but I suspect most drivers think ‘time taken’ rather than ‘distance traveled’. I am not convinced that the EV as currently configured can give me the ‘time’ I need with a reasonable margin of safety to drive between counties. Ireland is actually marginally largely than Dublin and not everyone favours Cork as a destination.

@ Con

I am merely making the observation that the debate on energy matters in this country has only begun.

Eirgrid released a report last week http://www.eirgrid.com/media/Low%20Carbon%20Generation%20Options%20for%20the%20All%20Island%20Market%20%282%29.pdf which is a useful beginning to this debate.

The IEA are concerned that the high cost of fossil energy poses a risk to a global economic recovery, this is what is meant by the term peak oil, high cost, not an actual shortage of oil.

EV’s will play a part in our transport requirement over the coming decades.

What is not clear is how the exchequer will recoup the foregone revenue from hydrocarbons.

Tom

You correctly state that Ireland does not have large interconnection, this is beginning to be addressed, you also state that Spain and Portugal export wind energy as required, however the Danish experience is that non dispatchable wind energy is a price taker and is therefore less of an investable proposition, at times in the past Denmark exported at a large loss.

We do need a smart grid and demand side management, these measures alone though will not create wealth.

@Tom Raftery:
“the wind generally blows more over night than during the day”

That conflicts with my impression from regular monitoring of wind speeds: the strongest winds seem to be around the middle of the day and the weakest are at night.

bjg

@Alchemist
Absolutely. The ICT challenges in this sort of stuff are negligible. It is brute force programming. As such, the cheapest monkeys that can be found are what is required. Dividend by zero…

@ Brian Goggin

Do you mean the daily Eirgrid figures, if so you must correct for wind energy available, but for operational reasons, not actually placed onto the grid or spilled

@Sporthog
The old, dumb grid had a few large and predictable sources of electricity and many passive users. The grid transported electricity from generator to user.

The new, smart grid will have many small and often unpredictable sources of electricity and many active users. On the generation side, think wind. On the use side, think about devices that switch themselves off when the price of electricity is high, about solar panels on private roofs that deliver power to grid, about car batteries that charge when the electricity price is low and discharge when the price is high (but not just before you want to get to work please).

In electricity, demand and supply have to match all the time. So, the new grid will only work if it collects a lot of data and sends the correct signals to the generators and users. That’s why it’s “smart”.

There are very substantial business opportunities in the smarting of the grid (which is not to say that any investment in the grid is smart).

@ Tom Rafferty,

Thanks for your brief explanation about diversification on the grid and how to make these diverse energy sources complementary to each other etc.

I agree and understand all that.

But I don’t understand the idea of using the battery in a EV to reverse power the Grid. That just does not make sense. Every time you transfer energy you lose a % of it.

In addition there are futher costs.

1) The EV battery is charged and depleted much more frequently, therefore its life is reduced. Instead of getting 5 years out of your battery you might only get 3. The cost is that a new battery has to be made more frequently for your EV. Multiply this cost for thousand of EV’s and the numbers quickly start to look very ugly. For example your laptop battery loses about 20% of its capacity every year.

2) A battery is DC and the grid is AC, so there is a technology cost as well in equipment. In addition manufacturers frequently change their product lines every few years or so. If we build something very advanced today, there is no guarantee that the parts will be available in 10 years time. I personally know computer engineers who have to buy 2nd hand equipment off Ebay, because the industrial computer which is running in their factory is no longer supported by the original manufacturer. This happens with software as well. Or the part is still made but it is in a different shape and will not fit into the box. It has to be modified, longer wires soldered on etc.

I accept we have to up our game in being Smart about energy efficiency and making different sources of energy working in a complelmentary fashion.

But I see nothing smart in the idea of using a EV to power the grid. Unless of course it was to take place in the home. For example in times of power outage you could still power your home from your EV for a few hours, maybe even a day. But this does not happen very frequently.

@ Richard

I will not labour the point, as it is not central to this thread, however

“In electricity, demand and supply have to match all the time. So, the new grid will only work if it collects a lot of data and sends the correct signals to the generators and users. That’s why it’s “smart”.”

The truly smart thing to do is for the smart grid to allow energy to be produced in the most efficient manner and excess production is stored, either in car/flow batteries or pumped hydro.

@Pat,
You will notice that all of the portfolios in that EirGrid report include a large amount of wind, reflecting the fact that we are already committed on this. Again, that makes it one of the framework conditions on policy regarding electric vehicles.

Again, if you want a debate of pumped storage, or indeed a wider debate on energy policy I don’t think a thread on electric vehicles is the right place.

@Sporthog

As others have stated we have to match energy supply and demand.

There are times when energy is over-produced.

Ireland has no significant inter-connect (no cable to export excess energy to another market).

There is only one grid-scale energy storage solution – Turlough Hill but it is small and would be expensive and time-consumng to reproduce.

So, if you had a fleet of 100,000+ EV’s – you have a large distributed battery, capable of taking in energy when in over-supply, and selling it back when in high-demand (after factoring in the owner’s needs, obviously).

