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07 Jan 2011 08:01:54

Hybrid vehicles and power grids in USA

Technical analysis and impacts assessments of plug-in hybrid vehicles on electric utilities and regional US power grids—by Michael Kinter-Meyer, Kevin Schneider, Robert Pratt, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

This paper estimates the regional percentages of the energy requirements for the U.S. LDV stock that could potentially be supported by the existing infrastructure, based on the 12 modified North American Electric Reliability Council regions, as of 2002. For the United States as a whole, up to 84% of U.S. cars, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) could be supported by the existing infrastructure, although the local percentages vary by region.

Using the LDV fleet classification, which includes cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and vans, the technical potential is 73%. This has an estimated gasoline displacement potential of 6.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, or approximately 52% of the nation's oil imports.

The paper also discusses the impact on overall emissions of criteria gases and greenhouse gases as a result of shifting emissions from millions of individual vehicles to a few hundred power plants. Overall, PHEVs could reduce greenhouse gas emissions with regional variations dependent on the local generation mix. Total NOX emissions may or may not increase, dependent on the use of coal generation in the region. Any additional sulfur dioxide emissions associated with the expected increase in generation from coal power plants would need to be cleaned up to meet the existing sulfur dioxide emissions constraints. Particulate emissions would increase in 8 of the 12 regions. The emissions in urban areas are found to improve across all pollutants and regions as the emission sources shift from millions of tailpipes to a smaller number of large power plants in less-populated areas.

This paper concludes with a discussion about possible grid impacts as a result of the PHEV load as well as the likely impacts on the plant and technology mix of future generation-capacity expansions.

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