King County Starts to Take Baby Steps on Natural Gas Ban as the World Burns

Comments

1

In all this talk of banning natural gas I have yet to see any discussion of how you are going to mitigate the increased costs of using electricity for low and middle class families and where the electricity to replace gas is going to come from. Here's a chart from Snoho PUD that shows the average heating costs for a gas furnace are around $987 whereas an electric furnace is $1524. That is a 55% increase in heating costs and doesn't include additional costs for cooking or clothes drying.

https://www.snopud.com/Site/Content/Documents/energysvcs/FuelCostComps_1020.pdf

That is at today's rates as well. If we increase the demand for electricity without further production those rates will be even higher. So where is the additional electricity coming from? We can't dam up any more rivers, I don't think you could build enough solar/windmills to generate it and nuclear is probably off the table. People aren't going to accept this if the solution is worse than the problem.

2

Try making a Hollandaise sauce with a double boiler on an electric stove. You just don't have the control one does with gas.

3

@1 Nuclear needs to be put back on the table.

There is no way we are going to electrify the entire US motor vehicle fleet and power it with solar, or wind, or even hydro. If we want to move away from fossil fuels we need nuclear.

No other energy source provides as much power with as little climate impact.

If someone claims to be serious about climate change but isn't willing to add nuclear to the mix they really aren't serious about climate change.

4

@3 You said "nuclear" now the green version of QAnon will descend upon you.

5

I share a similar concern. Remember a substantial amount of electricity PSE produces comes from natural gas and it's way more efficient to use the gas directly than to put it in an electrical medium first. I don't know how PSE can be trusted the energy a customer buys comes from renewables. Speaking of which, hydroelectric power will continue to face major conflicts with stakeholders of freshwater as areas of the country become drier and more flammable at the worst time and pump from ancient aquifers and toxic greywater. and solar farms aren't getting the warmest welcome atm in Yakima. If Seattle or King County goes all electric, would that mean surrounding areas would use more of the unsustainable energy? flood another valley and emit greenhouse gases like coal? A mandate for local renewables near the loads or energy efficiency standards like what Spain did makes way more sense to me rn. Fossil fuel production rates will decline, and people like Art Berman are still saying this. If one has to pay much more for food and fuel, I don't know how they'll buy renewables at that point.

6

@1 D13R, it would not work that way because at least initially, this only affects new construction that is far more energy efficient than the older homes that those cost averages are based on.

Energy use in new buildings is lower than the older buildings they replace.

It will drive up electricity demand, but it's gradual, and we do need to invest in the infrastructure, and that's the problem. As a nation, we're terrible at doing that.

7

@3 ST2, agree, along with massive investment in infrastructure, solar, wind. We won't do that any of that though until it's far too late.

8

@2 Amen. As a so-called snob that can’t live without a gas stove (aka a professional chef) AND an environmentalist I have to take exception. The environmental impact of gas ranges is infinitesimally small compared to just about all other sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s legitimately go after big oil and the petro-chemical industries first before blaming individuals. I’d wager burning wood in my backyard to smoke locally sourced pork for bacon has far less impact than the industrial supply chain required to put an inferior product in a grocery store.

9

"...only in unincorporated King County"....

I'll type this slowly so it doesn't get lost....

The King County Council ONLY HAS JURISDICTION OVER UNINCORPORATED KING COUNTY.

Bellevue= Bellevue City Council; Renton= Renton City Council, Kent= Kent City Council.

Knowing what is within the statutory authority of the King County Council is literally about the least you could figure out before committing pen to paper.

10

@6 fair enough but the plan is still to eventually remove natural gas as an energy source all together. So the question remains where does the replacement come from?. I’ve never heard that discussed in any of these articles.

11

Electricity only makes sense if you use a heat pump. With up to date building codes and technology, these can heat a residence (and heat water) for similar costs to natural gas. Down side: Now everybody has an AC unit in their home. And given a few hot summer days, energy consumption will go up.

12

Andrew Engelson - this is a disappointingly researched article. Comment #9 hits the mail on the head - the County amended the codes that they have legal authority over - they did literally all that they could. Take this up with the cities. We should applaud the County and City of Seattle for leading the way, and urge other cities to follow now that the model code is out there.

13

@10 Spot On... another poorly written article which just takes you on a dead end in terms of a viable solution. We are looking at having to revamp and entire infrastructure built around natural gas. .....

---- Its like saying well you fart to much so you can't use your bowels or intestines anymore. Now live with it.

14

@13 lol, one of the best analogies I've ever read in these comments.

15

Actually, to even have a chance of meeting the emissions reduction benchmark, we would have to reduce GHG emissions by 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.

But keep making excuses for why you keep increasing emissions ... blah blah blah.

16

@15 So instead of being the "problem announcer...blah, blah. blah...." why not give us a viable solution. One that is practicable, economic and can be implemented.

17

@10 D13R, "articles"? Come on, TS is entertainment style news, it's just some random people banging out their hot takes from an ultra left-wing POV.

18

A policy only appropriate for the Pacific Northwest and other areas with "clean"ish electricity. I grew up in the Seattle area, but I now live in the Midwest. Almost all homes here are heated with natural gas. It is not only less expensive - it is considerably "greener" than our coal-fired electricity. (It is actually greener in my zip code to own a hybrid vehicle rather than an electric vehicle if you are buying your electricity from the grid.) The most environmentally friendly option for home heating would be geothermal, but the $25-35K installation costs are daunting.