…When Will the Insanity End?…
The media went gaga over France’s and the UK’s proposal to eliminate the use of internal combustion engines in automobiles by replacing them with battery-powered vehicles (BEVs).
But what are the facts?
When the UK, Environment Secretary, Michael Gove called for the elimination of internal combustion engines, the media treated it as the death knell for oil.
To actually accomplish replacing all light vehicles in the UK with battery-powered vehicles, while also meeting the requirements of the UK’s Climate Change Act, would require building 39,000 new 2 MW wind turbines, which is nearly 6 times the number of wind turbines built over the last 15 years.
The cost would be approximately $165 billion or £131 billion. (More, if offshore wind or solar is built.)
- This is 90% of the UK budget for its entire health care program, or nearly three times larger than the UK’s defense budget.
And this does not include:
- All the trucks that run on oil in the UK
- Building charging stations
- Additional wind or solar power required if all nuclear plants are closed, where nuclear currently supplies 21% of the UK’s electricity
- Costs for increases to the transmission and distribution system
It also ignores the problem of adding large amounts of unreliable wind to the grid that could require adding battery or other storage at an additional cost.
Supporting Data and Facts
Here’s a quick look at the UK.
- Total number of light vehicles, i.e., cars = 30,900,000
- Number of miles driven per car per year = 7,900
- Total miles driven = 244,110,000,000
- Electricity required if all miles were driven by BEVs = 109,849,500 MWh
- Total current electricity usage w/o electric vehicles, i.e., BEVs = 357,000,000 MWh
- Total existing generation capacity = 78,279 MW
Note: Data is approximate. Miles used by BEV is for 60 kWh battery, at 450 Wh/mile.
From this it can be seen that the UK would have to increase its generating capacity by 31%, or by nearly one-third, in order to replace existing light vehicles with BEVs.
This would require adding over 24,000 MW of new capacity, using either coal-fired, natural gas or nuclear power. Roughly speaking, it means building approximately 24 new 1,000 MW plants.
On a per KW basis, the cheapest plants to build are natural gas at around $1,100 per KW. The cost of building the required number of natural gas power plants would be $24 billion. Modern coal-fired plants cost around $2,800 per KW.
However, the UK is short on natural gas, but does have ample supplies of coal. It’s far more likely that a combination of natural gas and coal-fired power plants would need to be built at a cost of around $65 billion, depending on the final mix.
Alternatively it would require 18,500 new 2 MW wind turbines, having a capacity factor of 34% (the same as the CF for existing units). The number of existing wind turbines is estimated to be 7,613, as of June 2017.
(The capital costs are from US data, and costs in the UK are probably higher.)
In other words, it would require building approximately two and one half times the number of existing wind turbines at a cost of roughly $78 billion. The cost would be substantially greater if the wind turbines were installed off shore.
- Building coal-fired or natural gas power plants would negate the purpose of forcing everyone to use BEVs.
- Europe doesn’t want to build nuclear power plants so that option is also off the table. Besides, their cost would be at least six times that of building natural gas power plants.
Interestingly, the UK’s Climate Change Act mandates emissions cuts of 80% by 2050 from power plants.
This means coal and natural gas power plants must be replaced with renewables by 2050.
Therefore: Nearly 31,000 MW of existing coal-fired and natural gas power plants must be replaced by renewables so as to meet the required 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from existing power plants.
Using the same capacity factor of 34% as used above, it would require adding an additional 20,500, 2 MW wind turbines in the UK, or equivalent solar capacity, to achieve the required 80% reduction in CO2 emissions.
It’s insane to predict that all the light vehicles in the UK, that currently operate using the internal combustion engine, can be replaced by BEVs, with the current, or foreseeable state of battery technology.
The mere fact that the media would report such a claim as being credible, shows how slavishly and blindly the media is adhering to the CO2 party line.