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Monday, March 26, 2007

Awe-stin Texas

The mayor of Austin, Texas has a ridiculously awesome plan to leverage the city's electric utility to charge the electric cars of its residents while they are plugged in at night and then, while sitting in the parking lot during the day, draw power from those same vehicles during peak hours. What?!

To top it off, the city utility would draw more power from wind farms in order to supply the electricity to charge the vehicles at night. Man, if this could work, I think I might just move to Austin.

Here is a breakdown of the proposed process:

1. Austin's peak wind production is at night, but the peak usage period is during the day. To solve this problem of mismatched supply and demand the city would make a push for its residents to purchase electric vehicles (check out plug-in partners) which would utilize the wind power while plugged in over night.

2. While the cars at parked in a parking lot and its owners are at work, the vehicles would supply excess power from their lithium ion batteries back to the grid using a proven process known as vehicle-to-grid power, or V2G. Kickass.

An audacious plan? Sure, but these are the types of initiatives, these big crazy ideas, that will push cities to become clean, healthy, and self sustainable environments. In terms of economic development, these ideas will also propel these cities ahead of the status quo, the cities who simply go along with the government and EPA minimums for alternative energy usage. So, while plug-in hybrids have yet to arrive, these "demand side" initiatives are only going to help convince the automakers that there is indeed a market for these vehicles. Bring back the EV1 !!!

View the complete story on this at The Wall Street Journal.


Lori Sinsley said...

Agree 100% that we need big crazy ideas like this if we are to achieve a paradigm shift around energy and sustainability.

Based on the support behind this campaign--50 cities, green groups and hundreds of utilities have endorsed it--let's hope this succeeds and becomes a model that can be replicated nationally.

What else would we get besides a greener planet? More jobs, more innovative technology, more bragging rights, etc.

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