Heat pumps Are Used By President Biden During a Climate Emergency

Consumer Reports had just published a new assessment on heat pumps on July 19; one day later, President Biden had announced the historic climate emergency, which included heat pumps. This was a stunning example of impeccable timing. It was merely a passing mention, though. To be clear, the announcement did not declare an emergency. Nevertheless, it serves as another another proof that decarbonization is becoming more widespread, help or no help from US Senator Joe Manchin.

A CLIMATE EMERGENCY IS DECLARED BY PRESIDENT BIDEN, ABOUT In his remarks on July 20, President Biden came dangerously close to announcing a climate emergency.

According to the White House, President Biden will restate that climate change is a clear and present danger to the United States today. President Biden will take action on this crisis as Congress is refusing to. President Biden will make additional executive announcements to address this issue in the coming weeks.

You’re welcome, Congress. Despite having no Republican backing, the President’s Build Back Better climate action bill was actually passed by the House’s Democratic majority last fall. However, without Senator Manchin (D-WV) on board, they can’t have an all-Democratic majority in the Senate to enact the law, and the Senators’ numerous engagements with the fossil energy industry seem to be getting in the way.

THE HELP OF HEAT PUMPS! Where had we been? Exactly, heat pumps. Regarding the administration of assistance under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program, they appear in the emergency announcement in a section about the Department of Health and Human Services.

The more well-known LIHEAP is a heating assistance program for people with low incomes. The updated guidance makes it clear that providing cooling is also crucial.

High efficiency air source heat pumps are expressly mentioned in The new LIHEAP guidance as the most energy-efficient replacement for furnaces and air conditioners in all climate zones.

The White House explains that the recommendations include a variety of adaptable options such as increasing funding for cooling assistance through the American Rescue Plan, creating community cooling centers, and buying, distributing, or lending energy-efficient air conditioning equipment, evaporative coolers, and electric heat pumps as a more energy-efficient alternative for providing cooling services to vulnerable households and individuals.

WHAT MAKES HEAT PUMPS SO DIFFERENT? It is reasonable to wonder why there has been so much controversy around heat pumps given that the new declaration of a climate emergency was front-loaded with a variety of other news. Heat pumps are after all already relatively prevalent, at least in some places.

The major difference is due to recent technological advancements that make heat pumps more effective in a wider range of conditions. As a result, heat pumps are an important instrument in the push to electrify buildings in almost all of the US.

Heat pumps replace fossil fuels for space heating and cooling as electrical appliances. Hot water heaters and clothes dryers are also receiving them. They increase the likelihood that more local governments will start to prohibit gas hookups for brand-new development.

They can be used as components in “virtual power plants,” taking the electricity angle to a new level, and the US Department of Energy has named them as a crucial step in the conversion to a sustainable energy profile.

WHERE WILL ALL THE ELECTRICITY COME FROM IS THE UPCOMING QUESTION. It’s reasonable to wonder where all the extra electricity for millions of new heat pumps will come from if heat pumps are the Next Big Thing. I hope not from brand-new fossil fuel power plants. That’s where the additional information on the declared climate emergency comes in.

Of course, it is no accident that President Biden chose to announce the new set of climate emergency measures while visiting a decommissioned coal power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts. Many states along the northeast Atlantic coast, including Massachusetts, are now starting to take advantage of their enormous offshore wind potential.

For reasons best known to the elected officials who make those decisions , states near the southern end of the coast have been a little less vigorous in their pursuit of offshore wind. Nevertheless, whether people like it or not, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the Interior Department is still able to lease out portions of federal waterways for offshore wind farms.

The future of offshore wind and other sustainable energy development off the shores of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina was unknown under the previous Administration, the White House noted. In order to ensure that these southeast states can profit from well-paying jobs in the expanding offshore wind industry, President Biden is today giving the Secretary of the Interior instructions to expedite renewable energy development in these federal seas.

Thus, there.

FOR THE US Southeast, MORE OFFSHORE WIND POWER As the environment heats and the need for air conditioning keeps increasing, more clean kilowatts are crucial for the US southeast. Offshore plays a particularly significant role in the region’s wind energy resources because onshore wind resources aren’t the best they could be. Onshore wind in the Southeast will ultimately become more cost-effective thanks to taller wind turbine towers and other technological advancements, but for now, offshore wind is the way to go.

In light of this, the Biden administration is also working to increase offshore wind by involving the Gulf of Mexico. Although wind speeds in the Gulf are not exactly ideal, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory planned out scenarios back in 2020 that may ultimately support offshore wind in the Gulf.

Louisiana was the only Gulf state at the time to seize the opportunity to profit from offshore wind. The White House indicated that Texas will also be a part of the plan in the most recent declaration of a climate emergency:

On two possible wind energy areas—one off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and another off the coast of Galveston, Texas—the administration will solicit public feedback. More than three million households may be powered by sustainable energy in the area under consideration, which spans more than 700,000 acres, according to the White House.

A WAY OUT OF THIS MESS THROUGH TEXAS, HEAT PUMPS, ANDAMP; If Texas’ interest in offshore wind comes as a bit of a surprise, we were just as shocked! In Texas, offshore wind did not appear to have a strong economic case according to the 2020 NREL research, in part because of competition from other energy sources.

A sign of things to come, however, appeared last year when a group of Texas energy players started discussing a green hydrogen center that would make use of the state’s abundant solar and onshore wind resources as well as its current energy infrastructure. Keep checking back for additional information about potential additions like new offshore wind farms.

The Consumer Reports heat pump post from July 19 is also well worth reading in detail.

They noticed that heat pumps were enjoying a time in the spotlight, or as near to one as a heating and cooling device could. There is a buzz about this environmentally friendly HVAC technology, whether it be ducted heat pumps, mini-splits, or even geothermal systems.

For more information, see the article. They detail why heat pumps are more environmentally friendly, why they typically save money, how simple they are to install, and why they outperform traditional HVAC systems in terms of maintaining a comfortable temperature, along with a few cautions and a buying guide (CR members also have access to reliability and customer satisfaction ratings).

@TinaMCasey , follow me on Twitter.
Heat pump photo courtesy of US Department of Energy (cropped).

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