The UK National Grid to crash when Electric Vehicles charge all at the same time.

National Grid to crash when EV’s charge all at the same time.

We constantly keep seeing the Headline “UK National Grid to crash when Electric Vehicles charge all at the same time.” When in fact it’s probably the other way round!

I’m surprised that this hasn’t been corrected in the Mainstream National Press.

They complain that they are not valued in the UK Media. But, are quite happy to spread Fake news to their readers when it suits them.

So, just to clear this point. Using these EV’s batteries with “Vehicle to Grid”  functionality actually might have the opposite effect!

First point. If every ICE car turns up to fuel at the same time there wouldn’t be fuel left in the Petrol stations! (Petrol strike 2000)

RAC Foundation has found out in real research not speculation as per National Press. That most UK cars are sitting still idle 80%+ of the time.

Most EV charging can occur during the off-peak night time. When the rest of us are tucked up in bed or at a persons work if that person doesn’t have access to a Parking Bay or Driveway at home. This drowning on that everyone must have a charge point along every street?

With a typical EV’s now having 200-300 miles actual real-world range. The high percentage of UK working people are unlikely to need to charge more than once/twice a week. Based on the average trip to work during 2017.

Also, with Shell and BP seeing the writing on the wall. They surprisingly are rolling out a charging point in each of their Petrol stations. Not the cheapest cost to charge, but certainly cheaper than filling the petrol tank with petrol!

The UK grid has plenty of capacity National Grid Statement and with the wind turbines & Solar sites being asked and paid millions in constraint payments most of the time to reduce their output. Those payments themselves points out that there is plenty of suppliers that can for fill the energy requests from National Grid.

The issue however is storage. As electricity is very similar to all supply and demand items. You need it now but not later.

As someone said – “Think of it as a cream that will go off in a matter of minutes“.

Hence, a crew at National Grid are constantly monitoring the actual usage across the UK of electricity being used second by second to ensure the supply and usage are balanced. As you can see right at this site here.

If you fail. You don’t get a bad grade (D-) but you end up with parts of the UK having to be switched off and then turned back on again. But, it’s not quick. It can take several painful hours/days to bring additional resources (Wind, Solar, Gas, Nuke .. etc) up in a balanced way to counter actual UK load otherwise you are back to starting again with turning the power off again!  :o(

Which is why National Grid is regulated to keep the 50Hz frequency with an 220V AC  within a certain +/- 1% limit. Think about – standing on a football and balancing on top without falling off.

Too much and the 50Hz increases which aren’t good for your electrical items. Too little and the 50Hz drops downwards to the 49Hz which gives brownouts and dropouts. Again, not good for the electrical items. ( Electrical engineers – I know there is a lot more to it. But, I’m trying to keep  it simple.)

Now the National Grid does provide power to some manufacturing plants in the UK under the understanding that they may need to reduce or cut the supply without notice. This is normally attached to equipment that can stand a 15-45 of minutes of disconnection. Such as a pottery/steel furnace or other parts of manufacturing that have backup supplies can allow the National Grid to deal with the sudden loss of the expected Load or Generation capacity.

However, like most things, there is a limit that they can’t go beyond.

The good news for the National Grid and UK Government. When everyone actually gets on board the EV conversion is that most if not all EV’s and/or EV chargers happen to be available 24/7 via the Internet.

In most EV’s (Electric Vehicles – Tesla/Jaguars I PACE) you have between a 50-100kW battery able to supply to the local grid (DNO) if you permit them to.

They then pay you for the privilege of using or borrowing the power from your idle EV battery. Generic term is “Balancing the Grid” Even better news is that they can ask for precisely what they need. If they need couple of 1kW or 500Mw they can request this second by second. Where in the old world they would have to crank up a Generation Unit (Peak Plants) which would provide the said power but then have to be paid to shut it down again at short notice if the load has disappeared.

The net result is they save money not having to crank up (Peak Plants) resources that will need to be shut down again within a 1 to 4 hour period. Clever software can work out how much your EV battery can spare without you needing to change your EV charging routine.

So, when you have 75,000 EV cars on-line hanging around for the 80% that they are idle and parked. That can provides an on-call electricity capacity of 3.75GW. It just sitting there. :o)

For comparison Hinckley point when and if built will output 3.2GW in total output to the National Grid. With the current 7.5kW restriction per car (this due to both the inverters current capacity and the lead that supplies the car). That allows this group of cars to provide 0.5625 GW at a drop of a request via the internet hat.

Increase the car count to 750K EV’s and you then have 5.625 GW actual real-time power with a duration of up to 5 hrs plus and still allows the EV to run to work for most peoples commute.

In the UK, we purchase 2-2.5 million cars a year between the years of 2003-2017.

Now having 5.6 GW available each year is very useful to the National Grid. Adding an additional 5.6 GW per year on top would be music to their ears as it allows them to balance or store energy for the UK for later use in the evening peak. For once they will be more relaxed when everyone puts the kettle on for a brew in the commercial break of the UK Soaps.

So, keep an eye out for Vehicle to Grid offerings once you have purchased you EV. More ways to earn money.  Back to the early days of PV on the roof.



About tagware

I've worked in IT for over 30 years. As the owner of one of the earlier AutoDesk Dealerships, when Richard Handyside was the main UK guy in The Cut! We supplied complete CAD, Networks and visualisation systems to Corporate clients such as RIBAS, Channel 4, NHS, BBC, Merrill Lynch, COMET Plc, Morgan Stanley too mention a few. We also developed the graphical ADB system for the Department of Health and a graphically lead Asset system for Merrill Lynch. Subsequently became a contract IT Consultant in both Developement and Production area's for both Large and small businesses. Which is what I'm still doing.
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