Electrification

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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 power@nullenergyinnovation.org to inquire about this work product before its full release.

 

Resources

Natural Gas: A Bridge To Climate Breakdown

The rush to build more than 60 gigawatts of natural gas plants and pipelines risks tens of billions in investment and a trillion dollars in consumer costs by 2030. This report outlines these evolving risks for shareholders, lays out investor strategies to accelerate the clean energy transition, and shows how clean energy cuts utility investment risks from over-reliance on natural gas while providing new growth opportunities supporting decarbonization.

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Articles

How To Reach U.S. Net Zero Emissions By 2050: Decarbonizing Transportation

Energy Innovation has identified the policy pathway to economy-wide U.S. net zero emissions by 2050: This article explores transportation decarbonization.

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How To Reach U.S. Net Zero Emissions By 2050: Decarbonizing Buildings

Energy Innovation has identified the policy pathway to economy-wide U.S. net zero emissions by 2050: This article explores building decarbonization.

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Building Electrification Could Add Hundreds Of Millions Of Batteries To The Grid

EI’s Sonia Aggarwal outlines how building electrification could add hundreds of millions of thermal batteries to the U.S. grid.

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As Cities Begin Banning Natural Gas, States Must Embrace Building Electrification Via Smart Policy

EI’s Amanda Myers says city bans on natural gas mean state regulators must embrace building electrification through smart policy decisions.

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How States Can Overcome The Looming EV Charging Infrastructure Gap

EI’s Amanda Myers says 88% of the biggest U.S. cities lack the EV charging infrastructure to meet demand forecasts, but says California’s utility deployment holds lessons for other states.

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How States Can Overcome The Looming EV Charging Infrastructure Gap: New York, Maryland, Michigan

EI’s Amanda Myers says New York, Maryland, and Michigan are helping overcome the EV infrastructure charging gap through utility programs.

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Four U.S. Electric Vehicle Trends To Watch In 2019

EI’s Amanda Myers says four major trends will determine if the U.S. electric vehicle market accelerates or hits a roadblock in 2019.

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Beneficial Electrification: How to Make it Work

EI’s Mike O’Boyle outlines how widespread beneficial electrification requires anticipating and removing technical and institutional barriers to take full advantage of technological trends.

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Electric Buses Can Save America’s Local Governments Billions: China’s Showing Us How It’s Done

EI’s Silvio Marcacci highlights the trend of America’s largest cities converting their bus fleets from diesel to electric buses because they could save billions in fuel costs, and says China may hold the key to electrifying U.S. bus fleets.

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Are Electric Vehicle Charging Corridors The Best Way To Spend Volkswagen’s Dieselgate Billions?

EI’s Mike O’Boyle asks if electric vehicle charging corridors are the best way to spend billions flowing into U.S. EV infrastructure from Volkswagen’s Dieselgate settlement.

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Charging An Electric Vehicle Is Far Cleaner Than Driving On Gasoline, Everywhere In America

EI’s Silvio Marcacci says new research shows charging an electric vehicle in the U.S. is far cleaner than driving on gasoline, regardless of where it charges.

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Five Ways Utilities Can Gain From Building Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

EVs are accelerating across America, but they won’t reach their potential unless utilities can build sufficient charging infrastructure. A new Rocky Mountain Institute report lays out a suite of policies for regulators to help utilities move from gas to grid.

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Getting the Most Out of Vehicle Electrification for Both Customers and the Grid

EVs are on the path to becoming mainstream, thanks to strong policy support and rapid battery cost declines. The next key driver is the role utilities will play: If managed well, EVs are a massive opportunity for utilities to invest productive capital into the distribution system.

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