Massachusetts Town Votes for Freezing in the Dark

Guest “too fracking funny” by David Middleton

Brookline passes bylaw banning future use of oil, gas in new buildings

Nov 21, 2019

BROOKLINE, Mass. — A Massachusetts town overwhelmingly voted Wednesday night to ban the future installation of oil and gas pipes in future construction projects as well as in renovations of existing buildings.

The bylaw, which passed the Brookline town meeting with 210 votes in favor and just three opposing, would be the first such prohibition in the state of Massachusetts.


“This warrant article is not the whole answer, but it represents a start” in reaching Brookline’s stated 2050 carbon neutral goal, said Town Meeting member Cornelia van der Ziel.

“When you’re in a hole, the first thing is to stop digging,” State Rep. Tommy Vitolo said; this warrant article takes away the shovel, he added.



This bit of enviro-nitwittery “would require homeowners and developers to use electricity to power all future heat, hot water and other appliances.” Exceptions would be made for “backup generators, restaurant kitchens and medical offices, among other uses”… Expect a run on backup generators at the local Home Depot.

80% of Massachusetts homes rely on fossil fuels for heating… only 15% rely on electricity.

Figure 1. How Massachusetts Households Heat Their Homes (

84% of Massachusetts electricity is generated by natural gas-fired power plants.

Figure 2. Massachusetts Net Electricity Generation by Source Aug. 2019 (US EIA)

Amazingly, a state so dependent on natural gas is one of the most hostile to natural gas and natural gas pipelines. Massachusetts imports 12% of its natural gas from Vladimir Putin et al…

Massachusetts has three liquefied natural gas import terminals. In 2017, foreign imports into Massachusetts equaled about 12% of the natural gas that entered the state and 7% of New England’s total demand for natural gas.


Despite the fact that these tenuously United States are awash in cheap, domestic natural gas, with a growing number of LNG export terminals and their proximity to booming natural gas production from the Marcellus play … Massachusetts still operates three LNG import terminals. Massachusetts is the only State in the nation with three LNG import terminals and no export terminals (FERC).

Massachusetts Limits Gas Pipelines, Imports LNG from Russia Instead

APRIL 16, 2018

Environmentalists are winning in Massachusetts by getting natural gas infrastructure projects shelved. Natural gas consumers in the state, however, are losing out because those pipelines would supply natural gas to consumers at a lower cost than imported liquefied natural gas (LNG)—receiving some of that LNG from Russia through the Everett LNG terminal—the only LNG import terminal still operating in the lower 48.

Environmentalists seem to be obsessed with stopping the construction of domestic pipelines in this country, regardless of what they carry, what fuels they displace, and how global greenhouse gas emissions may be affected. Liquefied natural gas results in greater emissions than pipeline gas because cooling the gas to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit and then shipping and regasifying it requires more energy than pumping natural gas through domestic pipelines. Generally, LNG produces 5 to 10 percent more emissions over its entire life cycle than piped gas.

Russian LNG Shipments to Massachusetts

Three years ago Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed an energy policy consisting of 1,200 megawatts of renewable energy, 1,600 megawattsof offshore wind, and an expansion of natural gas pipeline capacity. Environmentalists fought the natural gas pipeline expansion and won, shelving several pipeline proposals. (For instance, officials in Massachusetts and New Hampshire blocked the $3 billion Access Northeast Pipeline.) Environmentalists want to rely solely on solar and wind power—intermittent sources of electricity that need back-up power. As Massachusetts has been shuttering its coal-fired power plants, that back-up power has mostly been supplied by natural gas, raising the price of electricity as cold weather forces different sectors to compete for natural gas.

The shortage of natural gas was clear earlier this year when a cold snap caused prices for natural gas to spike and the purchase of Russian LNG to supply the Everest LNG import terminal a few miles north of Boston. The Russian LNG comes from a new $27 billion terminal on the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circleoperated by Yamal LNG—a joint venture among Russia’s gas company Novatek, France’s Total, and China’s CNPC. Novate is on the Treasury Department’s financial sanctions list. However, the LNG shipment does not violate the prohibitions that the Obama Administration imposed four years ago because it is owned by a French energy trader arriving on a French-owned vessel (Gaselys) and consisting of Russian gas as well as gas from other European sources.



And the cherry on top of the sundae…

Average Residential Price of Electricity by State, August 2019 and 2018 (Cents per Kilowatthour)

StateAug-19% US Avg Aug-18% US Avg
1Hawaii        31.16 234%        32.39 244%
2Alaska        23.56 177%        22.51 170%
3Rhode Island        21.76 164%        18.70 141%
4Massachusetts        21.54 162%        20.80 157%
5Connecticut        21.29 160%        21.27 160%
6California        19.86 149%        19.85 150%
7New Hampshire        19.47 146%        19.32 146%
8New York        18.39 138%        19.02 143%
9Maine        17.90 135%        16.91 128%
10Vermont        16.68 125%        17.96 135%
11Michigan        16.53 124%        15.40 116%
12New Jersey        15.79 119%        15.25 115%
13Wisconsin        14.80 111%        13.99 106%
14Iowa        14.73 111%        14.18 107%
15Minnesota        13.91 105%        13.78 104%
16Pennsylvania        13.83 104%        13.95 105%
17New Mexico        13.00 98%        13.48 102%
18Kansas        12.96 97%        13.95 105%
19Alabama        12.83 96%        12.32 93%
20South Dakota        12.72 96%        12.62 95%
21Missouri        12.71 96%        12.92 97%
22Colorado        12.70 95%        12.43 94%
23South Carolina        12.56 94%        10.36 78%
24Arizona        12.52 94%        12.83 97%
25Illinois        12.51 94%        12.52 94%
26Maryland        12.46 94%        13.05 98%
27Ohio        12.45 94%        12.90 97%
28District of Columbia        12.39 93%        12.56 95%
29Georgia        12.38 93%        12.60 95%
30Virginia        12.36 93%        12.27 93%
31Indiana        12.25 92%        12.53 94%
32Delaware        12.24 92%        12.21 92%
33North Dakota        12.06 91%        11.80 89%
34Wyoming        11.97 90%        11.75 89%
35Montana        11.91 90%        11.29 85%
36Florida        11.90 89%        11.33 85%
37Nebraska        11.83 89%        11.98 90%
38Texas        11.80 89%        11.27 85%
39Nevada        11.79 89%        11.40 86%
40North Carolina        11.71 88%        11.29 85%
41West Virginia        11.56 87%        11.40 86%
42Mississippi        11.22 84%        10.84 82%
43Oregon        11.18 84%        11.12 84%
44Utah        11.17 84%        10.85 82%
45Tennessee        10.80 81%        10.85 82%
46Kentucky        10.62 80%        10.60 80%
47Oklahoma        10.61 80%        10.87 82%
48Idaho        10.18 77%        10.48 79%
49Arkansas        10.08 76%        10.01 75%
50Washington        10.06 76%          9.93 75%
51Louisiana          9.57 72%          9.92 75%
U.S. Total        13.30         13.26

Brookline, in a State which already has the second most expensive residential electricity prices in the Lower 48, wants to force its residents to switch from heating with natural gas to heating with electricity generated from Russian natural gas…

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Bryan A
November 25, 2019 2:15 pm

This will be a case of 210 people who attended the meeting, telling the remaining 57,000 populace that didn’t care to attend, “Up Yours”

Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2019 2:40 pm

Brookline has 240 elected Town Meeting members. link I wish them good luck getting re-elected.

Reply to  commieBob
November 25, 2019 3:09 pm

You can’t fix stupid, and you can’t fix the tax base in a place like that either. I can already hear the backup alarms of moving vans in the morning . . . 😉

Bro. Steve
Reply to  Goldrider
November 25, 2019 6:51 pm

Goldrider, I sure hope you’re mistaken. Northeastern liberals evacuate their self-made purgatories and move south, bringing their ruinous philosophies and beliefs with them. They seem unable to restrain their passion for telling everybody else what to do.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Goldrider
November 26, 2019 3:47 am

I can already hear the backup alarms of moving vans in the morning . . . 😉

Not so, Goldrider, to wit:

The demographics of Brookline ……. explains their silly actions, to wit:

Brookline, Massachusetts

Serving as a residential zone for nearby academic and medical institutes such as Harvard Medical School and Boston University, the town of Brookline was reported as the city with the most doctoral degree holders (14.0% of the total population) in the United States.

The median income for a household in the town was $66,711, and the median income for a family was $92,993.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
November 26, 2019 4:22 am

“the city with the most doctoral degree holders” Well, that explains their rampant stupidity.

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
November 26, 2019 7:42 am

97% of which are in the Arts or social sciences….

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
November 27, 2019 12:47 pm

oh…so they’re better AND smarter than everyone else

Diane J Napoli
Reply to  Goldrider
November 26, 2019 6:22 am

yup, the largest influx to FL? Mass and CT

Bryan A
Reply to  Diane J Napoli
November 26, 2019 2:29 pm

CT needs to be vacated so NY NY has sufficient space for Solar Panels such that Manhattan can claim 100% renewable supplies

Reply to  commieBob
November 25, 2019 6:32 pm

It mainly effects new housing, possibly reducing new construction.
This many actually cause house prices to rise and make the fool voters money and make them feel smart.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 25, 2019 3:40 pm

Currently I am reading The Patriarch, David Nasaw’s biography of Joseph P. Kennedy. Is this the same Brookline Mass where young Joe lived?

Reply to  me@home
November 25, 2019 4:40 pm

Currently I am reading The Man Called Intrepid, William Stevenson’s account of William Stephenson, the inspiration for the James Bond character. Joseph P. Kennedy was not helpful during Britain’s early years of WWII and could have cost Britain the war.

Old Woman of the North
Reply to  Gary Mount
November 26, 2019 4:43 pm

He was loyal to the Irish Republic and raised money for them.

Paul F Davis
Reply to  me@home
November 25, 2019 6:15 pm


CD in Wisconsin
November 25, 2019 2:15 pm

“When you’re in a hole, the first thing is to stop digging,” State Rep. Tommy Vitolo said; this warrant article takes away the shovel, he added…’

They aren’t in a hole, they are in a cult. They just don’t know it.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
November 25, 2019 5:36 pm

When they finally realise that they are buried under a mountain of idealogical BS, they may be needing a good shovel to get themselves out again.

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
November 25, 2019 6:33 pm

You can dig yourself out of a hole with a shovel. Dig a staircase perpendicular to the vertical shaft and shovel the dirt into the previously empty hole.

Reply to  fish
November 26, 2019 12:51 am

I like it!

Stop digging down…. and instead, start digging up.

Bryan A
Reply to  davel
November 26, 2019 2:34 pm

Why did the Centenarian go to the cemetery with a shovel?
To Dig Up a couple old friends

November 25, 2019 2:15 pm

“Exceptions would be made for ‘backup generators, restaurant kitchens and medical offices, among other uses’… ”
If its so important, why are there ANY exceptions?

Reply to  Speed
November 25, 2019 4:00 pm

My thought exactly. “Restaurant kitchens”??? Humanity is on its way out and Restaurants are exempted?

And medical offices? What about hospitals?

If they were really serious there wouldn’t be an exception for “backup generators” either. “Backup Solar Panels” ought to do.

Roger Knights
Reply to  BobM
November 25, 2019 7:51 pm

Chefs hate electric stoves—gas gives them more control.

Reply to  Roger Knights
November 26, 2019 1:44 am

Not with induction !!

Logic and Reason
Reply to  Martin
November 26, 2019 4:40 am

Go to a Chinese restaurant and tell the chef that is using his 60,000 BTU wok burner to use an induction wok. Check out his response.

Reply to  Martin
November 26, 2019 4:51 am

Logic and Reason :
“Go to a Chinese restaurant and tell the chef that is using his 60,000 BTU wok burner to use an induction wok. Check out his response.”

I was curious about this myself, so I did a quick search for opinions on induction woks… turns out there are quite a few chefs raving about the new technology and not going back to gas. What did your search turn up?

Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 4:55 am

I know several people who bought induction cooking systems and they were far less than impressed. Have not seen any commercial grade induction so can’t say if that would be an improvement, what I have seen work best with only those pans/pots designed for the specific system. Being the owner of 3 woks, used over gas, I will stick with gas.

