The Power Grid – It’s Doomed!

We have all heard about how we all must rid ourselves of our fossil fuel vehicles and move to electric vehicles. I used to hate the thought of this, but now since Tesla headed by Elon Musk has redefined what an EV can be. Elon has changed my mind and the minds of millions of others. You see what Elon Musk did was not simply make an electric vehicle, what he did is that he made some pretty awesome-high-performance vehicles with mind-blowing, almost A.I. technology, that just happened to be electric.

With electric vehicles literally embarrassing their gas-guzzling snarling-brethren with names like AMG, GTO, SVJ by embarrassingly gapping them on the drag strip and doing so while having four seats, a spacious trunk and more gadgetry than the USS enterprise.

But there is one thing that seems to have been missed by pretty much everyone and could end up killing the entire EV industry unless something is done.

Let’s look at 2006, which goes on record as a peak draw on the power grid of just over 27,500 megawatts, with a reserve of 5000 from Quebec, from my calculations and research. We could be facing a serious problem if we plan to change the landscape of the cars parked in people’s driveways. Currently, here in Ontario, only about 3% of all cars sold are electric, which is about 38 thousand EVs, with over 2.4 million fossil fuel vehicles being sold each year. The government wishes to have 50% of all new vehicles purchased in 2030 be electric. From an environmental and political view, all is well in good, but this is where it becomes a problem.

When we have had unusually hot summers, we have had to rely on rolling brownouts to take the load off the power grid. Since air conditioners would be drawing massive amounts of power from the grid during heat spells, we needed to take. Decades ago, not everyone had AC units, but now, they are the de facto must-have, whereby some people are even installing them in garages, AKA Man Caves.

The average AC unit draws about 3.1 kilowatts, whereby a stage 2 charging station for an electric vehicle draws at least 17 kilowatts. Now I have to be honest, depending on where you look, the stats on EV draw on power is all over the map, some say more and some say less, I found it very difficult finding numbers that correlated with one another. I would see a number in one place, then published elsewhere with completely different numbers, so I had to make an educated calculation to select a reasonable and conservative number.

The problem is, if by 2030 we are to have 50% of all vehicles sold in Canada, basic maths tells us using approximately 3.5 percent of EV vehicles on the road today as our setpoint, the addition of these new EVs year over year, accounting for missed quota targets which I am sure will happen, we can extrapolate a very conservative estimate of the potential load on our power grid. I honestly do not feel we will hit these targets, so my formulas are adjusted accordingly as I have tempered their predictions so that their predictions are for the most part quite conservative, in the order of less than half, still, the results are profound and devastating.

What the calculations tell us is that we will need on a regular basis, around 25 thousand megawatts at what I can assume will be a constant draw. We can’t really enforce that these loads be staggered since the majority of people will be charging their cars at the same time.

This potential grid load far exceeds our existing power grid many times over, even when you include the reserved power from Quebec.

The question is then, how in the world will we be able to accommodate this without massive controls as to when you are permitted to recharge your vehicle?

The next major concern is how will homes belonging to the owners of these electric cars be able to outfit with stage two charging stations? With the sheer numbers dictated by these quotas, I would fully expect that upgrades on existing electrical power grid infrastructure be needed to enable it to handle the increased loads of now hundreds of thousands of homes. I would fully expect it would take billions upon billions of dollars, year over year in order to retrofit much of our existing infrastructure.

I am not trying to rain on the efforts of moving into more sustainable choices, but we will need to assess these requirements that will be placed increasing demands on our electrical grid.

Other things to consider are more nefarious things that could result in all this. Will the government impose carbon credits whereby once one reaches a predetermined carbon credit score, one could be blocked from recharging their vehicle until a later time?

  • Will travel restrictions be put in place?
  • Will the price of electricity skyrocket?
  • Will there be a Power Grid tax?
  • Will the use of a car be restricted for essential needs only?
  • Will battery disposal taxes be added to the purchase of the cars price?
  • Have there been any studies to see if there are any health risks by being so close to these high-powered batteries?

