Mark Krebs on Energy Efficiency under Biden’s DOE (Part I of IV: “Deep Decarbonization” Reigns)

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — January 24, 2022

“The adage ‘if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu’ is alive and well within The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The same goes for legislation and elections which have sanctioned EERE’s regulatory biases.” (Krebs, below)

Q. Mark, you have been a tenacious voice for free consumer choice to use natural gas in the face of government “deep decarbonization” intervention to substitute electricity under the guise of “energy efficiency.” Tell us about your activism today.

A. I am now independent, having retired from the gas industry. My statements are solely intended to serve the best interests of energy consumers, and not necessarily the gas industry, or any one of its parts, or any other energy sector.

Q. In November 2020, you wrote a three-part series that reviewed the legal highs and lows of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology (EERE) during the Trump window of opportunity.

A. Yes, 

I reviewed the progress and where a free-market approach fell short under Trump. I also predicted the changes at EERE under the newly-elected Biden Administration.

Q. What were the major themes?

A. Three:

  • A petition submitted by the “gas industry” to Trump’s EERE to recognize the illegality of prohibiting non-condensing gas-fueled appliances
  • Modifications of the “processes rule” that DOE is supposed to follow in establishing more stringent minimum efficiency standards for appliances
  • Status of an appeal challenging NRDC’s successful lawsuit to force EERE to publish a Final Rule effectively banning non-condensing commercial boilers.

Q. And what has happened since?

A. EERE under Biden is following a “scorched earth policy” to reverse all things Trump for ostensibly stopping the “existential threat” from catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Such policies were initiated by a series of early Biden’s Presidential Executive Orders (starting on day one) that quickly enabled EERE to accelerate what previously had been done incrementally to eliminate alternatives to electricity.

Q. Tell us about the previous vs. current approach.

A. The historically slow/incremental processes for more stringent “energy efficiency” mandates have metastasized into a faster and systematic “all electric all the time” policy using environmentalist buzzwords of “deep decarbonization” through a “virtuous cycle” of “beneficial electrification.” In the process, EERE has become the “poster child” for regulatory capture.

In essence, “improving” energy efficiency (as we once knew it) is rapidly transitioning under the Biden Administration to carbon efficiency. The following graphic illustrates what this means for fossil-fuels relative to renewable electricity in buildings and vehicles:

Source: “Electrification – What Does It Mean for Energy Efficiency?

Notes:  This graphic was extracted from page 31 of the above presentation. It depicts how much the traditional electrical energy efficiency program of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) could grow by transitioning to promoting electrification-based carbon efficiency. Since natural gas is a carbon-based energy form, the self-serving result would be eliminating the competition from the direct use of fossil fuels (i.e., natural gas, propane and oil) in buildings. This obviously appeals to mainstream environmentalists and electric utilities— EERE’s well-entrenched preferred clientele.

Q. There are more threats too with Biden all-in against fossil fuels, natural gas in this case.

A. It looks like EERE will be eclipsed  by DOE’s new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations with a budget of $20 Billion (relative to EERE’s $2 Billion last year and $4.7 Billion requested for FY22

Also note from DOE’s updated org chart, there are several other highly electro-centric offices within DOE. I haven’t yet researched their budget requests, but regardless, these are staggering amounts for what could ultimately destabilize the electric grid and eliminate consumer alternatives to electricity; all the while making consumer costs and general inflation massively increase in the name of fighting the existential threat of anthropogenic global warming.

Q. Can you summarize how appliances that directly use gas have been disadvantaged?

A. EERE (like other DOE offices) has “preferred clients.”  That is at least tantamount to regulatory capture. These clients are primarily environmentalists and electric utility interests. They now share the objective of forced electrification via renewables. See Warring Against Natural Gas: Joint EEI/NRDC Statement to NARUC (crony environmentalism at work) for a prime example.

Sometimes, manufactures collaborate too. A perfect case-in-point was an attempt to mandate regional appliance efficiency standards during the Obama Administration. Rather than revisit that history, search for the term “regional standards” in MasterResource.

Q. Explain some of this backstory.

A. Federal minimum appliance energy efficiency standards are still the domain of EERE. DOE itself was established in 1977, in significant part as a reaction to the Arab oil embargo (despite the fact that relatively few appliances are oil fired). In 1978, the National Energy Act consolidated several former agencies into the DOE and created an office that focused on energy efficiency and renewable fuels.

Since 1978, the office has been renamed several times to reflect its expanding scope, including the Office of Conservation and Solar Applications (CSA), the Office of Conservation and Solar Energy (CSE), and the Office of Conservation and Renewable Energy (CRE).

