You Can't Carry Electricity in a Bucket.

AuthorOrient, Jane

* If you ran out of gas, you used to have to hike to the nearest gas station, buy enough gas to get the car to the station, and carry it in a can back to the car. Now, with the miracle of cell phones, you can telephone your road-side service provider, and someone will bring you some gasoline.

Unless, of course, you have an electric vehicle (EV).

From my dad, a building contractor, I learned Bill Orient's Laws of Contracting. Rule #3: You can't carry electricity in a bucket.

If your EV stalls because its battery is depleted--say the weather is cold, so the range is much less than you thought--you'll have to wait for a rescue vehicle to bring a diesel generator with enough fuel. It will take some time, so let's hope your wife is not in labor, or your son's appendix does not burst. Or perhaps the Zero Emissions authorities still allow an internal combustion engine (ICE) in ambulances and other emergency vehicles.

The EV is not exactly fuel efficient. Your ICE might get almost 30 miles to the gallon. A charging station hooked up to a 350 kw diesel generator uses 12 gallons of diesel per hour. If it takes 3 hours to charge your EV so you can go 200 miles, you are getting 5.6 mpg.

But President Biden has promised half a million charging stations that are presumably connected to the grid, not a diesel generator.

Suppose you are fleeing a hurricane, along with thousands of others, in a huge traffic jam? Maybe you'll be lucky and come upon a roadside charger that doesn't have a long line of waiting cars.

You understand that there's no electricity stored in the charger. Just as you can't carry electricity in your gas can, you can't store it either. Electricity must be used as it is generated, or else wasted. If high winds and torrential rains have taken down power lines, the charging station is useless.

And what about the grid? During a hurricane or blizzard, wind turbines and solar farms will be generating zero electricity. To save any surplus generated energy for a rainy day, it must be converted to another form of energy; for example, potential energy in pumping water up a hill, or chemical energy in a battery.

In 2017, the total energy capacity of all installed battery systems in the U.S. was less than 1,000 MWh. A nuclear generating station puts out more than that in an hour. "Renewable" energy (solar and wind) is unreliable and weather-dependent, and adequate battery back-up is impossible.

Floridians evacuating before...

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