This is vehicle-to-grid.

@ Richard Tol,

Indeed I agree with everything you said in your above post. Of course that makes sense.

But for EV’s to be reverse powering the grid? Well only if the price was right. We don’t do this with conventional vehicles. I don’t buy diesel at Tesco Dundrum and then on my way past Waterford I pull into great Island power station and sell them 1/4 of my tank at a profit for myself.
Why would I want to do that if I am then unable to make it to Kerry?

All I see in reverse powering the grid from EV’s is

1) extra effieicency loss, which is not smart.
2) Reduction of battery life, which is not smart.
3) Extra equipment which has to be maintained, repaired, and replaced when parts are obselete.

All of the above has a cost. That’s not smart or efficient at all.

@Tom Raftery @Richard Tol

This “smart grid” idea that’s being proposed is build on some flawed assumptions.

People are not going to use up their EV’s valuable battery cycle count to store electricity for the grid.

@Pat Gill:
“Do you mean the daily Eirgrid figures”

I know nothing of Eirgrid: I am a simple boat-owner concerned with wind speeds. But perhaps Tom Raftery’s phrase “blows more” refers to something other than wind speed.

bjg

@Con

I simply believe that in the real world, everything is connected, I am now leaving to go to the Energy Show in the RDS and so will be silent for a while!!

@ Tom Rafferty,

Sorry your post came in just before my last.

I see your point, but its a big IF so to speak. But there are still costs to this smart idea of using EV’s to reverse power the grid.

Having a smart charging station, topping up your car at the low price, o.k. but Electricity is normally cheap at night, and cheap at night only. it’s just more sensible to charge up at night.

Anyway Tom, Richard, thanks for your efforts and time, what will be, will be.

I just hope it is done in a efficient, sensible and cost effective manner.

I am tired of getting ripped off as are a lot of other people.

@Sporthog,
The wholesale price of electricity varies considerably over every 24 hour period. Feeding power back into the grid will make economic sense if the value from buying low and selling high exceeds the cost of energy losses, battery deterioration, adminstration etc.

How long will it take for the industry to realise that trailing charging wires that one keeps tripping over, frayed connections that make plugging in in the rain dangerous, and a host of other problems, will be solved by a new approach, to wit induction charging.
I agree with Richard—-it`s much to early to get in on this doubtful technology.

@denis “much too early” – what exactly are we supposed to be waiting for? An alternative to fossil fuels in transport is urgent. Waiting is not an option.

@Sporthog

Con is right. The wholesale price varies between 2 ct/KWh (3 am) and 20 ct/KWh (5 pm).

Chances are that in 10 years time there will be people with a shed/attic/basement full of second-hand car batteries.

@Moderator
Please delete my previous two posts as they were insulting and not helpful to the discussion.

[DONE]

@ Con,

Yes thanks for you post.

It will depend if the total cost is lower than the actual costs you mention, administration to make it worthwhile etc, agreed.

In relation to your comment about the wholesale cost of electricity varying several times over 24 hrs.

Well I don’t normally see this as a domestic user. I would imagine this is relevant to industrial users not householders.

What attempt was made at a rudimentary form of Smart metering some years ago ( Night saver, dual metering etc) was loaded with extra costs for the domestic user, rental tarriffs then VAT added etc. I explained my experience with that technology in posts above, and it was not favourable.
Unless you are a shift worker and you sleep all day and you come alive at night.

My criteria for a SMART Grid would be for electricity to be provided in a cheap, efficient and environmentally friendly manner for the domestic and industrial user.

Perhaps we should be looking away from the model of large centralised power stations like Moneypoint etc and tending towards microgeneration. These small gensets which can be turned on and off in minutes. Large boilers like Moneypoint do not offer this flexibilty, those boilers take a long time to warm up and cool down. In addition thermal cycling of large structures such as boilers causes damage over time. This has to be repaired with repair costs to the boiler operator.

But we will have to wait and see which way the cards fall.

@All
Any imputation that the GP leadership are naive or unrealistic is withdrawn.
If anything, they are actually deeply pragmatic (if not cynical).

Just to clarify:

Range*cycle life = How far your going to drive before you start to notice a range decrease. 80% of original capacity. Eventually you’ll have to replace your battery.

@Sporthog,
Smart grid technologies should make it possible for commercial actors in the electricity market to reward vehicle owners for the use of their batteries. If they fail to provide sufficient rewards to satisfy someone like Cian, they are unlikely to get access to the batteries.

A replacement battery could cost €8000 (guesstimated).
This will come down over time.
My understanding is that the batteries will be recycled/reused by the manufacturer.
If the grid are using your battery when your not, you’ll have to replace it sooner.

Here’s some stats on the iMiEV battery from 2008.
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/05/the-battery-pac.html

“the pack retained 84% of capacity with quick charging and 83% with standard charging after 1,000 cycles.”

@ All,

I have a question, (again!!).