The current name, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, was adopted in 1993 under Secretary Hazel O’Leary. Secretary O’Leary came to DOE from Northern States Power Company, now part of Xcel Energy. This move further opened the door for catering to electric utilities. As EERE’s full name implies, its mission integrated the regulation of appliance minimum energy efficiency standards and the development of renewable energy. “Sustainable transportation” also found a home there (now with a near-exclusive emphasis on electric vehicles and, to a far lesser extent, hydrogen).

Q. This is classic bootleggers and Baptists with special business interests benefiting from regulation teaming up with a believed-to-be special interest.

A. Yes, EERE has long been an opportunity for vested interests to influence regulatory agendas. And they did, in true bootlegger & Baptist fashion; especially in the case of appliance minimum efficiency standards. Testimony by Brian Mannix of George Washington University before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy back in March 2019 is very clear about this.

A good example would be the establishment of energy efficiency metrics; specifically, the controversial site versus source metric. Even now, EERE considers electric resistance appliances to be 100% efficient on a site basis (hence no room for “improvement,” whereas common gas appliances are always far less efficient (hence justification for more stringent regulations).

Q. And back to the history?

A. Yes. Another watershed event for EERE was the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA, aka., Pub. L. 110-140) signed on December 19, 2007 by President Bush. EISA was originally named the Clean Energy Act of 2007 with its stated intentions to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, develop renewable fuel production, and improve vehicle fuel economy.  EISA also better defined EERE’s goals and objectives as shown by 42 USC 16191 in terms of “clean” (primarily electric) energy. Regardless, nothing in 42 USC 16191 can legitimately be interpreted as Congress justifying the elimination of fossil fuels. 

Q. And then the Obama Administration accelerated its pro-electric biases?

A. Obama’s mission statement for EERE was “transition to a global clean energy economy.” Still, not exactly a directive for electrification, but well on its way. 

Q. And then Trump and now Biden.

A. Under Biden, EERE’s fully “woke” and “net zero” mission statement is:

ERE’s mission is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.

Q. And with all of these threats, where is the gas industry? Less demand is bad news for producers, for pipelines, for utilities ….

A. Unfortunately for natural gas-fueled appliances, the American Gas Association (AGA), effectively delegated its responsibilities to the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA), very early on. GAMA soon thereafter merged with the Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ARI) to become the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Consequently, natural gas (and propane) advocates never had much say-so in how EERE’s business was conducted relative to other “stakeholders,” especially EERE’s “preferred” clientele.

The adage “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu” is alive and well within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The same goes for legislation and elections which have sanctioned EERE’s regulatory biases.

——————–

Mark Krebs, a mechanical engineer and energy policy analyst, has been involved with energy efficiency design and program evaluation for more than thirty years.  He has served as an expert witness in dozens of State energy efficiency proceedings, has been an advisor to DOE, and has submitted scores of Federal energy-efficiency filings. Mark’s first article was in the Public Utilities Fortnightly, titled “It’s a War Out There: A Gas Man Questions Electric ‘Efficiency’” (December 1996).

For more about Mark, see his MasterResource archive.

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January 24, 2022 10:26 pm

Sorry I am tirew

kim
Reply to  Sid Abma
January 25, 2022 12:21 am

‘Through’ or ‘tired?
Embrace the triad;
One, both or neither?
Kneel all thee heathens.
That infant is a teether.
===============

kim
Reply to  kim
January 25, 2022 12:22 am

Dang, ‘threw’ or ‘tired’?
===========

gringojay
January 24, 2022 11:07 pm

“Ask not what your country can do for you…” said USA President 35.

423F0A0A-95B2-4358-A3D4-75F4A4330C37.png
kim
January 25, 2022 12:01 am

Deep De-Carbonization?

That is either a floor wax or a dessert topping.

Hmm, could be Shinola
Shit, shine a merde bola.
==========.

kim
Reply to  kim
January 25, 2022 12:11 am

You can always tell the arrival of a true bolus.

A monarchy of turd morons will pronounce not nasally rather anally the passage of the fibrous distempered and discolored remnant, the ultimate agony of peristalsis. The stricture’s over, the gate opened and shut.Hail the unclothed Emperor.

