This is the second post in a blog series by Joseph Uglietto on greenhouse gas reduction and the benefits of integrating liquid biofuels into residential areas.
Prior to withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the United States set greenhouse gas reduction goals. Those goals were set at a 28% reduction in greenhouse gas emission levels from their 2005 baseline by 2030 and 80% below their 2005 baseline by 2050. Following the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2017, individual states have set their own greenhouse gas reduction goals. Although the goals vary, most states have set goals to reach a 30-40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission levels from their 1990 baseline by 2030 and 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emission levels from their 1990 levels by 2050.
Following these goals being set in each state, policy makers at the state level have begun to develop strategies to meet these goals, consisting of mandates and incentive programs. Addressing greenhouse gas emissions from a home heating perspective, many states policies have trended towards promoting and incentivizing electrification. Many state-level incentive programs have been implemented to promote the use of renewable technologies, natural gas, and heat pumps, but there are many flaws and challenges with this strategy.
The first issue with promoting electrification is the cost. The cost of converting to a heat pump system will cost an average homeowner $15,000-$25,000 per system. This is asking an average homeowner to spend a significant amount of money and alienating lower socioeconomic classes in America.
The second issue with promoting electrification is the stress on the grid. Widespread conversion could lead to greater than double the peak usage in summer months. Rolling blackouts in the middle of the winter would create major health issues in the colder states.
The third issue with promoting electrification is that heat pumps are not a viable way to heat homes in the northeastern states. Home owners are being asked to pay $15,000-$25,000 to install a heat pump system, then being told that they still need to keep their oil burner as a ‘backup’ system for when temperatures drop to a level that heat pumps will no longer be able to effectively heat their home. The technology may be clean, but if it does not able to effectively heat a home, then why is its use being promoted by policy makers?
Heat pumps use electricity to heat homes. Currently, fossil fuels are the largest source of energy for electricity generation. The idea that electricity will come from all renewable resources in the near future is unrealistic. In many states, natural gas is the largest source of energy for electricity generation. Natural gas isn’t a clean technology and will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels that will meet states goals.
One technology that is being phased out in most states strategies is heating oil. That is because policy makers aren’t educated on the benefits of biofuel. Biofuel is a blend of an ultra-low-sulfur diesel heating oil and a biofuel, which is produced from renewable resources like used cooking oil, plant oils, and animal fats. Using a B50 biofuel (50% ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and 50% biofuel) can reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 40%. Therefore, biofuel will help states meet their 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals without any cost to the end user. In addition, the biofuel industry has set goals to introduce a B100, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, and eventually introduce a carbon neutral fuel by 2050.
To put it simply, biofuel is reliable, adds no additional cost to the end user, and will help states meet their 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. A select few states have implemented programs that incentivize the use of biofuels. I will dive into the characteristics of those programs offered on a state-by-state basis in future blog posts.Stay updated on future blog posts by following Joseph Uglietto across social media platforms including Twitter and Contently.