In today’s news you report that Washington state Sen. Doug Erickson wants to give incentives (our tax dollars) to electric utilities to encourage them to invest in carbon reduction. One of those incentives would be to encourage utilities to install electric vehicle chargers. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (www.eia.gov) says that 67 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from fossil fuels, including 39 percent from coal.
While it’s true that a smaller share of electricity generated in Washington comes from fossil fuels, it’s the nationwide share that’s relevant. The U.S. is one giant electricity grid, similar to the way oil is one giant worldwide market. As more people plug electric cars into the grid, demand for electricity will increase and more power plants will be needed. Most new power plants will burn coal, oil and gas. I suggest that to reduce the spewing of carbon into the air we don’t need to encourage more demand for electricity, we need to encourage energy conservation and to invest in cleaner burning fuels, better ways to decrease pollution from those fuels, and ways to generate electricity without using fossil fuels.
Meanwhile, one of Gov. Inslee’s proposals is to encourage the use of biodiesel. According to a piece in Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/diesel-vs-biodiesel-vs-vegetable-oil/index.htm) pure biodiesel produces three times as many hydrocarbons as regular diesel. Is it really wise to use our tax dollars to divert a major food crop into the fuel tanks of cars, trucks, trains and/or ships?