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Smart Cities

Source: Siemens

Our planet is shouting out to us to reduce our carbon footprint in order to save it and ourselves! But how do we do that? One solution is for everyone to transition to fully Electric Vehicles by 2050. But what impact will that have on the National Grid?

Background

For over two centuries, fossil fuels have been the primary source of power throughout the world. However, global demand is increasing exponentially, due to the increase in population and transportation requirements. This will continue to rise if action is not taken to reduce the global CO2 emissions.

The automotive and transportation sector however is clearly the principal emitter for all Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in 2014, accounting for more than 70%, that’s almost 14.2% of the total emissions.

Source: EEA

Thus, one main solution to cut these carbon emissions is for everyone to transition to fully Electric Vehicles (EV). In addition to this, the government has also announced a stop to all sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 to help push this solution.

Challenges

But if everyone transitions to these types of vehicles, how is the National Grid going to cope with the potential of an additional 18GW of demand? To put that into perspective, that’s more than a third of today’s max capacity of what the National Grid can handle.

E-ON states that the additional power will come from us. With us installing self-generating systems. My question is, 1) in major cities around 40% of the population live in flats so this is not an option for them and 2) those of us who don’t, how much is it going to cost because I am sure I won’t be able to afford it? Will the Government help pay for it?

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

Findings

So, how are they going to cope? are they going to help us help them? Are they going to use alternative technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells to power parts of the UK, or even alternative sustainable fuels maybe?

If everyone does go fully electric, the Grid will need the majority of the nation to charge their vehicles during non-peak times. How they intend to do that is by:

  1. Incentives
  2. Automatic time-shift charging, whereby vehicles plugged in during peak-times will not charge until demand is low during off-peak periods.
  3. Rapid chargers.

Regardless of how sensible this additional load will be spread across the day, electric vehicles will require supplementary investment into power generation.

From this, what is clear is that there is not enough resources for just one solution to power this world on a green and sustainable scale. We need a combination of different technologies such as electric vehicles, synthetic sustainable fuels as well as off grid power generations like hydrogen fuel cells, wind and solar. Even we can do our part to help reduce the overall energy consumption in order to help preserve this world we live in.

More on decentralised energy and EV chargers.

We are merely guests in the eyes of the earth!