The Alarming Truth About Our Electric Grid Efficiency

If we can get past the fact that 60% of the U.S. grid comes from burning fossils fuels. And, if we can get past the fact that some countries, like China, plan on building 43 new coal-fired power plants to meet its own electricity demands, there is another little known fact about electricity generation that gets little attention. (Source)

Two-thirds of the energy used in the generation of electricity is lost in conversion. Even more electricity is lost in transmission to the customer. (Source, Note 10 page 50). In fact, the only improvement apparent from the report is that electricity lost in transmission efficiency has improved from a 9% loss to 7% over the course of the last 47 year. (Efficiency note first appear in December 1984 report, (Source, page 46.) Power plant efficiency is burdened by the thermal limitation of thermal, mechanical, and generator inefficiencies. This detail is rarely discussed, however understanding the entire production cycle is critical to solving our worldwide CO2 emissions challenges. (Source)

For example, a recent National Academy of Sciences report exposed environmental negative impacts of agriculture-based ethanol. They determined that methanol process cycle emissions result in a higher contribution to global warming. This revelation highlights that complicated conversion processes must be scrutinized to solve CO2 emissions. (Source)

The WST effectively generates more than 554,000 kW per Tower

Electricity plants use what is equivalent to 3 kW of electricity to produce and transmit just 1 kW to the end user.

The Wind & Solar Tower does this by producing electricity at the point of delivery and does so with the free resources from wind and sun. There are no power plants, transformers, substations, power lines or miles of wire. And all components necessary to generate electricity are housed on or inside the Tower.

Each Tower generates 169,000 kW of electricity per tower per year. Considering that more than two-thirds of the energy used in the current production of electricity is lost during the conversion of that energy to electricity for the end user, the generation of electricity of 554,000 kW per Tower per year with no impact to the U.S. grid is important – and impressive.

Biting The Grid That Powers You

The future wave of electric vehicles (EV) could strain the customer’s patience and the electricity grid infrastructure to the breaking point.

In order for EVs to become ubiquitous, consumers will need to feel secure that energy will be available to them regardless of terrain, temperature, distance and traffic conditions and unforeseen circumstances like January’s multi-day traffic jam on I 95. For example, the U.S. has approximately 150,0001 filling stations. Each station features an average of eight filling nozzles that totals 1.200,0002 filling ports across the U.S.A. However, the average liquid fossil-fuel fill-up only takes approximately 3 minutes. Whereas, a current technology Level-3 DC fast charge takes approximately thirty minutes to charge. Considering that a liquid fill up is ten times faster than a Level-3 recharge. It would stand to reason that to avoid multi-hour waits on our interstate highways especially during high traffic volume times such as holidays we need quite a few Level-3 DC fast chargers at the ready.

Currently, we become impatient when we have to wait ten or more minutes to fill up at an interstate highway service plaza during the holidays. We need to equip highway rest stops and service plazas with a significant number of Level-3 DC fast chargers. Just imagine being third in line and having to wait up to two hours before you can connect for your half hour long charge with family in the car. There is also a security issue, before long snatch and grab criminals will realize that affluent tethered EV drivers are easy prey.

One solution this impending challenge is to install Wind & Solar Towers (WST) at interstate rest stops. In larger utilization locations such s interstate service plazas WSTs can be installed in a diamond pattern (which increases the combined output by 20%) that provide twenty-four charging cords. Subsequently, to ease range and soon to be problem of consumer aggravation, WSTs should be installed at every interstate highway rest stop and service plaza across our country.

Transforming the nation’s fleet to EV

To support our nation’s drive to have 25 million EVs by 2030, the administration’s infrastructure bill includes plans to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging units by 2030.

This is a 10-fold increase in the nation’s charging infrastructure for which the federal government is allocating an investment of $7.5 billion. (Source)

Most sources that address this increase are silent when it comes to the elephant in the room: where will all the electricity come from?

In a state like California, where brownouts and blackouts are already common due to demand exceeding supply, the California Energy Commission says the state will need 1.2 million chargers (up from the 73,000 found today) by 2030. These actions will be viewed as positive but only if today’s electric grid can be expanded quickly and in a pollution-free fashion.

How big could electricity demand rise?

In an interview in Germany’s Bild am Sonntag, Elon Musk says EVs will double the world’s need for electricity. Musk said that sourcing the energy necessary to power EVs would become the biggest obstacle over the next two decades. (Source:)

The US Grid Is 60% Powered by Fossil Fuels.

Even if the U.S. succeeds in selling enough EVs and installing enough charging stations, the fact remains that 60.6% for the U.S. grid is powered by burning fossil fuels. Nuclear energy accounts for 19.7% and renewables, like, hydro, wind and solar account for 19.8%.

Those ratios could get worse. States like California are working to eliminate nuclear power plants. (Source.)

To make matters worse, when the grid is hit with excess demand, the kind that causes brownouts and blackouts, U.S. Department of Energy grants emergency orders to allow plants to operate without pollution restrictions. (Source.)

A green solution is needed.

In light of the obvious electricity demand tsunami heading to the U.S., we need to find a solution that:

  1. Doesn’t involve burning more fossil fuels or lifting pollution controls
  2. Is more efficient than current electricity generation and transmission.