Electric Cars Spur Demand for Coal Power

The Washington Post published an interesting article about Rotterdam, Netherlands needing to build three new coal-fired power plants to recharge the electric vehicles as gasoline and diesel powered vehicles are being banned. The electric cars bought with generous tax incentives “…jostle for space at charging stations.” The article mentions that one recharge takes as much electricity as used by the average refrigerator in a month and a half. Coal provided 29 percent of the country’s electricity in 2014, and forecasts are that number won’t change by 2030. Efforts to ban coal generators have fallen to the cheap price of coal.

It costs about $20 to recharge a Tesla for a 250 mile range, which is cheaper than the cost of refueling with hydrocarbons. The Union of Concerned Scientists calculated that a gasoline powered car in Colorado that gets 34 miles to the gallon or more would be better for emissions than the average electric car. In New York, where hydroelectric is a major source of electricity, the gasoline powered car would have to get 112 miles per gallon to be equal.

The Union of Concerned Scientists issued a rebuttal article stating that their calculations show that driving an electric vehicle anywhere in the U.S. is a better choice. It states that over two-thirds of Americans “…live in areas where an average EV (electric vehicle) is better than the most efficient hybrid gasoline vehicle on the market. Based on today’s sales, the average EV in the U.S. has emissions equivalent to a gasoline car getting 68 MPG.”

It is interesting to see this issue being debated. It sometimes seems the people driving electric vehicles might not realize the electricity has to come from somewhere. For the people in the alternative energy conscious people of Rotterdam, about a third of that comes from coal now and into the foreseeable future.

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