isaac sevierwants utility justice

Building Decarbonization has a Natural Gas Pipeline Problem

by isaac sevier · May 17, 2023 05:19 · 1 minute read

In current policy and investment strategy, building decarbonization is treated primarily as an appliance swapping project. This micro-approach misses the systemic nature of the reduction of natural gas demand explicit in the swap: drawing down demand is ultimately a natural gas pipeline network decommissioning project.

A disorderly, market-based process to reduce greenhouse gases by removing appliances that burn natural gas from every home and building in the United States has begun. This strategy, such as it is, intends to replace appliances that use natural gas with ones that use electricity from more renewables and other carbon free energy sources over time. Most policy advocates and community groups today are focused on the appliance aspects of the transition. The explicitly linked decay of gas demand connects these randomly distributed appliance swaps at the household level to a large, interconnected, complex fossil fuel pipeline network. The emphasis on heat pumps, stoves, water heaters, and other potentially zero-emissions appliances neglects accounting for the ultimate goal: a gas system decommissioning project.

Read the full note at the Climate and Community Project