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Zap to the Future: Strategic Electrification

Strategic electrification stands to transform the traditional utility business model by enhancing grid flexibility, facilitating decarbonization, and changing the way utilities interact with customers and the grid.

Primary Objective

"To power end-uses with electricity instead of fossil fuels in a way that increases energy efficiency and reduces pollution, while lowering costs to customers and society, as part of an integrated approach to deep decarbonization." (Source: NEEP)

Commons barriers to adoption:


• High upfront costs of replacement technologies

• Slow accrual of savings due to low fossil fuel prices


• Lack of awareness and inertia

• Split incentive problem (i.e., landlords and tenants)

• Least-cost procurement requirements


• Insufficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure

• Limited cost-effective options for heavy duty electric vehicles

• Limitations to the installation of ground-source heat pumps

• Limitations to the ability of air-source heat pumps


• Limits on the ways funds can be applied and programs can be



(Source: NEEP)

Electrification By Market Segment:


• Residential Space Heating & Cooling: Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs)

and ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs)

• Commercial Space Heating & Cooling: ASHPs, GSHPs, variable

refrigerant flow

• Water Heating: Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs)


• Electrification of process heating (e.g., electric furnaces)

• Electrification of process steam generation (e.g., electrode boilers,

induction boilers, microwave heating)


• Electrification of cars & light trucks

• Electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles [endif]

(Source: NEEP)

• Increase annual sales from greater kWh demand

• Receive favorable return on investment

• Realize decarbonization targets / environmental benefits

• Build utility’s base of controllable load to improve operation efficiency

while accommodating increased renewables & DER

• Enhance customer satisfaction

(Source: NEEP)

1. Conduct Market Assessment

2. Assess Regulatory Climate & Develop Strategy

3. Choose an Implementation Strategy

4. Determine Infrastructure Requirements

5. Get Buy-in

(Source: POWER Magazine)

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