What is electrification?
Simply put, it is the process of harnessing electricity generated from renewable sources as the main power system for all activities that require energy.
Electric vehicles are perhaps the first change that comes to mind, but in reality this process involves every aspect of our lives. For example, the way we heat our homes, cook or produce everything we need.
Electricity is the protagonist and driving force behind this change.
Let’s find out the importance of electrification in changing the way we inhabit our planet for the better and creating a more sustainable lifestyle.
The benefits of electrification
Of course, it is not a quick process, but benefits are concrete both for the environment and for people’s physical and social well-being:
Smart energy use: electrification can improve overall energy efficiency, especially when combined with advanced technologies and smart energy management systems.
Reduced dependence on methane and oil: by reducing dependence on methane and oil, the impact that fluctuations in prices of these sources have on the cost of energy can be lessened, improving economic stability.
A sustainable energy model: by providing flexibility in the use of electricity and producing it through renewable sources, electrification helps create a sustainable energy model to address current environmental challenges.
Capillarity of the electricity grid: the Italian electricity grid, which is already capillary, can be leveraged to implement charging stations for electric vehicles, facilitating rapid and cost-effective adoption. Unlike fossil fuels, electricity is a simpler and cheaper energy carrier to distribute.
The environmental effects of electrification
Electrification, which travels hand in hand with clean energy production, can offer long-term sustainability and mitigate the damage caused by traditional energy practices over time. Here are the main benefits it can offer:
Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: Switching from fossil to renewable energy sources, makes a direct contribution to fight climate change and preserving biodiversity.
The world’s leading scientific institutions agree that human activities are the main cause of rising greenhouse gas concentrations and reducing these emissions is essential to address climate change.
Improved air quality: By reducing the use of fossil fuels, emissions of health-damaging air pollutants are limited. This is particularly evident in the transportation sector: the electric vehicles help reduce local emissions of pollutants, improving public health and reducing the risk of air pollution-related diseases.
Even for heating our homes, the use of heat pumps over traditional boilers helps reduce local emissions and provides 300/500% fuel efficiency.
The challenges of electrification
Producing and storing electricity: Sun, wind and water are renewable sources that are always present but can provide energy inconstantly: only when it is sunny, only when it is windy, only when water reserves are sufficient.
How to store the energy produced when renewable sources are available, and then distribute it when needed?
Batteries are not the only solution. Here are a few: renewable energy that we don’t need right away can be stored by filling hydropower reservoirs (and then producing new hydropower) or used to heat fluids that can run electric generators when needed.
Modernize power grids: Electricity grids need to be upgraded and modernized to handle the growing demand for energy resulting from electrification. This requires major investments in electricity distribution, as well as advanced technologies to handle the variability of renewable sources.
Charging Infrastructure: In the mobility sector, large-scale adoption of electric vehicles requires an extensive network of accessible and efficient charging stations. The need to build charging infrastructure and spread a culture that supports electric mobility is a key challenge for the electrification of transportation.
On this topic, we at Free To X have been working for some time to do our part, with our Charging Network that enables electric travel across Italy without worrying about your car’s range.”