When this new SMART model is up and running fully, matching supply and demand, connecting at cheap times, disconnecting a expensive times etc will we see a emergance occur in this new system?

What I am talking about is a narrowing of the gap between high and low electricity prices, trending to a homogenised uniform single price, no matter what time of the day?

Well chaps this has been a interesting discussion which I have enjoyed and thanks for your efforts.

I sincerely hope that this new strategy will result in lower electricity prices for all of us in Ireland, benefits for the enviornment and perhaps more energy security.

@ Sarah
The electric car plus it`s whole whole infrastructure, including wind turbines takes a huge amount of energy to build, which comes from fossil fuel, and the wind turbines have to be backed up by fossil fuel powered power stations, as they only put out on average 30% of their rated max. output, if that [15% in Germany] . The money that has to be earned, to pay for all this also comes from the processing of fossil fuel into goods and services, which is how our economy functions—-the amount of fuel saved in using electric cars over small internal combustion engined cars is tiny if at all and may well veer into negative territory.
The truth is that our whole way of life is based on ubiquitous fossil fuel, and any alternative, unless based on some other primary energy source, is doomed to failure.
We do not have that other source, and so we will stagger on until, all the oil, gas, and coal is all gone, wasted on projects like wind turbines [ which are only good for 20 years max, and will have huge repair bills ], and electric cars.
We should be using this precious resource to build ourselves an energy sysem and way of life, that will last for 100 years, without any other inputs of fossil fuel required after its inception.

denis, the decarbonisation of electricity generation through wind and other renewables would be going ahead without EVs. Your figure of 30% load factor is incorrect for offshore, where most wind turbines will have to be placed.

Re: back up. Recent reports from PWHC, the Climate Foundation and a recent grid experiment in Germany (on scale of 1/10,000th of the national grid) demonstrate that 100% renewables is feasible.

You condemn the proposed system for being based on fossil fuels, yet accept that your system will require the use of “this precious resource”. Also, you talk about how carbon-intensive the rest of our economy is – that is correct but we have to start tackling it sector-by-sector to get anywhere!

I’d like to know what you consider as the alternative “energy system and way of life that will last for 100 years”. What radical overhaul would you like to see? And is it feasible (economically, politically, etc)?

“Why not wait five years, see how the dice fall, and then invest?”

That’s where I have a problem, professor Toll, with all due respect. An OPEC country could default this year. Chinese oil demand is peaking again. Global oil demand is insatiable.
Half obsolete electric vehicles are surely preferable to fully obsolete combustion-types.

@maestronom0:
“An OPEC country could default this year. Chinese oil demand is peaking again. Global oil demand is insatiable.”

In what circumstances do you envisage that the world supply of oil would fall to zero in less than five years?

bjg

@Brian – the world’s supply of oil does not have to fall to zero in less than five years for us and our economy to be in trouble.

“”The current investment will not result in any intellectual property for Irish companies.”

I don’t think professor Tol or any one else can call that.

If we don’t try, then can we can guarantee that there will be no intellectual property for Irish companies.”

It’s a relatively cheap roll of the dice, compared to our previous rolls.

@Sarah:
“the world’s supply of oil does not have to fall to zero in less than five years for us and our economy to be in trouble.”

What likelihood of what percentage fall over what period would make it a good idea to spend borrowed money now, rather than in five years’ time, on sockets for plugging in cars?

bjg

@Pat Gill:
“The largest investers in, and adopters of, renewable energy in the world per capita, are the gulf oil states”

Why does that make it a good idea to spend money now on installing sockets?

bjg

@Brian

The Gulf states are investing now in order to reap the rewards as their income from oil declines.

As I have said earlier, this particular initiative is a baby step and of itself will not involve the state in much expenditure. Of more concern to me is where the state can recoup the the petro taxes which will decline substancially in volume over the next two decades

The situation with oil is that it has already reached the price level where it will impact on our economy.

Peak oil is about price not availability

@brian
“What likelihood of what percentage fall over what period would make it a good idea to spend borrowed money now, rather than in five years’ time, on sockets for plugging in cars?”

Your first mistake is your clear intent on basing such a decision on such a narrow economic assessment. There are many other facts to consider, including cost of inaction, carbon costs, environmental damage caused by pollution, reduced exposure to volatile fossil fuel markets, impact of sending a strong signal to potential investors in all parts of supply chain from rd&d up to manufacturing, benefits of improvements in carbon levels and efficiency in generation throughout BEV fleet, as opposed to ICE fleet that needs 20+ years, benefits of demand levelling at night on national grid, use of EVs as distributed storage, etc etc.

It is a mistake similarly displayed in the most recent EirGrid publication that purely looks at various generation costs and doesn’t seem to comprehend that it might warrant a slightly more complex analysis.

@Pat – I’m familiar with the Spirit of Ireland concept, if that’s what you mean?

I’d agree with your assertion re: price. The volatility of oil prices and strong potential for significant increases in prices will become major factors before the oil actually runs out.

