Electrification of end-use technologies and services in industry, buildings and the transportation sector, combined with cleaner electricity from the grid, creates a clear pathway for a low-carbon future and universal access to clean energy. The road to electrification is complex and challenging, but the long-term reward is significant for the environment, society and business. Electrification technologies are impacting the grid and require a measured approach to ensure the technology and infrastructure are in place to meet customers’ needs, as well as have the right policies and regulations in place to support them. AEP is working with technology and research partners, customers, policymakers and other stakeholders to understand the implications and opportunities of large-scale electrification as we transform to a digital economy.
While forklifts have historically used internal combustion engines and fossil fuels, electric technology advancements allow users to achieve substantial benefits.
AEP’s current electrification program educates commercial and industrial customers about the benefits of electric technologies. It empowers customers to make more informed energy decisions that lead to better productivity, lower total cost of ownership, greater competitiveness, improved workforce safety and, in many cases, fewer environmental impacts.
In 2017, we partnered with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to create an Electrification Implementation Plan, based on the results of a previous market potential study. Through the study, we learned that four technologies present the highest market potential throughout AEP’s service territory, providing significant benefits to customers. These include:
- Infrared (IR) curing and drying - IR is commonly used to dry textiles and paper products, heat metals and plastics, and dry and cure paint. Electrifying this process is more energy efficient and flexible in terms of achieving the desired heating intensity compared with using natural gas.
- Pipeline compression – Compressor stations for natural gas pipelines serve as a type of engine that compresses gas (increases its pressure) to provide the energy needed to move the gas through the pipeline. Electrification of compressors can improve efficiency and operations, as well as reduce air emissions.
- Induction surface treatment – Induction hardening uses electromagnetic fields to induce electric currents into metal, rapidly heating the steel and then rapidly cooling (quenching) it to increase hardness and durability. The power and frequency of the electromagnetic fields can be adjusted to regulate the depth and temperature of surface heating. Underlying metal layers remain unaffected.
- Forklifts – While forklifts have historically used internal combustion engines and fossil fuels, electric technology advancements allow users to achieve substantial benefits. In addition to being more energy efficient, they are better for the environment, allow service in challenging enclosed spaces, and reduce noise while increasing safety.
We are currently working with customers who have electrification opportunities as well as exploring additional electrification technologies that would benefit our customers, optimize the grid and provide growth opportunities for AEP.