Page 54 - North American Clean Energy November/December 2018 Issue
P. 54

 energy storage
rapidly evolve, two emerging but persistent trends could have dramatic implications for our power grid infrastructure: the electric vehicle (EV) transition, and the electrification of buildings. These trends will help us achieve a low-carbon future as the
grid inevitably becomes cleaner, but they will also create added demand on top of already-high growth in electricity consumption. How can we avoid excessive grid infrastructure build-out and ensure grid stability? The most cost-effective strategy is to accelerate the deployment of smart energy efficiency technologies, which will require leadership from both policymakers and market actors.
Growing Electricity Demand
Baseline forecasts expect EVs to comprise more than half of all annual car sales and one-third of all cars on the road (550 million in total) by 2040, globally. Over the same timeframe, electricity demand from buildings is already projected to grow nearly 70 percent worldwide, with relatively conservative assumptions for building electrification rates. To
put that in perspective, the United States alone may have to invest roughly $2.5 trillion into electricity infrastructure to accommodate that demand.
Building electrification converts the primary end-uses in residential and commercial buildings that consume fossil fuels (such as space heating and water heating) to high-efficiency electric units (such as heat pumps). Although the building electrification trend is not yet fully mature, countries like the Netherlands have already set targets for phasing out fossil-fuel use in buildings, and large cities like Los Angeles, Vancouver, and New York City are currently considering creating electrification targets for buildings. According
to recent America’s Pledge recommendations
for ten high-impact, near-term climate actions that local jurisdictions should prioritize, building electrification is near the top of the list.
In the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States, where building electrification is most cost- effective today, building electrification retrofits are estimated to save over 800 TBtu of building energy
use by 2025 - enough to power 25 million homes
for a year. Despite the overall energy use reduction, estimates predict that when electrifying new and existing buildings, there will be anywhere from a 10 to 15 percent increase in electricity use compared to a standard fossil-fuel consuming building - and that is when paired with aggressive building-envelope and internal-load efficiency measures.
Smart Energy Efficiency Through Demand Flexibility
With these two trends gaining momentum, power grids across North America will need to be more proactively managed. Fortunately, increasing the deployment of smart energy efficiency in new
and existing buildings represents the most cost- effective and beneficial path to avoid massive grid infrastructure costs, meet global climate targets, and maintain grid stability.
Energy efficiency also offers a number of other benefits that can be captured local:
• The creation of 380 jobs per TWh of electricity saved (versus 110 jobs per TWh of electricity generated by coal-fired power plants)
• The direct pocketing of energy cost savings by local consumers and businesses
• Increased resilience and energy security
Smart energy efficiency offers even greater benefits because, in addition to saving energy,
it allows for loads to dynamically respond to the availability of renewable energy through the use of demand flexibility technologies.
Demand flexibility technologies are essential
to achieving high-penetration renewable grids; shifting loads to better match variable renewable energy generation limits curtailment and improves value. While smart EV charging is a critical component of this strategy, a new generation of automated building communication and control technologies (including smart thermostats to control air conditioning, dryer timers, grid- interactive water heaters, and battery energy storage) can further enable demand flexibility for residential and commercial building loads that do not require fixed schedules.
Global Building Retrofit Rates Required to Offset EV Demand and Meet 2°C Targets
Hypothetical Effect of Smart EV Charging and Building Energy Efficiency on Peak Electric Load
Source: CAISO projections and CA EV projections; Energy analysis of LED lighting, appliance replacements, and retrocommissioning across 50 percent of the existing building stock in CA at an average hourly savings of 7 percent; assumes 50 percent of non-EV load is from existing buildings.
Closing the
Circuit on
Why smart energy efficiency
must support the electrification
of vehicles and buildings
by Amy Egerter and Greg Hopkins

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