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Discussion Starter #1
The benefit to home charging ev's from an environmental / grid management perspective is it is often done overnight. Using electricity when it is in least demand. Presumably increasingly using off shore wind

The downside of charging publicly or at work is it tends to be in the day when the grid is under more demand. In order to meet peaks of demand the grid has access to generation which can quickly be switched off and on. . A lot of that currently is gas or other fossil fuel.

So in the short term increased public or work charging - ie day time charging - has the potential to increase fossil fuel
generated electricity. Or at the very least keep this generation active and viable.

Interestingly in Australia increasingly they have the issue of stranded assets....fossil fuel generation not needed because of the rise in solar which meets a lot of the need for air conditioning
in the day.

So if your motivation in driving a uk ev is ecological. Drive with a light right foot. Only charge when needed in the day. Maximise night time charging. At least until the time when renewables and storage characterise our grid. Or there is no grid with it's inefficencies and lack of local ownership, but multiple renewable resilient microgrids.

For those not ecologically motivated driving ev's. Glad you are on this boat too! Drive fast, charge in the day - would far rather you do that then drive an ice!
 

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I looked into this, I can't get economy 7 or a smart meter (yet). So I wouldn't have any financial benefit from charging at night.
 

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I would whole heartedly concur with the "as much as possible overnight" but would add the following points:

- increasing night time load obviously flattens the daily demand profile, which reinforces any business case for Nuclear increasing it's share of the generation mix. I am happy to state this up front given my employer. Although this is the case it's not the determining factor in my view - other forms of Low Carbon generation are available
- what does drive my view is that nighttime charging (or indeed, after about 7.30pm) levels are inversely proportional to local network reinforcement needs. The more charging that is delayed into evening, the easier it is for the local infrastructure to cope (as per my previous rambly post on "The Grid"), and as such a lower requirement, done slower, arises for more copper in the ground in your street than otherwise.
- in ye olde days, generation was generally brought on in order of flexibility, as it is now. The factor that is changing energy pricing is that in said olde days, base load was cheaper (coal) and the balancing load was more costly (oil) in comparison. Now, more and more base load is more expensive (wind) than the balancing load (gas). This has the easily demonstrable effect of flattening the daily price curve, and moreover, decoupling it from the load curve.
- what this means for tariff pricing isn't yet clear. Given that peak electricity becomes no more expensive than off-peak, there is a clear conflict between incentivising behaviour to move load off peak for infrastructure reasons rather than capacity reasons, and a more transparent pricing model demanded by consumers and regulators.
- we're not quite at this flat price scenario yet, but could be a reality in the early 2020s. Economy 7 tariffs may become rarer though earlier than that, as overpaying in the day and underpaying at night becomes less standard and more difficult to profile
 

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In the NE many of our NHS health centres have had 8-20 KwP solar PV installed on their roofs and we had proposals for 7 kw charging type 2 posts located at them. At weekends in particular but also before 9 am and after 4 pm there was surplus electricity over demand available for EV charging. Many public building offer the same scope for increasing contribution of renewables an d plans were afoot to use them.
Unfortunately the forces in this country resisting widespread solar PV installation outgun those trying to implement these systems. This is not the the case in Germany - do we really think the Germans can get this so wrong.
 

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@Mark J Constable what's your opinion on these smart meters that are going to be introduced in the coming years.

It will be easy for energy companies to adjust the cost of energy at peak times using these smart meters. For example 7-8pm is 25p/kWh. Basically try to encourage the customer to lower their usage at peak times and use more electricity at lower demand times.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Really interesting Mark.

Had not realised (off shore) wind was more expensive than gas. We know that non sustainable gas runs out though - and how much bio gas can we generate relative to our demand?

Found it interesting how in many parts of the world electricity consumption has come down in recent years due to energy efficency / economic crash.

Nevada an interesting example. Seeing
ev's as a way of generating more revenue to replace declining revenue without needing to build new generating capacity due to typical night time charging profiles as in this podcast

http://energyefficiencymarkets.com/category/podcast/

Hence the utility being proactive in supporting ev public and home charging - with time of use incentives for ev drivers
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In the NE many of our NHS health centres have had 8-20 KwP solar PV installed on their roofs and we had proposals for 7 kw charging type 2 posts located at them. At weekends in particular but also before 9 am and after 4 pm there was surplus electricity over demand available for EV charging. Many public building offer the same scope for increasing contribution of renewables an d plans were afoot to use them.
Unfortunately the forces in this country resisting widespread solar PV installation outgun those trying to implement these systems. This is not the the case in Germany - do we really think the Germans can get this so wrong.

Think there is still the opportunity to build on this short term. Solar as an investment long term seems fool proof to me with the feed in tariff. And you lose none of the fit if you use all of your solar at source....

Seems to me an opportunity for someone to start a national social enterprise combining solar investments that fuel public ev charging....

(Don't ask me have started two social enterprises already....!)
 

