Beneficial electrification: What it is and how it can help you

December 31, 2019

We all know electricity is beneficial.

It powers farm equipment, manufacturing, life-saving medical devices and information technology that is so critical to learning and economic growth.  

While Americans are accustomed to reliable electricity, nearly a billion people worldwide lack access. This stunts the economies, schools and health of impacted countries.

But even in the United States, the expanded use of electricity can benefit us all.

“Beneficial electrification” describes how new uses of electricity – for example, electric vehicles – can serve consumers while reducing emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like gasoline. That’s because an increasing amount of our electricity is produced using renewable, carbon-free sources like hydropower, wind and solar.

Vehicles are not the only example where electricity can provide cleaner options. For example, building heating systems or water heaters are often currently powered by fossil fuels like propane, which is heavily used in rural communities. But they can also run efficiently on electricity.

Expanding access to this beneficial electrification requires incentives, like tax credits reduce the cost to consumers of electric vehicles. And in rural Colorado, of course, more charging stations are needed to make electric vehicles practical to local drivers. 

Beneficial electrification also can be promoted by encouraging builders to install electric vehicle charging ports in new homes and incentivizing architects to design buildings to incorporate electric versions of products.

Like any new technology, electric versions of products traditionally powered by fossil fuels will initially be more expensive, so these incentives are needed to promote their widespread adoption.

As they become more widespread, we’ll all benefit.

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