The Basics of Beneficial Electrification

September 13, 2023

The term “beneficial electrification” refers to the transition from fossil fuel-based technologies to electric options for everyday uses such as transportation, space heating, cooking and water heating as the power sector continues to decarbonize.

Beneficial electrification occurs when switching to an electric device satisfies at least one of the following conditions, without negatively affecting the others:

  • Saves money over time
  • Benefits the environment
  • Improves performance
  • Fosters a more robust, resilient and economically efficient electric power grid

As utilities add more renewable resources, beneficial electrification becomes an attractive strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In Minnesota, all electric utilities must serve 100% of retail electric sales without carbon dioxide emissions by 2040.

Beneficial electrification also enables demand response programs, which help balance electricity supply and demand. Great River Energy, Stearns Electric’s wholesale power provider, helps manage these programs.

“By intelligently managing the timing of energy usage, it becomes possible to optimize electricity consumption during off-peak hours or when renewable energy generation is high, lowering electricity costs, reducing stress on the grid and promoting grid stability,” said John Reinhart, manager of Great River Energy’s distributed energy resource portfolio.

Beneficial electrification will continue to play a crucial role in reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency and promoting a resilient energy system.


  • Replacing your heating system with an electric heat pump can save you on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Replacing your gas water heater with an electric water heater allows for smart controls to lower energy usage and eliminates the need for external venting to meet building code requirements.
  • The cost of powering an electric car is less than half the cost of a gasoline-powered vehicle.
  • Electric induction stoves, which cook food without any flame, reduce indoor air pollution and can boil water twice as fast as a gas stove.
  • Switching to an electric lawnmower eliminates noise and emissions as well as the need to fill up the gas can.