By Bradford White Corporation
For state and local governments combating global climate change, natural gas often finds itself at the center of the conversation. A quick review of national energy statistics from the United States Energy Information Administration makes it apparent as to why this is the case. Natural gas accounts for approximately one-third of the nation’s total energy consumption and production, more than doubling that of coal, and nearly doubling that of nuclear and other renewables, in both categories.
But while nearly all policymakers agree that natural gas needs to be a central part of the discussion, in what way remains a contentious matter. As I’ve discussed at length in previous columns, some state and local governments are examining and enacting aggressive electrification policies that seek to phase out any future use of natural gas. However, a host of other states are taking a more cautious approach to cleaning up their gas infrastructure by considering the use of hydrogen and/or renewable natural gas (RNG).
As of the writing of this article, 17 different states had introduced bills during the current legislative session that would either promote or examine the use of these fuel sources in their energy portfolios. These proposals range from study committees being created to learn more about these fuel sources and their potential impacts to allowing gas utilities to recover costs from their customers that were incurred from utilizing hydrogen or RNG. Moreover, the consideration of both fuel sources, particularly hydrogen, were also given significant attention at the national level in the ill-fated Build Back Better Act, further demonstrating this fuel source’s possible emergence into the energy policy spotlight.
While no state is yet to pass any of the legislation discussed above this session, there is reason to believe hydrogen and RNG will remain in the toolbox of many policymakers who wish to make climate change a priority. In Europe, where these fuels are already being used more widely, the European Commission is pushing the Hydrogen and Decarbonized Gas Package. The Commission states that hydrogen and RNG emit at least 70-percent less greenhouse gases than natural gas across their full lifecycle. Additionally, it is noted that these gases have been, and can be, integrated into the existing gas grid potentially making their use simpler and less costly than fuel-switching.
It may still be too early to tell if, and to what extent, these fuels become part of America’s energy future. However, their promising contributions in other parts of the world indicate that gas-fired HVAC and water heating appliances may soon be designed to run on hydrogen and RNG if these fuels catch on. This could introduce changes to how these products are manufactured and maintained.
About Bradford White Corporation
Bradford White Corp. is an industry-leading manufacturer of water heaters, boilers and storage tanks. The company maintains headquarters in Ambler, Pennsylvania, and has manufacturing facilities in Middleville, Michigan; Niles, Michigan; and Rochester, New Hampshire; and distribution and training centers in Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada. For more information, visit www.bradfordwhitecorporation.com.
SOURCE Bradford White Corporation