Electrifying America: The Move from Fossil Fuels to Electricity
With the increase in awareness of the depleting supply of fossil fuels (such as natural gas a coal), as well as their negative effects on the environment and contribution to global warning, the US is experiencing a move towards “electrification”. This means an increase in dependency on the use of electricity to power the technologies we use to function and be productive in daily life.
The move from fossil fuels energy to electricity
As consumers, the technologies that we purchase and use on a daily basis generally fall into two categories: those that have to be plugged on or charged and run on electricity, and those that burn fuels like gasoline, natural gas, or oil. Examples of the latter are a car that runs on gasoline or a natural gas furnace. However, more and more products and systems are engineered and built to run on the power grid. Electric cars, despite being around since the late 1800’s, are only recently increasing in popularity and use. The number of electric cars being driven globally saw a 54% increase from 2016 to 2017, with over 3 million vehicles on the road today, as reported by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA also reported that the US is second only to China for highest number of electric cars sold, with over 280,000 of such purchased in 2017.
Automobiles are not the only products experiencing a move towards electrification. Household appliances are likewise seeing an increase in electric power use. In 2014, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that with the exception of within the Northeast, fewer households in the US were choosing natural gas to heat their homes. Instead, people are choosing electric heat pumps to keep them warm. For those living in cooler climates, the existence of fully electrified homes are becoming increasingly more common.
Future of Electrification in the US
Recent studies on growing electrification show a predictive steady upward trend in total US electricity generation. As a result of a higher demand of electric utilities, the US will likely see see a drop in battery costs, more options for electric car buying, and other economic changes to the power and energy industry. An eventual total electrification of the US is becoming more and more imaginable every day.