Will a surge in electric car sales cause electric grid blackouts?
The answer to the question, electric grid blackouts are likely to occur during the next ten years. The scenario described below is composed of factual information and logical assumptions. If the new 2017 administration does not take action to improve our energy capacity, it is concluded that electric grid blackouts will occur within the next ten years.
Our electric power plants produce about 38% of our total carbon emissions. Transportation in the U. S. contributes about 32% of our total carbon emissions, ref. 1. Our coal fired electric power plants are being shut down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ref. 2. Not much attention is given to reducing the emissions generated by our transportation system.
In the meantime the ice continues to melt in the Antarctic, and in the Arctic Ocean, ref. 3. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts predict a total sea level rise of six feet by 2100. Such a sea level rise will require remapping the world coastlines. Help is on the way. Last week 276,000 people put down a $1,000 deposit on a new electric car planned for delivery in 2017. The Tesla company plans to produce and offer their new, all electric car, Model 3 at a base price of $35,000, ref.4. Chevrolet, BMW, Mercedes and Ford have their own electric cars in the pipeline for future sales. These electric car manufacturers anticipate tipping the car market into an electric-car age. Will we have sufficient electric power to support a surge in electric car usage? While electric car owners are charging their batteries at night, before the next working day, will our electric power plants be able to meet this new demand?
The EPA estimates that an electric car, on average, will require 32 kWh to run for 100 miles. The average car owner drives about 15,000 miles per year. As a result the average electric car driver will consume 4.8 MWh for the year. One million electric cars on the road for one year will consume 4.8 million MWh. One clean electric power plant, rated at 550 MW is needed to produce 4.8 million KWh per year. We have this year over 250 million registered passenger cars. It is possible by 2026, in ten years, that 50%, or 125 million, of our passenger cars will be all electric. The bottom line is, if these assumptions materialize, we need 125 clean new electric power plants rated at 550 MW each over the next ten years.
Will the new administration plan and support the installation of 125 clean new electric plants, rated at 550 MW each, during the next ten years? If not we better be prepared for blackouts on our electric grid.
1. “Should we reduce carbon emissions due to U. S. transportation?”, posted July 7, 2014.
2. “Renewables lack capacity to replace 20% shutdown of coal electric plants in 2015.” posted February 8, 2015.
3. “The disintegrating Antarctic ice sheet”, The Week, p.20 April 15, 2016.
4. “Tesla: A cheaper electric car for the masses”, The Week, p. 16, April 15, 2016.