One of the questions on Senator Doyle’s Town Meeting Survey was, “Should natural gas be an important part of Vermont’s economy?”
I was astonished to see that 55% answered yes. Only 21% said no, and 24% were not sure.
Natural gas is not a Vermont product. It needs to be purchased from huge out-of-state corporations. Currently, we hear a lot about how cheap it is – but that can change. They will charge “what the market will bear,” just as they have done with other fossil fuels, such as gasoline and heating oil. If we invest in the infrastructure required by natural gas, we will be stuck with it when the price goes up.
Fortunately, for home heating there is now an alternative that produces heat just as cheaply as natural gas: the electric “air source” heat pump. This device has so many advantages over natural gas: There is no risk of deadly explosions. No pipelines to construct. No gas leaking into the atmosphere.
Electricity is getting “cleaner” all the time. The electricity that comes into my home is now 85% green. Only 15% comes from burning fossil fuel. If you burn natural gas, it’s 100% fossil fuel. The burning of fossil fuel is causing disastrous damage to our ecosystem.
You can reduce the carbon output of your home by 85%, without spending a penny more, by choosing an electric heat pump instead of natural gas for your home heating. According to Efficiency Vermont, the cost of heat from an electric heat pump is the same as the cost of heat from natural gas.