All the world economies depend on energy provided by the fossil fuels. Power is provided by oil, natural gas, and coal, plus their derivatives of gasoline, diesel, plastics, and more. As these fuels are burned, there are pollutants being cast into the air, left to build up in the atmosphere and affect our health.
One solution to reduce and potentially eliminate the pollution created by the burning of fossil fuels is to use electricity to power everything – from transportation to the heating and cooling of buildings. Electricity can be produced by many non-polluting sources that include solar electric (Photovoltaic) systems, wind energy, hydroelectric dams, fuel cells, nuclear power, etc. By electrifying everything there is the possibility to wean ourselves from polluting sources of energy.
However, is it realistic to electrify everything that uses energy? From this author’s experience, it will be difficult to convert the poorer sections of many cities to electric power, primarily because of the expense to do so. Many homes in impoverished areas have little market value and therefore have limited ability to raise the funds necessary for upgrading their electric service and purchasing the requisite equipment.
The government may be able to offer financial assistance to convert homes to electric power, but the amount of funding needed to accomplish this task will no doubt be astronomical. This does not mean that converting to electric power is not possible, but there will be significant costs associated to do so.
Converting our transportation to be powered solely by electricity is another hurdle to cross for people who have little income. Electric vehicles (EVs) are pricey. Purchasing an older gas-powered automobile might not be cheap, but it’s certainly not as expensive as a new EV. So, the old gas-guzzling clunkers may be around longer than expected, which would delay the desired reduction of traffic-related pollutants.
Another factor to consider is the age and condition of the national electric grid. Many of the power lines were erected in the 1950s and 1960s and are near the end of their 50-year life span if they have not already exceeded it. The national grid will need to be upgraded in coordination with the electrification of everything to help ensure an adequate flow of power. Plus, new technologies will be required to monitor and control the influx and outflow of electricity.
Bottomline; this may be another situation where the people who have means can afford to make the adjustments and upgrades involved to switch to an all-electric lifestyle, but lower income households get left behind. The electrification of everything will require a national commitment and monetary resources to help bring everyone on board.
Time will tell if this major level of commitment materializes, and time appears to be another resource that is in short supply.
For more information regarding ‘Electrification of Everything’ please visit: https://www.rewiringamerica.org/
This article written by Ken Riead of the Save Energy Blog: https://saveenergyblog.info/