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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:    

EPRI CEO Mike Howard: Our team has spent decades building this truly sophisticated model. But it's also built on decades of work and really trying to understand the value of electro-technologies. We have labs where we test the devices, we work with other companies that really understand, not only just the value, but what makes these technologies work. 

Whether that's electric vehicles, or energy storage, or heat pumps, or air and water, induction cooking, or infrared drying. All of these various technologies, we test them, we understand what makes them work. We're trying to accelerate the technology, so that it's commercially available for society.

Geoff Blanford of EPRI: By fuel, natural gas is actually rising. Electricity is rising. And final energy is falling. Total economic growth is proceeding, but final energy is falling. 

Partly that's due to structural change. Partly that's due to efficiency improvements, and again, these are faster improvements than what the AEO [Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook] had assumed. The rest is due to electrification. So, final energy decreases, while electricity increases. That's because electricity is more efficient at the end use almost everywhere that it makes sense to use it.

If we blow up the electricity part, this is what is happening to electricity demand if we don't take into account the effects of electrification. Those are actually flat, or slightly declining. These are our sort of conventional uses of electricity.

Service demand is offset by efficiency gains. If we include the piece that's electrification, and this is broken out by sector, this is the growth in electricity demand driven by electrification.

It's mainly vehicles. Most of the additional kilowatt-hours are coming from electrification of transport. This represents about seventy-five percent of service demand in passenger vehicles, and about forty percent of service demand in heavy-duty service transport.

That's a lot of electrification of transportation in the reference case. And it's driving an increase in electric load.

Allen Dennis of EPRI: An example is induction cooking. If you cook with gas, typically sixty to sixty-five percent of all the energy goes right up the side of the pan. If you're in a restaurant, or if you're in a home, you have to air-condition that level, or condition that level quite often.

A lot of times, chefs won't use induction. Or won't use electric because the old coil burners, they don't shut off very quickly. So, you have heat that's retained in the coil that will overcook the food.

In induction, the variability is phenomenal. You can get it incrementally far better than natural gas. And you don't have the energy loss. However, most folks think, "I'm not a true foodie unless I have my five-foot long Viking Range with my mounted hood over the top." 

Panasonic just came out with an induction heat top, a cooker, that you can use any pan on. You don't need a special pan now for induction. 

But there's a whole mental aspect here, of not only individuals, but chefs on a technology that actually has more controllability. You look at that perspective, and you say, "Ok, look at food service." And food service industry, it's amazing what's happening there. 

The automation in fast food. There's equipment out there that will have a frozen patty that will drop onto a belt, cook, verify temperatures for health safety issues, go to a condiment area, put condiments on, and deliver it to the front of the restaurant. Humans never touch it. 

 

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

E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com