Quora: How is electrical energy used in our daily lives?
I am so glad that you distinguished electrical energy from “energy” in general. Although electrical energy only provides 18% of the energy used in North America, that conversion of energy to work is extremely efficient
Electrical energy is what provides the “work” it takes to manufacture nearly everything. It provides the work of turning your hair dryer fan and heaters.
Our modern world has evolved around the assumption of abundant electricity supplies. Electrical energy can be produced far away and transported by wire to the point of use.
The reason our cities have been habitable so long is because electricity has replaced steam in running machinery. When we were still using steam it was necessary to have big coal or wood boilers onsite to provide the steam to processes that were only 25% efficient and very dirty.
It is important to recognize that, although electricity is now doing the work that steam used to do, it is not replacing the other 80% of our energy use for heat and transportation. In that arena, transportation is the biggest offender and is using more fossil fuels than all of the fossil fuels used to make electricity.
I know it seems like a paradox but electricity is by far the most efficient energy source for the machinery, data, and the zillion other things it provides the energy for, yet it does not and currently cannot be used for the other 80% of the fossil fuels we use for heat and transportation.
I am such a huge advocate of electrifying transportation. That is a double win because we are eliminating the inefficient use of petroleum, and getting the full highly efficient value out of renewable electricity
The EVs can provide the immense amount of electrical storage that renewable energy needs to provide full value. Using renewable electricity to charge the batteries in the EVs will reduce our CO2 emissions at triple the rate they can by trying to replace the reliable energy system that powers our currently electrified economy.