Plug In America advocates for clean and sustainable vehicles. That includes the power used to run them. We want vehicles that run primarily on clean, affordable, domestic electricity, not foreign fossil fuels or less-practical alternative fuels. Here is our thinking on energy options:
1) No new power plants are needed in order to make plug-in vehicles viable today. A U.S. Department of Energy study in 2007 calculated that existing off-peak capacity in the electrical grid could power the daily commutes of 73% of all cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans in America. That's more than 178 million plug-in vehicles. It will take years to get that many on the road, during which time society should be instituting greater efficiencies to reduce our demand for power, and planning for new, renewable power to meet future needs. Driving on electricity with the present U.S. grid already is cleaner than driving on gasoline (see our summary of emissions studies HERE) and will only get cleaner as the grid gets cleaner.
2) The decisions that our society makes over the next 10 years about power plants will determine what kind of electricity plug-in vehicles use 30-50 years from now, or longer, as so eloquently stated in a 2008 study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. Some people have said that U.S. society will need more nuclear, coal, or other controversial power plants to meet our needs. We disagree.
3) Even with just today's existing technology, we can get enough electricity to power our society by instituting energy efficiencies and tapping clean, renewable power sources, according to a collection of expert reports in Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.: Potential Carbon Emissions Reductions from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency by 2030. Here's the bottom line: We don't need coal. We don't need nuclear. We don't need liquified natural gas. Why on earth would we want those more costly, dangerous, and polluting options if we don't need them? Better alternatives are efficiencies and power from wind, concentrated solar, solar photovoltaics, biofuels, biomass, and geothermal sources.
4) Plug In America supports immediate and large-scale implementation of energy efficiencies and clean, renewable power throughout U.S. society. We support a moratorium on any new power plants that rely on coal, nuclear, oil, or liquified natural gas. We support shutting down existing coal-fired power plants as soon as possible and in a time frame that will allow our country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.
Join us! Together we'll get new plug-in cars on the road soon and help ensure that the electrical grid just keeps getting cleaner.