Major point people are missing is that we are not going to run out of commodities or natural resources, we’re going to run out of natural SERVICES for which there are no alternatives. The oil will be there but it’s no good if we’ve brought climate change on ourselves, caused significant oil degradation and polluted all our water.

I recommend this website for information and updates on energy:

http://www.theoildrum.com/

@sarah, @Brian J Goggin

Not all renewables are the same.

Only 2% of the solar energy incident on the earth is converted into mechanical energy (wind). Even in dark, cloudy Ireland the mean solar resource is at least one order of magnitude greater than the mean wind resource, per unit land area. The solar resource in southern europe/north africa is staggering, up to 1000W/m2 during daytime (for comparison irish windfarms yield 1-4 W/m2). The natural competitive advantage of solar will win out in the end.

Ireland’s committment to wind is a classic example of politicians picking winners. A few years ago our politicians were backing property, now they are backing wind energy. Like the property bubble, the huge bet on wind may prove to be a disastrous mal-investment. Once again consumers will pick up the tab. High energy prices will be locked in and competitiveness destroyed.

This is not a view you will hear in the mainstream media, nor, sadly, from ESRI.

@Pat Gill:
“The Gulf states are investing now in order to reap the rewards as their income from oil declines.”

Good oh. So if Ireland is a good place in which to do renewable energy, we can rely on the Gulf chaps to make the requisite investments here. They could even pay us a small royalty.

I do accept the peak oil idea; I’m not convinced that the solution is to spend non-existent money on unproven and unexamined technologies. If citizens want to spend their own money, that’s fine, but the state has enough problems.

bjg

@Sarah:
“Your first mistake is your clear intent on basing such a decision on such a narrow economic assessment.”

You can’t deduce that from what I wrote. I’d be inclined to start with the economics, though, given as taxpayers are being asked to pay for stuff. Just as I would with NAMA, public sector pay, “investment” in inland waterways, protection for closed shops (lawyers, doctors and so on). The “other facts” you mention sound like the sort of special pleading put forward by interest groups seeking the protection of the state. So I’d like to start with the economics to see the costs and the benefits of your proposals and the identities of those who will pay the costs and gain the benefits.

bjg

@ Sporthog: Thanks!!! Been away from the keyboard for awhile. Again, looking at the comments I am struck by the variety of views, opinions, etc. Now it would be appropriate for this topic – for each of you to ask yourselves some searching questions. You really do have to know why you do, or do not, want EVs. So get to it! Not a simple as you might think.

REM: EV penetration will not be successsful unless a mininum of 36% of the actual private vehicle fleet are EVs. And is the existing PV fleet increasing or decreasing?

Some mention was made of the absolute requirement for Fossil Fuels. This is correct. Our economy is absolutely dependent on a specific amount of its total energy requirement (for all uses) on liquid fuels: there is no chemical substitute for this type of fuel. None! If anyone tells you otherwise he/she is either a fool or a knave.

Export-land Model of Fossoil Fuel Production and Depletion. Please familiarize yourself with same – if you have not already done so. Just make sure you are securely strapped in when you study it.

A while back, crude went to $147 bbl. Lots of controversy about this. But it did trigger a very nasty credit/debt predicament – which we are still attempting (unsuccessfully) to deal with. Crude has risen significantly in price. But of much greater concern is the increase in price of ‘finished product’. This price increase will get fed into ALL commodities and services. What do we use to generate a proportion of our electricity with? Still want an EV?

Conservation of use of electricity is the ONLY route. Some of you gave the Gulf States as examples of ‘Second Adopters’ of renewable (an oxymoron) energy. They’re producers. They are looking down the barrel of the Export-land Model. Oh! – they are a tad deficient in water also! Now, there’s a good business opportunity.

“That’s All Folks”

B Peter

@brian

So on the one hand backing wind is a loser because it’s going to be another bubble but backing EV is silly because it hasn’t been established. Hmm.

“The “other facts” you mention sound like the sort of special pleading put forward by interest groups seeking the protection of the state. So I’d like to start with the economics to see the costs and the benefits of your proposals and the identities of those who will pay the costs and gain the benefits.”

Special pleading?How dismissive. So you don’t think issues like import substitution, cost of carbon, economic impact of fossil fuel price volatility are valid economic factors to consider? Not sure what to say to that tbh!

@Sarah

No I was not referring to S of I, David Connolly has modelled the Irish energy system in its present format and various other permutations inc a 100% renewable solution. Anyone with an interest in same should have a close look at his work and those of his colleagues in UL.

Interestlingy he has also modelled the effect of EV’s on the Irish energy system.

@Brian J

You are aware that my friends and I are indeed spending our own money researching and developing one of the energy solutions for Ireland and will be announcing a major investment during this year.

“Good oh. So if Ireland is a good place in which to do renewable energy, we can rely on the Gulf chaps to make the requisite investments here. They could even pay us a small royalty.”

I believe that they will pay rather more than a small royalty.

I agree that the state can achieve a lot, without spending large amounts of public money, simply by creating a welcoming environment and regulatory system, for the wealth of companies who wish to build the energy systems of the future, in the Ministers own words today at the Energy Show in the RDS, “we must combine the can do spirit of the start up with the scalability of a country”.

