The Future is Electric

I love The Energy Gang.  Though motivated by the perils of climate change, it is the podcast that most consistently leaves me hopeful and upbeat about the future.  This digest on energy, cleantech and the environment tackles topics as diverse as climate-focused venture capital, the clash of gas bans in buildings, and stopping the “money pipeline” into fossil fuels.

The three co-hosts love to argue, but they all agree that we have everything we need to decarbonize most of the economy and reach our climate goals.  We can get there if only we start electrifying everything.

In his book Electrify, Saul Griffith explains exactly what it would take to transform our infrastructure, update our grid, and adapt our households to make this possible.  I have drunk the kool aid and  I have gone on a quest to identify all the ways in which I use fossil fuels in the places where I have some level of control.

Like my lawnmower, trimmer, and leaf blower.  They all share the same batteries, and so does the snowblower I just ordered.  My house came with an electric stove and dryer and I already have a plug-in car and bicycle, so the big one is my furnace and water heater.  

As The Energy Gang reminded its listeners, most furnaces and water heaters get replaced when suddenly they stop working, often in the middle of winter.  There is no time to upgrade an entire system and suddenly we have committed to using oil or gas for another 20 years.

I know I want to get rid of that oil tank in my basement and the propane canister outside.  So I figured I should get quotes now from HVAC contractors with experience installing heat pumps, mini-splits, and electric water heaters – before there is a crisis.

Assuming you buy the argument that electricity is our fastest way to a clean energy future, where do you see options in your life to go electric – around your home, your workplace, your modes of transportation?  In the grand scheme of things any individual activity barely matters (except to us).  It only works when all of us join in and soon, when everyone accepts that our actions or inactions impact the life of the larger community – sort of like vaccinations and the need for all of us to be vaccinated so we put an end to this neverending pandemic.

At least that’s what I believe and with passion.  Thanks for listening.