In previous blogs, we expressed strong support for a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) as a policy to decarbonize the building sector. We have also expressed vehement opposition to the notion put forth by gas utilities of allowing renewable natural gas and hydrogen to be considered clean heat. This blog covers the question of whether biodiesel ought to be given credit as clean heat when blended with regular heating oil. Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel manufactured from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant grease.
What’s Needed in Rhode Island Energy EV Filing
We have been attending Rhode Island Energy’s (RIE’s) quarterly Power Sector Transformation sessions for a few years to learn about and advise on...Read more
Filter by tag
If you’ve been following the economic news, you know that inflation has generally subsided and employment has been strong. But in recent weeks, we have seen a rise in oil prices. Nationally, gasoline prices have risen almost a penny per day for the last month. In New England, wholesale heating oil prices have risen almost two pennies per day. What’s going on?
In Massachusetts, both the legislative and executive branches are considering a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) to reduce emissions in the building sector. We’ve been writing a lot about the CHS lately – how it wouldhelp get climate funding for public housing, should encourage electrification, and would allow consumersmore flexibility in home electrification. As the state starts getting into specifics, one thing is clear: a good CHS would apply to gas, oil, and propane, not electricity.
Through the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), Massachusetts is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the entire economy, including the transportation, electricity, and building sectors (45% by 2030 and net zero by 2050). The building sector includes about 73,000 public housing units for the most vulnerable people in society. Rents are pegged to 30% of the residents' incomes. Public housing has been chronically underfunded for decades, leading to a multi-billion dollar capital backlog that reduces building efficiency and dramatically impacts tenants’ quality of life. So naturally, if we want to reduce the energy consumption of public housing and improve conditions for its residents, we need to be serious about where the funding will come from.
Most of us still burn fossil fuels to heat our buildings, make hot water, cook, and dry our laundry. But recently, there’s been a welcome surge of interest among consumers in ways to switch to cleaner, more efficient heat pumps, induction stoves, and electric clothes dryers. To reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, we have to keep it up until we zero out our use of methane, oil, and propane. Towards that end, we have been giving many presentations on how federal and state incentives can make home electrification more affordable and how a Clean Heat Standard (CHS) would set us on a steady path toward zeroing out those emissions. In this blog, we want to highlight one particular benefit of a CHS: the flexibility it gives consumers in when and how they get off fossil fuels.
A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog explaining why renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen should not be mixed in with natural gas (methane) and sent through pipes to heat buildings. That blog focused on RNG – how there’s not enough to go around, that we don’t really know how much it will cost, and that getting to net-zero carbon emissions means phasing out combustion in all its forms. This blog will focus on the other fuel some stakeholders are pushing: hydrogen.
Late on Friday afternoon, November 18, Eversource filed its Basic Service power supply rate (excluding delivery rates) for its eastern Massachusetts territory for the period of January 1 through June 30, 2023, with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). That supply rate came in at 26 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), up from 15.8 cents/kWh for the same period in 2022 and 11.8 cents/kWh in 2021.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you will. Gas utilities everywhere are putting out propaganda that they can decarbonize the gas that flows through our pipes to heat our homes and businesses. National Grid, one of the major utilities in Massachusetts and New York, has produced a document with its vision of a clean energy future. If you read through the paper carefully, you will see how important it is to the gas utility to mix Renewable Energy Gas (RNG) and hydrogen with natural gas (fracked methane). Whether it’s in the public interest is a different question.
In recent weeks, gas and electric utilities have been announcing steep price hikes for the next few months – some starting on November 1 and some starting later. Consumers of heating oil and diesel fuel have also seen extraordinary retail price increases compared to a year ago. It’s a topic that Green Energy Consumers Alliance has been monitoring with an eye toward the short run and the long run. So, when our good friends at Metro West Climate Solutions asked for a presentation on why energy prices are so high this coming winter and where are headed, we were happy to oblige and join them for a webinar on October 25. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its annualWinter Fuels Outlookon Oct. 12, predicting that heating costs this winter will increase significantly. Natural gas heating in the Northeast is expected to increase by 23%. For households that heat with oil, you can expect to spend 27% more this winter than last.A combination of two factors is driving this winter’s trend: cooler weather and higher prices due to supply constraints.