More natural gas is unnecessary in a state striving for full decarbonization and beneficial electrification of buildings and transportation. Mainers are just starting to get over their long-standing dependence on dirty heating oil and do not need to invest in new gas pipelines over solar, heat pumps, and storage that meet our state climate policies and reduce operating costs over time. The Press Herald’s March 5 editorial says, “Midcoast pipeline rejection shows that climate questions aren’t easy to answer.” We believe that they are.
Unlike renewables and heat pumps, “fossil” gas requires an extensive and dirty network of extraction, production, and transmission to deliver fuel to homes and businesses. This network comes with added risks like leaked methane, price fluctuations, worsening air quality and adverse health effects. Or Mainers can skip all of that and electrify now.
Paying for new pipelines is a bad deal for Mainers, who can save more money and reduce more emissions by bypassing gas for clean, efficient electric equipment. Acadia Center analysis shows that switching from oil to gas saves the average Maine family about 10 percent on energy bills, but whole-home electrification in the same home can save 25 percent or more. And while a gas home emits about as much greenhouse gas as an oil home, electrification can reduce emissions by 60 percent.
Maine’s energy, reliability and climate needs are better met by clean heating and stronger building codes rather than decades of expensive and carbon-intensive infrastructure and fuels.
To read this article in the Portland Press Herald, click here