Guest ridicule by David Middleton
From the folks who brought us the #ExxonKnew fraud…
Nearly 9,000 households in eastern Massachusetts have had to make do without natural gas since mid-September, when an aging natural gas pipeline failed and set off a series of explosions and fires across the cities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.
Residents who relied on gas to heat their homes and cook their food won’t have service again until mid-November at the earliest, according to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. The company has 48 miles of pipeline to replace, and industry experts question whether it can meet even that timeline.
Environmental advocates say it’s time to completely rethink the communities’ energy systems.
Columbia Gas has offered to reimburse “reasonable costs” for residents who lost gas service and want to permanently shift to another heating source.
But environmentalists will have to work quickly. Columbia’s offer to pay residents to cut ties with natural gas could also result in households moving backward—to high-polluting fuel oil.
The Possibility of Heat Pumps
Columbia Gas’s offer opens the door for a number of options with emissions profiles that vary widely, including heat pumps, conventional electric heating, propane and fuel oil. Residents, or their landlords, also could decide to wait through increasingly cold weeks for the gas line to be rebuilt.
One option Phillips and others sustainable development advocates are promoting is electric heat pumps—essentially air conditioners that can run in reverse in wintertime to heat rather than cool a home.
Eldrenkamp said the best solution for affected communities, especially Lawrence, a low-income community, would be to combine heat pumps with community-owned solar arrays paired with large-scale batteries.
“Let’s take this opportunity to really bring these homes into the 21st century, not just for environmental reasons but for social justice reasons,” Eldrenkamp said. “Let’s not just switch them over to heat pumps, but let’s get some solar panels in the neighborhoods and do the whole package.”
Phil McKenna is a Boston-based reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN in 2016, he was a freelance writer covering energy and the environment for publications including The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon and WIRED. Uprising, a story he wrote about gas leaks under U.S. cities, won the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award and the 2014 NASW Science in Society Award. Phil has a master’s degree in science writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was an Environmental Journalism Fellow at Middlebury College.
From the Inside Climate News article…
In addition to costing nearly twice as much as natural gas…
The reason that heat pumps aren’t very effective in climates where the air temperature dips close to freezing on a regular basis is because it takes a lot more energy to move heat from a very cold area to a hotter one. It’s much easier to move heat between places with a minimal temperature difference. Plus, in moderate climates there’s more heat outside to bring in. When it’s cold out, it’s harder to extract the heat from the air. If the heat pump can’t get enough heat from the outside air to warm your house, you have to use supplemental energy in order to get your house to a comfortable temperature. This supplemental heating can be electrical, or it can burn oil or gas. The type of heating used most in your area is probably your best bet for a backup.
If the State of Massachusetts wants to p!$$ their taxpayers’ money away on “social justice” unicorn-fantasy energy schemes, the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution empowers them to do so… Just don’t ask the rest of the nation to follow their lead or foot the bill… The Tenth Amendment works both ways.
Electricity prices in Massachusetts are already among the highest in the nation…
Massachusetts isn’t exactly the best place to rely on solar power in winter…
Massachusetts already isn’t the model to follow as it pertains to energy. The lame-brained ideas put forward in the Inside Climate News article would make it even more so.