Reply to  2hotel9
November 26, 2019 5:37 am

Indeed, thanks for the feedback. I bet most would want gas for a wok, as it is more than just the base that needs temperature control. While still very doable with induction, that seems easier and more intuitive with gas. I will research a bit the advances made for restaurant-grade induction woks.

Reply to  BobM
November 25, 2019 8:22 pm

Top chefs cook with gas, not electricity.
What they are saying is that those who can afford to eat out frequently shouldn’t have to suffer for their virtue signalling. As for those who can’t afford to eat out a lot? They don’t matter.

Reply to  BobM
November 26, 2019 1:43 am

Oddly enough in the UK good restaurant kitchens now cook with induction hobs as they heat the pan up faster than gas and have the bonus of not heating the kitchen so much.

The rest of the story is old hat from a UK perspective -regulations put in place by the government mean that all new builds will have only electricity for heating and cooking from 2025.

Reply to  BobM
November 26, 2019 7:41 am

I’m guessing there is not a hospital in their town. I wonder what all the exceptions are. It looks like an Animal Farm scenario where some people are just “more equal than others”

Reply to  Speed
November 25, 2019 4:09 pm

If it’s so dependable….why are there any exceptions?

…that’s like Calif saying the power won’t go off

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Speed
November 25, 2019 4:51 pm

I’m planning that my extension medical office there will include a restaurant kitchen serving hot chocolate to all the hypothermic patients in the waiting room. It’s sure to become a much needed community sanctuary.

Joel Snider
November 25, 2019 2:17 pm

So, I wonder who they’ll sue when people start dying?
My guess is they’ll blame everyone besides themselves.

Reply to  Joel Snider
November 25, 2019 2:43 pm

They’ll blame the evil capitalists who are more concerned with profit over lives.
They’ll then demand that everything important be taken over by the state. For the children.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2019 4:01 pm

Did you mean “by the children”?

Reply to  Joel Snider
November 25, 2019 7:34 pm

Look on the bright side, such may finally trigger protracted large-scale anti-environmentalism riots all across the USA … in the late Spring.

Bryan A
November 25, 2019 2:20 pm

WCBV needs to work on the definition of “Overwhelmingly”, 210 people out of a populace of 58,732 is vastly far from a majority. This is just a case of a majority of the minority who cared to attend the meeting telling the vast majority who chose not to attend what they can’t do.
Proof positive … “By not voting, you get the governmental regulations you deserve”

November 25, 2019 2:21 pm

Were there any actual grown ups at the town meeting who made this decision or did they let the kids at the local nursery decide? Just wondering.

Jim Willis
Reply to  Mack
November 25, 2019 2:35 pm

Greta strikes again!

Bryan A
Reply to  Mack
November 25, 2019 2:36 pm

I think it was ER stacking the meeting room so the towns people couldn’t attend. I see this going to a popular vote rather that the arbitrary one that occurred. The local court dockets should fill rather fast.

Reply to  Bryan A
November 26, 2019 12:41 pm

This was the popular vote. Town government in MA is the town meeting. The Selectmen (the proper term for the town government IIRC) call a meeting with an agenda. Each item is voted on by the citizens that have attended the meeting, not the Selectmen. If it passes it’s an ordinance.

Bryan A
Reply to  J G
November 26, 2019 2:35 pm

They need to have a few more Reselectmen then

Gen X Y Z
November 25, 2019 2:27 pm

OK Boomers

John Dilks
Reply to  Gen X Y Z
November 26, 2019 6:13 pm

Gen X Y Z,
“OK Boomers”

Pray that we Boomers live long enough for you Doomers to grow up and start thinking rather than feeling.

Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 2:28 pm

Hey Middleton, ever hear of a heat pump? Pay close attention to the costs in the link.

John Shepherd
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 3:12 pm

Heat pumps don’t work very well below 30°. The companies that sell them will tell you otherwise but they aren’t being entirely truthful.

Reply to  John Shepherd
November 25, 2019 4:26 pm

They still put more heat into your house than the same kilowatts of resistive electric heating elements. So most of the “don’t work” rumors are just the result of “under-designed to meet budget expectations”

Master of the Obvious
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 25, 2019 7:47 pm

Under-Designed? Let’s take a look at that.

First since Brookline is near Boston, we can utilize the ASHAE design temperature of 7.7F (-13.5C). That’s hardly conservative since Boston has hit -7F as recently as 2005, but typically a heating plant is sized for 5th percentile of the temperature range and you suck it up for the hours you actually fall below that temperature. Since that is usually at night, one is often in bed and either don’t notice or you have the thermostat rolled-down anyway.

Next, we look at a performance curve for a typical two-ton heat pump plant:

As noted by other commenters, around 30F (28F on this chart), the unit can no longer meet heating demand and the supplemental heat (typically electric heating coils) kicks-in to make-up the difference. I’ve previously had a heat pump and I can personally attest to this behavior. When I heard the distinct click of the contactor for the coils pulling-in, I observed the blue light indicator and knew that the local power company was having a good day at my expense.

So, let’s take a look at that graph.

First, for the nominal two-ton (24,000 Btu/hr) unit, the design heating rate is only about 18,000 Btu/hr, a 25% derate of the nameplate capacity. Please keep in mind that 18,000 Btu/hr is the needed heating capacity at 28F. As the temperature drops to around the minimum design temperature, needed heating capacity rises to about 35,000 Btu/hr. However, the heat pumps capacity drops to about 9-10,000 Btu/hr.

So, now to size a heat-pump-only heating plant to meet the design requirements, about seven tons of heat pump would be needed to obviate the need for supplemental heat. A seven-ton unit is pretty hefty: the kind of thing you’ve seen sitting behind a small commercial building like a medical office.

And (as the voice-over says), there is more! I live in the mid-Atlantic area and my heating plant (oil-fired hydronic) is sized at 85,000 Btu/hr and I have a modest sized home (about 2,200 sq.ft.). So, if I was sizing a heat-pump-only system, I would be looking at a honkin’ 17 tons (200,000 Btu/hr) of heat pumps.

I checked the specs for a Carrier 7.5 ton heat pump. It requires 30 amps of 460V power (or about 41kW). Is your home wired for three-phase 460? Didn’t think so. Thus, for a 240V, two-phase unit, that’ll be a 90A two-pole breaker in the load center. Thus, I’ve have to have 200 amps at 240V of power just to run my heating plant!

Such a design would be stoopid on two levels:

First, the capital cost of up-sizing from two-ton to seven-ton would be quite significant. Probably not a factor of 3.5, but closer to 3x than 2x. Plus you’d need another load center and your looking at AWG 1 sized wire, conduit and disconnects. You’ll be getting a Christmas basket from your electrical contractor.

Second, operating the seven-ton unit on most of the other days at this massive of a turn-down would be highly inefficient. You’d either have to short-cycle the plant; or, equip it with a multi-speed compressor and take the hit on the oversized condenser/evaporator coils, fans, etc.

It is pretty clear why nobody sizes a heat-pump in this manner. It would be very costly to install and operate. It’s better to size the heat-pump to a heating rate that covers a goodly number of the heating hours and then provide the supplemental heating coil and spin the meter to cover the short-fall. Of course, that design optimum depends on your power cost. The best trade-off for the current 18-25 cents/kWh prevailing across New England will be different if you start having Germany-priced power.

It’s is little wonder gas and oil are the prevalent heating choice in the North East.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 25, 2019 9:34 pm

It’s better to size the heat-pump to a heating rate that covers a goodly number of the heating hours and then provide the supplemental heating coil and spin the meter to cover the short-fall.

That’s us, with a 100% electric house.
Our rate:
Facilities Charge … $22.50/month Charge………………….$ 0.0950/kWh

That’s from hydro power on the Columbia River, central Washington State.
Thanks to the previous generation.

Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 26, 2019 5:57 am


Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 26, 2019 10:34 am

If it is 30 amps at 460v, it would be 60 amps at 230v.
Watts equals amps times volts.
So, no, you do not need 200 amps.
It is 60 amps on each 120v volt leg of power, which is still 60 amps, not 120.
If you are talking about how much amps it would be if you could run it at 120v, then it would be 120 amps (460/4 = 120; 30 x 4 = 120).
I am not disagreeing with the main point you are making, just the power you claim is needed. A whole frickin crapload.
I have a heat pump for my pool/spa (I only ever use it at night b/c I also have rooftop solar hot water for the pool), and I can tell you it works great when it is hot out, pretty good when it is cool, and not at all when it is cold.
It is simple physics.
Here is the chart:

There are times of year when a heat pump will save money in a place like Mass., but you need to have another way to heat for a long part of the winter.
There are maps that show where it makes sense to buy a heat pump, and the line is several states south of Mass.
Nat gas is by far cheaper on cold nights.

Master of the Obvious
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 26, 2019 12:06 pm

For the power requirements, keep in mind 460 is a three-phase service. It is rarely seen in residential use since very few things need above 30A (dryer, stove, etc.). If you had a three-phase 277/460 service, you’d have to have that load center and then provide a step-down transformer and load center for the 120/240 services (a common arrangement in commercial buildings).

If we start seriously looking at all-electric homes with car charging, it might make sense.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 26, 2019 12:41 pm

Yes, I realized that after I posted a few comments, and noted my mistake below.
Sorry about that.

And thank you.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 26, 2019 12:51 pm

At least here in Florida, many communities have single phase service and upgrading it would require a massive project. A huge amount of real estate here was built as entire communities, with underground lines inside the boundaries of the communities.
Even many of the places that have three phase power are not true three phase, but an open delta or open wye configuration, which is fine for small motors or when the transformers are operating well within their design specs, but ruins large motors of when the transformers are heavily loaded and three phase imbalances begin to occur.
I doubt many places in the US will be seeing in home three phase power, not anytime soon anyway, and probably never.
Personally, with the US the Saudi Arabia of nat gas, I am in favor of a law mandating nat gas be installed for every home that wants it, something along the lines of the rural electrification act in the US.
Home heating is only one of the uses for gas. I think that as the grid is stressed by more and more electric cars, there will be an even greater and more urgent need for people to reduce power usage, given the time and complexity and cost of upgrading our entire electrical infrastructure.
It is very telling that power companies pay people to switch to alternate fuels instead of electricity, even though they are in the business of selling power.

Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 26, 2019 5:55 pm

And still, a heat pump puts more BTU’s into your house than resistive heating elements of the same KW capacity…… because the heat of compression is released indoors and the compressor power is obtained from electricity. Sure its going to get more costly for bigger compressors and heat exchangers in colder climates. Being that resistive elements are cheap, and electricity is expensive, wherever you are located there is an installation and equipment cost savings to use electrical resistance heat for say 15% of the heating days. It’s just the local contractors way of meeting your “too low” budget expectations. Not much different than someone telling you your gas furnace isn’t big enough, so on really cold days you’ve gotta put wood in the fireplace.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 27, 2019 3:15 am

“And still, a heat pump puts more BTU’s into your house than resistive heating elements of the same KW capacity”
That depends on the temperature of the outside air.
And it is useless as a stand alone heat source if you want to keep your home 70°, but the compressor can only heat the working fluid by 30°, and it is 20° outside.
The thermodynamic situation is very clear…in cold climates the advantage of a heat pump is greatly diminished, and at a temp well below those Massachusetts, they do not save money, they waste money, and will not heat a home sufficiently for comfort. Below -10°, you get less BTUs than the same amount of power used for resistive heating.
And again, who cares about btus if the air coming out of your duct is only 50° on a cold night?
Thermodynamic efficiency says nothing about the output temperature.
This is not hard to understand, and the graphs and information has been posted here and has been well known by every trained HVAC professional for many decades.

Master of the Obvious
Reply to  Master of the Obvious
November 29, 2019 8:07 am

And still, a heat pump puts more BTU’s into your house than resistive heating elements of the same KW capacity…… because the heat of compression is released indoors and the compressor power is obtained from electricity.

Yes, but check the COP axis on the chart and it’ll show the COP heading down towards 1.0 (1 Btu of heat per Btu of input power), so the performance is approaching that of the electrical resistance heater.

Sure its going to get more costly for bigger compressors and heat exchangers in colder climates.

Gosh, why don’t you have our walls ripped-out and replaced with 24″ of cavity and insulation? Answer: Law of Diminishing Returns.

