From electric draglines to electric cars, beneficial electrification provides the opportunity to achieve economic and environmental benefits.
Mining is a big industry in Florida and the need to extract product in the most cost effective manner is essential to remain competitive. With the advent of electricity, mines moved away from human, animal and steam power to fossil fuels and electricity. Every step away from old processes increased production. There is a long history of efficiency and innovation especially in recent years with increased interest in electrification of fossil-fueled processes. This transition away from fossil fuels is referred to as beneficial electrification. In a mining environment, this is applicable to crushing, moving and processing of the mined product.
When it comes to beneficial electrification, SECO-served Bedrock Resources of Ocala, Florida, is a great example. Bedrock Resources has converted its rock crushers that process mined material for use in road construction, from gas to electric. They have replaced smaller, fossil-fueled, inefficient draglines used to excavate rock with larger electric ones. Recently, they purchased loaders propelled by electric motors powered by diesel generators on the equipment. The fuel usage has been cut in half and the savings are impressive. Beneficial electrification creates new and exciting opportunities to achieve economic and environmental goals, but it is not limited to just mining. Today, more than ever before, there is increasing interest in many other areas.
A recent survey of 1,200 Americans by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative indicated that 68% of respondents are willing to transition from fossil fuels to electricity for transportation, cooking, heating and water heating. The study also indicated that respondents believe it is important for their electric utility to invest in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Additionally, 31% of respondents have an interest in purchasing an electric vehicle.
A recent SECO Energy survey of 90,000 members also indicated the same. The survey was a preliminary first step in SECO Energy’s planning for maximizing the benefit of electric vehicles in our service territory. SECO received nearly 7,000 responses with interesting results:
• 5% of members already own an EV.
• 34% indicate interest in purchasing an EV in the future.
• 42% think SECO should promote and support the use of EVs in our service area.
Based upon both surveys, residential consumers are looking ahead and planning purchases of electric vehicles rather than continuing to rely solely on fossil fuels. In addition, we are seeing an increased interest in using electrified semi-trucks in the future. Distribution warehouses are already making use of electricity for battery-powered forklifts and electricity for idling processes such as refrigerated trailers that are parked for the evening. School systems are investing in electric/battery-powered buses that offset the need for additional generation during summer peak loads.
Beneficial electrification saves consumers money over time, helps the environment, reduces carbon emissions, improves quality of life and enhances a stronger electrical grid. There are many opportunities for residential, commercial and industrial sectors to take advantage of beneficial electrification. Electrifying equipment at the right place and the right time can deliver a savings for all involved. Beneficial electrification also enables better grid management, creates jobs and provides solutions to meet environmental goals. While the greatest opportunity for beneficial electrification is with transportation, heating and water heating; many end uses have potential.
As your electric provider, SECO Energy is ready to engage with you if you have an interest in shifting away from fossil fuels to a cleaner source of energy. A good place to start may be with your fleet vehicles. If you haven’t already, learn more about electric vehicles by visiting our website https://secoenergy.com/electric-vehicles/. You will find a wealth of information including a savings calculator and a CO2 emissions comparison of gas versus electric. To promote the use of EVs in our service area, we are giving away a SECO branded 50-amp JuiceBox Pro Level 2 EV fast charger for residential use. We will choose one random winner on the 15th of each month until the promotion ends. Register for a chance to win: https://secoenergy.com/electric-vehicle-charger-giveaway/.