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Power for electric cars

Posted 26/05/2010 by RoseS

According to the International Energy Outlook 2010, published this week by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), world energy consumption will grow 49% between 2007 and 2035, or an average of 1.4%/year, despite the ‘profound impact on near-term prospects for world energy demand’ resulting from the global recession. Energy consumption dropped 1.2% in 2008 and an estimated 2.2% in 2009, according to the EIA.

But the EIA also points out the importance of renewable energy. ‘Renewables are the fastest-growing source of world energy supply, but fossil fuels are still set to meet more than three-fourths of total energy needs in 2015, assuming current policies are unchanged, says EIA administrator Richard Newell.

But what about the growing move to electric vehicles? How is this likely to affect energy consumption?

In the UK, for example, the recent report by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE): Electric Vehicles: charged with potential, says that converting the whole park of 30m vehicles to electricity would increase current demand by 16%, a total of an extra 10GW of power.

With the 70GW grid is currently running a almost full capacity, and the need to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, the only answer will be a major increase in renewable or sustainable energy supplies.

According to the RAE report, this would need the building of the equivalent of six additional large nuclear power stations or 2,000 wind turbines just to meet this increase in demand.

But the UK’s new coalition government has so far not revealed its future energy policy, something that has been lacking in any detailed form throughout the previous Labour government’s thirteen years of rule. Indeed, the new energy secretary, Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne has refused to be drawn on the new coalition government’s views on nuclear power, or indeed its commitment or otherwise to renewable energy development, other than to say that no government subsidies will be available for nuclear power development.

While many commentators have been saying for some time that without decisive action the lights will go out in the UK in the very near future, it would also appear that the UK’s future transport system will grind to a halt too.

Neil Eisberg - Editor

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