Wind turbines create more power at night, when wind tends to be strongest in Alberta. At the same time, most commuters do not drive at night. So, if a commuter has chosen to invest in an electric or plug-in hybrid car, night time is when the charging will occur. The authors argue that if electrical grid operators in Alberta could divert more wind energy to the grid at night for use by electric cars that are recharging, that significant energy and emissions savings would result.
Dr. Zareipour points out additional benefits of such a system, "With a ‘smart charging system’, when a vehicle is plugged in, the grid operator has control over its charging. In fact, the battery can even be discharged to provide power back to the grid. So, car owners could realize some benefits in return for supplying power to the grid. Although a smart charging system requires an initial investment in communication infrastructure and incentive plans to encourage owners to participate, it would bring with it several advantages, including significant environmental benefits."
A copy of the paper entitled Environmental Benefits Of Using Wind Generation To Power Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles can be found by going to www.policyschool.ca/publications.