Maybe some kind of powerful heat pump based kitchen oven? The heater coils they currently use are basically unchanged since the invention of appliances, but it's hard to imagine what a more efficient replacement would look like with foreseeable technology. Some sort of induction oven where you always have to stick your food in an insulated metal box before sticking it in there?
Maybe a hot water heater that uses a heat pump? Maybe it would have two tanks and you pump heat from one tank into the other, making your cold tap super cold at the same time?
There just aren't a lot of places left for your typical household to save a significant amount of power. I'd love it if industrial users put more thought into power savings but that requires buy in from rich people and that's a lot harder to do.
Technically, things like better insulation are low hanging fruit in the sense that the technology exists and the materials for it are cheap, but it's incredibly labor-intensive, especially when retrofitting old housing stock.
Solar is much easier to retrofit onto a home than making a 50+ year old house well-insulated.
When you have a technology in very nearly every home in the country and used daily that you can replace with something a whopping 85% more efficient it adds up.
I expect most modern countries are going to need to be constantly upgrading their power grids and power generation capabilities over the next few decades. Hopefully most of the new energy generation will be renewables.
We'll need more generation, but only about half as much more as a naive analysis would indicate.
What I'm saying is that in our long term planning, we shouldn't be thinking "we have X terawatts of fossil fuel production capacity so we need to build out X terawatts of non-fossil-fuel production capacity to replace it (including storage, as needed)" We should be thinking "We probably need ~2X terawatts of additional production because we're replacing fossil fuels for electricity generation in addition to transitioning to electricity-based heating and transportation."
If we want a zero carbon grid nuclear simply isn’t viable on it’s own, it needs massive energy storage or peaking power just like wind and solar.
Also, not being in this field, I may have misunderstood you or confused the terminology.
It'd be ugly, but if no one loses their job nothing will change.
We have an electric car, and we survived a 3 day outage caused by a wind storm a few weeks ago just fine. That's because we started with a full battery, just like we do every morning.
OTOH, many people with gas cars had empty tanks and had to endure 4+ hour lines at the few gas stations that had electricity and hadn't yet run out of gas.
My father instilled in to me to never let my tank get below half, in case there are emergencies and I still follow that practice.
1. When I switched to an EV as a daily driver, I realized I had underestimated how much time and hassle I was spending at gas stations. When it's been engrained in your psyche as being just part of life, we don't really realize how nasty gas stations are compared to just plugging something in.
2. Another good reason to never let your tank get below half: If you get "bad" gas, you'll only have half a tank of it, diluted with presumably "good" gas. Rare occurrence nowadays, but a benefit nonetheless.
I never listed to him, but to this day he still only fills his car up half way for better gas mileage. I'm sure it matters if you have a 200 gallon tank, but 60 pounds of fuel will not make a difference in a vehicle that weighs 3000 pounds. Adding a single passenger is going to be more than double that.
So if you avoid carrying around 8 gallons of fuel everywhere, you could increase fuel efficiency by around half a percent.
Not a lot of savings.
You're assuming the electric outage happened after you filled up your car with electricity.
It could also be possible that the electric outage happened after you filled up at the gas station and the gas station ran out of power.
My point is that the only time the car drops below 300km of battery life remaining is when we're on a road trip, so maybe once a month.
Whereas our gasoline car will have somewhere between 1/8 and full on a random day.
Which - if we're being honest - is a bit of a privilege. Most folks with cars do not have a dedicated garage, nor a parking space with an outlet.
In fact you can fill an ICE car in a few minutes so you can have many cars per single pump. EVs require long periods of time at a dedicated plug that many apartment owners, renters, and others don't have access to.
Could you imagine the lines at a charging station when it takes 30 minutes best case per vehicle?
I don’t have batteries yet because I have favorable net metering and my utility is natural gas fired (which pairs better with distributed renewable generation vs coal or nuclear), but if/when their power quality declines, my system is future proof to accept battery storage.
(also, no clouds where you are?)
[removed strawman comment for being unnecessarily combative] When my utility is operational, I’m not just offsetting my consumption but also pushing back clean power into the grid for others locally to consume (which reduces the natural gas generation required of my utility) and while the failure mode isn’t perfect when the grid is down, it’s better than having no power at all (until battery storage costs decline).
Fixed it for you.
People just do not get how much different an EV is vs gas. Never having to go to a gas station is just SO nice once you never have to do it.
Therefore we were out ~30km of range when the power went out. 370km rather than 400km is still "full" in my opinion, though.
By the way, if the power is out, gas station pumps don't normally work either.
It's not like they don't have a tank of gas nearby .....
We already have grid-tie solar, and beyond that, grid-tie batteries at homes and them doing work to support frequency and voltage of the grid in many locations. Having an EV do it isn't any harder.
The big challenges are figuring out how to compensate/bill for all this.
But it’s best when coupled with reduced usage where possible - if we get to a point where the majority of residential electrical usage is cars we’ll be doing pretty well.
It's something like this that helped cause that big power outage in Chicago. Power couldn't flow through the big transmission lines (they got shut down for a couple of reasons), so it flowed through the local lines towards the demand, and then those were shut down because they hit trees.
