Disclaimer: I am not an engineer of any sort.
I have been watching the debate over electric vehicles, specifically whether or not they are actually benefical to the envirnoment, presuming they are charged using electricity from coal plants. My question is more about the plants themselves, and how much electricity that is generated by them is actually consumed.
When I turn off a light bulb in my house, does the coal-fired generator that provides my electricity suddenly see that it needs to burn less coal? I doubt it. I am beginning to surmise that a plant must generate more electricity than is actually used. But, where does this excess juice go? And since power rates are lower at night, does this mean that even more of the generated power goes unused then?
All of this leads me to a belief that electric cars, especially those charged at night, are not responsible for the burning of any additional coal, due to the (presumed by me) over-production that it must maintain. They just help to make use of a higher percentage of the electricity that is being generated anyway.
Am I off-base here? Someone please put an authoritative spin on all of this!
Thanks much, Steve