Electrification: Who Benefits?

Electrification is increasingly being recognized as a necessary component of reaching our climate goals, specifically by shifting from other fuel sources to power from electricity to reduce carbon emissions and improve public health outcomes. As we explore priorities for what to electrify, how and where that transition should happen first, and who is impacted by such decisions, we must consider what conditions make electrification beneficial and for whom

This event will explore the many factors that can contribute to what makes electrification “beneficial” and in what circumstances they may address or exacerbate social disparities. The Regulatory Assistance Project has put forward a widely accepted definition:  

For electrification to be considered beneficial, it must meet one or more of the following conditions without adversely affecting the other two: 

  1. Saves consumers money over the long run; 
  2. Enables better grid management; and 
  3. Reduces negative environmental impacts.

We know, however, that energy policy priorities do not exist in a vacuumLooking at the intersection of electrification, public health, and environmental justice, we will:  

  • Identify the different factors that go into decisions about how to accelerate and incentivize electrification 
  • Unpack the relationship between those factoranwho benefits from the electrification, and  
  • Discuss how social equity goals are impacted by choices about how each factor is weighed.  

SPEAKERS

  • Matthew Blackler, CEO & Founder, Zef Energy
  • Gabriel Chan, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
  • Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, Director, Beneficial Electrification, Fresh Energy
  • Julia Eagles, Associate Director of Utility and Regulatory Strategy, Institute for Market Transformation
  • Jenny Edwards, Director, Planning and Engagement, Center for Energy and Environment
  • Jeff Haase, Leader, Member Technology & Innovation, Great River Energy
  • Amanda Jarrett Smith, Climate Change and Energy Policy Coordinator, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Annie Levenson-Falk, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board
  • Ben Passer, Director, Energy Access and Equity, Fresh Energy
  • Janiece Watts, Policy Associate, Energy Access and Equity, Fresh Energy

AGENDA

12:30 p.m.      Registration & Networking

1:00 p.m.        Welcome

1:25 p.m.         Electrification: Framing Key Context

      • Speaker:
        • Gabriel Chan, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

1:40 p.m.        How to Measure What Makes Electrification “Beneficial”

      • Speakers:
        • Margaret Cherne-Hendrick, Director, Beneficial Electrification, Fresh Energy
        • Jenny Edwards, Director, Planning and Engagement, Center for Energy and Environment
        • Jeff Haase, Leader, Member Technology & Innovation, Great River Energy
      • What are some proposed definitions for “beneficial electrification?”
      • How do benefits get distributed differently based on what is prioritized?

2:30 p.m.        Networking Break

2:45 p.m.        Panel: Equity Implications of Pathways to Electrifying Vehicles

      • Speakers:
        • Matthew Blackler, CEO & Founder, ZEF Energy
        • Amanda Jarrett Smith, Climate Change and Energy Policy Coordinator, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
        • Janiece Watts, Policy Associate, Energy Access and Equity, Fresh Energy
      • What choices do we have regarding how and where to prioritize public spending to accelerate electric vehicle adoption? 
      • Who gets to participate in making these decisions (and deciding who benefits from them)?
      • Who will see the first/greatest benefit based on what and where we electrify and who owns the infrastructure?

3:30 p.m.       Panel: Equity Implications of Pathways to Electrifying Buildings

      • Speakers:
        • Julia Eagles, Associate Director of Utility and Regulatory Strategy, Institute for Market Transformation
        • Annie Levenson-Falk, Executive Director, Citizens Utility Board
        • Ben Passer, Director, Energy Access and Equity, Fresh Energy
      • How does electrification in buildings relate to public health, energy security, and energy burden?
      • In what cases would electrification of household appliances currently benefit an occupant, and who else benefits? Who should pay for those benefits?
      • What barriers exist to electrification of buildings in cases where the benefits outweigh the costs, and what are the tradeoffs associated with the different pathways to building electrification that are being considered?

4:30 p.m.        Event End

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