Democrats are pushing cities to phase out natural gas in homes. They cited concerns over the use of fossil fuels in homes that lead to climate change. However, Republican-led states are pushing back.
Major Democrat-led cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, and New York are on the offensive. Lawmakers proposed or enacted measures calling for a ban or discouraging the use of natural gas in homes.
The attempts to enact these measures increased after Berkeley, California, passed the first ban in 2019.
Bans Against Bans Over Natural Gas In Homes
They have either enacted or proposed measures to ban or discourage the use of fossil fuel in new homes and buildings, two years after Berkeley, Calif., passed the first such prohibition in the U.S. in 2019.
In turn, Republican states such as Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, and Louisiana enacted laws outlawing natural gas prohibitions at the municipal level.
The states managed to get these laws out before the prohibition movement against natural gas spreads to other towns.
Republicans argue that banning natural gas in homes is too restrictive and costly to implement. Another state, Ohio, is considering a similar measure.
The Case For Reducing Use of Natural Gas In Homes
Whoever wins the battle between Democrats and Republicans over natural gas can shape the future of the utility industry. It can also affect the consumption of natural gas in the US, which is the world’s leading producer.
Proponents of removing natural gas from homes insist that doing so reduces global warming over time. Switching to electrical heating and cooking means fully electrified homes.
These, in turn, can secure power from wind and solar farms which are increasing in numbers. Ultimately, this makes the US power grid “cleaner” and free from fossil fuels.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, homes and businesses account for 13% of greenhouse gases emitted by the US annually.
Natural gas is used extensively for cooking, heating, and washing, and drying clothes. Climate activists insist that reducing fossil fuel use in homes is needed in order to greatly minimize carbon emissions in the coming decades.
The Case Against Reducing Use of Natural Gas In Homes
Meanwhile, pro-natural gas advocates say that transitioning to an all-electric setup will mean higher costs. Since most existing homes already have electrical layouts, homeowners will need to install new wiring to power heaters, cooking equipment, and washers.
However, this leaves many houses at a disadvantage when the power goes out, especially during winter or hurricanes. In addition, many house owners and professional cooks overwhelmingly prefer gas-fired stoves.
Already, retrofitting homes to an all-electric setup is an expensive endeavor. In fact, a recent study by the San Francisco city government found that retrofitting all housing units that now use natural gas would cost between $3.4 billion and $5.9 billion. Expectedly, the costs will fall mainly on residents, with some subsidies from the city.
Impact On Industry
In addition, the shift to electricity can impact the bottom lines of natural gas delivery systems currently in service.
Many sections face the possibility of becoming stranded assets, which means they get shut down before fully recouping their costs.
In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund warned in 2019 that California can host a number of stranded assets over time. This can complicate efforts to shift away from gas by saddling customers with higher costs over time.
For some companies that supply both electricity and natural gas, they can face lesser hits to their bottom lines.
For those exclusively dealing with natural gas, the specter of slower growth or demand evaporation can put them out of business even before they get to break even.
Watch the Forbes video report where Steve Forbes explains why Biden’s war on gas and oil is a crippling pipe dream:
Do you agree with phasing out natural gas in homes? Also, do you agree that fully electrifying homes are the future way to go?
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