Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Your electric car of the future. - Page 16

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Posted by Neon John on June 10, 2008, 9:40 pm

The environmental madness of the last decade or so has driven so much
generation capacity to natural gas that according to industry statistics that
I read in the trade press, almost half the total US consumption of natural gas
is now used to make electricity.  Note that I said "consumption" and not
production.  The US is now, amazingly enough, an importer of natural gas in
addition to oil.  We used to be a major EXPORTER.  

Given natural gas's almost irreplaceable use in industry as a feedstock for
all kinds of synthesized chemicals and it's perfect fit for domestic and
industrial heating, it's crazy, lunacy actually, to burn it to make

So called "renewables" are a joke.  Consider this.  According to "Utility
Automation and Engineering" magazine in an issue dedicated to wind, there are
about 1200 megawatts total of wind generation in this country.  The popular
press will obfuscate the point by telling you how many houses that would run
(never did figure out the "house" unit of energy measurement.)

Here's the relevant point.  That is about the same as ONE large nuclear unit.
Not "plant" but unit in a plant.  Most have two units.  Some have three.  Some
in Europe have more.  That's also about the same capacity as 2 average coal
fired units.

One, count it, ONE new two unit nuclear plant would DOUBLE the output of ALL
those ugly and unreliable wind generators.  Currently, again according to the
industry press, nuclear generation costs about 1.2 cents a kWh.  That's using
the old, over-complicated, over-regulated and cost-overrun plants of the
previous generation.  Coal is just a little higher at about 1.4 cents/kWh.
Everything else is in the stratosphere in comparison.  

Coal is going to rise dramatically in the next few years as the EPA, the
enforcement arm of the new state religion of environmentalism, forces plants
to install carbon sequestration equipment.  This is to capture that imagined
pollutant, carbon dioxide.  The hardware is very expensive and the BEST
estimates are that it will consume around 20% of the plant's output in energy
and revenue for chemicals and maintenance. The worst estimates are more than
double that. There is a veritable feeding frenzy going on in the industry as
contractors and equipment manufacturers prepare to harvest a bounty of
dollars.  From yours and my pockets, of course.

The environmental whacko chickens really are coming home to roost.  We're all
starting to pay for 30+ years of lunacy in the energy industry.  Every time
you read some puff article in the paper about this utility blowing money on
solar "demonstration" projects or that utility installing windmills, think

Alternative energy?                      $CHa-CHING$
"green" anything?                        $CHa-CHING$
Wind farms?                              $CHa-CHING$
PV farms?                                $CHa-CHING$
Time of day billing?                     $CHa-CHING$
carbon sequestration?                    $CHa-CHING$
protest against a new transmission line? $CHa-CHING$
Protest against a new power plant?       $CHa-CHING$

All the money to pay for this stuff comes out of the wage earners' - our -
pockets, whether it is directly via higher energy prices or indirectly through

A classic example of "Be careful of what you wish for, you might get it."

Oh, and electric cars for the masses?  Not a chance until the utility
infrastructure catches up from the last 30 years of being unable to do much of
anything in the way of expanding generating capacity and distribution.  Even a
1% market penetration of EVs would bring the grid to its knees.

As for the tired and worn claim that "we'll all charge at night", consider
this.  You have an electric car with a 150 mile range.  Doable in the
foreseeable future.  You've been instructed and maybe learned by killing a
battery pack, that you don't discharge it much below 60-70% if you want it to
last.  You've commuted to work and back, run your errands and arrived at home
at 5PM with 100 miles on the clock.

Wifey comes out and says, "I feel lousy tonight and I don't want to cook.
Let's drive to town and eat dinner."  Sounds good.  The round trip to town
where you want to eat is 30 miles.  What do you do?

Do you run the batteries down that far?  Do you risk something coming up that
causes you to detour to somewhere else that requires even more miles?  Or do
you hook up your fast charger and pump 50-80 miles' worth of electricity into
the pack while you shower and get ready?

I know what I'd do.  Same thing most folks would do.  I'd hook that charger up
and let the utility strain a little harder to handle the evening peak.  If
there were a time of day surcharge, I'd either not have an electric car at all
or I'd still charge, knowing that I'd be a little poorer (and the utility
stockholders a little richer) as the consequence.

In the above scenario I didn't even try to factor in the fact that urban
driving GREATLY reduces an EV's range.  Even with really good regen, stop and
go driving might reduce that 150 mile range by half.

I love my electric vehicles but I know that with the present state of the
utility grid, it is NOT a general transportation solution.  Not even a niche
solution.  OTOH, if the government gets out of the way and lets us do
neighborhood nukes....


John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
http://www.johndearmond.com  <-- best little blog on the net!
Tellico Plains, Occupied TN
There is room for all of God's creatures.... Right next to the mashed potatoes.

Posted by Neon John on June 9, 2008, 5:02 pm

Not that I know of, and I'm a retired utility engineer.  That's the little fly
in the ointment with the starry-eyed zealots who think that there will be an
EV in every driveway in a few years.  I own several EVs but I didn't drink the
Kool-Aid so I'm not under any delusions that my personal transportation
solution is a general one.  It works for me because they're cheaper to operate
and because I'm a nerd and can build 'em and keep 'em running.

Funny how the same bleary-eyed zealots who demand an all-EV world are also the
ones out there protesting and obstructing every power plant and transmission
line project that comes along.  A hot topic in the utility trade press right
now is how many utilities are just giving up on building new transmission
lines and are instituting strategies to reliably overload their existing
lines.  Such an overloaded line is what started the great northeastern
blackout of a few years ago.

There was another near blackout in Texas a few months ago, caused by the
so-called green (sic) power, in this case a wind farm.  Suddenly, the wind
just quit blowing and within minutes many megawatts of power just went away.
The grid was already at near capacity and the loss of those megawatts came
very close to triggering a cascading fault, the technical term for a
widespread blackout.

I don't know if this hit the press or not because I no longer do mass media
but it sure did hit the trade press.  The cover story on last month's Utility
Automation and Engineering magazine was how utilities are struggling to
integrate as little as 20% renewable (sic) (translate: unreliable) generation
into their grid.  

So-called green power, usually PV or wind, is quite unreliable.  A cloud
passing over a large PV array or loss of wind at a wind turbine farm and that
capacity just goes away.  Even high speed gas peaking turbines have trouble
picking up that much load that fast.

This green (sic) power fad, I'm afraid, is going to end up proving yet again
that old Chinese proverb: "Be careful what you wish for, as you may get it."

Fortunately, around here when I flip on a light switch, a few more atoms get
split in the nearby nuclear plants.  Stone cold reliable, regardless of
outside conditions.


John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
http://www.johndearmond.com  <-- best little blog on the net!
Tellico Plains, Occupied TN
There is room for all of God's creatures.... Right next to the mashed potatoes.

Posted by Steve Young on June 10, 2008, 3:47 am

and with fuel still too cheap to meter!
(a finger sized pellet equaling 8 barrels of crude)

Posted by Eeyore on June 10, 2008, 4:36 am

Steve Young wrote:

Whoever was it who said that one ?

Nukes (at least in the west) have been our energy saviour. Especially for
France !


Posted by Irregular on June 10, 2008, 1:46 pm
 Steve Young wrote:

Light, sweet crude for July delivery fell $.19 to settle at $34.35 a
barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
http://money.cnn.com/2008/06/09/markets/oil/?postversion  08060914

$34.35 x 8 = $,074.80 per pellet.

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