If we were talking a grand or two to “up-size” to your design, it might be worth while. Here, were talking easily thousands (likely well over $10,000). I haven’t taken a look at the air exchange end of this design. Keep in mind that the compressed gas is limited in temperature which is why heat-pump systems are never more than lukewarm at the discharge (compared to oil/gas heating). Can I opt for a higher-pressure to drive a higher condensing temperature? Do I up-size air handling to match the massive coil? Or, so I short the air and choke the gas condensing capacity in the coil and push gas back to the evaporator? Running a unit at 70+% turn-down is seldom a good idea.

If I was designing such a system for a commercial application, I would look at staging the units and have multiple systems and coils in the air handler. $$$

And so we can get a 10-20% gain in “efficiency” for a couple/few weeks per year over the supplemental coil? Plus, we get to pay every other hour when we run the unit at 20-30% of its design capacity.

No, this is a bad design idea.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 26, 2019 10:58 am

D Mac:
It is a matter of thermodynamics.
As the temp gets lower, and given the compression ratio of a heat pump, the output air may indeed have more btus of heat that resistive (down to about -10, but below that, you get less energy that you put in), but the temp of the air coming out of the register will get colder and colder. IOW, the temp in the coil inside the air handler is a function of the outside air temp and the compression ratio.
In parts of the country in which sub freezing temps can be expected for several months on end, and during the daytime as well for some of that time, the cost of using resistive electric and a heat pump makes no sense…it will be more expensive every year.
Similarly, in places like far southern Florida, where heating is rarely needed, but occasionally is, the additional cost of a heat pump over a standard high efficiency AC with a resistive coil heating element is not worth it…it is a waste of money. Better to spend the extra bucks on a better SEER rating.
Heat pumps are great and save tons of money for a large section of the country, but for other parts…no.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 26, 2019 11:54 am

“(T)he output air may indeed have more btus of heat that resistive…”

For a given equivalent amount of power used.

In any case, most sensible people use a different matric to make such decisions.
They use the metric of cost.
Gas is far cheaper per btu than electricity.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 26, 2019 12:11 pm

Oops, I am wrong about that.
If you need 30 amps of 460 three phase, then that is 60 amps at 230 three phase, or 90 amps on 230 household single phase power. 90 on each of the two legs.
But that still counts as 90 amps.
Regular 200 amp service means the system is sized for 200 amps on each of the two legs of incoming power.
It would be 180 amps if you were able to put the whole load on one leg somehow.
But the watts and the cost would be the same no matter what voltage you use.
90 amps at 230 volts is a very large amount of power.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 27, 2019 8:21 am

Side bar: Utility companies charge dearly to supply any three phase power to an individual residence. In addition they may charge a high distribution fee … ie: rental for additional poles and cable to reach said home from nearest three phase source. You are also stuck with purchase of transformers and distribution equipment. … And don’t forget testing and maintenance every five years. All that for nice cozy heat??? I don’t think so!!
Personally I have used a robust totally non-electric wood furnace for the last 35 years. Side benefit of great cooking surface and hot water if needed.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 26, 2019 12:31 pm

BTW…one ton of cooling is a thermodynamic unit which converts directly to watts, btu’s, hp, or any other unit of power.
It started out being a measure of the cooling provided by melting one ton of ice (since early ac units used blocks of ice), but was standardized to be equal to exactly 3517 watts, or 3.157kW.
So 7.5 tons of cooling represents a power requirement of ~26.4 kW.
This says nothing about how much power a specific machine might require.
Generally compressors and other motors have a large initial startup power draw which quickly goes way down, but breaker and wiring must be sized to account for this…although typically not the full initial peak, which may be several times higher than the power draw after the first few tenths of a second.
An example is a 5 HP 230 single phase water well, which typically runs at about 23.5 amps of so, but has a startup amp draw equal to the locked rotor amps of about 85-99 amps.
But breaker by code have to be 150% of the max (service factor) amp draw of the motor, which is 1.15 times the full load amps. Which means you have to use a 60 amp breaker even though the thing uses only 23 amps for 99% of the time, because the max amps is 27.5, and 150% of that is over 40 amps, and the next sized standard breaker is 60 amps.

Even though all breakers are rated to handle 150% of their rated amps as well.
Electric codes are multiply redundant in terms of oversizing components for safety.
But none of that means you have to have electric service greater than the sum of all the breakers in your panel. If that was true just about every house and business would need to massively upgrade breaker panels and service entrance sizing.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 26, 2019 2:14 pm

Don’t go into the weeds of the National Electrical Code. Many a bright individual quickly got lost when leaning that document. I taught that and other codes for over 8 years at a community college.

The NFPA, an organization formed by insurance companies, created the NEC 1897 as a result of the losses from multiple fires caused by electrification of industry. The purpose of the Code was to protect from fires started by electrical failures. Newer versions include provisions for personal safety, think GFCI receptacles and Arc Fault breakers for bedroom receptacle circuits.

The Code has various rules that, to laymen, seem strange like “the next higher STANDARD size overcurrent protection device” as mentioned above. The main purpose of the code is to ensure that the insulation on wire does not overheat to the point of failure and that it is protected from physical damage. Those above mentioned bright individuals began to understand the Code once they understood THAT concept.

BTW: The minimum rating of a panel and the conductors feeding it is determined by a load calculation. Most efficiently sized panels have a “sum of all breakers in your panel” that exceeds the panel rating, especially when serving intermittent loads.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 26, 2019 2:38 pm

Yes, I know all of that.
I am not a layperson when it comes to these issues or information.
I also spent some time teaching such things as electrical safety, troubleshooting, and giving technicians in our industry the information they needed to know what they were looking at when installing, servicing, or repairing the equipment we manufactured, installed, and repaired (primarily, at the time, lake aeration systems and floating fountains).
Outdoor and underwater high voltage electrical equipment.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 27, 2019 6:23 am

Folks had a heat pump in TN. It worked okay until you got into the 30s. Then the resistive hearing elements in the vents kicked in provide the makeup heat.

Their bills were HIGH.

And when they lost power in 2015 due to a major winter storm, they had to rely on propane heaters inside the house to warm it up above freezing.

Reply to  John Shepherd
November 25, 2019 5:12 pm

Ahhh but they have electric backup heat and most keep the heat pump unit running even with backup. So since mechanical and running most of the year (up North, if not heating then air conditioning/cooling), wouldn’t expect much life.

Reply to  BFL
November 25, 2019 7:05 pm

All furnaces are required to have electric backup where I live. Even if you have a private fuel supply (propane, fuel oil), a home inspection during sale will check for backup units.

Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 8:20 pm


All furnaces are required to have electric backup where I live. Even if you have a private fuel supply (propane, fuel oil), a home inspection during sale will check for backup units.

I claim baloney. Give us the name of your township or county and the name of this “Building Code”.

Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 8:31 pm

The point is how often does the back up heaters have to kick in.
With heat pumps, it’s a lot more often.

Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2019 8:43 pm

MarkW… and? So the backups kick in to supplement the air-sourced heat pump’s drop in efficiency as the outside shot temperature drops (does not replace, supplements). So they kick on more often… and? Are you looking at all-Winter cost? What’s your concern with the backup kicking on? If it is cheaper to run the heat pump, and occasionally the cost curve inverts… so? What’s your point?

John Endicott
Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 5:15 am

RM25483 we’re talking winter in Massachusetts. I think you’ll find it’s a bit more than occasionally.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 10:39 am

Even far south of Mass, in Philly, there are winters when the temp does not get above freezing even during the day for a month at a time.
Not every year, but you have to have such equipment able to handle the worst that can happen, not the average, or what will be enough for some of the winter. Of you will have frozen pipes and be living in a place too cold to bathe or sleep in a normal fashion.

Reply to  John Shepherd
November 25, 2019 5:13 pm

Heat pumps only work in cold climates like MA when the temps stay above 25-30. Colder than that they have to have backup via natural gas or resistive heat, which will send your electric bill through the roof.

Reply to  icisil
November 25, 2019 8:00 pm

RE heat pumps in cold climates…..
Oh!! Wait!!! The wind isn’t blowing and sun ain’t shining and the old gas-fired power plant is demolished and…..
Here in north Florida we frequently see freezing temperatures and the electric meter spins like crazy if you are on a heat pump. Thanfully, most of us have gas lines and new developments proudly advertise gas hookups to improve sales.

Gums sends…

Reply to  John Shepherd
November 25, 2019 6:59 pm

My heat pump works quite well below 30F. At 5.15c/kWh of 100% coal-fired generation, what’s not to love? My last HVAC replacement was to go geothermal, knocked 1/3 ($1000/year) off of my total annual electricity usage.
No local fumes, no super-heated gas furnace air making me itchy and uncomfortable, no risk of leakage of gas into my house (mother’s doctors now attribute her combination of illnesses to a long term leak into the wall in her bedroom), a single energy bill every month that is easy to budget. I also chose a neighborhood with no gas lines because leaks are rampant where I live… no thanks.
Yes, gas vs. electric should be a choice, but gas is no clear winner either.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 9:42 pm

Not always true.
Ours is hydro.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 9:46 pm

Nearest gas is 6 miles away for us.
We would have to go with propane.

As cousin Pat says: “Not everyone makes chocolate pie the way I do.”

Juan Slayton
Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 9:51 pm

When you write “geothermal,” I assume you mean ground source heat pumps. When my mom’s gas furnace went rogue on us a few years back, setting off her CO alarm, I inquired from local business about the possibility of ground source pumps, and was told the local terrain (Sierra Vista, AZ) was not suitable for that. I was suspicious that this was an easy response by retailers who did not sell that kind of installation, but replacement was needed right away, so we went with air sourced. It has not been completely satisfactory, but at least it’s not setting off the CO alarm.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 10:45 am

Are you claiming to have a retail electricity rate of 5.15 cents per kWh?
I would like to know where that is.
People in cities and dense suburbs cannot get a permit for geothermal well drilling or digging.
And the farther north one goes, the colder the ground is.
As for your heat pump working fine below 30°, how is it that the laws of physics are different for you than everyone else who is not as smart?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 26, 2019 4:49 pm

I am talking generation, flat rate (no peak / off-peak issues here). Total bills are a mish-mash of additional fees, etc. that change depending on supplier, location(s), and election cycle. Changing supplier changes which ‘green’ program you’re supporting, even if none of your energy comes from those sources. Imagine that, energy costs that are flat and everything else that fluctuates in a ridiculous manner. That is how rates are advertised for comparison here, for those reasons.

For the below 30F discussion, I was countering the ill-informed and too-often-repeated statements that heat pumps “don’t work” below freezing or that they run only auxiliary strip heaters, thus costing 4x as much. Those statements are ridiculous. Yes, my old heat pump would supplement with strip heaters on a limited duty cycle from the mid-20s F and below, and my ground sourced heat pump supplements in the low teens and below. Supplementing for a partial duty cycle to pre-warm the HVAC system or kicking on mid-cycle to boost output is a completely different animal from implying that the electricity usage quadruples for weeks at a time.
Another important factor in heat pump installation is correct sizing, as alluded to in another comment that was attacked very much unnecessarily. My ground sourced heat pump is intentionally oversized for my residential needs. As such, the auxiliary strip heaters do not kick on (other than the intentional pre-warming I described) until 10-12F, because the larger heat pump can keep up with a lower demand. This choice of capital expense during installation has long since paid for itself in terms of kWh savings since installation.

My experiences, in Ohio, by the way, will not necessarily reflect those of more Northern states. And not everyone can dig deep.
Even in places where you can dig deep, it might not be warm enough to be worth the effort or the composition of the ground might not be conducive to sufficient conduction. I am trying only to counter some of the more absurd claims, like “you need a huge lot” “it won’t work below 30F” “it’ll damage the foundation of your house” “you’ll have permafrost in your garden”. Nor am I pushing these technologies; I choose my almost all-electric lifestyle, and it should remain a choice for everyone. To ignore the shortcomings and dangers of competing technologies, such as gas leaks in your neighborhood (“unaccounted for gas”) and in the walls of your home, is itself absurd and, coming from supposed professionals and marketing, irresponsible.

