Last week, I posted my thoughts on how the White House Missed the Boat on Energy Efficiency. I also posted a link to that post on the LinkedIn Green Group of which I’m a member. I wanted to share the following comment from someone in the United Kingdom:
You are absolutely right in pointing out that electricity is a poor way to provide heat for our homes and buildings. Natural gas, though, is still a fossil fuel so the emphasis would be better placed on use of solar devices (maybe coupled with heat stores and/or heat pumps) to provide primary heat source with gas very much as a back up. As for electricity generation, users in the UK can source 100% renewable electricity from just one company: Good Energy (www.goodenergy.co.uk)
I also wanted to share my response.
I support renewables too. Unfortunately, the United States is not as far along as you are in the UK with renewables. Only 7% of our electric power comes from renewable energy. See U.S. Government web site for energy information.
Our recent economic stimulus legislation provided funding and incentives to expand wind and solar and to extend thousands of miles of electric transmission lines to connect the wind in the West to our urban areas on the coasts, but it will take some time before there is enough for a significant portion of our population to purchase 100% or anything near it in renewable-sourced electricity. In the meantime, there are some practical things we can do in the U.S. to make serious reductions in carbon emissions. We can install solar on our roofs, purchase renewable sourced electricity to the extent it is available, and install efficient natural gas water heaters (preferably tankless) and natural gas furnaces. Oh yes, and it would help if people lived close enough to their jobs to bike or walk to work, but that’s another topic…
Further carbon reductions can be achieved by installing the latest technology – natural gas heat pumps that provide hot water, heat and air conditioning.
And in a few years, it will be possible to use hydrogen in fuel cells, using the natural gas grid to deliver natural gas that can be reformulated into hydrogen, and capturing the carbon as a solid that can be “sequestered” in light weight carbon fiber bodies for cars and other products. They are already installing residential fuel cells in Japan, but they are still releasing the CO2 from the reformulators.
A recent break through could change that — A company called Atlantic Hydrogen has figured out how to capture the carbon from natural gas as solid carbon black.