Electric-Car Owners Shocked by California Blackouts

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by sone-payrolls, Oct 11, 2019 at 5:35 PM.

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  1. sone-payrolls

    sone-payrolls Newbie

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    https://pjmedia.com/trending/electric-car-owners-shocked-by-california-blackouts/


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    Everybody knows that electric cars are going to save the planet from climate change or something. Unlike regular cars, which run on gasoline and make all the polar bears cry as they sink into the sea, electric cars are powered by... um... magic? Mjölnir, the hammer of Thor? That must be how it works, or else owning an electric car would impose some sort of cost to the environment. And that can't be, or those guys wouldn't be so insufferably smug.

    You know those intentional blackouts they're having in California to reduce the risk of wildfires? Well, guess what happens now?




    Weeks can be a long wait if you’re looking at a Model 3 in your garage with a drained battery, no electrical power to charge it, and the closest grocery store with power 80 miles away. But such is life in the Golden State, where forests and chaparral are all on hair triggers ready to ignite with slightest transformer malfunction or transmission line break. And the political environment demands minimal risk after the 2018 fire season produced 8527 conflagrations burning an astonishing 1,893,913 acres of wild lands and more than 18,000 structures...




    California is experimenting with its power-generation future. And right now, that experiment is hurting. Particularly those electric-car owners with dead batteries.


    So if you're a Californian who bought an electric car to save the environment, now you can't drive it because of the risk to the environment. If you really cared about the planet, you wouldn't go anywhere or do anything or participate in 21st Century life at all.

    Whatever happened to those algae-powered cars we were supposed to have by now? Remember Obama talking about those? Imagine driving around smelling like a dirty fish tank. Smirking at all those planet-killing dummies in their outdated electric cars. That's the thing about being woke. There's always somebody woker.
     
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  2. sone-payrolls

    sone-payrolls Newbie

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    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/governor-attacks-pg-e-blackout-024355466.html

    California Governor Attacks PG&E for Blackout Caused by ‘Greed and Neglect


    (Bloomberg) -- Faced with mounting public anger over massive blackouts, California Governor Gavin Newsom blasted PG&E Corp. for years of “greed and mismanagement” as the bankrupt utility restored power to more than half those left in the dark.

    Newsom’s comments came as many PG&E customers questioned whether it overreacted to a windstorm that didn’t prove as powerful in Northern California as forecast. The company cut electricity to more than 2 million people -- the largest preemptive blackout in the state’s history -- to prevent its power lines from sparking wildfires.

    The Democratic governor, who on Wednesday called the blackouts “appropriate under the circumstances,” took a dramatically harsher tone Thursday, blaming PG&E for not hardening its grid and saying the outage was the result of years of bad choices. His comments came just before PG&E’s chief executive officer made his first public appearance since the blackout began, apologizing to customers for the “hardship” the power failures have caused while defending the decision.

    “It’s decisions that were not made that have led to this moment in PG&E’s history,” Newsom said at a Thursday evening press conference. “This is not, from my perspective, a climate change story as much as a story about greed and mismanagement, over the course of decades.”

    By Friday morning, the company had restored service to nearly 60% of the 738,000 homes and businesses affected, according to a statement. Workers are now inspecting thousands of miles of transmission lines to make sure they are safe to transmit power.


    The violent winds, meanwhile, are ebbing in Northern California. Still, fire risk remains high in much of the southern half of the state, with strong winds and humidity “about as low as it can go,” said Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

    About 6,000 square miles of Southern California face extreme fire conditions Friday, including San Bernardino, Fontana and Thousand Oaks, the U.S. Storm Prediction Center said. Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility has cut power to more than 21,000 homes and businesses but warns outages could eventually impact another 223,000. Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric Co. cut power to about 400 customers.

    Illustrating the danger, a fire erupted late Thursday on the northern edge of Los Angeles. By morning, the wind-driven flames forced the evacuation of 25,000 homes and threatened California’s largest natural gas storage facility, Aliso Canyon, site of the biggest gas leak in U.S. history in 2015. The blaze’s cause hasn’t been determined.

    For more, listen to this mini-podcast on California’s wildfire blackouts.

    As PG&E worked to restore power, its shares took a beating on Wall Street Thursday, falling 29% after the utility was stripped of exclusive control over its bankruptcy process and a judge allowed competing plans from wildfire victims and bondholders to advance. The stock bounced back a bit Friday, gaining 1.1% at 2:11 p.m. in New York.

    Newsom said he wanted to see a “major reorganization of this entity” and said PG&E was too large to move quickly. But the governor stopped short of saying what kind of structural changes he preferred. He suggested the company needed to be far more surgical about future outages, saying some counties didn’t need to be included in this week’s blackouts. He acknowledged, however that such preemptive power cuts should remain an option for the state’s utilities when faced with dangerous winds.

    PG&E, he noted, made a decision last November not to cut power near the town of Paradise during a windstorm. A transmission line then sparked the Camp Fire, the state’s deadliest blaze, which killed 86 people.

    “Zero risk”

    Newsom called on California utility regulators to review PG&E’s actions. A spokeswoman for the California Public Utilities Commission said the agency, as a policy, reviewed all intentional outages by California utilities.

    PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January, facing an estimated $30 billion in liabilities from two consecutive years of deadly wildfires blamed on its equipment.

    CEO Bill Johnson, who took over in May, said the company made a determination that the blackouts were necessary for safety reasons, to ensure “zero risk” of sparks. He told reporters at a San Francisco press conference that started an hour after the governor’s that it’s “very likely” the company will need to cut power again in the future. Johnson said the utility will try to be more “surgical” about shutoffs.