This discussion, like many here on WUWT, quickly descended into grave misunderstandings, oversimplification, cherry picking (on both sides), and over amplification of minor details. It is to be expected, with the wealth of diversity of educational and professional backgrounds and language that this website reaches that we will all have very different ‘default values’ that drive our mental calculations and sometimes very different connations to the same terms and phrases. Many of the arguments that I see on here can be settled in less time via Internet search or textbook than it takes to upload a rebuttal. I come here hoping to engage with educated professionals, but far too often I see wholly unnecessary attacks rooted in a simple misunderstanding. I am sure we can do better, team. Or maybe not, maybe I have too much hope.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 27, 2019 3:29 am

If you are adding groundwater or geothermal coupled heat pumps, that is changing the subject, and outside air temp has nothing to do with it.
If you are using warm earth or groundwater as the outside heat exchange medium, obviously the air temp has nothing to do with this that particular discussion.
Every electric bill gives a rate for power and for energy.
There is no place in the US with a per kWh rate of 5.15 cents.
You are just making crap up.
I am not sure if you are being purposely obtuse, or just love to obfuscate discussions, or what, but the thermodynamics of heat pumps are not a matter of speculation.
And the comparisons of electric heat being more expensive did not start out a discussion of heat pumps vs resistive heat, but of electric heating in general, and electric for other applications like clothes drying, water heating, and cooking, was electric vs fossil fuels like fuel oil or in particular nat gas, which is the cheapest per btu source of heat available to the vast majority of people, period.
You seem more interested in winning an argument or something like that, that explaining your points.
In this last comment, you distort and exaggerate and obfuscate what others have said, then whine about how everyone has to do better.
I for one am not impressed with your additions to the discussion.
Plus, you have an annoying habit of adding opinion based whining to your comments.

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
November 27, 2019 4:56 am

Whatever argument you are trying to win appears to exist only on your end. I am not disagreeing with the thermodynamics. Short text responses is a horrible medium for discussion. Thank you for providing a great example of the problem I described. Good luck berating and in-fighting amongst yourselves, it detracts from the overall goal.

Christina Widmann
Reply to  David Middleton
November 25, 2019 5:31 pm

Hey Middleton, why should that matter to the future use of oil, gas in new buildings?

Reply to  David Middleton
November 25, 2019 7:10 pm

Where are you getting these outrageous cost estimates? And yes, where I live, many people do choose heat pump over gas for the very reason of breaking even down the road due to low coal-fired electricity costs. For many, the monthly bill is the majority of what matters, because that is the extent of their financial planning capability.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 8:25 pm

Christina, the point that you are working so hard to miss is that switching to electric heat doesn’t cut CO2 emissions, since the electricity is also being created using fossil fuels.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 2:17 am

Hey Widmann

It matters because if you use the gas for direct heating you will get fairly close to 100% efficiency, i e nearly all the chemical energy is turned into heating your house.

In a CCGT powerplant you will get at best about 60% as electricity, the rest is waste heat. Then you lose another 5-10% in transformers and transmission.

In short, by changing to electrical heating in Massachusetts you will increase the natural gas consumption, not decrease it. And some of the powerplants may not even be Combined Cycle.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  tty
November 26, 2019 11:03 am

Thank you!

Christina Widmann
Reply to  David Middleton
November 25, 2019 5:34 pm
Christina Widmann
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 7:35 am

Flunk reading much?

Notice emphasis on the word “future” in my post.

Your graph ends in 2019

Christina Widmann
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 8:46 am

Still can’t read there Middleton, the phrase “for example” must be well above your pay grade. Wind can be onshore, as is PV.

Christina Widmann
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 9:11 am

Your LCOE charts and estimates are apples to oranges. Since a heat pump is more efficient than burning the gas for heat, did you forget to divide the LCOE by the boost in BTUs you get from the heat pump?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 11:09 am

The other thing to keep in mind is that for many people, local circumstances preclude any sort of geothermal anything.
This goes for anyone living in a city, or even most suburbs.
You simply cannot get a permit for digging any sort of well in many locales.
Also, are these prices for solar pv and for wind energy including the massive subsidies they get?
If so, it is not actually comparing what it costs to make the power, and subsidies could easily end in the future.
Especially if they become a large percentage of power produced.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 11:37 am

“Since a heat pump is more efficient than burning the gas for heat”
As a blanket statement of fact, this assertion is false.
For a range of temperatures it is true, but not below a certain value.
If one is strictly talking efficiency, and the reason for the whole discussion in the first place is the efforts to lower CO2 production, then the efficiency of the electric generation must be factored in, which raises the temperature cutoff for which this assertion is true quite a bit.
But most people are not making such individual decisions based on the concept of efficiency, but on the basis of cost.
Nat gas in most of the US is far cheaper per BTU than electricity, and burning gas where you need heat is extremely efficient.
Even with massive rebates and subsidies for so-called renewable power, it is cheaper in most places with substantial heating requirements to burn nat gas, regardless of the heat pump efficiency gain.
If there were no subsidies or tax breaks for wind turbines, no one would be investing in them with the idea of making money…because they cannot compete.
The only truly sensible ways to make power without producing CO2 are nuclear and hydroelectric dams.
Geothermal would be but the logistics and particulars make it not suitable for making grid scale power in most locations on the Earth.

Christina Widmann
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 4:10 pm

“LCOE is the levelized cost of electricity”

And Mr. Middleton that is why you are comparing apples and oranges. The only reason to install gas/oil lines in a building is for heat and cooking. You don’t install gas/oil lines in a building to generate electricity.

Please compare apples to apples. A heat pump running on electricity can provide more BTU’s of heat than the gas required to generate the electricity for it, or more BTU’s than the gas if burned to provide heat.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 27, 2019 7:30 am


My neighbors back up generator kicked on twice earlier this morning. They added an extra propane tank earlier this fall to ensure that they have enough fuel available to operate their micro grid during the never ending Public Safety Power Shutoff that are now occurring in our area. This mornings outages weren’t PSPS events. They were likely caused by the snow/ice storm we are experiencing. Our neighbors can’t operate their heat pump without electrical energy flowing from either the grid or their generator.

Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 4:49 pm

Heat pumps are more efficient than resistive heat. However to claim that they are more efficient than a modern gas heater is stretching credulity.
Perhaps when it is 60F outside, that might be true.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Middleton
November 27, 2019 4:06 am

Mark, the points being made are easily confused when efficiency is conflated with cost.
Electricity costs more per btu than gas in the US.
How much more depends on where you live, and the electric rate, and the price of gas.
But when comparing costs, including factors such as the lifetime and price of heat pumps vs regular AC unit, the cost and lifetime of a nat gas furnace, the situation is obviously more complicated than any discussion of thermodynamic efficiency can explain.
In very cold locations like Brookline, it is clear than heat pumps are a waste of money.
At some location between Brookline and Charlotte (where heat pumps make all the sense in the world and will save a lot of money for most people), there is a dividing line where it is less clear and the fluctuations in the relative price of the specific brand of equipment, how well it is maintained, and the cost of power vs gas as both fluctuate over time, may make heat pump + resistive coil vs standard AC unit+ furnace, a matter of a coin toss or specific usage for a specific individual as to which is more economical.
Heat pumps gain thermodynamic advantage due to the fact it is making use of the ambient energy in the air outside.
But as the temp goes down outside, the advantage diminishes.
In cold climates, one has to take into account the large amount of heating required during a year, the relative cost of a heat pump vs standard AC unit, the cost of gas being so much less per btu, and the lifetime of the equipment.
Down thread a commenter points out the magnitude of the disparity of the cost per btu of gas vs electric…it is far greater than the thermodynamic efficiency gains of a heat pump vs resistive heat.
Below a -10 F, heat pumps lose all thermodynamic advantage, and actually waste energy.
But the overriding factor is that electricity is far more expensive per btu than gas or even fuel oil.
And in some places, spending any money on central air conditioning is an extravagant luxury that would be rarely used.

Reply to  David Middleton
November 27, 2019 7:39 am

Christina, that depends on what the outside temperature is.
When it’s 60F, it’s definitely true.
When it’s 30F or lower, it’s definitely false.

Joe B
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 12:22 am

Aww Geez, Ms. Widmann.
You ought not to have referenced that boondoggle if you think offshore wind is a viable future choice.
That 804 Mw will give a paltry Real World output of 386 Mw – @48% Capacity Factor as per Orsted.
That means the new Bridgeport Harbor plant will produce way more, the Towantic plant more than double.
Intermittent, SUPER expensive offshore wind compared to ultra cheap CCGT plants?
Your choice.
Can’t stop Saving The Planet now …

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 10:35 am

Wind powerm Going to be funny when Mass residents pray for extra wind chills in winter to help keep them warm.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Christina Widmann
December 2, 2019 12:49 pm

Widman talking bout “future”:

Are there 14000 abandoned wind turbines in the US?

That there are 14,000 permanently inactive wind turbines out there somewhere. That last word, ‘somewhere’, is used advisedly. The 14,000 number has been applied to the entire world, the continental United States and the confines of the state of California.Mar 11, 2013


What is the average lifespan of a wind turbine?

20 to 25 years

The lifespan of the average turbine is 20 to 25 years. While new wind farms are going up, America’s first generation of wind farms are reaching retirement age, like the Xcel Energy’s Ponnequin Wind Farm on the border of Colorado and Wyoming. The farm of 44 turbines recently retired at the average age of 18 years old.Sep 9, 2016 › 2016/09/09 › wh…

Where Do Wind Turbines Go To Die? | Inside Energy


Ever thought WHY there are


14,000 permanently inactive wind turbines out there somewhere, Widman.

Frederick Michael
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 4:03 pm

Hey Widmann, I read the article you linked. It says heat pumps are best in the south but not in the north.

Is Massachusetts in the north or the south?

Reply to  Frederick Michael
November 25, 2019 5:56 pm

Maybe they can use heat pumps in Southern Massachusetts.

Yeah… that’s the ticket… Southern Massachusetts…

nw sage
Reply to  H.R.
November 25, 2019 7:03 pm

Southern Mass – didn’t they secede with the other southern states. They just got lost and never came back. Can’t be found anymore!

Dr Deanster
Reply to  Frederick Michael
November 25, 2019 7:54 pm

Or maybe they can pump some heat up from the south.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 4:40 pm

So you’re saying it’s more efficient to burn gas to make electricity to run a heat pump to heat your house than it is to burn the gas to heat your house directly? Suggest you review the second law of thermodynamics.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Rick C PE
November 25, 2019 5:50 pm

No, no, no… He’s talking about the efficiency of chilling the natural gas down to a liquid in Russia, pumping it into a tanker, pushing that tanker across the Atlantic with diesel engines (also generating the power to keep the gas cold), pumping it into tanks on shore, warming it up to make it back into a gas, pumping that to NG power plants, to make the electricity to heat your house. Oh, and make sure it is an air to water heat pump.

Doing all of this brings the efficiency very close to that of a solar powered system in Massachusetts. (Unfortunately, they’re approaching that efficiency from the wrong side, but Leftists always look to the Left first. It’s in the definition…)

Len Werner
Reply to  Rick C PE
November 25, 2019 6:30 pm

Rick C, you may have made a serious blunder there. A heat pump uses the purchased energy to pump heat from an existing source to a destination; especially with ground-source geothermal the heat is already there, you’re just pumping it from the ground into the house. The Carnot Cycle can have excellent efficiency. I do see what you were getting at, but you may have missed an important step.

Rick C PE
Reply to  Len Werner
November 25, 2019 10:48 pm

Len: I’m well aware of how a heat pump works. I use one every summer to pump heat out of my house. As Master of the Obvious points out up-thread, the efficiency of electric heat pumps takes a big hit as temperature of heat source goes down. In my area, most of the heating season is below 32F. And gas is considerably cheaper for residential heating than any other option (if you don’t count wood heating).

I’m guessing that at least some of the folks in Brookline, MA have figured out that their existing gas hook ups are not going to be affected and the new rule has just increased their property value.

Len Werner
Reply to  Rick C PE
November 26, 2019 11:24 am

I guess I’ hold a problematic bias because being Canadian, I simply never consider air-source as viable for a heat-pump. In Canada as air-sink a heat pump works quite well.

Ground-source geothermal is quite popular up here however. And yes, I do realize you will know how a heat pump works, but still using one with a geothermal source can sure change the economics.

My disclaimer should include that I’m a founding member of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association, and I spent a fair bit of my career in geothermal exploration. Hence the (possibly) unfortunate bias.