Ironically, this electrical current issue is also a problem for charging electric cars at stations, since one fast charger at 20% utilization can draw 2-3x more power than the store whose power grid it's attached to.
Wouldn't it be less current, in general? If your neighborhood gets 20% of its power from solar panels on your neighbor's houses, it seems clear that power lines inbound to the neighborhood would need to carry 20% less load, and lines inside your neighborhood would also carry somewhat less on average (your power consumption has not changed, and presumably your neighbor is powering his house off his own power before exporting the rest to you).
I understand there are probably some topological hot spots, like if one dude has a 1MW solar installation in his backyard, but as a general principle I don't understand what big upgrades need to be done to the grid to support P2P.
An average home consumes just a little over 1kW on average, and its connection to the grid will be built to that tolerance.
Solar generation is generally peaks around 5kW for an average house installation; individual panels measure between 250 and 400 watts.
An electric car's battery pack can, pretty easily, provide in excess of 100kW (based on their charging rates, and the fact that batteries charge more slowly than they can discharge - about 4.6x slower for Tesla battery packs).
Does something bad happen if I actually use my home's full service for an extended period? I understand bad things would happen if everyone on my block did.
As a thought experiment, would anything bad happen if a magic wand was waved over a neighborhood, and each individual house now supplied power to the grid in the same amount it would usually be consuming it? A whole neighborhood with normal electric flow, just reversed. Are there components of the grid that are unable to deal with reverse power in the exact same quantity and load distribution as forward power?
The second thing would be all the sensors attached to the grid. Would they identify a sudden and dramatic change in flow as a fault, and throw their switches?
Also, where would that supply of energy flow? If there's not enough of a sink for that electricity, what happens to the generators? If the sink is outside the local area, what would happen to those transmission lines?
The bad thing is you would get a huge power bill at the end of the month.
II note: with the premise that I do not know how electricity grid in USA was made, in EU the grids was made by States years ago, then get privatized and so far almost no real upgrades have happened, witch is a classic plot for all privatization: profit for the company, no investments, cry for State money and help "it's an emergency!!!!". This model MUST be ended ASAP if we want to have something still working at certain scale in the future.
For a point of reference, charging lithium batteries has to happen slower (lower wattage) than discharging, and a car battery pack with a fast charger can pull over 350kw.
In comparison, a residential solar system for a house will provide somewhere around 5kw, peak.
Why would grid storage configure the cars to supply power at the max battery rate?
Even if my car and the grid-tie system malfunctioned and tried to send unlimited power to the grid, the 30A breaker its plugged into would trip before it hits 7500W.
It's not like it needs to handle a lot of power because EV's don't have that much power to spare, if I have a 75KWh battery and am willing to give up 30% of my capacity to the grid, that's 25KWh, or around 2.5KW for 10 hours.
> if I have a 75KWh battery and am willing to give up 30% of my capacity to the grid, that's 25KWh, or around 2.5KW for 10 hours.
That depends on how much current you can push. The battery is quite capable of giving up that 25kWh in 10-20 minutes too.
Yes, and it does have those limits in place for charging, some in software (by the EV charge controller telling the car how much power it can use), some hardware (through at least 2 circuit breakers). Why wouldn't the same limits be enforced if using the car for grid storage?
Why does the max power output of a car battery have any bearing on whether it can be used for grid storage?
But ultimately, what speaks more than anything I could ever say is the requirement for backup power generation (including household battery arrays) requires mains power be cut off before engaging - to prevent damage to the grid.
The batteries aren't connected to the grid directly, the grid can't absorb DC power, it has to go through an inverter.
Even if your batteries can supply 500KW of instantaneous power, if they are connected to a 1KW inverter, the most the grid will ever see is 1KW - there's no failure mode that would let a 1KW inverter pump out 500KW of AC power, even for an instant.
A simple practical example: my dishwasher start heating water is +2kW in an instance, my solar inverter take 2-3" to ramp up to +2kW. The home microgrid need or the national grid or a battery inverter to avoid collapsing due to a too big frequency drop. The dishwasher have finished heating water, again a sudden -2kW, again I need to divert extra energy to the grid or a battery to avoid a frequency peak big enough to make the inverter disconnect.
AC grids are like a tense rope with various "needles" attached to it, some push the rope at a certain frequency, let's say 50 or 60Hz, some are dragged by that frequency. Those who push are generator, like a solar inverter, a NPP etc, those dragged are loads. Those who drag need to keep the frequency so when a new load arrive they need to push stronger at the same rate, when a load detach itself they need to push less at the same rate. It's NOT easy. We have made public grid of a certain size, not too little, not too big, to average the load, we have observed that at a certain size demand is "constant enough" to made easy keep the frequency. Below or above is hard, the resulting grid is unstable.
Now, since served people became bigger and grid infra was not evolved with them we start to make "grids interconnections" to help compensate, that's worked a bit, but also sometimes that have made catastrophic cascading effects. We are at a point we can't compensate anymore. Witch means grid instability on grid complex enough that restoring might take time, non in seconds or minutes but in hours or days.
