Re: Magic Energy?
"It could wind up being more efficient to transmit leccy prices down the lines and when there is a surplus, EV's that are plugged in can take up the load once the price hits a certain point. If that comes to pass, pumped storage might see a big drop in usability."
In principle yes, which is why V2G ("vehicle to grid") has been discussed and prototyped for years (Renault, Paris, 2015 comes to mind). And in some ways it might be even easier than you think. But it may come with non-obvious snags.
Review: Some core components of a worthwhile battery electric vehicle setup are:
1: AC->DC to charge battery
2: Worthwhile Battery
3: DC->AC to power the motors (or feed the local mains demand, just as you need with e.g. solar PV grid-tied inverter)
4: controls to make it all work (again like a grid-tied inverter)
5: connectors and cables to tie it all together
6: competent installers, repairers, etc. - could be tricky but no trickier than e.g. solar PV or Tesla Powerwall.
Sound familiar? Change the packaging slightly and it's either e.g. a Tesla Powerwall or e.g. a Nissan Leaf. or it's solar PV. Not rocket science.
You don't really even need to transmit prices down the line. Real time prices appear to be based on "demand vs supply" situation at national grid level. The live grid frequency acts as an indicator of supply vs demand:
* if grid frequency > nominal then national supply exceeds national demand - opportunity to charge your Powerwall/BEV from discount mains
* if grid frequency < nominal then national demand exceeds national supply, so use your BEV/Powerwall to do V2G (and get paid for it?).
Boutique ISP AAISP's top ubergeek and bloggist, Reverend Adrian Ke
nnard, is trying this out in his own home right now, and writing about it at www.me.uk. If EL Reg hadn't become so 60Hz/120V-centric, it might even be worth commissioning an article.
Extract from Revd Kennard: "Because the battery can charge up on the excess solar and then be used to power the house, whist the battery is not full, and whilst we are not making excess solar more than 5kW, the battery takes the power.
In the morning, if there is enough sun to fill the battery as above, all of that extra sunshine can be used any time during the day and it will just delay the point the battery is full. So costs me the export (5p) that I am reducing. But once passed that, at the point the battery does not get full, any usage will simple mean the battery runs out faster and so will mean power from the grid, so cost me normal rate (currently 24p)."
Worth a look.
But note that price (and frequency) are set on a national basis, whereas connectivity to the mains is very definitely location dependent. Dinorwig's high power bidirectional connection direct to the National Grid means it can be fed from, and feed to, anywhere in the UK (and, in principle, anywhere in the UK grid can supply e.g. France, Norway, etc). Up to say 2GW worth, in Dinorwig's case.
In contrast, any power from a domestic setup can only feed that domestic installation, it cannot physically feed back into the local distribution network. IE they can reduce demand but not increase available supply. A hundred homes each offering a 20kW reduction in demand (it won't usually be that big) isn't quite the same as a genuine 2MW input into the grid. The nature of the wiring, and the way to control it, start to become important.
On the other hand, if you can find (say) a thousand premises each with a (say) 10MW connection, maybe two resilient 1connections, with associated engineering skills, maybe up to 10GW of dynamically controllable demand or supply could get interesting. Think about, for example, hospitals. But that one only works if joined up thinking is allowed and encouraged. Or, maybe, large shopping centres, office buildings, etc.
Still worth looking at though, unlike electric powered commercial aircraft with more than 29 passengers (or is it 19). Electric aircraft will never be able to use the "regenerative breaking"(!) features needed to make battery electric vehicles practical. Never. That's physics, and ye canna change the laws of physics, and you can't even bend them for long.
The 29 (or is it 19) passengers on an electric aircraft is a regulatory/legal thing related to type approval etc, and as Disruptor-in-Chief Truss is currently showing, regulatory/commercial/legal things can be changed quite quickly and quite frequently but the disruption doesn't necessarily have any useful effect. Still doesn't help electric aircraft though 'cos physics trumps truss. Oooer.