Electrification – replacing technologies and systems that run on fossil fuels with alternatives like electric vehicles, heat pumps, and induction stoves that run on clean electricity – is a proven way to reduce pollution and decarbonize the economy. Since the technologies already exist to run our grid on 90 percent carbon-free resources by 2035, “electrifying everything” can secure deep economywide emissions reductions. Integrating widespread electrification into grid planning and operations can also boost power system reliability and optimize the full benefits of cleaner technologies.
This transition must start today because every new fossil-fueled car, building appliance, and industrial machine locks in emissions for decades. In the transportation sector, switching from internal combustion engine vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel to zero-emission electric vehicles requires substantial charging infrastructure investments while ensuring equitable access for low-income communities and multi-unit dwellers and smart rate design to encourage beneficial charging behavior.
In the building sector, electrification means replacing gas- and oil-fired appliances with highly-efficient electric alternatives, adopting new building codes and amending existing ones, along with other policies to retrofit existing buildings. Many industrial processes that currently rely on fossil fuels for heat also must switch to clean electricity. Electrifying our economy by midcentury is key to economy-wide decarbonization and will create other benefits like improved air quality and public health.
Our podcast Electrify This! features electrification experts around the world who are accelerating the transition to 100 percent clean electricity and explores the legislative, regulatory, and market issues surrounding electrification to better understand challenges and identify equitable, scalable solutions.
Scaling up electrification across several sectors requires a multi-faceted approach at the federal, state, and local levels. Energy Innovation provides original research and analysis to policymakers and regulators to support the rapid, equitable, and affordable electrification of transportation, buildings, and industry. Our research has gained early traction in California, which is setting policies now that will be the benchmark for ambitious electrification and will provide a leading example for other states, federal policymakers, and internationally.