Some hope that grid-tied EVs so batteries and powerful, fast inverters, can help absorbing excess energy when grid loads drop, pushing energy to the grid when grid load ramp up. I'm not in the field but given the very small example of my home system (solar + lithium storage) I really doubt such idea can work in practice. Also being an IT guy I fear about it's potential crapload of vulnerabilities. The sole solution I see is re-do the public grid, at State level, for current and foreseeable future needs, with enough NPP, gas PP and distribution networks to have again a stable national grid, no smartness needed. Since I doubt that's happen that's why I invest in a system with lithium storage witch here (France) is definitively NOT convenient economically speaking, preparing to more and more frequent blackouts, longer and longer...
That doesn't really answer my question.
If I have a home solar installation that can send up to 10KW into the grid, how is that any different than an EV battery that can send the same amount of power into the grid?
I could see the problem if people were sending 100's of KW into the grid with EV batteries, but that's not the case, they're sending a similar amount of power that a home would use.
3kW slow charge is simply too low for most vehicles, they recharge but the battery might suffer
I charge my EV at 1KW (9 amps at 120V), it's enough to recharge my 30 mile commute overnight. I'm not aware of any cars (in the USA) that have a minimum charge rate.
Your system have a purpose: give you energy NOT stabilizing the grid. Your system (like mine) actually disturb the grid and that's why countries have regulations on them. The actual grid have issues ALSO due to the augmented presence of p.v.
If you want to stabilize the grid with cars you do the very opposite, your system need not to give you energy using the grid as a kind of "energy buffer" but to be itself an energy buffer. Let's say we have such systems: at a certain point in time locally our domestic power plants see a sudden frequency drop, around 1Hz. As fast as they can they start pushing energy to the grid. All connected vehicles/plants. As a result the frequency peak in 2-3". Again as fast as they can all connected systems try to get energy from the grid to help the frequency going down. Again a network effect. The frequency drop. They reverse. In a minute you have generated enough oscillation that no one is able to keep the frequency, local grid segments got disconnected, all generators in the segment shut down.
Few big enough power plants can coordinate themselves to monitor and decide, too many small and spread can't. Even with frequency shifting witch is the fastest and simplest way possible we can't.
Trying proving the above: if you have a monitoring system fast enough, like an MQTT frequency sensors or a multimeter with frequency measure and graphing ability try to see a minute at night, with pv disconnected, no battery etc and a minute when it work. On grid ONLY you'll see a far more stable frequency. On p.v./battery you'll see a schizophrenic variation. Try to interpolate at a grid scale the resulting mess.
If we just inject to the grid our inverters simply try to push energy watching frequency, they push less as the frequency goes up but nothing more. It's up to the big power plant regulating. Being one-direction only they generate disturbances but still something manageable at least at a certain scale. A bi-direction system I can't really say if it's sustainable nor I know if a far bigger presence of p.v. can be allowed...
Edit: sorry, forgot a part, yes you can recharge and EV even at 100W but the battery do not balance cells, as a result it last less time. Witch means for instance 8 years instead of 10 of usable life. 7kW is generally the "needed mean" to balance for most EVs, normally you have such issue mentioned in the manual.
Can you show me an example, I looked at the owners manual for a few cars and none mentioned an issue with slow Level1 charging.
My utility can already turn off my air conditioner during peak demand, why is it harder to turn off a 4000W load when they need more power than to turn on a 4000W battery when they need more power?
A very generic article
A thesis who cite many balancing technique
Another normal advise is not to charge at 100%, not because it's bad in general, the contrary it's NEEDED for a proper cell balance, but on cars have a potential issue, the very same who is an issue for the grid stabilization: when you ask for more power your battery and inverters do their best to give it, but when the demand drop, for instance because you have hit the accelerator then release it, there is an excess of power and on a battery-only system like a car you have no grid to push excess energy to nor you can shut down. As a result you divert excess back to the battery crating high DC ripple effects overheating and stressing the battery itself.
> My utility can already turn off my air conditioner during peak demand, why is it harder to turn off a 4000W load when they need more power than to turn on a 4000W battery when they need more power?
It's not an on-and-off problem but a how quick such on-and-off can happen. As I suggest try seeing your p.v. system when it works. Try see how the frequency spike constantly with p.v. inverter active and how stable is (normally) on the grid, try to se what happen when you start a big load and when it drop. To see that better, if you have lithium storage try to run exclusively on it+solar and see what happen.
AC is veeeery nice for many aspects, but it's hard for others. Try to keep a grid at a certain frequency is NOT an easy business, trying to do so with a gazillion of small generators is next to impossible.
Smartness is a modern hope we add in both regulatory capacity for generators and avoid sudden loads spikes because smarter loads can potentially advise generators before starting or stopping and eventually ramp up or down slowly. However so far we are in an uncharted territory with just very little experiments and nothing on scale.
As a small fish in that particular pond it concerns me a bit that the government of California has some degree of control over the organization, though. I'd say a positive change would be to massively expand the size of the various balancing authorities and put them all under the purview of the federal government.
*not actually free, but free on the scale of other necessary changes.