Heat Pumps Could Save Maine Residents Hundreds of Dollars Annually
According to the Maine State Housing Authority, a heat pump could save the typical Mainer who uses heating oil $913 annually (or $2,128 if gas is used). As part of its Climate Action Plan, the state established a goal of installing 245,000 heat pumps by 2020, which would affect 48% of Maine’s housing stock by that year. Since homes are responsible for about 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, experts on climate change say electrifying domestic appliances is essential to advancing climate change efforts. This housing would rank as the sixth biggest emitter in the world if it were a separate nation.
Switching to Fossil Gas Could Harm Climate Change Efforts in Michigan
The type of fuel used to produce the electricity that powers heat pumps determines the greenhouse gas benefits, but as the grid integrates more renewables into the fuel mix, reduced carbon emissions will follow.
But DTE Energy wants to switch rural Michigan homes and businesses from propane to fossil gas, or “natural gas,” using a state “low carbon” grant program, rather than getting residents to stop using fossil fuels for domestic energy.
Through a state grant scheme, the company asked for a total of $26.19 million from taxpayers to extend gas service to counties in west and northwest Michigan as well as Delta County in the Upper Peninsula.
The Crystal Mountain ski resort in Benzie County and other northern Michigan officials, companies, and governments back the financing requests on the grounds that doing so will result in lower propane prices for consumers. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in October that the typical user would pay $1,668 for propane over the course of a year, compared to $931 for gas.
Environmental organizations, however, have criticised DTE’s request for funding from the state’s Low Carbon Energy Infrastructure Grant Program. They contend that these projects blatantly contradict the “low carbon” aspect of the programme and could ultimately result in low-income residents paying more for energy.
Advocates claim that DTE’s plans ignore the advantages of building electrification, which could shield consumers from fluctuating gas prices, lessen indoor air pollution linked to asthma and other health issues, and assist the state in achieving the objectives set forth in the MI Healthy Climate Plan, which aims to reduce emissions from buildings by 17% by 2030.
Similar criticism was levelled at Consumers Energy for plans to use $28.29 million in grant funds for biogas or “renewable natural gas” initiatives. Four biogas plants would be constructed at sizable dairy and beef farms as a result.
According to a study by the Michigan Public Service Commission, biogas, also known as “renewable natural gas,” can only replace a small portion of the fossil gas used in Michigan and can reduce carbon emissions statewide by up to 5%.
And in order to compete with fossil gas, reaching these levels might necessitate substantial outside assistance. According to the study, fossil gas is currently priced at $2.38 MMBtu, whereas biogas would cost between $10 MMBtu and $50 MMBtu. Similar problems would arise as a result of DTE’s plans as Consumers would install new gas lines to some houses that would be supplied with both fossil and biogas.
Critics assert that while biogas may not have much utility for industrial purposes, it can help utilities maintain high demand for fossil fuels as environmental and health concerns grow.
We are aware that RNG can give fossil fuel gas firms a justification to keep making investments in gas infrastructure and that they can profit greatly from doing so. Researcher Karlee Weinmann, and communications manager at the nonprofit Energy and Policy Institute, previously told Planet Detroit.
As the world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, it is becoming clear that action must be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Electrifying domestic appliances and switching to renewable energy sources are just two ways that individuals and companies can contribute to the fight against climate change. However, efforts to reduce emissions can be hindered when companies and governments prioritize profits over the environment. As such, it is important for individuals to stay informed and advocate for policies that prioritize the health of the planet over financial gain.