And in many respects he is correct, Irelands size is ideal for doing research into grid scale solutions which are scalable for implementation in larger countries. I suspect that this would be one of the reason’s that Renault/Nissan have agreed to participate in this initiative with the ESB.

@Brian Woods

In the developed world we have come to depend on the ability, provided by fossil fuels, to spend an average of 150,000 kcals of energy per person per day, this allows us to enjoy a pleasant standard of living complete with modern conveniences such as health care and the world wide web, planes, trains and automobiles.

We CAN have all of these things on a budget of 80,000 kcals of energy each per day, but we must work now to achieve this goal.

And a budget of 80,000 kcals per day, can be provided by renewables.

@ Sarah
Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
When it comes to building a renewable energy system, embodied energy is the fly in the ointment.
Because all we manufacture is based on fossil fuels, for both feedstocks and process energy, and fossil fuel is running out, [and even if it wasn`t we should not be using it due to it`s penchant for ruining the planet`s climate ], any power system we build from now on, should be made to last indefinitly, to give us the energy to move our technology forward to the next breakthrough, if that is possible.
Nuclear power is the only possible source of electrical power that can do this—–these power stations, are good for at least 50 years, and with advanced technology, should be good for maybe 100 years.
We should use our remaining fossil fuel to build these power stations.
I see a use for solar voltaic power, but only if the cost, [ based on a much lower embodied energy for manufacture ] can be brought down significantly—-its use is enhanced by the fact that it gives it`s power out during the day, when demand is highest.
With large amounts of reliable electrical power available, almost anything is possible—-we can make liquid fuels, synthesise chemical feedstocks and fertilisers, smelt steel, and perform many of the industrial functions, that now rely on fossil fuel.
We will have to accept the waste from nuclear, and store it in cordoned off areas in each country.
If we do not do this and continue to use all the fossil fuels up for a hedonistic way of life, then we are surely doomed to a most unpleasant future.

@Pat Gill-Ah, no I was not aware. Many thanks – I will read up on his work.

@denis-I understand the appeal of nuclear but there are a few problems. Firstly, it is equal in carbon emissions, all embodied energy of manufacturing, transport etc included, to wind (likewise embodied:

Nuclear: 7-22g CO2e/kWh (UK Government White paper)
Wind: 4-10g CO2e/kWh (IEMA report “Nuclear energy-the great carbon debate”).

There is also the issue of lengthy lead in times. Admittedly, much of this is due to planning and local objections but whatever the cost, they still exist.

Given these two facts, and given that the size of commercially available nuclear plants would swamp the Irish grid, effectively wiping out renewables, I cannot see how nuclear is a viable option for Irish powergen.

It’s also important not to view these issues from a singular point of view – there is more to consider than just carbon to consider, as you touch on when you mention nuclear waste.

@Sarah:
I don’t know whether wind or electric vehicles are silly. I do know that you seem to be doing your best to suggest that there should be no examination of the costs and benefits of your proposals: that the choice should be made on the basis of (your, not my) faith. You’re welcome to do that with your money, but not with mine.

“So you don’t think ….”

They might be considered in an economic analysis, but waving them around as religious icons won’t do.

bjg

@Pat Gill:
“You are aware that my friends and I are indeed spending our own money researching and developing one of the energy solutions for Ireland and will be announcing a major investment during this year.”

I wasn’t aware of that. If you told me before, I forgot, and apologise. I am delighted to find that you are spending your own money.

bjg

@Brian – Now factoring in relevant economic impacts equals suggesting that there should be no examination of the costs and benefits? Very strange.

And I have not suggested anything that I haven’t backed up. Dismissing my suggestions, yet at the same time finally admitting that “they might be considered in an economic analysis” is disingenuous to say the least. Not to mention lazy debating.

I suggest you read up on my “religious icons” (whatever that means) in this publication, drawing heavily on the application of portfolio theory to power generation as advised by Shimon Awerbuch:

http://ewea.org/fileadmin/ewea_documents/documents/publications/reports/Economics_of_Wind_Main_Report_FINAL-lr.pdf

I’d also advise you to keep accusations of those who you don’t agree with as relying on “faith” out of the debate as you really do yourself no favours.

@sarah

the estimate of wind power co2 emissions include manufacture & construction only. they don’t include massive emissions when a windfarm is built in a peat bog. ireland boasts the most polluting wind industry in the world, probably comparable to gas plant or worse.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/aug/13/wind-farm-peat-bog

” given that the size of commercially available nuclear plants would swamp the Irish grid, effectively wiping out renewables, I cannot see how nuclear is a viable option for Irish powergen.”

so the irish grid can accomodate 6GW of stochastic wind power but not a 1GW nuclear plant? that makes no sense.

@bg – of course those figures don’t include being so stupid as to build a wind farm on a bog (not that it doesn’t happen!)

