Decarbonizing the electric power supply

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    Dean Moretton

    Decarbonizing the electric power supply. What is it? And why should Coop Directors care? While riding Amtrak from NYC to DC, I sat next to Michelle Wyman, the Executive Director for National Council for Science and the Environment. We were discussing our parallel interest in reducing carbon emissions, when I realized most cooperative directors wouldn’t recognize “Decarbonized Electricity” as a term, nor understand why cooperatives should be interested in a decarbonized electric power supply.

    Decarbonized electric supply initiatives are also known as beneficial electrification. MIT published “Utility of the Future” 2016 and explains decarbonization of the electric grid as a way to mitigate climate change.

    For cooperatives, it’s an opportunity to promote electric vehicle use, replace natural gas hot water heaters with electric hot water heaters, promote electric heat pumps, electric storage, solar PV, and wind turbines while simultaneously improving the quality of life of our members. Two of these items provide electricity, three are electric loads, and one is both. As the US migrates from internal combustion engine cars to electric vehicles, the product cooperatives deliver becomes more important, and greater in demand.

    Perhaps NRECA training will add some content to a Director Training Class in the Power Supply series: “Opportunities in Decarbonized Electric Power Supply”.

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