A recent article in Toronto Star confirms the big interest the utilities have in generating power locally, as we explained in a previous post. What’s amazing is the extent of the issue: the CEO of Toronto Hydro states that the grid cannot handle the supplementary load added if 10% of the houses on any street in Toronto would switch to electric cars. They predict that by 2020, 5% of the cars in the city will be electric. While for me and you this is still a long time, it’s not that long if you need to upgrade the transmission lines.
The major problem seems to be that the electric cars need a lot of juice to charge the batteries quickly. They estimate it’s 3 times the load of a regular house. Granted, it’s only for a few hours a day, but if no restrictions are imposed, probably most of the people will connect their cars to the grid as soon as they get home, exactly at peak hour! This will translate in stressing the transmission network even more than it currently is.
The article indirectly confirms one the reasons for the recent OPA decision to alter the microFIT program by lowering the price for electricity generated by the ground-mounted solar panels: they really need this electricity in the big cities, and they may not be able to transport it there if it’s generated on the “moose pastures” :-). Ground-mounted systems tend to be installed where there is enough space for them, mostly in the countryside.