Climate policy continues to be the topic of discussion as we head into another winter. Policy makers, community leaders, and homeowners alike are discussing the best path toward reducing carbon emissions, which is a step in the right direction. However, it is very important for climate policy to consider equity and accessible renewable energy for all. Some renewable energy options, like electric heat pumps, are too expensive for the average consumer and disproportionately benefit higher-income communities over lower-income communities. Here’s what you need to know:
• Electric Heat Pumps Are Expensive
Converting a home from traditional liquid heating fuels to energy-efficient electric heat pumps costs an average of $21,000. This is a huge upfront cost that most American families simply can’t afford. Plus, after a home is converted to electric heating, the household has to prepare for higher utility bills.
• Converting to All-Electric Heat Is More Accessible for High-Income Communities
Since electrification is a high-cost solution to reducing carbon emissions, the fact of the matter is that most electric heat pumps will be used in areas with a large population of high-income households.
• Lower-Income Communities Will Benefit Less from Electrification
Historically, lower-income communities suffer from worse air-quality conditions than high-income communities. Because electric heating systems will only be installed in communities that can afford them, only middle- and high-income communities will experience the improved air quality promised by electrification, and lower-income communities will continue to suffer from poorer air quality conditions.
• More Electric Heat Systems May Cause Electricity Costs for Everyone to Rise
More electric heating systems will increase the winter grid load, causing everyone to pay higher rates for electricity, whether they have an electric heating system or not. So, lower-income communities that can’t afford to convert will end up paying more for their electricity and continue to experience lower air quality.
Bioheat® Fuel Is a More Equitable & Accessible Renewable Energy Option
Bioheat® fuel is an equitable and effective renewable energy source that requires no significant conversion cost and is readily available now. Instead of paying for expensive conversions, homeowners on a wide income scale can use low-carbon Bioheat® fuel in their existing heating equipment. Current blends of Bioheat® fuel oil produce significantly fewer emissions than traditional liquid heating fuels, and the industry will continue to increase blend ratios to become a carbon-neutral liquid heating fuel that is the cleanest, most sustainable residential heat source available on the planet.