On all however, it seems that Massachusetts is one odd place to be applying this craziness. It can get cold there!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rick C PE
November 26, 2019 12:39 pm

Although certainly many people can take advantage of geothermal energy to save money, the fact is many people cannot, due to living in a place where it is not legal or physically possible.
Lots of people live in big cities.
Many live on multiple unit buildings.
Many live in places where, although they may have a front and/or back yard, local regulations do not allow digging wells for water or geothermal or anything else.
What may be possible for some is impossible as a general plan for how everyone can heat their home.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rick C PE
November 26, 2019 1:23 pm

It seems to me that some commenters here have made an invalid extrapolation from the value of using a heat pump in their specific location, to assert that this applies as a general rule for Anywheretown, USA.
Or presumably the world.
Those who know a little more about the particulars have been pointing out that it is not so simple as that, and in places where there are months of very cold weather, having a heat pump is simply not economical, especially geven high and rising power rates in places with large installed renewable capacity, and the very low rate for nat gas and the excellent thermodynamic efficiency thereof.
Left out is that hot water, clothes drying, and cooking can be substantial percentages of annual power consumption depending on personal circumstances. There are of course hot water heat pumps, geothermal and standard air exchange ones.
I just bought one of these myself. It is in my garage, which is mostly very hot, and it blows out cooler and dry air. It has dual resistance coils that can be set to kick in sometimes or never. It makes a lot of hot water, condensate for one of my favorite trees, and cost very little to run. Also possible to vent the cool air into my laundry room in the house for supplemental cooling.
But it cost a lot of money compared to a regular water heater…several times as much.
And some people may not have the ability to put up a bunch of money with the knowledge of getting it back in the long run. And if it turns out to be unreliable…oops, big waste of money. I did the research and thing it is reliable and will save me $ within a few years.
But getting a heat pump where well understood parameters is just a waste of money, and I have no doubt plenty of unscrupulous vendors sell heat pumps to people where the economics makes it a big waste of money.
And it is far easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.

Reply to  Rick C PE
November 25, 2019 8:26 pm

Modern gas heaters top 90% in terms of efficiency.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 5:13 pm

Hey Widman, did you bother to read your own link?
“Energy efficiency will take a nose dive if the auxiliary heat ever activates, which can happen when temperatures fall below freezing. In fact, the electric strip backup costs up to 5x more than the regular heating mode”

It has been known to go below freezing in Massachusetts. For weeks.

Reply to  Doug
November 25, 2019 7:14 pm

Doug, I suggest you research the duty cycle of those strip backups. It sounds like you are implying they run full duty for weeks at a time Inhofe the temperature drops below freezing.

Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 8:28 pm

You are seeing what you want to see, not what Doug wrote.

Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2019 8:36 pm

MarkW, as usual, you are reading too much into my reply. You are only being argumentative.

Reply to  MarkW
November 26, 2019 7:55 am

Accusing others of being argumentative.
Now that’s projection if I ever saw it.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 11:19 am

It is a simple fact that is not in dispute among HVAC professionals and has been known for decades…in cold northern climates the cost of a heat pump is not worth it.
It means you will be heating your home with resistive electric for months on end, every winter, and often it will be below freezing for over a month straight, and sometimes below zero for days and even a week or more, when a heat pump is worse than useless.
Once one takes into account the lifetime of the unit, and the cost difference, it is not even close in the northern tier.
Not to mention, lots of people have apartments, and not having gas means they will be using resistive electric all the time for everything. Hot water and cooking and drying clothes are substantial, and over a year may be comparable or even more than heating.
Not having the option of gas for these means everyone pays more, automatically and forever.
And it also means MORE CO2, not less!

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 5:22 pm

Hey Widmann,
Pay close attention to the temperatures & results in your link.
“If your winters average around 30-40 degrees F, heat pumps are the perfect fit for your home.”
Boston City ‘Average low’ in Dec Jan Feb are all well below 30°F: Massachusetts country will be ~ 10°F less.

Winner in the Cold North: Furnace

Go with the data … not the beliefs

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 6:47 pm

Wait for electricity costs to triple over the next few years due to shutting down fossil fuel / nuclear generation in Massachusetts then take another look at costs to heat by heat pump.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 11:17 am

Hey Widmann, pay close attention, you’re in a blog w/alot of engineers & technical folk. Drive-by w/something you don’t really understand, and you’ll be quickly corrected.

November 25, 2019 2:31 pm

I wonder of the grid serving, and in their town is capable of supporting their electric dreams. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Interesting they havent mandated the changeover to electricity when gas furnaces reach end of life. So they get to sit in nice gas warmed houses while directing others not to. Nice.

4 Eyes
November 25, 2019 2:34 pm

Heat pumps don’t work too good when it is really cold which is when you need them. I guess the ones who voted won’t be the ones who have to install electric heating.

Christina Widmann
Reply to  4 Eyes
November 25, 2019 3:22 pm

Geothermal heat pumps will do the trick. Remember, if you dig down 48 inches, in Massachusetts, you are below the “frost line.”

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 3:49 pm

After 2 months you have frozen the underground. That’s the stuff that makes up the foundations of your home. Good luck with that. Geothermal only is viable when the extracted heat is replenished from below quickly enough. That is the case in countries like Iceland, but not in Massachussets or anywhere on the east coast.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 25, 2019 4:14 pm

Not completely true. My mom has an OPEN water source heat pump for heating in Mass. The spent water drains back to the ground through an expanded leach field. The first unit functioned for over 25 years before the heat exchanger failed. The new unit works just fine. It is cheaper to run the well pump and water source heat pump then resistive heat or an air source heat pump. When the original system failed resistive heat cost about double the winters that it was used before replacement of the heat pump.

I can’t really be sure if the 2X is correct because I didn’t compare the winter temperatures under the two scenarios. Being a Middleton post, I don’t want to throw out assumptions without that disclaimer since David is so through in his statistical analysis and I AM NOT.

BTW, another great post David, thank you.

Reply to  Drake
November 25, 2019 8:21 pm


For the heat pump proponents……
Those things that use underground heat exchangers ( so-called geothermal installations), work really well here in north Florida. We can get down 30 feet or so for the part of the system that would normally be up next to the garage in 90 deg air ( summer) and 30 or 40 ‘s in winter. Down there the temp is below 60, so the air conditioner runs extremely well and we don’t need strip heating when it is really cold.

Gums sends…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Drake
November 26, 2019 11:45 am

Sounds like Drakes mom lives on a private lake.
I have removed a few of these in Florida when they made them illegal a while back.
The heat the water in summer and cool it in winter…not ecologically sound, and certainly not widely applicable as a source of heating for very many people.
People with a parcel of open land are in a far different situation that most of the population of the US, which is concentrated in cities and suburbs.
In general, the temperature of the ground below a few tens of feet will be the average annual temp for that location.
Groundwater temp in Massachusetts is about 47°F:
comment image?resize=1024%2C783

Reply to  Drake
November 27, 2019 8:09 am

I knew a fellow engineer that used well-water for the heat-pump “heat” source, and just discharged the chilled water right back into the same well. This was in southwest VA, and apparently he had no issues w/the setup, other than his water in the winter was pretty darn cold (but apparently never froze). This setup prb’ly wouldn’t work in a climate colder, tho.

Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
November 25, 2019 7:23 pm

Frozen the underground and potentially causing housing foundation damage by using a geothermal heat pump? I’m gonna call BS. Reference please.
Most, if not all, geothermal heat pumps for residential heating are dug vertically or horizontally in the yard near the home, not under the foundation. Are you suggesting you can extract enough energy to freeze your entire yard? To a depth of 8-10 feet? Such that it causes damage to the house’s foundation? Are you… are you serious? Should I warn my neighbors about potential damage I’m causing to their foundation?

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 5:08 pm

At what cost?
You remind me of M. Antoinette declaring that the peasants can just eat cake.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 5:14 pm

Hey Widmann,

did you even read the contents of the link you provided? Mentioned above, air temps grossly affect the operating characteristics of the device and if the back-up is electricity:
‘Energy efficiency will take a nose dive if the auxiliary heat ever activates, which can happen when temperatures fall below freezing. In fact, the electric strip backup costs up to 5x more than the regular heating mode’.

This post identifies the restriction on gas and oil. However if these are not available the costs will be greater:
‘Gas energy can be less wasteful than electric heat pumps if you live in an area where natural gas is affordable’

You may want to peddle your bull somewhere else (oh and look up ‘reading comprehension’ in the dictionary).



Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 5:16 pm

Works great, but it’s expensive to install. Not everyone has that kind of money.

Bryan A
Reply to  David Middleton
November 25, 2019 8:07 pm

No realistic natural gas option seems to be exactly what Massachusetts wants

David Chappell
Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 5:29 pm

Where does an apartment block in the middle of town, for example, find somewhere to “dig down 48 inches” to run a geothermal heat pump?

Check images of the town to understand the foolishness of your proposal.

Reply to  David Chappell
November 25, 2019 7:29 pm

They’re talking about new construction. When building a new apartment complex, excavators easily go 20 feet below surface to lay base, piping, etc. During that phase, bring in a boring machine to dig vertical geothermal piping paths.

Reply to  RM25483
November 25, 2019 8:36 pm

Who cares how much it costs. We have a world to save.

Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2019 9:06 pm

Oh indeed, and definitely easier to save using other people’s money…
I was not suggesting to do what I said was possible, just providing an obvious engineering solution. It would be far cheaper to include the ground boring and piping while building the foundation. It would likely be cost-prohibiting to attempt to retrofit an existing apartment structure with vertical boring for geothermal, but it could certainly be done. I would not recommend drilling underneath and through the foundation of an existing building… in case you are not understanding my meaning.
[You and I use the same words, but sometimes I do not think we are speaking the same language. I apologize if I sound odd. I… am. I mean no arguments with you.]

Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 8:20 am

Lets also not forget that you have to have a minimum distance between the wells. Hard to get when talking high density housing.

Reply to  MarkW
November 26, 2019 9:28 am

MarkW, who says each assortment has to have independent, spaced piping? Can we not use a centralized system for the building, with each unit tapping into or supplementing a base temperature? Many apartment buildings where I live use a centralized boiler system and pump hot water through wall radiators (my personal favorite, in terms of comfort). If that water cycling through the boiler is heated by a geothermal system vs. gas furnace vs. some sort of dual fuel setup, the product to the end user is the same. Under the foundation, during construction, drill larger, deeper bore holes spaced appropriately.
Again, I’m not proposing this, just providing engineering support. It is doable. I will leave it to others to determine the up-front vs. long-term cost structure (keep in mind many apartment buildings near me last a longgg time) for gas vs. electric.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 1:43 pm

Older buildings in some cities have such a setup, and in parts of some cities they are supplied by steam from a company that pipes steam throughout the downtown.
But these places generally have heat included in the rent, as metering each unit would be problematic.
No one is gonna build new construction that way…it is inherently unfair.
And probably a bad deal…the landlord is going to make sure he does not lose money, and some people will use more heat than others, etc.
As for digging wells under a building…well boring machinery I have seen would never fit even if it was not truck mounted.
Nothing lasts forever, and if the plan for heating a building involves unground pipes which cannot be accessed or replaced in the event of a problem, which is generally only a matter of time, sounds like a bad idea, although not theoretically, just in point of fact as a practical matter.
How much underground heat exchange would be needed for a high rise apartment building? Or even a low or medium one?
A single family one takes up a fair bit of space if it is horizontal. If vertical, how deep is the groundwater in a place?
It might be a hundred+ feet in a place like Philly, and in NYC you hit bedrock in some parts of town (the parts with high-rises).
What is the heat exchange capacity of the earth if you are not in saturated ground?
Probably fine if you have an acre per family…but for a bunch of unit on a 1/4 acre footprint? Seems unlikely.
I think these are unworkable except where people have single family dwellings with a substantial amount of open ground per unit.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 25, 2019 8:34 pm

You need a really big back yard in order to have enough room to put in a ground sourced heat pump.
Beyond that, in many parts of the country, if you dig more than a foot or so down, you are hitting bed rock.

Reply to  MarkW
November 25, 2019 8:52 pm

MarkW, a vertical bore hole geothermal setup does not require much space. However, as you say, many places simply cannot dig that deep.

Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 7:57 am

My point is that in many parts of the country, you can’t even did deep enough for normal geothermal, much less vertical.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 2:29 am

Groundwater not “geothermal”, the heat ultimately comes almost all from the sun, not the mantle.

It is correct that they work at lower temperatures than air-based heat pumps. I have had one myself for more than 15 years and it works down to about -12 C (10 F). Below that the direct heating coils kick in.

But they have other limitations. You need a good flow of groundwater, or you will have permafrost in your garden after a few years. And if several houses nearby installs them the efficiency goes down sharply.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  tty
November 26, 2019 10:17 am

I have a decent flow of groundwater for mine, the well digger checked that. He said if there wasn’t enough groundwater flow, he’d have to install supplemental water flow from my house tap. That probably would have increased my running expenses considerably.

