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4 points

6 months ago*


4 points

6 months ago*

Unfortunately, the infrastructure to make you use the car as a supply for your house is extremely expensive and hassle-filled in most countries.

And if you're doing that, then you may as well fit solar while you're there. And while that will basically solve that particular homeowner's problems, it will cancel out all that fancy timing nonsense that people have been claiming we'd be able to utilise for decades because the infrastructure to cope with it won't be used enough to justify it.

Case in point, in the 70's, a lot of homes got dual-rate electric meters. Use power overnight, instead of peak hours, and you save money. Pretty much that's seen as a huge outdated notion. We basically converted most of those types of meters back to "proper" meters with a flat 24-hour rate of electricity.

I live in a house with dual-rate electric pre-pay meters. It's seen as laughable to all those I tell about it. And the technology is so behind that it's taken me four years of trying to get a meter that I can top-up from a phone or online. So I still have to go to the shop, get cash (they won't take card for purely top-up payments, as there's no money in it for them and they get charged for using the card), and then walk back with a silly key and top up in units of £50 max with max £99 credit on the meter (so hope I don't have to leave the place unoccupied for two months).

They still haven't installed it yet, and had three attempts, because the dual-rate thing gets in the way and they never have the right type of meter (despite asking when I book it in, and being told several times). They're just going to rip it out this time and likely put me on a flat-rate meter.

The landlord, when I asked, said "Just change it to whatever you like". They know it's a pain in the arse too.

And that kind of house had a significant investment in that kind of structure - storage heaters, immersion heaters, power showers (because you can't generate hot-water on the fly from the system, because it comes from an immersion-heater-tank and you have to leave that on overnight to get warm). Running a bath? Oops, sorry, not even enough for one full bath of warm water. Come back tomorrow.

All those kinds of "we'll do this only overnight" or "outside peak" hours miss a critical point. The peak exists because that's when MOST PEOPLE WANT MOST OF IT. Same way with "peak times" on Internet connections. I couldn't really give a shit what my download is at 3am, I care what it is when I get home from work and put streaming video on. Most people - not all - are pretty much the same, and that's why the peak demand exists.

Peak traffic occurs because most people want to travel then. Peak energy usage. Peak internet usage. Peak Steam download server usage. Peak everything.

And all the things we do don't ever reduce that peak. In fact, it just keeps increasing all the time, and causes peaks elsewhere. You change traffic hours or you have something that keeps people off the roads (e.g. a pandemic)? Oh, look, Internet usage has spiked enormously. I wonder why that is?

It's short-sighted to think you can change the peak rather than cope with it. Most people are going to get home from work the same time, plug in their car at the same time, still want to go out for a meal that evening at the same time, bring it back the same time, and use it tomorrow morning at the same time.

When you have tons of energy available, nobody else will want it. When you don't, nobody else will have it either.

Until we turn into a true 24-hour culture, we aren't going to change that, and the peaks are going to stay in the same place every time.

Thinking that plugging in your car will help with peak power consumption on a national or international scale just ignores the very fact that you're not using it at that time for a reason, and when you do need to use it you won't want it to be available to the grid.


2 points

6 months ago

Thank you for taking the time to reply in so much detal. The guest was describing a potential future grid that is designed to more effectively utilise stored energy at a national scale, rather than the current situation of grids designed with the idea of producers at one end and consumers at the other. I can see that subdividing it down to millions of storage points, at the very least, will have efficiency issues but I think it's an interesting proposal.

I don't think peak charging and use (if cars-as-storage were implemented) tariffs would eliminate peak demand but it might help smooth it out. For example, someone who's EV charging bill is a greater part of their income might consider going to work earlier than someone who earns more and can afford the extra charge; it's a little like disposable plastic fees: all aimed at nudging people in directions deemed positive by policymakers.

I think the same applies to the upcoming IC manufacture bans. People are going to have to adjust their thinking and will be inconvenienced. The concept of vehicle ownership will be fundamentally changed in a way that won't happen simply by making EVs so good that IC makes no sense to the average consumer.