Re: nuclear plant size. The smaller pebble bed and IRIS reactors are not yet commercially available. The issue with the size of a nuclear plant in relation to the grid it’s placed in is that nuclear plants suffer from intermittency, ie sudden failures, more than is publicised. If a large nuclear power plant goes down, it is incredibly difficult to compensate for it. Wind is not intermittent, it is variable (the difference is predictability), meaning that reductions in generation can be forecast and compensated for far more easily. Plus the more spread around the wind turbines, the more likely it is that some will be turning at one point in time (See this study from Stony University on benefits of linking wind farms:http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-04/sbu-pwp040110.php).

My other issue with nuclear is that it is not very compatible with renewables. Renewables need CCGT or similar technology that can ramp up and down quickly to tie in with wind. Nuclear cannot do that.

@Sarah

“Renewables need CCGT or similar technology that can ramp up and down quickly to tie in with wind.”

Be careful now young lady, I can bite, lets try again, renewables need ….!!

@Pat – who said I was young, or even a lady?! Ah the joys of internet debating… 😉

If renewables are not supported by greater interconnectivity or storage, then yes they do need back up. BUT I do believe (*gasp* is a religious statement to follow??) that with the right approach, 100% renewables is possible in electricity generation.

@bg

It is very possible to seperate the subjects of wind energy, preservation of bogland and CO2 emissions.

The west of Ireland is largely bogland, however that should not mean that windfarms should not be built in the west.

Algae are at least as efficient as bogs at absorbing CO2 and as their lifecycle is fast a given area of algae outperforms the same area of bogland in CO2 absorbtion

However I fear that we have veered way off topic

@ Sarah
The big difference between wind and nuclear power is that nuclear is a dependable source of electricity, wind is not. Wind power goes up and down like a fiddler`s elbow, and can even take a rest for over a month—just look at the figures from Eirgrid for this year. If windpower was not subsidised, nobody in their right mind would ever consider investing in it. No fossil fuel power plants have been shut down in Denmark, even with all their hype about their marvellous wind power system. Denmark is lying about the efficacy of their system, as this is really a form of advertising for their wind turbine manufacturing industry.
Despite SOI`s best efforts to have us believe that pumped storage combined with wind power will give us a secure source of electrical power, it can never do so, for you would have to store vast quantities of seawater, to tide us over [no pun intended]. for over two months of possible wind outage. There are also many other technical problems, that can not be solved at a price that is anywhere near economic, especially in todays financial climate.
Nuclear power stations last for many years more than wind turbines, and so their embodied energy will be put to good use, and may well give us the power to allow us to develop other long term sources of electricity such as fusion.
You are misinformed about the size of nuclear power plants—-they can be built from a couple of hundred MWs up to the thousands of MWs.
They would actually suit Ireland very well.

@Sarah:
If I may go back to where we atarted (or nearby):

“Your first mistake is your clear intent on basing such a decision on such a narrow economic assessment.”

I understood from that that I was (seen as) suggesting economic analysis and that you were suggesting reliance instead on “many other facts to consider”.

Now, it may be that I have misinterpreted your position: that to you the important lexical unit was “narrow” whereas to me it was “economic assessment”. In other words, your position may have been that the “other facts” would be included in an economic assessment (but not in a narrow economic assessment), and that I was at fault for being too narrow.

If we are arguing just about what should be included in economic assessment, rather than about whether such assessment should be conducted, then I am happy to concede the ground and to accept that it should include lots of things.

Furthermore, I am all in favour of the employment of economists in the conduct of such assessments: time hangs heavily on their hands, alas. I am not in favour of (a) accepting every proposal that comes along if the costs and benefits (however broadly defined) are not made clear and (b) the identities of those receiving the benefits and those paying the costs are not shown: “Cui bono?” comes first. It seems that I may have misinterpreted your position on the nature and value of economic analysis and for that I apologise.

On energy generally, as I mentioned to Pat Gill, I accept the idea of peak oil and the desirabillity of finding alternatives, but I’d like them to make economic sense. I say that just to clarify my position, not to start a new argument.

bjg

@Brian – thank you for a great post. As is often the case, the two positions that were being argued are not so different. It is imperative that the economic case is made for any proposed project.

An analysis of what should (or should not) be involved in an economic analysis is probably worthy of its own thread!

@denis – I’ll have to leave this til the morning.

Someone said it would be cheaper and better use of the grid to charge your battery at night. This just means the generation capacity will have to run harder and longer 24/7. We will need new generation capacity. I have often said it here that the only solution to our future energy shortfall is nuclear.

5 plants and we are there. Ever at 1.6Gw output potential this will barely cover a fully electrified transport system for cars and trains plus growth in population. Unless people are suggesting that we should not grow our population?

5 plants -20 years. Thousands of valuable construction jobs, massive new national capital assets, great earning potential as countries like the UK will be desperate for capacity during the coming two decades if it is to remain its current size as a nation. (Actually the UK will very likely decline further.)

