Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Electric Vehicles Will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A recent article by John Peterson argued that electric vehicles will take us backward in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that today's hybrid cars are more effective in reducing GHGs. Peterson's commentary rests on recent research by Carnegie Mellon University regarding life-cycle emissions of various vehicle types.

I believe Peterson's highly negative view of electric vehicles is unwarranted and inaccurate due to a number of reasons that I describe below.

I have some familiarity with these issues in that I represent the Green Power Institute (a non-profit policy outfit based in the Bay Area) at the California Public Utilities Commission in the electric vehicle proceeding R. 09-08-009. This proceeding is considering numerous issues related to utility rate design for electric vehicles and state policies for integrating potentially large numbers of electric vehicles into the grid in coming years. Our comments in this proceeding can be found here.

I also was the lead author of the Community Environmental Council’s 2007 report, A New Energy Direction: A Blueprint for Santa Barbara County, which examined in detail how Santa Barbara County could wean itself from fossil fuels and save substantial money at the same time. I wrote the report not only as a detailed blueprint for one county, but also as a template for other counties and regions contemplating similar goals. I wrote in that report that alternatives to driving, driving smaller vehicles, and relying on hybrid vehicles were the best short-term options for reducing fossil fuel use. However, in the longer term, electrification of our transportation infrastructure was the most promising path.

Read the rest at www.renewableenergyworld.com

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