Power sector decarbonization benefits not just the power sector, but can drive down emissions in the transportation, buildings, and industry sectors through electrification. Electrification is the process of converting end uses from fossil-fuel powered to electric, including vehicles, HVAC appliances, and industrial machinery. Economics and climate goals will drive more decisions to retire dirty coal plants and replace that electricity demand with renewable energy. Policymakers will need to make a concerted effort to take advantage of this momentum in other sectors.
Replacing fossil fuels with electricity widens the purview of electricity regulators. Rates will need to be designed with a much more diverse set of customers and uses in mind. Utility programs will need to incent new customer adoption and behavior. Policymakers at the city, state, and federal levels will need to coordinate this massive fuel-switching endeavor.
Additionally, electrification is not unidirectional: Efforts to electrify end uses will affect the grid by changing electricity demand. The future of the electricity grid will be influenced by electrification, as well as complementary policies to make demand more flexible, which will keep costs down.
Energy Innovation is currently developing an electrification roadmap to guide policymakers on electrification across and between sectors. Please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about this work product before its full release.