Beneficial Electrification Strengthens North Carolina People, Co-op Communities

Electric cooperatives in North Carolina have long embraced innovation and new technology, both of which are key to supporting our members and improving quality of life in the communities we serve. From microgrids that integrate new technologies and renewables to power communities, to a statewide network of electric vehicle charging stations that support environmental sustainability and economic growth in rural North Carolina, cooperatives are finding new ways to further the well-being and prosperity of our state in the 21st century. Chief among these is exploring how electricity can be fully leveraged to achieve important benefits like lowered carbon output, grid flexibility and reduced costs.

Diane Huis, senior vice president of innovation and business development for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, highlighted the importance of tapping the evolving benefits of electricity in the June issue of Carolina Country magazine.

“The electric grid is now more interconnected and flexible than ever because of the way technology is being incorporated,” she said. “Advanced metering and infrastructure, as well as automated sensors throughout the grid, allow for better monitoring and control of electricity. With this environment in place, we are entering a new era of electrification: We call it beneficial electrification.”

As the name implies, this transition to using electric power in place of fossil fuels as well as utilizing the existing infrastructure more efficiently provides a wide range of benefits across many sectors, from improved energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions to cost savings and increased productivity. Thanks to advances in technology, numerous new opportunities now exist to electrify devices, equipment and processes and make them cleaner, smarter and cheaper.

The benefits of electrification are recognized worldwide, and leaders of our state’s electric co-ops are working together with their members to bring those benefits home to our state.

This week, representatives from the co-ops are joining more than 1,400 other participants from around the globe for Electrification 2018, an international conference hosted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). The ground-breaking event brings together experts from all sectors to discuss the issues and opportunities surrounding electrification, and the benefits and cost savings of using electricity to power industries including indoor agriculture, manufacturing, heating and cooling, and transportation.

Huis will be participating in a panel on cost-benefit assessment for electric technologies, and will highlight how planning for low cost and reliable power supply at the NC Electric Cooperatives is evolving to include a focus on maximizing the value that grid flexibility and beneficial electrification can provide

Learn more about how North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are supporting beneficial electrification and other innovative initiatives in the Energy & Innovation section of our website.