Letter to the Editor: Infrastructure upgrades needed prior to EV regulations


Editor’s note: The following was recently sent to Gov. John Carney, as well as Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin; Rep. Kerri Evelyn Harris, D-Dover; and Sen. Eric Buckson, R-Camden.

I wanted to express my concerns with your executive order on mandating electric vehicles.

Mandating electric vehicles before we have infrastructure to support them seems like an ill-conceived idea which was not thought through. The current electrical grid will not support the added demand. Our aging electric-generating stations in Delaware will not be able to meet the demand. The second-largest power plant in Delaware, the Edge Moor natural gas plants, were built in 1953 through 1973. Our third-largest plant, Indian River, is scheduled to close in 2026. What are the plans to replace these power-generating stations when the demand will be dramatically increased by the electric vehicle mandate? What is the plan to increase the capacity of the electrical grid in Delaware? If there are plans to address these issues before the mandate, please educate the public.

I am led to believe that this effort is to address climate change. Delaware currently generates 86% of its electric from natural gas. I am old enough to remember when the nation switched to natural gas for energy production, as a clean alternative for the environment. Has this thinking now changed?

If the thinking is that renewables will power the cars, as of 2021, Delaware only generated 7.2% of its electric with renewables. How can anyone say this electric vehicle mandate is for a cleaner environment, when 92.8% of the electric currently generated in Delaware that will charge these electric vehicles will get the electric from fossil fuel power-generating stations? What are we gaining with this draconian mandate?

I would suggest that Delaware come up with and implement a comprehensive plan to upgrade the electric grid and electrical power-generating stations before mandating something we are not ready for. Maybe look into the newer technology for nuclear. I am not an expert, but it is my understanding the newer nuclear plants are extremely safe and reliable. This would create good-paying union jobs, which the state needs.

Do not get me wrong. I am not anti-electric vehicles. I operated and maintained electric bridge cranes for the Navy for 30 years. These cranes were built during World War II and ran as good as the day they were manufactured. Electric motors, for the most part, are very reliable and very low maintenance.

There are some issues with the new EVs which need to be worked out, such as charging time for longer trips and batteries catching on fire, but the technology should catch up. We have already seen the impact of the electric vehicle mandate in California, where last summer, the power companies had to impose brownouts, the governor had to implement restrictions on vehicle charging, and people had to choose between having air conditioning or charging their cars to go to work.

If the state continues with this mandate before the infrastructure is upgraded, it will be doomed to failure, which would be a shame. A smart person learns from their mistakes; a wise person learns from the mistakes of others.

Thomas Hoever


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