The Brave New Electric Grid For Europe


There are times when our elected representatives are blinded by a stunning flash of light and realise The Truth of something Common Sense has told the rest of us forever.

Sadly that moment hasn’t yet arrived. But it may be drawing closer, inch by painful inch.

A new report, commissioned by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Transport and Environment, has listed six policy changes which the EU should make in order to ensure we’re “harvesting the climate potential of electric vehicles.” Yeah, whatever.

And although these are aimed squarely at the EU, they’re worth paying attention to as they could make a great blueprint for the US and other countries to work from.

Transport has the fastest growing GHG emissions of any sector, with an increase of between 20 and 40% in the US and EU over the past two decades.

Just replacing gas guzzling cars with electric cars is only half the story. As the report concludes, if this were to happen without a change in current energy generation policy the level of emissions may stay the same or could increase, as more fossil fuel and nuclear power stations are built to take the strain.

So the report comes up with a three simple steps to ensure that electric vehicles will cause a real drop in emissions as they come on line:

  • enhance smart grids so that they can communicate to vehicles the source of the electricity they’re charging from
  • enhance electric vehicles so that they favour renewable sources of electricity when charging
  • ensure renewable energy capacity keeps in line with projected electric vehicle take up (at present it’s predicted to lag behind)

It’s not really rocket science is it?

So let’s hope the politicians see the wisdom in following this advice, otherwise all this electric vehicle technology may be for nothing.

Picture Credit: Building The Tesla by jurvetson from flickr under Creative Commons Attribution License.

Chris Milton

is a seasoned sustainability journalist focusing on business, finance and clean technology. His writing's been carried by a number of highly respected publishers, including The Guardian, The Washington Post and Scientific American. You can follow him on twitter as @britesprite, where he's one of Mashable's top green tweeters and Fast Company's CSR thought leaders. Alternatively you can follow him to the shops... but that would be boring.