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Forget gas – electric vehicles could hold the key to the energy transition

Created: Fri, 12 Jun 2020

Gas is an important part of our current energy mix, with more renewables coming into the grid month on month and our coal fleet ageing (and breaking down) – there is a need for a gap filler. Could electric vehicles hold the key to the energy transistion?

 Forget gas – electric vehicles could hold the key to the energy transition

This week, Angus Taylor, released a controversial discussion paper outlining the need for Carbon Capture and Storage (AKA White Elephant) and the need for more use of our plentiful Australian gas.

“Gas needs to play a significant role,” Taylor told ABC Radio National program on Thursday. "We are the biggest LNG exporter in world … it would be crazy for us not to use it as part of the journey we are on."

Of course a recent plummeting gas price makes the investments made in gas infrastructure look a little bit flaky.

Now gas is an important part of our current energy mix, with more renewables coming into the grid month on month and our coal fleet ageing (and breaking down) – there is a need for a gap filler. Gas peaking plants do this very effectively, especially on a grid that trades in long 30 minute intervals – which allows plants to be fired up and turned down based on demand.

However, there have been some recent developments and stories that allude to the fact that Electric Vehicles may hold the better long term solution for the energy transition.

I would back up this argument by drawing attention to 6 pieces of information:

  1. Consumers want electric cars
    The Australian government has held back on incentives to date but in countries (such as Norway), incentives have helped the uptake of EV’s so that 75% of new car sales are electric.

  2. EVs are likely to get a lot cheaper
    As yet to be confirmed but Elon Musk has alluded to ground breaking battery developments that will bring costs in line with petrol cars.

  3. The electric vehicle will soon be able to fill the generation gaps
    Tesla have now enabled bi-directional charging/discharging so the car can now become a dynamic part of the grid. This capability reduces need for gas peaking as this offers huge potential back up to the grid at low cost. It will also offer huge cost savings to grid stabilisation.

  4. The grid will become smarter
    The Australian grid will move to 5 minute settlements which opens the door to a more dynamic and smarter grid.

  5. More renewables will come onto the grid
    Solar is going to get a whole lot cheaper and easier to install with recent trials of perskovite.

  6. Gas is not a clean fuel
    Gas extraction is highly pollutant to the environment and will at some stage in the future be a target for class litigation.

Author: Ross from EnergyIQ