Beneficial Electrification Takes Center Stage at Electrify NC

At Electrify NC 2023, the message from speakers and attendees was clear – and encouraging – beneficial electrification is here in North Carolina.

Throughout the two-day conference, discussions focused on emerging technologies and how embracing beneficial electrification projects, which use electricity to power equipment and processes in place of other fuel sources, can help cooperatives build a brighter future for rural communities throughout North Carolina.

“Beneficial electrification is no longer something conceptual for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives,” said Amadou Fall, chief operating officer at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, as he welcomed attendees the first day. “Co-ops across the state are living it now, delivering new energy solutions for their members that reduce costs while also benefiting the environment. Electrifying our co-ops – and the member-consumer value chain – helps us build a brighter future for our communities now and into the future.”

From electrifying processes that move food from farm to table, helping children get to school, and making agricultural operations more efficient, Electrify NC helped tell the story of how North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are embracing beneficial electrification in service to their members.

Electrify NC attendees check out an electric tractor on display.

Here are some of the recent beneficial electrification projects covered at the conference:

  • A partnership on a new electric transportation refrigeration unit (eTRU) project between Surry-Yadkin EMC and Hollar & Greene Produce. This new and innovative technology, which uses electricity rather that diesel to power the Hollar & Greene truck refrigeration units, is the first of its kind for a North Carolina electric cooperative.
  • North Carolina’s first electric school bus to serve the public school system was delivered to Randolph County Schools in January 2023. The project came to life as a collaboration between Randolph EMC, Randolph County Schools, N.C. Department of Public Instruction and the local community. It is the first of nearly 50 electric school buses currently in production for public school systems across the state.
  • Within the agriculture industry, a 2021 partnership between Pee Dee Electric and White Rock Farms converted an animal waste lagoon pumping system from a diesel engine to a large single-phase electric motor. The single-phase motor operates more cleanly and efficiently, requiring less maintenance and reducing local carbon emissions.

While the conference provided opportunities to discuss and learn from recent co-op projects, it also looked towards the future with panel sessions that created opportunities for dialogue between co-op members, businesses and leaders in the industry. Those discussions centered on the benefits of electrifying large industrial facilities, how co-ops can increase member engagement through residential electrification technology and services, and managing electric vehicle charging programs and fleet electrification.

Electrify NC attendees were able to take rides in a hybrid truck and check out an all-electric school bus.

Outside of the conference, attendees were also given the opportunity for an up-close view of beneficial electrification technology and its applications.

  • An electric tractor and school bus were on display for attendees to learn more about the benefits of each, including reduced emissions, noise pollution and maintenance costs.
  • Two hybrid bucket trucks were also on site. Folks were able to take rides and up and down, displaying the effectiveness of using electricity rather than diesel to power the hydraulics lifting the bucket in the air. The electric power takeoff (ePTO) system used on the truck reduces emissions and can provide cost savings for co-ops by consuming less diesel fuel. Another benefit is improved and safer communication for line crews due to decreased noise during operation.

To learn more about beneficial electrification and how North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are leveraging new technologies to deliver sustainable energy solutions for their members, visit