What Is Beneficial Electrification?
When Wells Rural Electric Co. takes advantage of advances in technology and the market at the generation point, it means those efficiencies are inherently passed along to you, the member.
By Anne Prince
If you are like most Americans, you want to save on energy costs and do your part to help the environment. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do both? Through a concept called beneficial electrification, you can.
Innovations in energy technologies are creating new ways to use electricity instead of on-site fossil fuels, such as propane, natural gas, and fuel oil. That reduces overall carbon emissions and energy costs.
The environmental impact of the electronic devices you use—from smartphones to washing machines to electric vehicles—depends on how the electricity that powers them is generated.
On a national level, beneficial electrification refers to how the environmental performance of electric devices improves over time by being plugged into a grid that increasingly shifts away from fossil fuels toward options that include renewable energy sources, which make existing generation technologies cleaner and more affordable.
Members of Wells Rural Electric Co. (WREC) already benefit from beneficial electrification because 85% of WREC’s electricity is carbon-free hydroelectricity from the Bonneville Power Administration in the Pacific Northwest.
Hydropower is incredibly clean and affordable, so your electric kitchen appliances run on power generated from a carbon-free source and help with your monthly bill.
The number of smart appliances and other electronic devices is rising. While these devices tend to operate more efficiently and conveniently than their predecessors, their impact on the environment can be lessened depending on how the electricity that powers them is generated.
Small Steps to Help the Environment
For consumers and homeowners looking for environmentally friendly options, choosing electric appliances, tools and even cars over those powered by fossil fuels is an easy solution.
Whether through electric lawnmowers, blowers, and weed whackers—plug-in or rechargeable—or through electric water heaters and other appliances, beneficial electrification is a means to reduce greenhouse gases and help the environment.
It can also translate into a better quality of life. For example, when you trade the loud rumble of a gas-powered mower or blower for the quiet efficiency of electric versions, you eliminate emissions and unpleasant noise.
Here is how this concept impacts you: Electric appliances such as your water heater, clothes dryer, oven, and your lawn care equipment have the potential to become greener as efficiencies in technology and changes in how electricity is produced are passed along to you as a WREC member.
The only way you benefit from this trend is through electric devices.
WREC Is Doing Its Part
As the overall energy sector evolves, WREC is striving to take advantage of technological advances and market opportunities. We are proud to receive our power from BPA because it checks off so many boxes: Our electricity is safe, reliable, carbon-free, and affordable.
We also have a long history of promoting energy-efficiency programs. We have installed high-efficiency LED bulbs in our members’ homes, made it possible for low-income families to realize the efficiency and convenience of heat pumps, and provided rebates for Energy Star appliances, insulation, and high-efficiency windows.
WREC also strives to further initiatives, such as opening Nevada’s highways to electric vehicles. By taking advantage of grants through the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy, WREC has installed one EV fast-charge station in West Wendover and is working on similar projects in Carlin and Wells.
Through the SmartHub app, WREC offers members the convenience and ability to manage and monitor their energy use. Because of innovations such as SmartHub and the WREC website, more than half of WREC’s members now pay electronically, and 17% have signed up for paperless billing, thus reducing waste.
WREC cares about the community because we live here, too.
Please reach out to WREC, your trusted energy partner, to discuss available renewable energy options and learn about more ways to reduce your energy use.
When you participate in energy-efficiency programs and incentives, you are doing your part to save energy and improve the environment. While each member’s reduction might be small, together they can lead to significant savings of money and emissions.
That means a brighter future for all of us.