Thursday, December 11, 2008

wind/ev power

From now on, I will no longer refer to wind power without referencing electric vehicles (EVs).

They are entirely co-dependent on each other. Well, wind is entirely dependent on EVs, anyway. And EVs are most beneficial when combined with wind. So, fairly co-dependent.

I've been over this a bit before, but the basic idea is that energy systems with large amounts of wind power are unstable and unreliable - and that is bad for everyone involved. Additionally, they require that old coal plants be kept online and running in their most inefficient range in order to quickly make up the difference when the wind slows. Again, bad for everyone involved.

EVs without wind increase overnight base load - which is great for big coal and nuke plants because they provide the majority of the base load power in the world. This is less good for the self-righteous EV buyers, because it means that they are unintentionally supporting some of their least favorite technologies. No, buying into "green power" options or "carbon offsets" doesn't make a difference. If you use power overnight, no matter where you live or what kind of contract you have, your power mostly comes from coal and nuke plants. These products do subsidize wind power project, but they have no impact whatsoever on where your power comes from or how power in your region is scheduled. Power is scheduled on an hourly least cost basis.

So, the needs of wind and EV buyers are aligned - they complete each other. Wind produces power erratically - and EVs can be set up to charge erratically; or even to give back to the power system when too much of the wind has stopped blowing.

Point being, for large portions of our power to come from wind we need EVs. And for EVs to meet all of the goals of most buyers, we need large amounts of wind power, so talking about one without mentioning the other is shortsighted.

Fortunately, Ford, GM, and Chrysler all have claimed that they'll have an EV on the market within 3 years - and Obama has said he strongly supports wind energy and it is likely to be part of his big infrastructure plans.

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