• ECHO Action Editor

Natural gas is losing its grip

Triple Pundit

1. Natural gas loses grip on U.S. homes.

"We’re putting this one first because cutting home energy consumption is one major key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Homes accounted for a full 16 percent of U.S. natural gas use in 2017, coming in third behind power generation and industrial users. Commercial users were fourth at 12 percent, and the transportation sector barely registered.

Electricity is the other major energy input for homes in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean all-electric homes are off the hook for methane emissions: The U.S. power grid still depends heavily on both natural gas and coal.

The good news: Renewable energy is beginning to push natural gas and coal out of the U.S. electricity grid. Taking advantage of that trend, in 2018 the Rocky Mountain Institute launched a new initiative aimed at transitioning the residential sector from gas to electricity.

RMI is taking a page out of the Sierra Club’s successful Beyond Coal campaign. The idea is to raise awareness about local impacts—such as methane emissions from drilling operations, power plants and the transportation chain—to push for new policies that incentivize gas-to-electric conversions for existing homes and promote all-electric new home construction.

Allies in the appliance manufacturing and construction sectors could contribute to the success of the effort.

What to look for: One important factor in home electrification is the falling cost of rooftop solar and home energy storage systems. Some homeowners may convert from gas to electricity for safety reasons, but the bulk of conversions will probably come from homeowners who spot an opportunity to squeeze the maximum benefit from their rooftop solar systems."

Read about the other top renewable energy trends now


© 2020 ECHO Action: #FossilFree603  • •

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