What does electrification of uses mean?
Understanding the benefits of electrification
- Decarbonization: shifting from fossil fuels to carbon-free electricity reduces carbon emissions in the energy end-uses for sectors like transport and industry that are the main cause of global greenhouse gas emissions
- Innovation: developing innovative technologies to support the spread of electrification such as Enel X Sun Plug&Play, a solar panel small enough to fit on a balcony that makes the use of energy more accessible and widespread, or advanced battery storage. These technologies can also spill over into other sectors.
- Digitalization: coupled with the electrictrification, digitalization of services like smart thermostats in homes or remotely controlled lighting in cities provides the flexibility necessary for consumers to optimize their energy use and reduce waste
- Efficiency: electrification can generate substantial energy savings thanks to higher efficiency compared to other forms of energy at home, in transport, building sector, and industry
- Air quality: poor air quality is the number one environmental health risk in Europe, according to the European Environment Agency.
Home electrification: solutions and benefits
- A heat pump that is up to three times more efficient than a boiler and saves an average of 45% on heating bills
- A photovoltaic system for solar energy that can perch on a balcony or window to self-produce energy and reduce energy consumption on the bill by up to 25% forever
- Induction cooktops that achieve up to twice the yield of traditional gas stoves, as well as providing more even cooking, more precise temperature control and greater safety
Industrial electrification: solutions and benefits
Industry used to be synonymous with its dirty smokestacks, but no longer. Nearly half of the fossil energy used in manufacturing (e.g. for heat treatments, drying, distillations, compressions, cooking) can be replaced with electricity using technologies already available.
There are several benefits of electrification for factories and industry:
- First of all, since electricity is more precise, controllable and flexible than combustion, it is easier to control and can result in better product quality
- Cost reduction through greater energy efficiency and less required maintenance is another key benefit
- Electrification contributes to achieving sustainability targets because of zero direct emissions of pollution on site
- Lastly, innovation: electrification involves adopting cutting-edge technologies, the digitization of services, and integration with advanced systems.
Many solutions for electrification in industry and related services are already in use and are becoming increasingly common. Here is a look at a few:
- Low- and medium-temperature heat pumps offer a wide variety of solutions for electrification for both facilities and manufacturing operations which can be combined with energy management software to optimize consumption and program demand.
- Electrification allows companies to take part in Demand Response programs, unlocking the potential to generate a new revenue stream, as well as lower energy costs
- Photovoltaic systems on warehouse roofs to generate solar energy for the facility are increasingly common in industrial use. When solar panels are combined with Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS), they become even more efficient since this renewable energy can be stored and used when it is needed.
- The installation of cogeneration or trigeneration plants recover the waste heat produced by electricity generation to use for heating and cooling
- Mobility solutions for the electrification of corporate fleets and their management is an increasingly common tool to cut emissions
City electrification: solutions and benefits
By 2050, over 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, so urban energy infrastructure must adapt to keep up with the pace of change. Cities currently account for nearly three quarters of annual carbon emissions and two thirds of global energy consumption. The electrification of cities creates benefits such as making the cities of today and tomorrow more livable, healthy and sustainable.
Fortunately, cities have many electrification solutions at their disposal.
- Municipal administrations can use solar panels to provide clean energy to meet the heating, cooling and electricity needs of of electrified offices, schools and hospitals
- Electrification also makes it easier to use energy management programs that allow building managers to achieve savings on lighting and heating in public buildings
- The electrification of public transport improves air quality, reduces emissions and noise pollution, cuts costs, and provides the public with a more comfortable and more extensive service. Converting public vehicle fleets to eBuses is just the beginning. E-powered public transportation solutions include upgrading bus stops and shelters, which will become smart and multifunctional. The goal is a sustainable and integrated mobility system, monitored in real time and managed in an intelligent and flexible way, which will be the backbone of future electrified, circular and interconnected smart cities.
- Electrification of cities must include a new approach to public lighting. Public administrations, with Enel X’s support, can make their smart cities more functional, efficient and sustainable by replacing obsolete public lighting infrastructure with innovative LED solutions, and with cutting-edge technologies that improve lighting service through greater security and system reliability. Adaptive lighting, i.e. the possibility of adjusting street lighting based on real traffic, weather, and brightness conditions, can optimize street lighting and lead to energy savings of 20-35% compared to LED lights. Moreover, with the same technology, innovative services can be added, like public video surveillance and traffic monitoring.