On November 16th, the American Security Project hosted the first webinar in the “Innovating Out of the Climate Crisis” series on electrification. Expert panelists included Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, Director of Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) and Deputy Director of Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) at Argonne National Laboratory; Dr. Charles Teplin, Principal, Carbon Free Energy, Rocky Mountain Institute; and Ms. Ladeene Freimuth, President, The Freimuth Group, LLC and Senior Advisor to SAFE (formerly Securing America’s Future Energy).
Moderated by ASP’s Director, Climate Security Program, Jessica Olcott Yllemo, the conversation covered key aspects of increased electrification of the domestic energy supply, including policy, storage, and innovative technology. Experts provided insights into existing electricity infrastructure, near-future innovations in the field of electrification, and recent progress on regulation that can make the most impact for widespread adoption. Dr. Srinivasan emphasized the importance of battery technology, recycling, and energy storage, and Dr. Teplin highlighted the need to expand and refurbish energy transmission infrastructure and how increasing electrification can improve the resilience and reliability of the grid.
The discussion also provided perspectives on the important linkages between electrification, national security, and energy security. Ms. Freimuth commented on the complex and lengthy existing regulatory system and implications for military installations and defense communities, but also emphasized the opportunities presented by the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in promoting electrification. The panelists provided specific recommendations on how to speed and scale increased electrification, but also highlighted the progress that has already been made over the last five years. Dr. Srinivasan also addressed innovation in electrification in both the short and long term, how more regulatory adjustments can stimulate new inventions, and where electrification is likely going.
Overall, the panelists were realistic about the challenges of increased electrification but remained optimistic about the future of “electrifying everything.”