Will plug-in cars lead to more coal or gas power plants?



The existing electric grid’s off-peak capacity for power generation is sufficient to power 73 percent of commutes to and from work by cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans without building a single new power plant. In NZ we are very fortunate to have 80% of our power needs delivered via renewable generation - wind, solar and hydro - with little coming from the older coal fired stations. This percentage can only increase as the impact of CO2 emissions make us think in a more clever way to mitigate the problems CO2 cause the planet.

There is a big push to develop systems that allow existing nighttime electricity be stored in EV batteries and retrieved during peak-demand hours.  Such vehicle-to-grid technology will revolutionise the provision of power, helping to meet society’s daytime power needs.

New Zealand has consents for enough renewable energy sources to power every vehicle in NZ if they converted to electricity at a stroke. In fact household electricity use has flattened in the past decade as we all switch to LED lighting and more efficient whiteware.

Internationally, the OECD countries are mostly all striving to meet their Paris Agreement emissions targets by 2050. These include massive increases in renewable electricity generation. Countries, like China and Germany, that traditionally had dirty grids are making giant strides to clean up their act. In addition, part of the Paris Agreement calls for OECD countries to lend technology and resources to non-OECD countries to help them reduce their emissions too.

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