Ireland needs valuable assets. Nuclear power plants would fit the bill.
Fiat currencies are on the way out and we will need assets to trade with. The most fungible and readily available of such would be electricty generation capacity in a Europe that needs such capacity and which is likely to forced back onto the Gold Standard in order to extricate itself from this debt apocalypse.

We have no gold!

Hydrogen is only credible if you have a cheap source of supply like nuclear reactors, and the infrastructure required is much worse than electric.

If you really want to reduce transport carbon, you should concentrate on modes where vehicles are in service several hours a day, not a couple of hours in the morning and a couple in the afternoon. Start by making every local service bus in Ireland diesel-hybrid as each comes up for replacement, every new/replacement taxi in major cities a plug-in hybrid (using a leasing scheme) and expedite the electrification of the railway to Maynooth, Drogheda and Kildare.

Buses, commuter trains and taxis use more fuel in a day than the average car uses in a week or more, given their longer service hours and acceleration profiles. If “hotel power” was provided at city centre termini perhaps the buses would not need to be kept running with consequent noise and fuel saving, and charging points could also be provided for taxis during offpeak periods. More importantly, the technology to do all of the above is mature compared to the EVs under discussion.

Emphasising privately-owned EVs is a subsidy for car dealers who get to sell higher markup vehicles while imposing costs on independent garages who will find it onerous to retool to service these cars, if they are not excluded altogether.

@ Mokabaybob,

In relation to electricity at night for recharging. It’s not really like that.

Electricity is cheaper at night (am) because it is an incentive to people / users to use electricity at night.

Not everybody is boiling their kettle at 3 am. The vast majority of the population is asleep.

Demand for electricity is at its highest during the day, not at night.

However boilers are used to produce steam to drive a generator to make electricity. But boilers are not flexible. They are not like a kettle which can be switched on, brought up to full power rapidly and then switched off.

Hence when a large boiler is brought up to pressure and temperature it might take a number of days, depending on the design and materials used. So boilers run at full power during the day to meet demand, but at night when demand is low, you can’t just switch the boiler off, you have to keep it running at reduced power keeping it hot. There are costs as well as you have shift workers and equipment has to be maintained 24/7 not just during the day.

If 1/2 the population worked at night and the other 1/2 worked dayshift and shops were open 24 hours then we could get close to equal demand day and night. You could then run your power station a full tilt.

But electrical demand varies, that is just a fact of life. But power stations cannot switch off like a car engine can.

In addition most steam plants only get into their max efficiency when close to their full rated power. That is the way they are designed.

Hence power is available from the grid to charge up EV’s at night. This would help bring more balance to the system in terms of electrical demand etc.

There are other factors as well, but that basically is the rough overall idea.

Personally myself I do believe EV’s have a role in our society. Fine for city commuting. But it depends on how complex the implementation is. Using EV’s to reverse power the grid does not sound like a good idea. It might be economically worthwhile but it is not efficient in terms of energy use. Where there is inefficiency there is a loss. Somebody will have to pay for this loss. It’s going to be you and me.

In addition it is clear that there is a certain fear factor at work. More learned and wiser commentators on this blog are looking to see where is the money going? Who is subsidising the costs? Who is paying for the EV? Who is picking up the tab. And more importantly who is making the gains?

I am beginning to sense that the population of Ireland is starting to lose faith in our own ability to govern ourselves, to make the right decisions. After 25 five years the health system is still third world. We introduced competition in the electricity market, but we went from having one of the cheapest electricity costs to the most expensive. Our track record is not good.

Personally myself I am very very skeptical if we will get EV’s just right.

In some respects I have lost faith in the country. Is the taxpayer just going to be screwed again??

And sure why not…. The spin says we are the second richest country in Europe.

@Sporthog

Appreciate you comment. You are not alone in your despair as to the ability of any Irish government as presently constituted to lead us out of this debacle. My own view is that the resolution of the current economic problems are beyond them and what is needed is a more radical approach.

On the EV issue, you would concede I hope, that additional capacity would be required if wholesale roll out of EV’s occurred? If not what number of such vehicles could be catered for given current capacity?

As to the ability of the more learned and wiser commentators on this blog to get to the bottom of the EV scam, (if that is what it is?) I would not hold my breath.

@ Mokabaybob,

Rough back of fag packet calculations, peak demand = 4.6GW, Max supply = 6.1GW. But if the economy grows again the difference would lessen.

Extra available = 1.5Gw, take away one station down for maintenance 400Mw then you are left with 1.1 GW. Then spinning reserve 300MW

So all in all that leaves you with 800Mw to power Ev’s as we stand right now, roughly I hasten to say. How many batteries will 800Mw power up? Depends on the type of battery. Taking this link here,

http://www.greenmachines.ie/mega_city_car/product.aspx

This car uses 1.5Kw to charge this car per hour.

800,000 Kw divided by 1.5kw = 533,333 cars of this type can be charged.

But you would have to maintain this for 9 hours approximately. Not to mention transmission losses or other factors. But again this is for peak times, you might have 1200Mw available at night, maybe even more.

