Part 1 of the EV transition highlighted some of the costs associated with it and Part 2 of this series outlined some of the negative issues of EV and their batteries. In an effort to keep it readable at less than 1,500 words it was stated a Part 3 would be a requirement so here it is!
Should one do a simple Google search using the words “tesla car fire” and then hit the video button you will get dozens of videos of intense fires (presumably caused by the batteries) including some simply parked in a garage or stopped at an intersection. Some news story with videos where deaths have occurred note Tesla is being sued. It surely makes one hesitant to consider their next vehicle should be an EV as it’s not just Tesla EV catching fire as another Google search discloses. As these happenings gain more publicity the push-back on the government decrees in the developed world, including here in Canada where the decree is; “all vehicle sales (cars and trucks) by 2035 will be electric” will surely grow!
Battery Storage Fires
An article by S&P Global on May 31, 2022 titled; “Battery blazes, breakdowns underscore ‘growing pains’ for energy storage” highlights the problems associated with battery storage and the fire occurrence in Southern Australia back in 2021 when it was claimed to be the largest battery storage unit in the world. The article also outlines the latest problem with the 400 MW unit in California (Moss Landing Energy Storage) and now the largest unit in the world which recently experienced their second incident. The article notes: “The breakdowns are among more than 50 known failures at medium- to large-scale battery storage projects in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. Daily outage reports from the California ISO, which has more battery storage on its network than any other grid operator, point to additional frequent “plant troubles” curtailing capacity that the state is counting on to keep the lights on during critical periods of peak demand.” The article goes on to state: “Ranging from limited operational hiccups to catastrophic explosions, such incidents are likely to continue to accompany the proliferation of battery peakers, technology and safety experts said.” This certainly suggests the continued use of natural gas plants to back up the intermittent and unreliable nature of wind and solar generation will be with us for a few decades unless our politicians and the bureaucrats advising them are OK with frequent blackouts.
Transit EV Bus Fires
As the push to eliminate fossil fuel use for all the developed world continues the concept of electrifying all transit and transport vehicles gathers steam so, with lots of government support many transit authorities are working to convert their bus fleets. As just one example the City of Ottawa under its $57.4 billion “Energy Evolution” transition plan, have a target aiming to have a zero-emission transit sector by 2030. One should presume the 944 transit buses currently in Ottawa will be converted to battery operated ones by that date. Ottawa isn’t the only city in Canada or around the world with these plans and many European cities are much farther ahead. One example is Stuttgart (check out video) with two of EV transit buses and in the fall of 2021 one of them “is believed to have been the source of a massive fire that destroyed 25 buses in the city and also heavily damaged part of the depot they were parked in.” Once again there are dozens of videos and stories of EV bus fires from various locations around the world including one a few days ago in Connecticut which would make one somewhat reluctant to step on board for a trip or be content to allow your child to take an EV school bus. Needless to say, investigations into these fires are going on wherever they occurred and many of the fleets have parked their EV buses until the investigations determine the cause of the fire(s) is complete and the cause known.
Child Labour mines for Cobalt in the Congo and Zambia
Cobalt is one of the principal ingredients in an EV lithium-ion battery and the Congo has the highest known cobalt reserves in the world representing close to 70% and another African country, Zambia has the 2nd highest known reserves. Interestingly enough CNN back in May 2018 did some investigative work resulting in them posting a video titled “CNN FINDS CHILD LABOUR IN COBALT TRADE.” The video highlights the use of child labour to mine the cobalt and supply those EV battery manufacturers in China, the U.S.A, Europe and shortly, presumably Ontario. The latter have joined hands with PM Trudeau and the Province to provide grants for a new $1.5 billion plant to be built in Windsor with our tax dollars. Obviously, those tax dollars will be supporting the continued use of child labour in the Congo and in Zambia.
Supply Shortages Loom
Another major problem with the whole “energy transition” push is the probable upcoming shortages of key components required for the electrification of everything and one of those is copper. As noted in an article in the Financial Post a couple of weeks ago, “Numerous metals and minerals have been hawked as “the next oil,” but according to veteran energy historian Daniel Yergin, only one metal represents the linchpin of the energy transition away from fossil fuels — copper.“ Yergin “sees a looming supply-demand gap in copper that risks “short-circuiting” the energy transition and stalling global ambitions to slash greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.” The article cites a report estimating copper supply would need to double from current production of 25 million metric tons to 50 million metric tons by 2035. The report concludes: “copper shortages could delay how long it takes to reach net-zero emissions; Yergin also acknowledged that various other critical minerals — lithium and cobalt, for example — could well have an impact on climate goals too.”
It sure looks as if the electrification of everything is a pipe dream that will continue to exhibit dire consequences on mankind except perhaps for the small but very rich segment of the population. The time has come to kill the wishes of the eco-warriors and those politicians who have consumed their Kool-Aid.