Green Energy

Your cool electric car is clean, quiet, fumeless....but does it run on green energy?

Electricity doesn't come from nowhere. So then we have to ask, How green is our electricity?

Even without green electricity, your electric car is already more clean and energy-efficient than a gas car. This is because huge amounts of energy are wasted in drilling for oil....

green energy

.....and then transporting it by ship to a refinery, which then uses more energy.... 

Photo of Anacortes Oil Refinery: Walter Siegmund/Creative Commons.

green energy

And look at all that pollution it's spewing out! Ugh!

....Then the refined oil has to be transported all around the place to every little gas station all over the place.

In terms of energy efficiency, from well to wheel, gas is about 10% efficient. Pretty scandalous really! When future oil is drilled for in more inaccessible oil-fields, even more energy will be needed to extract it. 

Now, let’s say the electric power plant that generates your household supply is powered by oil. It has all the same inefficiencies of getting the oil to the plant. But, from then on,it is a more energy-efficient way of converting that oil energy into an electrical current that you can plug your car into. It is 17% efficient. Actually, this is pretty scandalous too. But it is 7% better than for gas cars!

So, well to wheel, via electricity, is still more efficient than well to wheel, via gasoline/diesel.

But that's not the point. We want to drive electric not just to save money on soaring gas prices. And 17% energy-efficiency is simply not good enough for the future. We want our electricity to be made from renewable resources that are totally energy-efficient and are non-polluting. Then, electric driving will be 100% green driving.

So what can we do? We can add our voice to those who campaign to have polluting fossil-fuel power stations decommissioned. (And this doesn't mean going nuclear instead. Nuclear has its own serious environmental issues and is not an acceptable alternative to fossil-fuels.)

The only green alternative is grid electricity produced by wind, solar, water and wave power. If you have any of these options available on your grid, support them. If not, lobby for them. Your government can give grants and incentives which will boost research and development of these technologies on a mass scale. Let's do it! Let's stop wasting our eco-system's natural energy generation..... 

All this going to waste.... 

....and all this.... 

....and all this.... 

All this green energy could be an independent source of fuel that would not be subject to the price fluctuations of oil. Nobody could ration it. Nobody owns the wind and the waves and the sun, so nobody would go to war over them. The same natural sources are there for every nation to use.

It is truly incredible that we have allowed the oil industry hold us all to ransom, when we have free energy resources that have never been developed until now. 

In the meantime, if we all changed over to electric cars over the next decade or so, could our existing grids support this?

Well, yes it seems, they could---if people recharged at night, when the grid is underused. And over time, grids could be upgraded to improve capacity where necessary. And hopefully new green grids could be developed to replace polluting ones.

However, where grids have been privatised and are owned by shareholders who have no long-term interest in investing in upgrades, we need government regulation of the sector. It is in the public interest. On environmental questions, we must stop serving sectional interests and put the overall good first. Without marshalling our common will to protect our common interests, we will never have universal green energy. his text.