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I would whole heartedly concur with the "as much as possible overnight" but would add the following points:

- increasing night time load obviously flattens the daily demand profile, which reinforces any business case for Nuclear increasing it's share of the generation mix. I am happy to state this up front given my employer. Although this is the case it's not the determining factor in my view - other forms of Low Carbon generation are available
- what does drive my view is that nighttime charging (or indeed, after about 7.30pm) levels are inversely proportional to local network reinforcement needs. The more charging that is delayed into evening, the easier it is for the local infrastructure to cope (as per my previous rambly post on "The Grid"), and as such a lower requirement, done slower, arises for more copper in the ground in your street than otherwise.
- in ye olde days, generation was generally brought on in order of flexibility, as it is now. The factor that is changing energy pricing is that in said olde days, base load was cheaper (coal) and the balancing load was more costly (oil) in comparison. Now, more and more base load is more expensive (wind) than the balancing load (gas). This has the easily demonstrable effect of flattening the daily price curve, and moreover, decoupling it from the load curve.
- what this means for tariff pricing isn't yet clear. Given that peak electricity becomes no more expensive than off-peak, there is a clear conflict between incentivising behaviour to move load off peak for infrastructure reasons rather than capacity reasons, and a more transparent pricing model demanded by consumers and regulators.
- we're not quite at this flat price scenario yet, but could be a reality in the early 2020s. Economy 7 tariffs may become rarer though earlier than that, as overpaying in the day and underpaying at night becomes less standard and more difficult to profile
Surely a significant proportion of the base load is still nuclear? CCGT and coal are about equal in their contribution to the grid.

Government policy is to nudge domestic heating towards electricity (air source heat pumps) and to wean the country off gas consumption. Gas prices are artificially low due to the Ukraine/Russia situation.

Each kWh of gas converted to electricity delivers more heat via a heat pump with a coefficient of performance of 3 or higher than if burnt in a central heating boiler. Therefore, night time off peak electricity tariffs will still feature because it's a characteristic of heat pumps that they match the heat losses of the home in which they are installed.

I remember the (pre-CCGT) days when gas turbines were held in reserve for peak demand because they could be brought online fast.
 

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Unfortunately the forces in this country resisting widespread solar PV installation outgun those trying to implement these systems. This is not the the case in Germany - do we really think the Germans can get this so wrong.
Germany is much sunnier than the UK. Bavaria gets as much solar intensity as Northern Spain. That's not the only factor, but it's a big part of it.

@Mark J Constable what's your opinion on these smart meters that are going to be introduced in the coming years.

It will be easy for energy companies to adjust the cost of energy at peak times using these smart meters. For example 7-8pm is 25p/kWh. Basically try to encourage the customer to lower their usage at peak times and use more electricity at lower demand times.
Smart Meters are one of my previous lives. The UK rollout is more problematic than others because it's supplier-led rather than DNO-led as it's been elsewhere in Europe. For my part (I already have two) they offer the route to all kinds of new and beneficial (to all parties) services and capabilities. But they are not without challenges:

HMG has set a 97% target - if consumers don't elect to have one, are suppliers going to be penalised for not serving warrants on massive swathes of the population? I don't see that happening, and no supplier would countenance it.

I don't think the concerns around the data security are *wholly* valid but neither has the industry *wholly* met the areas of concern which are.

If we're going to visit every house on a "compulsory" programme to deliver a device where consumer benefits only arise a long time after the event, once we reach "Smart Grid" levels of penetration, my own view is that we should ditch the compulsory In Home Display (Internet device, anyone?) that will be obsolete from day one in a number of cases, and replace it with a smart controller for every heating system format in the UK. Consumers will see immediate benefit in their bills at minimal marginal cost compared to the current programme.

The reasons why the Smart Programme is behind in the UK are legion, but a key one is the time it has taken to specify and realise the Data & Communications Company (DCC), which will poll/program all the meters and send the data accordingly to the relevant parties. HMG has just announced a consultation to move to 24hr switching of suppliers. For that to happen a new architecture is needed and the DCC is the body that has been proposed to operate the process, thus replacing the DNO Registration led process incepted in 1998. There is a concern (which I share) that the HMG deadline for 24hr switching being 2018 will lead to a division of focus within the DCC. It's not so much the deadline that is risky, it's that a DCC solution comes in the middle of the Smart Metering rollout.

My own view is that pricing of ToU tariffs should drive behaviour of consumers to save, move load etc. But the complexity of such a tariff structure may not pass the current regulator's "simple" test. I am firmly in the camp that as long as it's simple *enough* for the consumer, the pricing complexity can always be audited by an appointed body to ensure fairness. The tricky part is what constitutes Fairness in one of the least numerate countries in the developed world

Really interesting Mark.

Had not realised (off shore) wind was more expensive than gas. We know that non sustainable gas runs out though - and how much bio gas can we generate relative to our demand?

Found it interesting how in many parts of the world electricity consumption has come down in recent years due to energy efficency / economic crash.