But I got the impression that the water flow was required simply in order to achieve any kind of reasonable heat transfer. Rock/clay/sand are poor conductors of heat, so long before you froze the land your house was sitting on, your heat pump efficiency would drop to 0.

Then again, on the other side of that coin, since I use my heat pump as an air conditioner in the summer, it heats the ground back up again. (Also heating up my hot water tank in the process.) So I am not sure that the net heat transfer from the ground would be a negative one, year-over-year.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Steve Keppel-Jones
November 26, 2019 1:57 pm

Totally depends on location.
In South Florida, it will be net heat flow into the ground.
At some point in colder locales, it stands to reason it would be a net cooling effect on the ground, as little AC is required compared to the amount of heating.
Florida has a long hot Summer, and very mild most of the rest of the year.
A few chilly nights some years.
Mass. has short not so hot Summers, and some years may require as many days of AC as I need of heat down here. But they may need heat at least sometimes from September to May, and a lot of that time will be well below freezing.
At some point in between, it will be a wash.
I suspect I may be where groundwater temp is about the same as normal inside average temp (halfway between winter heating temp and summer cooling temp).
North central Florida has groundwater around 70-72°F.
Very cold on a hot day for a shower, very warm on a cold night for keeping plants from freezing.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 6:18 am

Except for Geothermal you have to drill two wells 100+ deep for each house. In a lot of areas in the Northeast that is through granite. Then you have the pumps and heat exchanger expense.

Geothermal is very expensive to put in which is why no one has it. Seriously Christina, learn the physics and economics before posting comments.

Reply to  rbabcock
November 26, 2019 6:38 am

Depending on the situation, vertical boring is likely not your only option. If we’re talking houses, a horizontal installation in the yard is sufficient. This may not be as efficient as vertical, so they installer may have to oversize the unit by another 1/2 ton or ton. Take a look at the various options for horizontal directional boring. It is also often cheaper than vertical drilling; pressures are lower, the machines are cheaper, and lower odds of huge rocks.

Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 8:14 am

If you do a “horizontal installation in the yard” you are almost 100% guaranteed to turn your yard into a mini-tundra. Be sure to keep it well away from the house or you may get problems with the foundation.

Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 8:23 am


Actually, RM is bringing up many of the considerations about going the heat pump route. Location is the key and your local geology.

You can use the earth itself or even a high water table or a pond/lake/ocean that never freezes completely to the bottom. So here in north Florida near the coast we can use the water table that is just 30 or 40 feet below, and it is going to be well above freezing and well below the ambient temperature for most of the year. So we can use that for extraction in the winter and as a heat sink the rest of the time. Much more efficient and cheaper than the units we mostly see above ground ( noisy, visible, prone to the elements, must be above flood level if a storm hits, etc).

The verticle “geothermal” system works like a champ, and the exchanger is usually coils that reside in the water table. Drilling is extremely cheap as it is sand!!! You could do the same in Colorado at my cabin, but drill thru granite and replenish water in the piping down where the temperature is 50 – 60 ° and your well water at 100 feet about the same temp, but gotta have insulated piping or heat strips.

My parents place on a lake in Mississippi had many heat pump installations that recirculated water from the lake. Live along a river? A stream or bayou”

Good stuff here

Gums sends….

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  RM25483
November 26, 2019 2:12 pm

It is not legal to use surface water for geothermal heating or cooling in Florida (at least in the counties I am specifically aware of. It may not be a state law), although it once was legal and I suppose many systems may exist that have slipped under the radar.
AFAIK, there was no grandfathering of existing units…it was made illegal and all of them were required to be disconnected.
They heat the water in Summer and cool it in Winter, both of which can exacerbate problems that can cause fish kills from either stratification or lack of oxygenation of the water column.

Reply to  RM25483
November 27, 2019 9:29 am

RM, I posted above that an engineer friend in VA had his heat-pump using his drinking-water well as the heat-source (and summer cool-source) for his heat-pump, which discharged right back into the well. His house was in a mountainous area and, IIRC, the well was something like 250 ft deep. Little chance of freezing occurring at that depth.

Reply to  beng135
November 27, 2019 9:52 am

Interesting idea, beng135… I had not considered running the pipes through the well. Wells are tapped to all manner of depths, depending on location, I suppose the two could be bored simultaneously for new construction to save cost.
This gets me thinking of other concerns, though. Plastic piping now sitting in my drinking water. Maintenance of any kind would now disrupt and potentially contaminate the drinking water, whether the work is performed on the well or the coolant lines. A leak in the coolant lines, eek, antifreeze in the drinking water (I assume there is antifreeze or some other chemical mix in the coolant).
Now you’ve got me itching to learn more about this. Thanks for the reply!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  rbabcock
November 26, 2019 2:46 pm

The biggest issue is certainly that the vast majority of people live in urban areas where it is not physically possible to do anything like this.
So as a part of a large scale energy plan, it is impossible.

Reply to  Christina Widmann
November 26, 2019 8:20 am

The apartments on the upper floors of an apartment house will
have an easy time digging 48 inches into the ground. It gets even easier
when the occupant is not the owner.
The LNG purchases from Putin put conspiracy theories into consideration. LOL

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Walt
November 26, 2019 2:33 pm

It is especially easy for people, even single family dwellings, that live in the concrete jungles.
But hey, hardly anyone lives in cities, right?

Only about 80% of the population in the US, as of 2010, and the trend is up up up.
In 1960 it was 69%.
The decade since then when it changed the most was the 1980s.
There appears to be a decade every now and then where large numbers of people move to cities, with some decades in between where the numbers hardly budge:

There are 42 urban areas in the US with over one million people, with a few that are incredibly huge: New York-Newark, 18+ million; LA-Long Beach-Anaheim, 12+ million; Chicago, 8.6 million, and a bunch more over 5 million. 16 over 2.5 million. 149 separate urban areas over a quarter of a million people.
The vast majority of the population live where no such thing is possible, even if it is legal.
I would hazard a guess that a lot of people that could do it, do not and won’t because they cannot afford the upfront money.

Oh, these are 2010 census numbers…I suspect that 2020 census will be a big surprise and there are upwards of 10 million new immigrant and 20 million illegal aliens, maybe as many as 30 million…no one really knows.

It really does not matter what a small percentage of people can do, in terms of the effect on energy usage and the mix thereof.
That vast majority have a few basic options, and the biggest and most significant ones are if the do or do not have the ability to use nat gas and/or fuel oil.
The biggest determinant in how much people pay for their energy needs is likely the cost of power in their location. Some people pay far more than others. And now some of the highest cost places are precluding the only options available to even possible save money.

But the real joke is…the law like the one in this town in Mass. have made it mandatory for people to waste energy and emit MORE CO2!

November 25, 2019 2:36 pm

Whatever company is currently supplying gas to this “town” should immediately shut off all gas to this “town”. Inform their paying customers that gas service will resume once the America hating scumbags are removed from town council. Got oil in your tanks? You gonna be real popular with neighbors when their heat don’t work, stoves don’t work, water don’t work(yea, plumbing freezes when no heat is available). Oh, they also need guns and plenty of ammo to drive off the Democrat Party looters.

Frank from NoVA
November 25, 2019 2:36 pm

Brookline MA? I’m sure I’ve seen more that a few episodes of “This Old House” (PBS) sited there. I wonder what their HVAC guy thinks of this…

November 25, 2019 2:37 pm

California East is not for me.

November 25, 2019 2:44 pm

How do intelligent adults allow such a thing?

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
November 25, 2019 4:04 pm

I think you’ve answered your own question.

Paul Penrose
November 25, 2019 2:48 pm

OK, I guess that’s one way to discourage any new development.

lee Riffee
Reply to  Paul Penrose
November 25, 2019 2:54 pm

Exactly! This is really a de-facto building moratorium….no fuel, no housing! The only way someone could build a new home (and actually be able to live comfortably in it in winter) is to plan on heating it with wood and possibly using electric as a backup. Sounds like this town doesn’t want any new residents; at least not those who would want to build or renovate a home…. So not only do they want existing residents to freeze in the dark, they want no new residents at all!
This is stupid indeed….electric as a sole source of heat is expensive, sorry and inadequate (well, unless you have a deep wallet and aren’t bothered by cold drafts near registers) here in Maryland; I can’t imagine it in Massachusetts!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  lee Riffee
November 26, 2019 2:50 pm

Generally speaking, electric is the most costly option for heating a home.

lee Riffee
November 25, 2019 2:52 pm

This is really a de-facto building moratorium….no fuel, no housing! The only way someone could build a new home (and actually be able to live comfortably in it in winter) is to plan on heating it with wood and possibly using electric as a backup. Sounds like this town doesn’t want any new residents; at least not those who would want to build or renovate a home…. So not only do they want existing residents to freeze in the dark, they want no new residents at all!
This is stupid indeed….electric as a sole source of heat is expensive, sorry and inadequate (well, unless you have a deep wallet and aren’t bothered by cold drafts near registers) here in Maryland; I can’t imagine it in Massachusetts!

November 25, 2019 2:52 pm

This decision by Massachusetts Environmentalists to get natural gas infrastructure projects shelved is so insane that it suggests that an enquiry should be held into the existence of a possible epidemic of Stupidity Disease spreading in Massachusetts.

Tom Gelsthorpe
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
November 25, 2019 3:06 pm

Massachusetts prides itself on having more world-class universities, hospitals, and official intellectuals than anywhere. Just shows to go you there are more than a few ways to be stoopit.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
November 25, 2019 7:52 pm

A variant of bovine spongiform encephalopathy made the jump to Human brains via a UN cricket-burger about 5 years ago. We’re seeing its terrible effects play-out among enviro-wads, local government and UN administrators who felt compelled to partake and pretend they were good.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
November 25, 2019 8:25 pm

I would start to wonder about conflicts of interest. Even bribery.

On the outer Barcoo
November 25, 2019 2:55 pm

Great news for electricians and purveyors of copper cabling.

November 25, 2019 2:57 pm

Sounds to me like the main purpose is to inflate prices of existing homes (and higher property tax revenue) and discourage new buildings which would increase population which would increase cost of services and infrastructure. Irrational belief in AGW just gives them the excuse to get support for these self serving measures

Anyways, most of the US seems to be insane to those of us looking in from afar. Maybe the water, something.

Eugene Lynx
Reply to  Pft
November 25, 2019 3:53 pm


Reply to  Pft
November 25, 2019 4:04 pm

I blame it on too many cats…….Toxoplasmosis

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Latitude
November 25, 2019 7:04 pm

Only if you eat out of their litter box.

November 25, 2019 3:02 pm

Beware of the “Green Menace”.

Tom Gelsthorpe
November 25, 2019 3:02 pm

As a Massachusetts resident for nearly 60 years, I can tell you how closely Bay State bigwigs resemble Book Three in “Gulliver’s Travels,” where space ships captained by intellectuals fly around the world in splendid isolation. The captains of knowledge have one eye trained to the heavens to study astronomy, and the other eye turned inward to study their souls. Trouble is, they can’t see their hands in front of their faces, and they all need valets to lead them around and avoid tripping over the furniture, and to perform bodily functions without making a mess.

You can’t spit in any direction in Brookline without moistening a world famous university, globally acclaimed hospital, or esteemed trust fund. However, it’s become a moral imperative to signal virtue by biting the hands that feed you. “All residents of MA are entitled to omelets, but the breaking of eggs is strictly prohibited.”

A referendum question in 2016 provided one example by asking MA voters to regulate the sizes of chicken cages nationally, and it passed. Of course, it was non-binding, because Massachusetts has negligible chicken farming and the southern and midwestern states where chickens are raised commercially, more or less ignore us because they think we’re nuts.

In theory bumblebees can’t fly, yet they do. In theory, Ivy League intellectuals can regulate us back into the Stone Age, but they won’t. Practicality will loom its hoary head somewhere along the line, and eloquent hypocrisies will forge some sort of compromise — maybe when necessities of life reach prices three times the national average, instead of just 1.5 times higher.

Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
November 25, 2019 4:07 pm

Perhaps they cannot see their hands in front of their faces because, like Greta, they can see CO2. They go blind each time they exhale.
Due to interstate commerce laws in the late 70s (new Ice Age ?), we freezing Texans were paying more for the natural gas produced in our state than those in the Northeast. We had a saying (and bumper stickers) “Leave your lights on and freeze a Yankee!”
I always laugh when I hear someone say the South can’t exist without A/C. Let’s see how the North does without heat.

nw sage
Reply to  Tom Gelsthorpe
November 25, 2019 7:11 pm

In theory Mass can get people to move there and actually work and sell something – but it won’t be me. And it won’t be anyone I know as long as something better exists!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  nw sage
November 26, 2019 2:58 pm

You and a lot of other people.
Here is a map showing population trends for the US from 1970 to 2030. Blue is net loss of people, oranges are net gains.
Some of those northeastern counties have lost over 40% and as much as 60% (!) of their population that they had as of the end of the 1960s.

comment image

Linda Goodman
November 25, 2019 3:02 pm

Brookline also just approved lowering the voting age to 16, so more brainwashed youth can support their own undoing. Sad that JFK’s birthplace is now run by ecofascists.
Brookline Town Meeting Approves Lowering The Voting Age To 16

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Linda Goodman
November 26, 2019 3:01 pm

How do they keep them from voting in national elections?

Stephen W
November 25, 2019 3:05 pm

Wow, without gas for cooking and heating the coal plants sure are going to be cranking hard to be able to meet peak demand.

Obviously the only way to reduce baseload power is to reduce peak demand (since power stations can’t be switched on and off with a flick of a switch).

This is definitely a backward step (if it’s a reduction in fossil fuels they are wanting).
It will result in higher peak demand, and hence more baseload power requirements, hence more coal burnt.

Len Werner
Reply to  Stephen W
November 25, 2019 6:36 pm

Hey, just think–it could get really coaled in Massachusetts this winter. That could change everything.

Tom in Florida
November 25, 2019 3:08 pm

Let’s see, all electric vehicles charging from the home, all electric appliances, all electric heating and cooling, all electric everything. And where do they think all this electricity is coming from?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 25, 2019 4:52 pm

Florida sorta jumped out on that list…’s way down…yet there’s no coal mines….fracking…etc…
other than the 2 nuclear plants….doesn’t Florida have to buy all it’s fuel?

…and then way up the list…more expensive…there’s states with all the sources changing lots more

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Latitude
November 25, 2019 7:02 pm

FPL, my electric supplier, uses natural gas for 70% of it’s electricity production. 17% is from nuclear.
But keep in mind, we do not have to endure very cold weather except for the northern part of the State and that is for just a brief while in winter. Yes we have hot summers but perhaps it just goes to show that combating cold uses much more energy than combating hot. A good point against those trying to tell us warmer is dangerous.

Joe B
Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 26, 2019 12:42 am

And a large percentage of your gas-fueled electricity is coming from the latest iterations of CCGT plants.
As these are somewhat ‘modular’ in operation, individual turbines can be quickly ramped up when demand requires.
Exceptionally efficient way to generate electricity.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 26, 2019 8:23 am

When it gets truly cold here (so cold it hurts to breath, around -30°C or -20°F), no one leaves the house unless it is urgent. In Florida, at 40°C (100°F?), people are still thronging Disney World. Hot is definitely preferable to cold.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 26, 2019 3:14 pm

The periods of highest usage and rolling blackouts in Florida were all, AFAIR, very cold nights with wind back in the 1970s and 1980s, maybe a few in the early 1990s.
Then the state went into a multidecade lull in hard freezes penetrating deep into the southern parts of the state.
This pattern BTW, of a few decades of occasional hard freezes with one or several decades of zero hard freezes in between, has been occurring in Florida as far back as we have records, to about the time of the decades just prior to the Civil War.
Just about everyone in the peninsula have resistance heating coils attached to the air handler of their AC unit.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Tom in Florida
November 25, 2019 5:23 pm


November 25, 2019 3:21 pm

In Germany, the Greens tends to forbid one family homes, because of land consumption, and more places for windmills. People living in cities need less cars, less streets at the countryside.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
November 26, 2019 2:19 pm

They want16 year olds to have the right to vote.
Do they still want someone to be 18 to buy a beer.
Oh, and they require photo ID to buy alcohol but not to vote.

James francisco
November 25, 2019 3:51 pm

Back in the 60s two politicians were arguing about communism on a tv show. One guy asked the other if he had ever been to a communist country. The fellow replied “no but I have been to Massachusetts “. I didn’t understand that comment at the time but I do now.

November 25, 2019 3:54 pm

I’ve been crafting this sentence over the last few months:
Nihilism will be imposed until it is seen not to work.

November 25, 2019 3:54 pm

Green thinking degrades gray matter.

QUESTION: What color is stupid? ANSWER: I let you guess.

November 25, 2019 3:56 pm

I assume coal bins are still legal.

Households will revert to 1880 technology.

November 25, 2019 3:58 pm

I occasionally do residential electrical work in mansions in Brookline. It’s a very unhappy place. I swear! Here are FOIA 911 (recorded) calls a radio station broadcast daily.

You should have seen the electric scooter fiasco! I’d never live their and may they freeze!

Reply to  john
November 25, 2019 4:18 pm

I occasionally do residential electrical work in mansions in Brookline. It’s a very unhappy place. I swear! Here are FOIA 911 (recorded) calls a radio station broadcast daily.

You should have seen the electric scooter fiasco! I’d never live their and may they freeze!

Here’s the scooter 911 calls

michael hart
November 25, 2019 4:06 pm

“Generally, LNG produces 5 to 10 percent more emissions over its entire life cycle than piped gas.”

That, in itself, is a fine tribute to the work of the chemical engineers and all others involved in the production, transport, and supply of such fuels that will keep modern civilization functioning for many many decades to come.

There is still yet time to get that legion of new nuclear engineers trained and up to speed.

Reply to  michael hart
November 25, 2019 7:42 pm

I do sometimes wonder (and maybe hope?) that this is actually a long-term ploy by pro-nuclear folks. Think about it:
* Get rid of reliable coal & natural gas as sources of electricity, and get everyone hooked on electric-everything

Then, turn your back on the Greens:
* Prove that the Green solutions are inadequate to meet these immense reliable electricity needs

And say hello to greeeeeeen ($):
* Save the day with a new generation of safe, clean, not-your-grandfather’s nuclear power plants that don’t require the insurmountable cost of running gas lines everywhere to meet our needs, now that so many homes and buildings were constructed without them

November 25, 2019 4:08 pm

Does it give a whole new meaning to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts”?

Reply to  Curious George
November 26, 2019 5:22 am

I believe it’s now the “Commondebt of Taxachusetts”

November 25, 2019 4:19 pm
November 25, 2019 4:23 pm

If the environmentalists are happy to pay more for Russian gas than for US pipelined gas and are willing to accept higher emissions as well
I wonder what they would say to the Russians building a pipeline in Massachusetts, taking the profits AND reducing emissions as well

it would tick all their boxes. hurt America. reduce emissions. help the cause of communism.

Reply to  EternalOptimist
November 26, 2019 2:33 am

Massachusetts is way more communistic then Russia these days.

TG McCoy
November 25, 2019 4:24 pm

The way this winter is shaping up they might want to rethink this..

Walter Sobchak
November 25, 2019 4:33 pm

I’ll wager that Nancy Pelosi would vote for a law banning the importation of natural gas.

Let them freeze in the dark.

November 25, 2019 4:39 pm

I spent 10 horrible years living in Boston. In the dead of winter they get 8-10 hours of weak sunlight a day – on the days it isn’t cloudy and snowing. By the time I moved back south I had a terrible vitamin D deficiency. Of course those are the months it is coldest and they will draw the most power to warm houses.

November 25, 2019 4:39 pm

Brookline will reach it’s 0 carbon goal as an abandoned town doesn’t consume fossil fuels.

Reply to  CharleyR
November 26, 2019 5:59 am


Tom Abbott
November 25, 2019 5:00 pm

Massachusetts ought to be off-loading natural gas from United States tankers instead of from Russian tankers.

Tom in NH
Reply to  David Middleton
November 26, 2019 5:43 am


It really is amazing how stupid and blind the progressive environmentalists are here in the Northeast. I live in southern NH, and used to live in north-eastern MA. I cry and shake my head every time I see my propane and electric bills knowing what is just a few hundred miles away.

I used to drive out to Watkins Glen, NY on occasion, and the folks out that way really are punished by the NY State Government by being denied the ability to frack as they do just south of them in PA. So much of that gas could be piped up here. The economic benefits for the entire North East would be HUGE, and would undoubtedly impact the national GDP positively.

When one looks at the states with the highest electric costs, one has only progressive Democrats to thank for stupidity. Sorry for being so political, but it is true. Energy policy alone is justification for voting Tump

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom in NH
November 27, 2019 4:17 am

No need to apologize.
These issues are all based on politics, and have little or nothing to do with science or economic viability.

November 25, 2019 5:09 pm

Bee Gees 1967 prophecy is upon us!
“An the . . . all went out in . . .”

Reply to  Warren
November 25, 2019 5:36 pm

Craig from Oz
November 25, 2019 6:09 pm

Everything I know about Massachusetts I learned from playing Fallout 4, and so far everything I have learned looks very accurate.

November 25, 2019 6:29 pm

Me too. But when I was 15, a power transmission line was built near our house in central India. With the aid of a transformer, we got electricity. The local ‘electrician’ climbed up a ladder, grasped one of the foot long bamboo drop fuses above the transformer, and shoved it into place. He then slid down the ladder and collapsed in the plowed field: a few minutes later he said in heavily accented english ‘Velly lucky men’. The rest of the drop fuses were pushed into place with a long bamboo pole.

60 years later, I still love bright lights in my home. Reading at night with a hurricane lantern, a luxury I had enjoyed before and local kids did not have, is really for the birds, and I do not miss the odour of kerosene burning. I remember putting my feet to the ground in the dark before electricity – your feet actually hurt in anticipation of the scorpions or snakes that might be there.

November 25, 2019 6:40 pm

Yamal…Yamal…now where have I heard that name before?

William Astley
November 25, 2019 6:55 pm

The Marcellus shale formation is the largest reserve of natural gas in the US. Natural gas should logically be the energy source for the eastern states (ignoring the 100% incorrect IPCC science).

The eastern US states should not be importing NGL as that increases CO2 emissions.

LNG requires 30% of the energy content of the transported NGL to liquify the NGL and gasify the NGL in addition to very expensive terminals.

The shale play encompasses 104,000 square miles and stretches across Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and into eastern Ohio and western New York.[2] It is the largest source of natural gas in the United States, and production was still growing rapidly in 2013. The natural gas is trapped in low-permeability shale, and requires the well completion method of hydraulic fracturing to allow the gas to flow to the well bore.

Although before 2008 the Marcellus Shale was considered to have inconsequential natural gas potential, it is now believed to hold the largest volume of recoverable natural gas in the United States. In 2012, it was estimated to have 141 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable gas by the US Energy Information Administration, and 88 trillion cubic feet by the US Geological Survey.[3] In September 2012, the Marcellus Shale overtook the Haynesville Shale of northwest Louisiana as the leading producer of both shale gas and overall natural gas in the United States. In February 2014, Marcellus gas wells produced 14.0 billion cubic feet per day, a 42 percent increase over the year previous, and comprising 21 percent of all the dry gas produced that month in the United States.[4]

Comment: The world natural gas reservoirs that are listed in Wikipedia and every energy site oddly are not based on technically recoverable gas. Canada’s technically recoverable natural gas reservoirs is 1,220 trillion cubic feet based on current technology. World natural gas reservoirs may be unimaginably greater.

The test that is standardly done to determine a natural gas reservoir size is a flow test which is used to estimate traditional natural gas reservoirs.

A Canadian natural gas test for a natural gas ‘reservoir’ had paradoxical high volumes of gas from the test well.

The super high gas flow rates for the test site are not found for any other North American natural gas reservoirs.
These super high natural gas flow rates are only found in certain middle east natural gas field. Why there are super high flow rates from certain natural gas fields which is a paradox. No physical explanation why.

This technical paradox, was leaked to the those in the know in Canadian oil industry. Engineers and geologists are talkers and Canadians are rule breakers about interesting stuff.

There is now a $40 billion dollar gas terminal and a very expensive pipeline that is being built to export gas from that field.