So no, it does not look like we are going to power the entire country for EV’s as we stand right now. But still 53,000 Ev’s of the type above is a considerable start.

But one thing is certain, you can’t stop progress. Battery research and development is continuing apace. So even if we have the generation capacity to run EV’s right now, that is not too say we will have the capacity to power more of them in 10 years time.

There is a link here…

http://www.eirgrid.com/media/Winter%20Outlook%202009-2010.pdf

Basically saying peak demand is expected around 4600 Mw and max supply is at around 6000 Mw. Very interestingly on page 3 is Chart 4, showing how variable wind generation is. Wind does not look too impressive.

But this is where the smart metering will come in. Basically if there is not enough power to meet demand then signals will be sent out to your home, turning off your fridge / freezer for a few hours, maybe even your immersion or oven. In other words your Smart metering will regulate the supply to your house. If Smart metering is used to charge your EV, then charging your EV can be halted remotely. If things are really desperate and they know peak demand will exceed available generation capacity then the smart meter will take power from your EV and supply the grid.

You may be well compensated for your loss of energy (personally I would doubt it, you get what you are given and told to put up or shut up), but you could end up being seriously inconvienced.

Sporthog

Your repeating that same erroneous assumption, that they’re planning on having all cars electric. This is not the case. They’re hoping to have just a small percentage, which is reasonable. They’re looking at 2000 over the next 2 years.

Cian,

I take your point, its not the case they are planning to make the entire country all EV’s. Agreed. But Mokabaybob specifically asked about a wholesale roll out and I was trying to put some rough figures on a scenario which had a lot of variables. The post above was aimed at Mokabaybobs question.

However as I mentioned it is a fact that battery development is continuing apace. That is a fact of life.

If you look at the development of the motor car from 1901 to the present you will see big changes. EV’s may follow this path also (may being the key word). If batteries become more powerfull, and EV’s become bigger and faster, longer ranges etc then they could increase in popularity to the extent that more power stations have to be built. It’s just too early to say yet.

As I said before I am not totally against EV’s, I do believe they have a role to play, and I can see benefits in city commuting etc. If you are towing a caravan, or working on a farm pulling cattle trailers then based on present technology these would not be the vehicles for you.

It’s horses for courses as they say!!

@Sporthog.

Sorry I could not keep up with this thread. So if no one sees this. I won’t be surprised.

Surely your calculation implies (for a “wholesale roll-out” of say 500,000 vehicles) that the additional demand would be in the region of 8 Gw?

Thats a serious figure! Now we are really talking nuclear.

It seems to me that the whole debate about EV’s is predicated on the assumption that the generating capacity will be forthcoming ( but not based on carbon) and that the battery capacities of these EV’s will be superior by a significant margin to that available now.

Any significant increase in electricity generating capacity screams Nuclear as the only possible solution. We should be discussing how we go about getting (I have said 5 plants) built.

@Denis

All discussion of renewables and other pie-in-the-sky notions must be put aside. We cannot allow more time to be wasted on this. Energy serfdom beckons.

Indeed, our prospects as a nation depend on us getting a small number of critical things right; our energy policy, our economy and our system of government. No worries there then.

The first really big critical issue is “How to keep the lights on going forward?” The obvious answer is the construction of Nuclear power plants. It is the right answer. We need to start now.

@ Mokabaybob,

I just checked this thread and I saw your post, looks like we are the last two standing.

The whole scenario depends on lots and lots of variables. So to try and put some figures on it I picked one vehicle only.

This vehicle takes 1.5kw per hour to charge up approximately. But full recharging takes about 9 to 10 hours.

Its a bit like filling a 15 litre tank at a rate of 1.5 litres per hour. After 10 hours your tank is full. Its the same with the battery.

So if each vehicle takes 1.5 kw per hour then how many vehicles can we recharge? Again it depends on how much generation capacity is available and how big each battery is.

If we have 800,000 kw available (about 2 medium size power stations) then 800,000 / 1.5 = 533,000 EV’s of this type can be charged every hour.

As Cian correctly points out the target is about 2000 EV’s for the first year, so we have loads of capscity available as we stand right now.

We could easily power 53,000 vehicles of this type right now as it is. But if we were to change the entire car population to EV’s then you are talking about 1.9 million EV’s. We only have capacity for about 533,000 of them. So you would have to build a few more power stations.

But as time moves on, and battery development continues (ie batterys get bigger and better, EVs will go faster, more people will be attracted to buying them) then a snowball effect will start. That is where you might run out of power station capacity. But to be honest I think that scenario will not come to pass for at least 10 to 15 years.

In relation to 8 Gw of nuclear power, no I don’t think we need to go that big. I think it is best to leave Nuclear out of the debate and concentrate on EV’s against exisiting capacity right now. Not that I am against Nuclear but I am trying to keep the debate simple.

Its going to be a interesting time over the next 10 years to see how it all pans out.

@Sporthog

If your looking at having a large number of EVs charging off the grid, one other fact to consider is that not everyone will be charging their cars every night.

They may charge every 4 days or maybe even only once a week.

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