Beneficial Electrification: Power as the Energy Source for Travel, Homes, Farms

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NRDC’s Derek Murrow describes a partnership with America’s Electric Cooperatives to bring ‘beneficial electrification’ to areas of the economy traditionally reliant on fossil fuels.

beneficial electrification

Derek Murrow, NRDC

What if your water heater could function as a backup battery for the electric grid, and your kids rode to school in a clean electric bus that charged overnight, when abundant wind power makes electricity cheaper? What if your air conditioner could also be a heat pump that efficiently warms your home in the winter?

All of these are examples of beneficial electrification, an idea that’s united the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and America’s Electric Cooperatives (NRECA). While we don’t agree on everything, our groups are working together to find ways to make the electric grid cleaner and using clean energy to heat our homes, farm our crops and power our vehicles.

Beneficial electrification offers an exciting opportunity where environmental benefit and economic progress can work together to build the low-carbon economy of the future.

Beneficial Electrification

Courtesy of NRDC

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute hosted a Capitol Hill briefing on beneficial electrification last week in Washington, DC that included EPRI (The Electric Power Research Institute), NRDC, NRECA, and the Beneficial Electrification League. Check out the materials and video here.

NRECA represents more than 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, public power districts, and public utility districts in the United States.

Choosing electricity generated from clean resources like wind and solar to heat homes, heat water, and power electric vehicles are common residential opportunities. In the commercial and industrial space, selecting electric agricultural pumps, trucks, buses, forklifts, farm equipment, compressors, or cooking equipment are just some of the major opportunities for beneficial electrification.

The NRDC and NRECA helped establish the Beneficial Electrification League and are hosting briefings and stakeholder dialogues for policymakers at the federal and state levels to share ideas and build support for beneficial electrification. Learn about upcoming events by connecting with the League.

Derek Murrow is the senior director of NRDC’s Climate & Clean Energy program. This blog was reposted with permission and originally appeared on NRDC’s Expert Blog.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.