Delusional: There are some who feel there will not be any impact, and some actually believe electric vehicles could actually add power to the grid, but the scenarios they provide are truly utopian views of a perfect world. I have done quite a bit of research, either I am missing something everything, and the numbers are meaningless, or they are delusional. Some have said things like while the electrification of mobility is definitely accelerating, a massive power-demand crisis due to electric vehicles simply won’t happen overnight. This is an evolution that spans over decades, not a sudden revolution. This gives utility companies plenty of time to plan ahead. Plenty of time to plan ahead, what are they thinking? It seems our leaders are not thinking decades and in fact thinking a revolution indeed. Here in Canada our current dictator Justin Trudeau who is so virtuous has given us eight short years to go from 3.5 percent of EV cars sold to 50 percent, this is no small goal, and I truly expect this goal to be missed by miles. With the economy being clobbered from the mismanagement of COVID, interest rates for new cars are rising all the time, pushing the idea of purchasing a new car down the list of wants.   

I have also researched and shared my concerns with my MPP over how we do not come even close to sufficiently budget for our existing infrastructure, instead we like prefer to budget for new and shiny things like buildings, LRTs, and green virtuous things like parks. There are not many if any politicians who is willing to hang or their hat on something as low profile as sewer upgrades or more relevant to our topic, power grid upgrades. Projects like that usually span longer than their term and as well are more or less ignored, as they play hot potato with the issue until it becomes a forced issue, which usually by then, it’s too late and will cost several times more.

Think of it, in eight short years I would truly expect massive power grid upgrades, which will take years if not decades to complete. Not only that, the privately owned businesses and residential areas as well will also need massive upgrades.

I have heard recently of homes being upgraded to 400-amp service so they can have their three AC units running 24/7 and their pool filter, and hot tub running along with the many other electrical devices and appliances. We are a population of serious power consumption, so imagine if everyone started lining up for 400-amp service upgrades. It’s time we take off our rose-coloured glasses and do some seriously detailed modelling to see the true impacts of having potentially millions of level-two charging stations hooked up to the power grid.

Luckily in Ontario in 2018, the building code was upgraded to ensure all new homes are fitted with 200-amp service. For homes part of subdivisions that are permitted after January 2018, the Ontario Building Code has been updated to include 200-amp service as a minimum requirement due to electric vehicle charging. This new requirement could add an additional $500 per new construction home in Ontario. The problem is many rural homes are 100 amp service and depending on where you live, 200 amp service may not be available the costs can range from $2500 per upgrade to much more depending on your local electrical delivery infrastructure. Many older homes are currently 60- or 100-amp service so these situations would need to be remedied as well.

The Calculations: If we use the baseline of 3.5% of current new cars being electric, with current sales of approximately 2.3 million each year, if we model a very conservative yearly increase over the eight years, bring us to the quota of a 50% of all car sales being electric, and using 17 kilowatts draw from the grid for each level two charger, we come up with the following numbers. The additional draw on the power grid would be in the neighbourhood of 23,000 megawatts, noting, that 27,000 megawatts was a record set in 2006 when the summer was a record-setting summer with temperatures in the 40C.

The calculations used are quite conservative since the model used did not add year-over-year linear sales increases. If we used a more linear model, the power grid draw could easily reach 60,000 to 75,000 megawatts. This is significant and far exceeds the capacity of our existing power grid. Currently, the draw on the power grid for all-electric vehicles is at most 1.4 megawatts and that would be under the assumption most customers have their own chargers.

It seems we are too optimistic in thinking we will simply be okay. We have excluded all those who own older homes pretty much out of the equation. If we are to fully adopt electric vehicles, should we not start dealing with these situations now? If history has taught us anything, we will undoubtedly screw this up with the end result being massive power outages and complete power-grid failures across the country. The trillions it will cost to repair it will push our already over-spent financial system into a recession that we have not seen since the great depression. Think of it, Trudeau is printing money; before COVID financial experts were predicting 2019 to be a very lean and tough year financially; since COVID, Trudeau has tried to spend our way out of this, which has failed. With inflation as we see it now, the rising prices of goods and services, and with this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And now, with the farming restrictions Trudeau has placed on our farmers, we are getting closer to becoming a socialist state since he is destroying the private sector. So with this latest push for more EVs, it is like bringing candy to a diabetic convention.

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