Rise of electric cars in wake of VW scandal could cause UK ‘power crunch’ – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Former coalition energy minister
Ed Davey called the Government’s energy policies, “stupid and
barmy”. We caught up with Davey later and asked whether the
coalition had anticipated the potential demand for recharging
electricity from the transport sector. “It was a massive
issue,” he said, “but in the last few years we’ve been
dealing in declining [electricity] demand. That’s good, but we knew
there was a potential demand increase in the long term.

“The trouble is, while we are pretty certain that electric cars
will be the future, no one is absolutely certain, so you have to plan
for a lot of different possibilities. Sadly, even politicians can’t
see into the future – I am not God.”

They were turning on the lights in the Barbican as I left the
conference, slightly stupefied. When you consider the clever ideas the
motor industry has come up with in recent years, including using
electric cars and their spent batteries as peak demand-smoothing
buffers, connecting houses, towns and transport links such as that
being trialled by Toyota
in its Home Energy Management homes in Nagoya, Japan, or some of the
really interesting ideas for a hydrogen economy, the lack of foresight
I saw here was amazing. It seemed as if the future is so occluded no
one wants to make any decisions at all.

“There’s a lack of transparency,” said Lawrence Slade,
chief executive of Energy UK . “It’s clear up to 2020, but after
that there’s tremendous uncertainty.”

“They are getting better at managing the grid, added Dr Peter
Pilgrim, a battery and charging specialist with Audi,
when I put my concerns to him. “But we are all on the same time
frame and sometimes the wind blows when we don’t need electricity and
we have to turn the turbines off. Unless they’ve built interconnectors
with Asia, we’ll still need buffer storage systems. We are at the
beginning of this technology and no one knows the future.”

Yet most of the power generation facilities we have in the UK were
built by the same people who built the Barbican. They couldn’t have
seen the future, either, but they had vision, optimism and drive, and
as I walked through the elegant high rises of this London estate, I
couldn’t help thinking our mean and blinkered perspectives are
impoverishing not just us, but also threatening the future of
electrified transportation.

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