Archive for the ‘Electricity’ Category

Part 3: Putting the “E” in EVs

July 20, 2022

How much electricity is currently generated? How is it generated? So what?
=============

In Parts 1 & Part 2, we concluded:

    • The U.S. currently consumes about 4 trillion kWh of electricity per year
    • About 1.5 trillion kWh (about 40% of the total) is consumed in residential use … about 1/2 of that is used by HVAC & hot water heaters
    • A scant amount of electricity is currently being consumed for “transportation” … and, practically all of that is used by public transit systems.
    • If all vehicles currently on the road were to be replaced by EVs, recharging their batteries would consume an additional 1 trillion kWh of electricity.

All of which raises a couple of  central questions: Does the U.S. have the electricity generation capacity to service a full national fleet of EVs?

Short answer: no.

So, where will the additional electricity come from?

Today, we’ll set the context by looking at our current supply of electricity…

==============

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)….

Total U.S. electricity generation in 2021 was about 4.12 trillion kWh.

There are four fuel “sources” for electricity generation: natural gas (38%), coal (22%), renewables (20%) and nuclear (19%).

in the past 10 years, total electricity generation has stayed virtually constant at around 4 trillion kWh … but the mix of fuel sources has changed.

image

Coal and nuclear power have declined in the overall mix of fuel sources … coal by a lot, nuclear by a little … natural gas and renewables have increased and are, together, account for about 60% of fuel for electricity.

image=============

Digging deeper in the  category of renewable fuel sources….

image

  • From 2011 to 2021, electricity fueled by renewables increased by over 60% to 826 billion kWh … which is accounts for 20% of the electricity generated.
  • About 2/3s of the increase is attributable to wind power … which provides about half of the renewable fuel used to generate electricity … and about 9% of the total fuel that goes into electricity generation.
  • Almost 1/3rd of the increase is attributable to solar power … which provides about 3% of the total fuel that goes into electricity generation.

=============

Takeaways

  • Electricity generation has stayed practically constant for more than 10 years at around 4 trillion kWh
  • Some area of the country have experienced brown outs (rationed supply of electricity), primarily during periods of hot weather … suggesting that, during daytime hours, the electricity generation capacity is at capacity.

It is commonly assumed  that there is available nighttime capacity.

  • Over the past 10 years, coal usage as an electricity fuel has been cut in half … replace by natural gas (2/3rds) and renewables (1/3rd).
  • But, 20% of electrical generation (899 B kWh) is still being fueled by coal
  • Nuclear power — about 20% of the fuel mix — has been slowly declining as old plants are being retired … and no new plants being built.

=============

Bottom line: To meet Biden’s aggressive climate control objectives, electrical generation will need to be increased by almost half … 1 Trillion kWh for EVs and 899 Billion kWh to totally phase out coal.

Part 2: Putting the “E” in EVs…

July 19, 2022

So, how much electricity will EVs eventually require?
=============

In Part 1, we looked at current demand for electricity and concluded:

  • The U.S. currently consumes about 4 trillion kWh of electricity per year
  • About 1.5 trillion kWh (about 40% of the total) is consumed in residential use
  • A scant amount of electricity is currently being consumed for “transportation” … and, practically all of that is used by public transit systems.

Of course, EV demand for electricity will increase.

By how much?

==============

Let’s look at our prior ballpark estimate:

A full “incredible transition” to EVs would increase consumer / residential electricity demand in the U.S. by over 40% (640 billion kWh / 1.5 trillion kWh = 43%)

Data, sources & calculations

  • in 2019, “there were almost 229 million Americans who have driving licenses
  • The 229 million collectively drove over 3.2 trillion miles.” Source
  • From what I can ascertain,  on average, a Tesla gets about 5 miles per kWh of stored charge. (e.g. a T3, 50 kwh battery gets 250 miles of range).
  • So, 3.2 trillion miles of driving requires 640 billion kWh of additional electricity.

What do other sources day?

=============

The Energy Institute at the University of Texas analyzed the likely additional energy required by state for a full transition to EVs.

image

The UT-EI conclusion: On average across states, 30.9% more electricity will be needed to electrify EVs … with wide variability across states.

image
All States’ Data

The 30.9% translates to over 1.25 trillion kWh of added electricity required … almost equal to all of our current residential consumption of electricity.