Now where’s that shovel, gee it’s dark and cold; breeze stripping the odors in turbulent in moments.
============

kim
Reply to  kim
January 25, 2022 12:12 am

Catch my drift?
Could if you sniffed.
===============

Ron Long
January 25, 2022 2:25 am

I sort of enjoyed reading Mark Krebs interview, until I saw “propane” included in the evil list, like no more of it! How will we barbecue hamburgers on the Fourth of July (the holiday that celebrates stopping stupid/greedy politicians from giving us orders)? That’s too far. In fact the whole Braden Administration has lurched so far left it would be funny if not for the damage to marginal income families. I wonder how the next voting cycles will go?

kim
Reply to  Ron Long
January 25, 2022 3:30 am

For every action there is a reaction.
For the very fad there is a faction.
===============

mkelly
Reply to  Ron Long
January 25, 2022 6:06 am

Hank Hill will not be happy.

Phil R
Reply to  Ron Long
January 25, 2022 9:23 am

Propane isn ‘t barbecuing. that’s just cooking outdoors. For barbecue you need charcoal at least (lots of smoke and CO2), preferably the lump hardwood kind. Hickory is even better.

Spetzer86
January 25, 2022 4:43 am

Wonder how well the underrepresented groups are going to hold up if all heating is electric and power prices start following the German curve? Nothing like a lot of poor, freezing cold people to brighten the day of your typical Elite, I suppose. I’m not even going to guess at what the costs to do basic things like dry grain will be, so those poor, freezing people will also begin starving at some point.

Phil R
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 25, 2022 9:27 am

Spetzer86,

Nothing like a lot of poor, freezing cold people to brighten the day of your typical Elite, I suppose.

That’s not a bug or an oversight, that’s a feature; the main purpose. They create a crisis then blame it on someone else and claim only they can fix it. Then come the subsidies and the wealth redistribution from the hardworking middle class to the freezing poor. The Elites are wealthy enough that it won’t affect them.

dwg
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 25, 2022 3:28 pm

Living in NYC, I have friends who have all electric apartments. Winters with electric heat are very costly and they are never warm enough. Cooking with electric sucks too.

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Spetzer86
January 26, 2022 7:46 pm

Electric heating represents the worst possible use of energy, regardless of what it might be. Take natural gas. If you use it to fuel a combined cycle power plant, only half of the energy of combustion goes out over the grid. A certain percentage of that is lost in transmission, so you never get even half to the electric heater. If you burn it in your furnace, nearly every BTU that emerges from the combustion process remains as heat in the house. Ditto with gas versus electric cooktops. And these people are “in charge” of us. Sheesh.

John the Econ
January 25, 2022 5:12 am

“Good paying jobs” in an economy where there will be nothing to buy.

H.R.
Reply to  John the Econ
January 25, 2022 8:49 am

The best paying jobs will be for the go-getters that sell their spot up near the start of the lines that form for scarce goods.

Duane
January 25, 2022 5:30 am

The political and judicial institutions will oppose radical decarbonization in the US. The Democrats have already failed in their efforts to pass a radical decarbonization bill through the Senate, and matters are only going to get worse for them later this year as they already know they’re in for an ass-whupping in the November mid-terms where they are certain to lose the House majority and are more likely than not going to lose their temporary majority in the Senate. The Supreme Court is already a very conservative court, and so will strike down any efforts by Biden to circumvent the law with regulatory actions.

With Biden’s poor performance to date, it seems unlikely he will win reelection, and I actually expect him to quit after one term. American voters don’t like Trump either – the only other president with poll numbers as bad as Bidens are now. So we don’t know who will be in the White House after 2024, but it seems highly unlikely that American voters are yearning to saddle themselves with the same job killing central energy policies that most of the EU has adopted.

AndyHce
Reply to  Duane
January 25, 2022 8:48 pm

dreamer

RevJay4
Reply to  Duane
January 26, 2022 3:55 pm

“American voters don’t like Trump either” is based on polls skewed by the leftists questions. And then there is the overwhelming success of the Trump policies, when they could be implemented past the unelected anti-American bureaucrats. Think of the price of gas while he was in office just for starters. Then compare it to the price now and all the other stupid policies implemented by “Brandon” and his puppeteers. No contest.

Sara
January 25, 2022 6:24 am

ERE under Biden is following a “scorched earth policy” to reverse all things Trump for ostensibly stopping the “existential threat” from catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (AGW). – article

Glad I don’t have high blood pressure. Mine might explode.

