Technology Review has a nice roundup on the advantages of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), pointing out how the vehicles could help stabilize the grid if they were charged during low demand periods. Some key excerpts from Technology Review:
Such a system could be further optimized by using smart chargers and other electronics. This system would include a charger that runs on a timer, charging cars only during off-peak hours. Researchers at Pacific Northwestern National Laboratory (PNNL) are taking this a step further with smart chargers that use the Internet to gather information about electricity demand. Utilities could then temporarily turn off chargers in thousands of homes or businesses to keep the grid from crashing after a spike in demand.
The next step would be to add smart meters that would track electricity use in real time and allow utilities to charge more for power used during times of peak demand, and less at off-peak hours. Coupled with such a system, the PNNL smart charger could ensure that the plug-in batteries are charged only when the electricity is at its cheapest, saving consumers money.
But what many experts are excited about now is a concept called "vehicle-to-grid," often abbreviated V2G. ... In this kind of system, each vehicle would have its own IP address so that wherever it is plugged in, the cost of the energy it uses to recharge would be billed to the owner. With the right equipment, the car could also return energy to the grid, giving the owner credit. Mock-ups of such systems have already been tested ...
I know some of this information is repetitive to some of my regular readers, but the importance of plug-in vehicles (and electric vehicles) to relieving our dependence on increasingly expensive liquid fuels is so crucial and the word must be spread to as many as possible. While I have said many times that conservation and use of renewables are very important this technology remains the cornerstone of The Energy Revolution.
Thanks to tip from Tyler at Clean Break.