Nevada an interesting example. Seeing
ev's as a way of generating more revenue to replace declining revenue without needing to build new generating capacity due to typical night time charging profiles as in this podcast

http://energyefficiencymarkets.com/category/podcast/

Hence the utility being proactive in supporting ev public and home charging - with time of use incentives for ev drivers
Like I said - I would love to see a market where pricing structures drive behaviour. But whether that passes a Fairness test i.e. most consumers not paying a price directly related to the cost of the commodity at the time they are using it, is one of the big questions.

Gas production is way outside my milieu, and regardless of the highly emotive situation with onshore gas production, it is certainly true that the UK is connected to a wider network in a way that the US is not. The thing is that gas is so cheap compared to other fuels (only today I saw a report that it's recently dropped to 50.3p a therm, lowest for a while) that it's use in generation is not as price-dependent as one might think.
 
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Surely a significant proportion of the base load is still nuclear? CCGT and coal are about equal in their contribution to the grid.
Indeed, but the Nuclear contribution (around 20%) hasn't changed between the old world and the new, and thus I removed it from the comparison as it wasn't a factor in what is closing the day/night price gap.

Gas is still about 10pc behind Coal in the mix (2013 calendar year)
 

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Each kWh of gas converted to electricity delivers more heat via a heat pump with a coefficient of performance of 3 or higher than if burnt in a central heating boiler. Therefore, night time off peak electricity tariffs will still feature because it's a characteristic of heat pumps that they match the heat losses of the home in which they are installed.
CoPs of 3 or better are rare in the ASHP population at present. We wouldn't market a product on 3, because too many factors drag it down in the real world.

As for stating that Night Time tariffs *will* feature - that won't be for cost reasons, and as I explained, there's an impending hurdle to be cleared regarding cost reflectivity before we'll be able to offer them in a flat-price profile future.
 

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To summarise the content of a few of Marks's posts, it would appear that we're adopting smart meters which allow multiple charge rates at different times of day, but the cost of making electricity is flattening out by time of day. It would thus seem to me that by the time we have a critical mass iof smart meters we don't need them any more from a cost of generation perspective.

However night time charging would still remain beneficial from a local infrastructure perspective as it would delay or avoid the need to upgrade local cables, but these costs do not feed into bills by time of day, and so we cease to incentivise consumers to do the right thing by charging overnight.
 

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As for stating that Night Time tariffs *will* feature - that won't be for cost reasons, and as I explained, there's an impending hurdle to be cleared regarding cost reflectivity before we'll be able to offer them in a flat-price profile future.
I wasn't suggesting that night time tariffs would be retained for cost reasons. As far as it's possible to discern, current DECC policy appears to encourage behaviour changes that require a night time rate as an incentive. Also, encouraging consumers to run their white appliances over night lops the demand peaks and delays the need for further generating capacity.
 

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Gas is still about 10pc behind Coal in the mix (2013 calendar year)
I was quoting current actuals from here.

upload_2014-10-4_9-32-22.png


It's no surprise to see that gas has been preferred to coal since May given the fall in price. It will be interesting to compare this winter's mix with last year's.
 

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I wasn't suggesting that night time tariffs would be retained for cost reasons. As far as it's possible to discern, current DECC policy appears to encourage behaviour changes that require a night time rate as an incentive. Also, encouraging consumers to run their white appliances over night lops the demand peaks and delays the need for further generating capacity.
Indeed, it being a continuation of the paradigm over the last 60 years. But DECC isn't OFGEM and they don't always align. It is not unheard of for policy to go one way while regulation at worst goes the other or at best lags behind.
 

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It's no surprise to see that gas has been preferred to coal since May given the fall in price. It will be interesting to compare this winter's mix with last year's.
Coal is usually backed off during the Summer. This winter will indeed be an interesting mix - two of our stations are currently off for well publicised boiler issues, and the fires at both Ferrybridge and Ironbridge coal stations will depress coal numbers still further. Plenty of mothballed plant around the country, but I have no insight into which will be brought on first, if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was quoting current actuals from here.

View attachment 2003

It's no surprise to see that gas has been preferred to coal since May given the fall in price. It will be interesting to compare this winter's mix with last year's.
And gas coming largely from Russia In the future is of questionable security.

Wonder if the mild weather so far is also a factor for cheap gas prices? Also the increasing supply of wind and to a lesser extent other renewables, along with the investment in energy efficency, presumably exerts some downward pressure on gas prices?
 

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Mild winter was certainly a factor in current prices. How much so, I couldn't say.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Coal is usually backed off during the Summer. This winter will indeed be an interesting mix - two of our stations are currently off for well publicised boiler issues, and the fires at both Ferrybridge and Ironbridge coal stations will depress coal numbers still further. Plenty of mothballed plant around the country, but I have no insight into which will be brought on first, if needed.
And Ironbridge due to close soon due to EU regs on emissions lasr I heard....
 
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