Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crashing the Grid

Map of US electrical grid
The US Electrical Grid. Click for interactive version
We know the electrical grid is an ad hoc assemblage figuratively bound together with bubblegum and baling wire. According to Ontario Hydro, the massive utility in Canada's most populous province, it is destined to break in the face of new technology:
The energy chief of demand-response power utility Toronto Hydro Anthony Haines has warned if ten per cent of households in its service territory within Canada adopted electric vehicles it would crash the electricity grid, according to reports.

The company said electric cars consume around triple the amount of energy that is usually used in the average home, with the extra charging load at peak after-work hours, news service the reported.
As the story suggest, this Chicken Little act may only be intended to grease a rate increase. While politics has a role, government is sceptical. Nonetheless, upward pressure on rates is rampant.

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