Despite calls from environmental groups for the strategic decommissioning of the Massachusetts’ gas system over the coming decades, the state’s for-profit gas utilities have been pushing to keep the gas network running indefinitely on a mix of biomethane and green hydrogen. While the utilities argue that this would allow them to save costs by making use of existing gas infrastructure, environmental groups have brought up a litany of concerns related to cost, safety, climate impacts, and the overall viability of this path.

A new report from members of the nonprofit organization Gas Transition Allies highlights another major issue in the plans of gas utilities — the large amount of electricity needed to produce enough green hydrogen to heat the state. According to this report, blending hydrogen into the state’s gas supply would require about 120% of all the offshore wind energy slated to come online by 2030. To meet all of the state’s gas heating needs entirely with green hydrogen, this would require nearly all offshore wind energy planned for 2050.

The report’s authors argue that this could jeopardize the decarbonization of the state’s electrical grid and would be a far less efficient way to eliminate heating emissions compared to relying on electric heat pumps.

This report comes as several other studies have cast doubt on the efficiency of using green hydrogen for home heating, despite the hopes of investor-owned gas companies.

There’s also a planning process that we’re in favor of which was put forward by Acadia Center, which is called RESPECT. And we think that that’s a very nice outline for how an integrated statewide or countrywide planning process should be put together. So that’s one of the takeaways — we need an integrated planning process.

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