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John Petersen is executive vice president and chief financial officer of ePower Engine Systems, Inc., a company that has developed, built and demonstrated an engine-dominant diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain for long-haul heavy trucks that promises fuel savings of 25 to 35 percent depending on... More
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  • The Charging Station Gods Must Be Crazy 5 comments
    Aug 10, 2009 6:32 AM

    This morning a reader sent me a link to an article in Planet Ark that talks about how PHEV and EV charging stations are going to be a fabulous business opportunity.

    While reading the article, I couldn't help but think back to the consistent message of Storage Week 2009; that the electric grid is already stressed to the limit by demand growth from a combination of new construction and increased per capita electricity use and the only cost effective solution will be adding major new storage resources to shave the peaks and smooth the variability.

    I can't even begin to imagine the fun a charging station developer will have walking into his local utility and saying "We want to build a 40 vehicle installation that will recharge 25 kWh of car batteries in a half hour and only put 2 MW of highly variable power load on your local substation."

    I can almost see the utilities lining up for that business. A few years ago a client of mine had to pay almost $500,000 in utility fees and charges to connect a 5 MW peaking plant to the grid. With charges of that magnitude for installations that help solve the problem, I can't even imagine what the interconnect charges will be for 2 MW addition to the problem.

    The charging station gods must be crazy, or at least ignorant of the very real transmission and distribution constraints faced by utilities. On balance I think charging station developers will probably need to buy several MW of batteries for each installation if they ever expect to get a grid interconnect.
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  • Jack Lifton
    , contributor
    Comments (431) | Send Message


    Great minds run on the same utility grid. I wrote also on this general theme yesterday. I blamed the politicians and the stock promoters for being self-interested and greedy, but if that isn't the case, and the politicians are wise and the stock promoters only want to redistribute their wealth to the deserving suckers then, indeed, the charging station gods are crazy.
    10 Aug 2009, 08:09 AM Reply Like
  • D. McHattie
    , contributor
    Comments (1844) | Send Message
    There's been a lot of talk about an alt energy bubble and, at times, I find myself looking forward to the trading opportunities of such an event.


    However, wild enthusiasm for technological applications that do not actually improve the situation is a dark consequence of speculative bubbles.


    Debunking these misguided propositions is going to be like playing whack-a-mole for you guys (John and Jack) for the next 5-10 years.
    10 Aug 2009, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Priceless D. McHattie; absolutely priceless.
    12 Aug 2009, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • giorgio gobbo
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
    The green debate has been a total failure in expectation management.
    In my opinion, when the public wakes up, trading opportunities will be plentiful, by shorting.
    16 Aug 2009, 12:18 PM Reply Like
  • John Petersen
    , contributor
    Comments (30629) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » giorgio, I have this fundamental aversion to short selling because of the time I've spent battling manipulative shorts over the years. It just strikes me as a bad karma kind of thing. That being said, it's no accident that Ener1, Valence and Altair all have immense short positions.
    22 Aug 2009, 12:34 AM Reply Like
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