    ‘We Failed’

    The main failure was in communicating with customers about the outages, company officials said. Johnson said the utility posted outage maps with inconsistent or inaccurate information, its website crashed and its call center was overwhelmed. “We failed our customers,” said Laurie Giammona, senior vice president and chief customer officer for PG&E.

    Johnson asked local residents not to take their frustrations out on PG&E workers, saying some employees had been shot at, punched and sworn at.

    “The buck stops with me,” he said.
     
  3. sone-payrolls

    sone-payrolls Newbie

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    https://www.wired.com/story/no-you-cant-power-your-house-with-your-electric-car/

    No, You Can’t Power Your House With Your Electric Car
    California’s power outages might have some residents looking for backups. But that juicy Tesla battery pack isn’t it—at least not yet.

    [​IMG]
    At the office of the Chilean Energy Sustainability Agency in Santiago, power can be pulled from a Nissan Leaf to keep things running when demand peaks and rates are high. PHOTOGRAPH: NISSAN


    On Wednesday night, Tesla owners in Northern California received an unusual message. “A utility company in your area announced they may turn off power,” it read. “We recommend charging your Tesla to 100% today to ensure your drive remains uninterrupted.”

    The utility there is Pacific Gas & Electric, aka PG&E, which did indeed cut power to some 500,000 customers in the region in a bid to limit the risk of wildfires amid high seasonal winds. (A fiery fate, FYI, is not so easily avoided.) As of Wednesday afternoon, more shutdowns were on the way. It’s possible the juice won’t start flowing again for up to five days.

    The notice from Tesla was certainly a handy reminder to always be charging, but it seems to have inspired some Tesla owners to tweet a follow-up question to Elon Musk: Can’t they use their cars’ batteries—which can hold enough juice to power a house for days and are now the object of a Nobel prize—to keep their lights (and TVs and refrigerators and so forth) on? The answer, we’re sorry to report, is no. Not yet, anyway.

    This idea of a vehicle-to-grid power transfer system has been knocking around for decades. It has picked up currency (so to speak) in recent years as EVs have surged in popularity, and regulators and utilities have moved to modernize the way electricity is produced and distributed.

    The benefits go far beyond letting Tesla owners keep the Netflix marathon running while their blacked-out neighbors play cards, because these batteries’ ability to store power could prove key in the shift to renewable energy sources. Today’s grid works on a just-in-time basis, producing however much electricity the people want at any given moment, and delivering it immediately. Because humans can’t dictate when the sun shines or the wind blows, we need the ability to stash away the power these sources provide. Which is why, along with a pledge to make all its electricity from renewable sources by 2045, California has ambitious energy storage targets.

    Tools for holding onto that energy include Tesla’s home battery system (which works independent of its cars), moving compressed air between caves, and filling a train with rocks. But given that global annual sales of passenger electric vehicles are forecast to hit 10 million in 2025 and 56 million in 2040, some see an opportunity to use Tesla, Leaf, Bolt, and other batteries as a massive, distributed energy storage network.

    Indeed, a 2017 study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that if California hits its goal of getting 1.5 million EVs on its roads by 2025, and “some” of them had the ability to transfer energy into the grid, their batteries would easily exceed the state’s energy storage needs. “Substantial capital investment, as much as several billion dollars, can be avoided if EVs are used in lieu of stationary storage,” they wrote.

    These vehicles, though, are not like penguins, designed to take in energy only to spew it back out and into the mouth of whatever chick wanders by. Getting power out of an EV battery requires work. For one thing, any house hoping to use power from the car in its driveway must be able to disconnect from the grid, which requires specialized hardware. Otherwise, the power won’t stay where you want it. “It could end up going backwards all the way into the grid,” says Sam Saxena, one of the Livermore researchers who authored the paper on EV battery storage. (The lab, by the way, is closed in anticipation of having its power cut.) And that’s bad news for anyone working on a power line they think is disconnected. Also, to convert the battery’s DC power into the AC goodness running through the grid, the car or its charger needs an inverter. You need the software to tell a car when to discharge its power, and when to hoard it. And you have to address concerns of degradation: Extra demands on batteries can limit their useful lifespan.

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    The nontechnical considerations are a pain too, says Marc Trahand, marketing chief for Nuvve, a San Diego company that specializes in vehicle-to-grid power moves. The grid is a complex web of rules and regulations, and access to energy markets is generally reserved for very large players. You need regulators to ensure that utilities make room for this kind of technology, when they’re used to laying down more power lines instead of rethinking how the whole grid works. “It’s easier to put copper in the street,” Trahand says.

    But projects around the world are playing with the potential of using zero-emission vehicles to solve their energy needs. At the office of the Chilean Energy Sustainability Agency in Santiago, power can be pulled from a Nissan Leaf to keep things running when demand peaks and rates are high. Nissan, along with Mitsubishi and Nuvve, is involved in a similar project at the offices of Danish utility Frederiksberg Forsyning, near Copenhagen. Just last week, the United Nations Development Programme announced the start of vehicle-grid integration work at a UN compound in Namibia, aiming to reduce dependency on external and diesel-based power. And since 2017, Nuvve has been working with the University of California San Diego on a pilot project investigating how vehicle-to-grid tech would work on a large scale, using a $4.2 million grant from the California Energy Commission.

    As with many things that look to rethink complex and massive infrastructure, this work will unfold over years, likely decades. And as for pulling power off your Tesla? That’s a maybe. In 2018, Musk noted that the first generation Tesla Roadster allowed for that, and that the idea might be worth reconsidering. The automaker’s press team did not immediately reply to a request for an update. But later is better than never: Fire risk isn’t going away anytime soon.
     

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