==============

In August 2021, the NY Times asserted (without attribution or analysis):

If every American switched over to an electric passenger vehicle, analysts have estimated, the United States could end up using roughly 25% more electricity than it does today.

Working the NYT’s estimate …

Their 25% — apparently based on total U.S. electricity consumption —  implies that we’ll need an additional 1 trillion kWh of electricity

The 1 trillion kWh of electricity is roughly equal to  66% of our current residential electrical consumption, (1 trillion / 1.5 trillion = 66%)

==============

The Brattle Group is a research consultancy that “combines state-of-the-art analytical techniques and practical industry experience to answer complex economic, financial, and regulatory questions”.

Brattle analysts did a detailed “assessment of the investments needed across the electric power sector to support the deployment of 20 million EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

Brattle’s conclusion: 20 million EVs will add 60–95 TWh of annual demand and 10–20 GW of peak load to the system.

Taking the low end of Brattle’s range (60 TWH per 20 million vehicles) and scaling that number up to all 239 million vehicles currently on the roads …  717 billion kWh of additional electricity will be needed for a full “incredible transition” to EVs … with a high estimate of 1.135 trillion kWh of electricity required (equal to about about 75% of current residential electricity consumption).

239 million vehicles / 20 million = 11.95

11.95 x 60 TWH = 717 TWh

One Terawatt Hour is equal to 1 billion  Kilowatt Hours. Reference

So, 717 TWh = 717 billion kWh

==============

So, how much electricity will EVs eventually require?

  • UT Energy Institute: 1.25 trillion kWh
  • Brattle Group (high): 1.135 trillion kWh
  • New York Times: 1 trillion kWh
  • Brattle Group (low): 717 billion kWh
  • HomaFiles estimate: 640 billion kWh

Our back-of-the envelop estimate was on the low side.

Looks like 1 trillion kWh is a reasonable (and easy to remember) estimate of the electricity load that an “a full “incredible transition” will add to the system … a 25% to 30% upper to our current levels.

=============

Next up: So, where’s that electricity going to come from?

Putting the “E” in EVs…

July 18, 2022

Starting point: How much energy do we consume now?
=============

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some ballpark estimates of how much additional electricity would be consumed in the U.S. if Biden’s “incredible transition” materialized and all of us were driving shiny new EVs.

My conclusion: A full “incredible transition” to EVs would increase consumer / residential electricity demand in the U.S. by at least 50% (640 billion kWh / 1.34 trillion kWh)

For details see: Update: What if Oprah gave all of us EVs?

At the time I asked for ideas re: sources of (1) “hard” numbers re: electricity generated and consumed, (2) analyses of how much EVs will add to electricity consumption and (3) “real” plans to bolster U.S. energy production and distribution (i.e. “the grid”).

A couple of you pointed me to some info sources … THANKS!

So, let’s work the numbers, starting with electricity consumption

==============

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)….

Total U.S. electricity consumption in 2021 was about 3.93 trillion kWh.

Of that total, the 3.8 trillion kWh is classified by the EIA as “retail sales”.

Of that total, “residential retail sales” account for almost 1.5 trillion kWh about 40% of total “retail sales of electricity”.

For reference: We previously ballparked total residential electrical consumption at about 1.34 trillion kWh (10,715 kWh per household x 125 million U.S. Households)

image

=============

Drilling down further

Between 1/3 and 1/2 of residential electricity consumption is driven by home HVAC systems (air conditioners and furnaces) … hot water heaters (14%) and washers & dryers (13%) push the cumulative total to almost 75% or residential use. Source

image

===============

Takeaways:

Rounding up a bit for simplicity:

  • The U.S. currently consumes about 4 trillion kWh of electricity per year
  • About 1.5 trillion kWh (about 40% of the total) is consumed in residential use
  • The majority of residential use attributable to HVAC systems and hot water heaters.

Important: Note that only a scant amount of electricity is currently being consumed for “transportation” … and, practically all of that is used by public transit systems.

Said differently, the electricity consumed by EVs is currently rounding error.

But, that will change…

=============

Next up: How much electricity will Es consume?


%d bloggers like this: