Monday, January 24, 2011

The Grid

Update:  The EIA shows only 45% of the grid is coal powered as of 2009, so the numbers are even better for EV's, with 55% of the grid not coal powered.
Grid percentages

I thought it might be useful to take a deeper look into the grid since that's where most of us will get our "fuel" for our EV's.  Detractors commonly say the grid is mostly coal, which is misleading at best.  Current stats have the US grid around 48% 45% coal, so while coal is the single largest generating fuel most of the grid, about  55%, is not coal at all.  Additionally if you look at population distribution and areas more likely to be early adopters of EV's, the West coast, East Coast, and most southern border states, all have much lower percentages of coal power than the US average.  Here's a helpful interactive map of the US grid and fuel sources: Grid Map
If you click on "Sources of Power" and then use the drop down menu to the left that shows "Major Power Sources" and choose "Coal" you get a nice visual representation of what I'm talking about.  These numbers have been improving in recent years and should continue to do so in the future.  With or without EV's the grid needs to get cleaner, and with new wind, solar, NG, and possibly nuclear there is no reason for it not to.  The mistake detractors often make is they use the state of the grid in years past but project the power consumption of EV's in the future to paint an inaccurate emissions profile for electric vehicles.  The final nail in their hypocritical coffin is that these same people usually don't think emissions are even important to begin with.  If they truly believe that then power plant emissions have no place in the EV argument and they should welcome the fact that all energy for EV's is produced domestically, not imported from other countries.  The benefits of not sending billions of dollars over seas every year should be obvious.

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