There have been concerns about what happens when plug-in hybrids become a reality – will the pollution just shift from cars to power plants due to the need to build more plants with higher capacity? A new study from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory shows that even if all the cars and light trucks in the US were changed from gasoline to electricity, there’s enough off peak idle capacity in the nation’s current electric power system to generate most of the juice needed.
“”We were very conservative in looking at the idle capacity of power generation assets,” said PNNL scientist Michael Kintner-Meyer. “The estimates didn’t include hydro, renewables or nuclear plants. It also didn’t include plants designed to meet peak demand because they don’t operate continuously. We still found that across the country 84 percent of the additional electricity demand created by PHEVs could be met by idle generation capacity.””