November 25, 2019 7:31 pm

” … Environmentalists seem to be obsessed with stopping the construction of domestic pipelines in this country, regardless of what they carry, what fuels they displace, and how global greenhouse gas emissions may be affected. …”

Green nutters have effectively imposed undeclared sanctions on the Western World via cowards in Govt who keep giving in to them at the expense of the majority. China and Russia are fine, they’re socialist authoritarian utopias which never pollute, so get an automatic free pass, and the ‘greens’ wear a special blinker just for them.

Kevin A
November 25, 2019 8:15 pm

I time you’ll be able to purchase a nice home in that town for next to nothing, if you can figure out how to handle the tax issues…

November 25, 2019 8:17 pm

Forget about much new development in Brookline. Maybe that’s their goal?

Roger Knights
November 25, 2019 10:57 pm

This vote was no doubt activist-inspired, and therefore likely part of a wider push. There will thus be more municipalities passing similar regulations in blue states over the next year or two—and maybe in other countries too.

But by doing so, the activists are setting themselves up for awkward situations like that Cuoma is facing in New York. (See the WSJ editorial about it at the end of this week’s GWPF summary.) In the longer term, they are putting their whole progressive “do-something” faction at risk of embarrassment and worse.

November 26, 2019 1:45 am

84% of Massachusetts electricity is generated by natural gas-fired power plants.

This is quite awesome. Does Massachusetts have interstate net import?

Rod Evans
November 26, 2019 2:00 am

The old adage “turkeys never vote for an early Christmas” will have to be reconsidered, after this piece of political suicide. The only question, is how long it will take for the winter deaths from freezing homes to be placed at the door of climate alarmist policies?
There may be a need to introduce a constitutional right, giving American citizens the freedom to decide which energy option they personally want in their homes, in their businesses and in their mode of transport.
The very narrow unrepresentative politically active alarmists, must not be allowed to unconstitutionally block or curtail the legal business of the nation.

November 26, 2019 2:18 am

This is now UK policy, seriously.

November 26, 2019 4:50 am

And thus the usual result of dictatorial politics of the Left – massive transfer of wealth from their own citizens to those evil capitalists that can build efficient power plants and export energy at premium prices. The old adage of life is energy; cheap energy is prosperity still reigns.

Coach Springer
November 26, 2019 5:35 am

Don’t it always seem to go.
Don’t know what you got til it’s gone.
Take paradise, put up a wind turbine.

November 26, 2019 5:50 am

The Brookline vote was influenced in part by the gas explosions in a nearby Massachusetts town last year that destroyed numerous homes and killed one person. The underground lines had deteriorated and the gas company raised the line pressure accidentally. That kind of news scares people and they run to a presumed alternative. In southern New England we have massive power outages from storms at least once a year. Generator sales look to be an investment opportunity.

November 26, 2019 7:14 am

Those taking feel-good actions in favor of displacing natural gas with electricity for stoves, water heaters and dryers will end up increasing burning of fossil fuels. Until there’s enough non-fossil-fuel electricity to supply our current demand, additional electricity demand will be met by fossil fuel electricity mostly from natural gas, with combined efficiency of generation, transmission and distribution around 40%.

November 26, 2019 7:41 am

I live in the North Quabbin area of north central Massachusetts. I work as a consulting forester in my own business helping landowners protect and manage thousands of acres across the state. The mechanized logging crews I use produce sawlogs for regional sawmills, hardwood cordwood for local firewood dealers and a wood pellet manufacturer in NH, and chipwood for a few biomass power plants. So we help produce many different forest products that are in demand while supporting many real green jobs right up the wood supply chain and provide revenue for landowners as well. We do all that while increasing the health, productivity, and species composition of the forest. While our work should be celebrated instead we are condemned by the climatistas for causing “climate change”. The anti-forestry extremists want to shut down all forestry in the state starting with the 650,000 acres of state forests. Then they will come after us in the private sector. They want all forests to be left alone for CO2 sequestration which means we’ll just import more wood to satisfy demand like we are importing LNG. Wendell State Forest was the test case. Fortunately they lost. See my forestry photo album:

It’s not easy putting with these people and constantly having to defend the forestry work we do. The extremists want to completely eliminate the last vestiges of forest industry in MA. Recently they stopped construction of a wood pellet manufacturing plant. So it’s OK to buy wood pellets here and burn them in your wood pellet stove but we can’t manufacture them here!

Reply to  Mike the Forester
November 26, 2019 8:34 am

The crazy people know just enough to make them believe they are all knowing and wiser than others.

November 26, 2019 7:54 am

What is funny, is that during the process of paying my electric bill online, I noticed that there are some rebates provided by the power company for the purchase and operation of residential gas appliances. Specifically natural gas ranges, gas dryers, and gas water heaters. Those rebates are given out as part of an “energy efficiency” program to entice persons to use more efficient appliances. This in addition to the usual smart thermostats, LED lights, solar panel installation, and “cool” roof technology. I wonder if I were to look at the electric utility provider for Brookline, would I find that they also offer similar “natural gas” appliance rebates?

I struggle to understand how you can be more energy efficient and bad for the environment at the same time. At least in total if not on an individual basis.

November 26, 2019 8:19 am

I wonder how many of the people who voted for this ban have voluntarily replaced their own gas heaters and gas stoves with electric versions?

November 26, 2019 8:45 am

Brookline MA currently has contracted through January 2020 to procure electricity from Dynegy. Dynegy gets 35% of its generated capacity from burning Natural gas. 30% of the mix being nuclear. Here is a breakdown as of 2018 of Dynegy’s fuel mix/sources. Dynegy purchases the renewable electricity from Mass Energy.

Another provider appears to be Eversource. Not much information provided by Brookline to identify this provider, other than in the materials I link to below which show them marginally more expensive than the Brookline (via Dynegy) offerings.

Looking at the materials provided by Brookline on their website, it looks like a resident can choose one of three options. Each option increases in cost along with an increase in “green/renewable credits”. The “Basic” variety is $0.10398 / kWh, the “Green” variety is $0.11098 / kWh, and the “All Green” variety is $0.13198 / kWh.

So, by my cursory perusal, it is cheaper for the Brookline resident to choose the “Brookline Basic” which is 0% additional renewable credits (apart from what Dynegy already includes in their mix). However, that means that 35% of your electrical load is supplied by natural gas.

Interestingly, my utility provider advertises the following information to entice you to use their natural gas services. They also provide rebates to consumers and businesses who do.
Natural Gas Rebates:
Gas clothes dryer – $100 rebate
Gas water heater, tank or tankless – $50 rebate
Gas cooktop or stove – $50 rebate

Rewards you for converting your electric appliances to natural gas, with rebates that cover the cost of appliance, labor, permit fees and materials:
Gas water heater, up to $1,100 with $400 for each additional gas water heater
Gas dryer, up to $195
Gas cooktop/stove, up to $125

Here is some advertising provided by my Energy Provider (note: It is to be considered marketing, but provides some useful information that is in conflict with the thinking that backed the decision made by Brookline. It provides some “food for thought” at the least.) with respect to natural gas.
The advantages of a gas water heater over an electric water heater:
Gas produces more hot water per dollar
Gas boosts service life and lowers maintenance costs

Why choose a gas clothes dryer over an electric?
Gas dries three times as much laundry for the same cost
Gas is more gentle on fabrics
Gas releases fewer emissions

Why choose a gas cooktop or stove?
Gas provides consistent heat output, precise temperature control, and easy cleaning
Gas costs less to operate than electric units

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Chad
November 26, 2019 10:10 am

One reason it is cheaper is because 100% of the heat released by burning the gas happens where you want it to be.
Burning it in a remote generating station has losses at every step of the process of getting that energy into your home and appliances.
The net effect is, it takes MORE gas to use electricity that is generated by burning natural gas, no matter what you are using it for.
So not only is it more expensive, leads to people having no source of heat, hot water, or cooking in the event of a power failure, it does not result in less FF burning and less net emissions, IT DOES EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE!
More fuel burned, and more CO2 produced!

Original Mike M
November 26, 2019 9:19 am

Given that nearly 100% of Brookline’s electric power comes from natural gas why didn’t this bunch of virtue signaling SJW hypocrites prohibit new houses from hooking up to the grid too?

Steve Z
November 26, 2019 9:58 am

Electric heat is one of the most inefficient ways to heat a home, although it is relatively cheap to install.

But consider a home with a heat load (on a cold day) of 100,000 Btu/hr, which is equivalent to 29.3 kW. If Massachusetts residents pay 21.54 cents per kWh, it would cost $6.31 per hour to provide 100,000 Btu/hr to the home using electric heat.

Natural gas currently sells for about $5.00 per million Btu of heating value. Typical gas furnaces used in homes are at least 80% efficient, meaning that the furnace would consume 125,000 Btu per hour of heating value, costing $0.625 per hour–about 10 times less than electric heat.

It is clearly counterproductive for any town to force its residents to use electricity generated from Russian natural gas over natural gas piped in from Pennsylvania, considering the costs required for piping the Russian gas to an LNG export terminal on the European or Mediterranean coast, shipping the LNG across the ocean, and then re-evaporating the LNG in an import terminal along the coast of Massachusetts, then converting 60% of the heating value of the natural gas to electricity, which is then dissipated in heating coils in someone’s house.

From the point of view of CO2 emissions, the CO2 emissions from burning Russian natural gas are about equal to those from burning natural gas from Pennsylvania. But using the Russian natural gas in Massachusetts results in increased CO2 emissions to drive the compressors at the LNG export terminal, emissions from the LNG transport ship across the ocean, emissions at the LNG import terminal, and additional emissions since the electric generating plant is only 60% efficient, while a home furnace is 80% efficient.

Not very “green”, when someone does the analysis!

The article decries the fact that Massachusetts has three LNG import terminals but no export terminals. It should be pointed out that liquefying natural gas (for export) requires much more compression energy (for refrigeration) than re-evaporating LNG at an import terminal. However, Brookline residents are paying for the cost of compression and refrigeration at the LNG terminal in Europe from which the Russian gas was exported.

November 26, 2019 10:04 am

On the one hand you can call this another lab rat experiment but on the other hand bailouts and stimulus spending are the backdrop for serious mistakes like this that get covered up later. Call it climate pothole ready stimulus.

November 26, 2019 10:34 am


I am proposing a Kool Aid “gofundme” effort to drive a few truckloads up to Brookline and surrounding areas.

More on news at 11.

Gums sends….

November 26, 2019 12:49 pm

This decision by Brookline Massachusetts is straight out of the Climate Emergency handbook for municipals/councils etc, which says that gas “should be banned for all new buildings”. The handbook is printed in Europe (where else) with the English version from the UK.

I wonder if Brookline will adopt the other orders in the handbook, like enacting legislation to force all town vehicles to electric, and force all private businesses in the town to become carbon neutral?

I wonder in the Brookline town meeting members, representing the town citizens, told them they were adopting the actions dictated by the Europe-based Climate Emergency group?

November 26, 2019 1:32 pm

The 2010 census counted 58,732 people in Brookline. Brookline is an expensive, older, established community and I doubt there is much room for new construction. I counted less than 6 locations with construction permits valued at over $300K. If you subscribe to the CAGW religion, this is an easy vote for the 58,000 who already live there who won’t be affected, and the small handful of people who are contemplating new construction don’t get a vote. If you live in Brookline and feel it is already too crowded, another reason to discourage new construction. The only people this vote is a negative for are construction people, most of whom don’t live in an expensive area such as Brookline. So no there won’t be a backlash and in fact Brookline residents can pat each other on the back and feel smug about their burnished liberal credentials.

Reply to  PMHinSC
November 26, 2019 4:16 pm


As with what is already happening in New York, those confortable folks in Brookline will be surprised when 1) their utility bills go up, and 2) their gas supply is on and off due to upstream supply problems and so forth.

Worse, how are they gonna charge their Teslas and Leafs and Volts and…..

Getting my semi rig ready for the Kool Aid run as soon as our “gofundme” effort brings in a few thou. Hell, I’ll even load up a few hundred pounds of fresh gulf shrimp that were caught using fossil-fueled boats while the sailors sipped their energy drinks using plastic straws. Can boil up those suckers in my large Cajun cooker pot using gas we got from wells just off the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coast.

GUms sends…

Nicholas McGinley
November 26, 2019 2:01 pm
November 27, 2019 8:50 am


The EIA updated their data yesterday

It seems that MASS is encouraging EV adaption a bit more this year than last. The price for transportation kwh went down about 10% to under a nickel for a kwh.