Calgary, Alberta – Wind power could be the perfect match to electric vehicles in Alberta, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
The paper, Environmental Benefits of Using Wind Generation to Power Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, said that electric cars and wind turbines have a unique synergy that can increase both of their clean energy benefits.
Wind turbines create more power at night, when winds tend to be the strongest in Alberta. Most commuters do not drive at night and would charge their electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles during this time. The researchers said that if electrical grid operators in Alberta could divert more wind energy to the grid at night to be used for recharging, significant energy and emissions savings would result.
“With a ‘smart’ charging system, when a vehicle is plugged in, the grid operator has control over its charging,” said Dr. Hamid Zareipour, one of the study’s authors. “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.”