Okay, here’s some reality that those fustercluckers don’t acknowledge:

1 – Outdoor temps this morning stand at 1F, with a wind chill factor of -13F. That is not to be taken lightly. Since I have a new (okay, 18 months old) high efficiency GAS furnace, I find that it keeps my little house warm and toasty with a modest charge each month, and I”m on the program that has me paying the same rate monthly, winter or summer, so that in the warm months, I build a bit of credit for fall and winter. Also, my water heater is gas fired and reliable. My gas stove will open the gas valves and let me use the cooktop when the power goes out, as it does almost every winter that I’ve lived here, so I can cook. And I have oil lamps left behind by my great grandmother, so I do have light to use, too.

2 – By real-world comparison, an electric heater or electric baseboard heat won’t work if the power goes out, so people who want to rely on that will get quite cold. And if the power company can’t get the lines working again in subzero weather, those who rely entirely on electricity for everything will get quite cold and likely go hungry. This is why all-electric is a ridiculously bad choice.

3 – The Colossal Idiot who wanted to get everyone on board with electricity as the sole source of cooking and heating doesn’t know his flabby backside from a hole in the ground about a lot of things, and this is only one of them.

4 – If I were to install a wood-fired cast iron stove in my home for emergency usage, would I be arrested by this Pack of Idiots? Most likely, they’d try and meet with a lot more resistance (and anger) than you’d find in UK/Europe, but — well, that’s us.

5 – Electricity is NOT reliable when weather goes bad on you. When a derecho in my county blew down a bodacious number of trees and electric power was shut off for 3 days (in the summer), I had to throw out all the frozen and fridged stuff and start over. Couldn’t even get a soda at McD’s, for Pete’s sake!!! And ice for a cooler? ALL GONE!! Some people were without power for up to SIX (6) weeks, waiting for the power company to repair the damaged lines.

This is why ELECTRICITY IS THE LEAST RELIABLE ENERGY SOURCE ON THE PLANET. Period. It’s the reason I keep those two oil lamps around, plus a jar of lamp oil. And no, I will not give up my gas stove, period. I do have cast iron cookware….. 😉

I think if these clowns had their way, they’d send us all right back to the early 18th century and thumb their noses at us peons. They should have a dose of their own medicine foisted upon them.

Rant over. Thanks for letting me blow off some steam.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sara
Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Sara
January 25, 2022 8:55 am

The answer for power outages is to have backup power, preferably standby and preferably propane, but if power outages are relatively infrequent, and generally not bad (less than a day), then a gasoline fired portable one will do. Ours is a 4,000 peak watts DuroStar quiet (69db) unit, and we have the transfer switch with 8 circuits supplied with power. It does the job. Can’t run both refrig. and furnace at the same time, but no big deal. Could have gone with a bigger unit I guess, but it would have been louder.

AndyHce
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
January 25, 2022 8:57 pm

fine for people with well above average wealth and some place to install such hardware, i.e. not for most people.

griff
Reply to  Sara
January 25, 2022 9:16 am

Well, other nations have much more reliable grids/power lines…

RevJay4
Reply to  Sara
January 26, 2022 4:51 pm

Gas is the way to go in most instances, for the reasons you eloquently stated in your “rant”. Even ended up with a generator recently, in a nice trade for an old car. Feel well equipped for what the lower midwest weather throws my way. Fireplace insert and supply of wood. I’m almost bulletproof. Cuz of where I live, ya never can tell when a twister will show up.
Oh well. Oh yeah, they’re working on that 18th century thing for us all, if we let ’em.

George Daddis
January 25, 2022 7:48 am

If any one remembers Peter Senge’s system models (The Fifth Discipline) you will recognize an interconnected set vicious cycles aimed at complete destruction of the total entity.

But of course we don’t need an MIT scholar to know we are heading to Hell in a handbasket.

Carlo, Monte
January 25, 2022 8:26 am

The bulk of R&D under EERE morphed into the Search for the Magic Battery about ten years ago.

January 25, 2022 3:35 pm

“2040 Electrification

  • 99% of the carbon
  • 45% of the budget”

How does that work?

The cost of electrifying and building out renewables to allegedly replace fossil fuels is so enormous that generations will be paying back original investments, but also paying for the frequent replacements for short lived renewable energy facilities as they fail.

Last edited 4 months ago by ATheoK
H.R.
Reply to  ATheoK
January 25, 2022 9:29 pm

Oh, don’t be such a Negative Nelly, ATheoK.

If Brandon’s puppeteers succeed in wrecking the U.S. economy in order to bring about The Great Reset and the glorious Socialist Utopia of a One World Government, our children and grandchildren won’t have any money… or shoes… or food…

Come to think of it, we might not either.

So don’t worry about who’s going to pay for it all.


P.S. Mad Max was a documentary. Who knew?

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