Industrial Electrification

Industrial thermal energy needs, especially for heat, are a significant challenge for climate change mitigation efforts. Worldwide, industrial heat makes up two-thirds of industrial energy demand and almost one-fifth of total energy consumption.  However, only ten percent of this demand is met using renewable energy. In the U.S., fossil fuel combustion to produce heat and steam used for process heating, process reactions, and process evaporation, concentration, and drying creates about 52 percent of the country’s industrial direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

There is a significant opportunity to decarbonize the industrial sector by shifting heat production away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels to clean sources such as electrification where low- or zero-carbon electricity is used.

The Industrial Electrification Working Group was formed to provide input on the Electrifying U.S. Industry: A Technology- and Process-Based Approach to Decarbonization report. The working group consisted of industrial energy experts, including individuals from academia, government, research laboratories, nonprofits, and RTC member and sponsor companies. The Working Group provided input on the presentation of the technical analysis and the development of questions for the survey that informed the barriers and proposals section of the report, and also reviewed and offered comments on early drafts of the report.

Electrifying U.S. Industry

On January 27, 2021, Global Efficiency Intelligence and David Gardiner and Associates (DGA) released Electrifying U.S. Industry: A Technology and Process-Based Approach to Decarbonization, a new report to the Renewable Thermal Collaborative. The report finds that there is a significant opportunity to decarbonize the industrial sector by shifting heat production away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels to clean sources such as electrification where low- or zero-carbon electricity is used.

The report reviews the major technical, economic, market, institutional, and policy barriers to scaled development and deployment of industrial electrification technologies, as well as proposals that could help to overcome these barriers. Categories of barriers and proposals include technology, knowledge and education, financing, costs, policy, and electric utility connection and reliability.

The report’s Action Plan describes actions and policy recommendations that can be taken by industry and others to scale up industrial electrification, given the state of the market and the institutional and policy environment described in the Technical Assessment.

Report In Brief

In our fact sheet, we provide an overview of the major technical, economic, market, institutional, and policy barriers to scaled development and deployment of industrial electrification technologies, as well as proposals that could help to overcome these barriers. The fact sheet also describes actions and policy recommendations that can be taken by industry and others to scale up industrial electrification, given the state of the market and the institutional and policy environment described in the Technical Assessment.

On January 27, 2021 from 12:00-1:00pm EST, the Renewable Thermal Collaborative introduced the report. 

Authors Dr. Ali Hasanbeigi and Lynn A. Kirshbaum shared the analysis and the implications and next steps for industrial energy users, policymakers, and others.

Speakers Included:

  • Moderator: Blaine Collison, Executive Director, Renewable Thermal Collaborative
  • Steve Skarda, Global Energy Sustainability Leader, Procter & Gamble
  • Ali Hasanbeigi, PhD, Founder and CEO, Global Efficiency Intelligence, LLC
  • Lynn A. Kirshbaum, Senior Associate, David Gardiner and Associates