On The Fast Track To Electrification? Not So Fast…
A recent bill approved by the Massachusetts Legislature would drastically change the way families across the Bay State heat their homes, with the goal of eliminating fossil fuels to attain net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
While we here at W.H. Riley & Son recognize the need to combat climate change, the bill – first rejected by but now once again awaiting Gov. Baker’s signature – would force drastic, costly changes on Massachusetts families with little chance of achieving the lawmakers’ emissions-savings goal.
There are four problems with the legislation:
- The bill aims to replace oil- and propane-fired boilers and furnaces with electric-powered heat pumps. However, roughly two-thirds of the electricity generated in Massachusetts comes from fossil fuels, leaving little change in the carbon footprint. There is little evidence that alternative energy sources such as solar or nuclear power can replace fossil fuels in the next 30 years. So where is the gain?
- The energy grid is already fragile and prone to brownouts during hot summer days. How can it be expected to handle the demands of a bitterly cold New England winter?
- Electric heat pumps are now fairly common as secondary sources of heat. However, they are extremely inefficient when compared to today’s high-technology heating systems and simply inadequate when temperatures drop down into the single digits. In short, be prepared for cold nights in a home heated by electric pumps.
- According to data collected from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the cost to install a heat pump is over $20,000, roughly double the replacement cost of today’s boilers and furnaces.
As you can see, the logic of the bill is deeply flawed. The bottom line is that the technology does not yet exist to replace fossil fuels in a practical way to heat homes during a New England winter.
However, there is one way to shrink our collective carbon footprint without having to resort to such drastic and costly measures: use more Bioheat® Fuel.
Bioheat Emissions Benefits
By mixing a blend of ultra-low sulfur heating oil with renewable biodiesel made from organic and recycled products, Bioheat can heat homes with greater efficiency and far less emissions. Under a program launched by the industry in cooperation with the state government, heating oil use in Massachusetts has been cut by 35 million gallons since January 2018.
An Industry-Wide Commitment
To demonstrate its willingness to address climate change, the heating oil industry has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, based on 1990 levels, by 15 percent by 2023, 40 percent by 2030, and net-zero by 2050. These goals can be met by using higher blends of Bioheat in heating oil.
W.H. Riley wants to be a leader in this effort. Right now, we provide 5 percent Bioheat to 75 percent of our oil customers and 20 percent Bioheat to the remaining 25 percent. Our plan is to have more of our customers using 20 percent Bioheat in the near future – at no extra charge.