For electric vehicle drivers concerned about "dirty coal" taking away the environmental benefits of electrified transportation, we've found some good news. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just released its annual report on sources of new energy capacity for domestic electric power plants. Renewable energy accounted for 37.16 percent of new power plant capacity. Natural gas dominated new capacity at 52 percent last year, while old king coal dropped down to just around 11 perce
This summer, President Obama called for cleaner coal power plants and started what critics called the "War on Coal." Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made it official by proposing new pollution standards for new power plants under the Clean Air Act. The agency also announced it would take steps to make old plants cleaner, but that's much less defined. The EPA's proposal is in line with the President's Climate Action Plan and would be the very first uniform national limits on CO2
Every party has a pooper, and in this case it appears to be Forbes columnist Alex Epstein. Amid near-universal praise for the Tesla Model S electric vehicle, Epstein attempts to pop that balloon by calling the Model S a "great coal car," pointing out that about two-thirds of the world's electricity production comes from coal, natural gas and oil – and only a miniscule percentage is from renewable resources like solar and wind.
We forget where we heard it first, but we've always liked the argument for plug-in vehicles that they are able to get cleaner over time. Whether it's through installing solar panels on your roof or taking advantage of Tesla's solar-powered Superchargers, with an EV it is possible to make the electricity you use to power your EV cleaner. It's much harder to do with with a gas guzzler – and that's why an announcement by President Obama today about a new climate change strategy that would put
Air pollution in China's capital city is reaching sobering levels. The World Health Organization warns that levels for fine airborne particulates that pose the greatest health risks should go no higher than 25 for 24-hour exposure on the PM2.5 scale. On January 22, the official Beijing government reading near Tiananmen Square reached 258 at 4 a.m. The city rates it as "heavily polluted."
It's easy to understand that, if you power your vehicle with electricity, you don't need to use as much gasoline. But, how much do you actually save, in terms of fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions if you plug in instead of gas up?
If you think ending the ethanol subsidy puts all fuel sources on an equal footing, think again. While there has been a great deal of vitriol directed toward subsidies for alternative energy and plug-in vehicles, very little has been heard about the ways in which fossil fuels are given a huge advantage – and there are many. In fact, compared to the help fossil fuels are given, tax breaks for alternative energy are decidedly modest.
Few electric vehicles are actually "zero emissions," but calculating the exact carbon footprint of an EV can be daunting. Not only do different utilities each use a different mix of coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar, many areas also offer individuals the opportunity to buy "greener" power. These deals don't actually guarantee the source of the electrons arriving at your home, but they can help ensure that your utility expands or purchases power from sources that are more environmentally frie
A new report from the Chinese government notes that the cost of solar power in that country could drop below 0.80 yuan (12.5 cents) per kilowatt-hour by 2015. At that price, solar matches up favorably with the current go-to source for cheap energy, coal. How? Well, China already expects to double its solar-electric capacity by the end of the year and is providing incentives for further growth.
Utility companies across the U.S. will shut down and retire aging coal-fired power plants following the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) announcement of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAP). This rule is intended to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide at coal-fired power plants and makes it incredibly costly for utility companies to modernize aging facilities to meet the stringent emissions standards.
Operating an electric vehicle in China today emits more greenhouse gases than simply driving a gasoline-fueled equivalent, according to emissions expert Juerg Gruetter of Gruetter Consulting. The reason is that, despite the country's push to promote electric vehicles, China's power grid is so overwhelmingly fed by dirty coal that recharging the battery-powered rides will release far more emissions than just putting gasoline in the tanks of the nation's 200-plus million registered vehicles.
Back in December of 2009, Sustainable Business reported that no new coal-fired power plants were erected that year. In fact, SB indicated that 26 coal plant proposals had been either "defeated or abandoned." Well, it appears that the trend to shift away from coal power will continue.
Electric vehicles moving on electrons generated from coal are cleaner than gasoline-powered vehicles, but those coal plants are still pretty dirty. Not everyone is in favor of coal-powered EVs, but it's hard to argue against shifting power generation from coal to renewable resources. Thankfully, there's one big hint that the U.S. is starting to move away from coal plants: the quiet.
Think that plugging in your vehicle will protect the earth? Sure, this was the message that EPRI and the NRDC sent following a 2008 study that found that, if 60 percent of the U.S. fleet of light vehicles converted to plug-ins by 2050, CO2 emissions would drop by 450 million metric tons annually (the same as taking 82 million cars off the road) while electricity consumption would increase only eight percent.
The legacy of experimentation with alternative fuels to gasoline is nothing new. It started back in the earliest days of the car in the late 19th century. Alternatives to piston engines are also not new, although none but the Wankel rotary have had any notable commercial success. Starting back in the 1950s, there was a lot of interest in trying to run cars on turbine engines. Turbines had some inherent advantages,including high power density and, most importantly, the ability to run on virtually