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More Videos from EPRI's Electrification Rollout

The Electric Power Research Institute rolled out its National Electrification Assessment in April. "The study finds that economy-wide electrification leads to a reduction in energy consumption, spurs steady growth in electric load, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions." If you weren't there, that's ok; we were: 



Ontario Power Generation CEO Jeff Lyash: In Ontario, we've essentially already decarbonized the electricity sector. We burned our last ton of coal in 2015 in Ontario. We've retired all the coal plants. Replaced that largely with expanded production out of nuclear power, optimizing the hydro assets, and more wind and solar, and a little bit of biomass to that mix, and some natural gas combined-cycle, to round out that energy mix.

Then the result of that is we're at forty grams of carbon per kilowatt-hour, carbon intensity. I think like the U.S. is about three hundred and fifty right now. Give or take. 

What we're turning our attention to is exactly this, how do we use that clean electricity to efficiently drive decarbonization in mobility, in space heating, and in industrial processes. And unique to Canada, we have a lot of remote communities who run on diesel. To the extent we can put integrated energy systems, smart grids in place with renewables, we can drive that diesel out of our generation mix.



Sheryl Carter of the Natural Resources Defense Council: Not always been the case. Twenty years ago, or maybe even more recently, environmental groups like NRDC were actually opposing increased electrification. But what's changed in the last few years, and this is really important, electric technology use, as you heard earlier, has become much more efficient. And the grid, the electric system, has become much cleaner. These trends are expected to continue.

Therefore, electrification has actually become a really important part of not only NRDC's advocacy, but also other environmental groups as well. Because of the environmental and public health benefits that they can bring. 

The ways that we are addressing this issue include working to make sure that we are making these choices - efficient choices - across the energy system, across the economy-wide energy system. Instead of just looking just at one sector versus another, like electricity, natural gas, petroleum. That's really important. We're working with others on trying to develop ways to compare across these systems.



PNM Resources CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn: I will make a plug for the benefits of utility ownership. We're the only ones that will make sure that the charging infrastructure benefits everybody. 

Because if you're in it for profit - if you're doing it - I want to make sure that my charging station individually is profitable. I'm going to put it in downtown Santa Fe. I'm not going to put one in Ruidoso. 

And who lives in Ruidoso (unfortunately)? Less-fortunate folks. I do think there is a secondary market developing for used electric vehicles that may go to low-income folks. 

Utilities can make sure that everyone has that benefit. Tesla has done a magnificent job, I think, of rolling out the super-chargers. But not everybody can afford a Tesla. 

I think that there are lots of arguments for utilities being in the charging business. But I do think we need to remember as we move forward on electrification, to not leave out the folks that are living in rural communities and are not that affluent. Because if we don't plan it carefully, that could happen by accident.


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Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly

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