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Electrification Is Transforming Our Energy Use

July 6, 2021

As electricity generation becomes progressively cleaner, replacing direct fossil fuel use with electricity emerges as a crucial economy-wide tool for reducing emissions.

Electrification Is Transforming Our Energy Use

In the race to restrict emissions to combat climate change without hurting economic growth, electrification is a word you’ll be hearing more often. As electricity generation becomes progressively cleaner, replacing direct fossil fuel use with electricity emerges as a crucial economy-wide tool for reducing emissions. 

Electrification will change the type of cars and trucks we drive, how we cook our food, dry our clothes, heat our water, and how we heat and cool our buildings. Since the time humans began burning wood for heat and power, our energy has seen a steady evolution to cleaner sources of power. Wood gave way to cleaner coal. Coal eventually gave up its dominance to oil. In just the last decade, as gas replaced oil as the dominant source of power, America’s electricity industry continues to become significantly less carbon-intensive.

Electrification is important because of what’s happening in electricity generation.

  • The emerging trend is cheap renewable power and coal plant retirements reducing the carbon intensity of the grid.
  • By using the ever-cleaner grid to power our transportation, heating, cooking and cleaning appliances, we reduce our carbon footprint.

Electrification is an exciting next step toward cleaner energy.

The potential speed with which electrification could take over our transportation, and reduce up to 28% of all U.S. emissions, is striking.

  • General Motors, one of the largest automakers in the world, will stop making gas-powered cars by 2035.
  • California announced it will stop selling gasoline-powered cars in 15 years.
  • Volkswagen says it will be the leading manufacturer of EVs by 2025.
  • Electric transportation and its charging infrastructure are poised to experience unprecedented growth in 2021.

Electrifying buildings is an essential step

  • Advances in the same technology that’s in our refrigerators are probably showing up in your neighborhood as the replacement of choice for aged-out oil burners, gas furnaces, and hot water heaters – heats pumps.
  • Electric heat pump technologies for buildings improve indoor air quality and reduce emissions.
  • Once heat pumps technologies for buildings improve indoor air quality and reduce emissions.
  • The advances in heat pump technologies can be compared to the strides seen in solar technology over the past 10 years.

Utilities and customers will transition together.

The utilities are just getting started integrating new technology to decarbonize the grid.

  • Many utilities have committed to clean energy goals. It may not be long before every utility has a plan to achieve net-zero emissions for electricity generation.
  • New technologies are helping utilities save money and improve resiliency. One new technology that’s growing in importance is storage. Energy storage will be key to helping utilities advance their plans to phase out fossil fuels.
  • Solar power is increasingly key to decarbonizing our electricity and currently dominates new power capacity as we electrify everything.

Homeowner adoption is a key part of the electrification process.

  • You don’t have to get rid of your gas-fired home heating and cooling, gas stove or dryer right away.
  • “To hit our decarbonization goals, we don’t need to take out someone’s perfectly good water heater,” says Scott Blunk, the strategic business planner of electrification and energy efficiency for Sacramento’s Municipal Utility District. “We just need to replace it with an electric one when it goes out.”
  • That makes it easy for homeowners because the incremental cost for end-of-life electric replacements will be a small premium over the money you were going to spend anyway. Rebates and incentives can help with replacement costs. Look for incentives in your state (NY, IL, MA, ME) before you start shopping. The utilities are just getting started integrating new technology to decarbonize the grid.

Throughout cities, towns and rural America, electric changeovers will make a positive impact on local economies and environments in much the same way solar does.

Community shared solar provides thousands of residents and towns an equitable and affordable renewable energy choice. Check out Community Solar options near you here on the Ampion website.

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