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NYT on Heat Pumps

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  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    Pity it's behind a paywall...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    pecmsgEdTheHeaterMan
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 350
    edited September 15
    By Somini Sengupta
    Sept. 14, 2022
    An Oily Challenge: Evict Stinky Old Furnaces in Favor of Heat Pumps

    Building by building, New York and other cities are trying to stop the age-old use of fossil fuels to heat homes and buildings. In the U.S., new climate laws aim to speed things up.
    For years, Tami Nelson struggled with what she called the “temperamental old man” in the basement. He was inefficient. He was smelly. Plus, he took way too much of her money.
    That was Ms. Nelson’s nickname for the ancient oil-fed burner that provided heat and hot water for her 8-unit apartment building on a historic block in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Her tenants called to complain of cold showers. In winters, her monthly heating oil bill went upwards of $1,000. Her basement walls were coated with soot and stench.
    No more. This past spring, she evicted the old machinery and replaced it with electric heat pumps. In so doing, she brought her century-old property in New York City along an increasingly urgent global transformation: weaning homes and offices off oil and gas.
    In the United States, the Biden administration is trying to hasten that shift with billions of dollars in tax rebates to electrify buildings and make them more energy efficient. The global energy crisis, spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has also hastened that shift. In 2021, sales of heat pumps grew significantly in the United States and several other major markets, according to research published in Nature.
    It’s important because emissions from buildings — primarily for heat and hot water — account for more than a quarter of the nation’s emissions. In New York City, it’s roughly 70 percent, and under a 2019 city law, most large buildings have to drastically reduce their numbers starting in 2024. If they exceed their emissions limits, they will be fined.
    Enter a new business opportunity.
    Ms. Nelson converted her building with the help of Donnel Baird, an entrepreneur who grew up nearby and founded a company called Bloc Power. His contractors installed the equipment. Ms. Nelson rents it on a long-term lease.
    All summer, the heat pumps have also cooled the apartments, since they function as air-conditioners as well as heaters. This winter will be her first without the smelly, troublesome oil burners in the basement. She hopes her bills will be lower too.
    Mr. Baird, for his part, hopes other landlords will follow suit, and quickly.
    The city has a tough law, he said, but carrying it out is another matter. “New York City, I would argue, is the most aggressive city in the country on energy efficiency and green buildings.” Mr. Baird said. “We are so far behind, and we are underperforming.”
    It’s a tall order in New York City. Buildings are old and drafty. Many apartment building owners, including cooperatives, can’t readily afford to go all-electric. There aren’t enough workers trained to retrofit them. And often, even in new buildings, to say nothing of old buildings that were built decades before heat pumps existed, there isn’t enough space to accommodate all the equipment. Expect to see new electric kits on high-rise rooftops — like in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg, where an array of heat pumps will be housed in a glass dome above the old Domino sugar-refinery building, right behind an old smokestack.
    What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act
    A substantive legislation. The $370 billion climate, tax and health care package that President Biden signed on Aug. 16 could have far-reaching effects on the environment and the economy. Here are some of the key provisions:
    Auto industry. Until now, taxpayers could get up to $7,500 in tax credits for purchasing an electric vehicle, but there was a cap on how many cars from each manufacturer were eligible. The new law will eliminate this cap and extend the tax credit until 2032; used cars will also qualify for a credit of up to $4,000.
    Energy industry. The legislation will provide billions of dollars in rebates for Americans who buy energy efficient and electric appliances. Companies will get tax credits for building new sources of emissions-free electricity. The package also includes $60 billion set aside to encourage clean energy manufacturing and penalties for methane emissions that exceed federal limits starting in 2024.
    Health care. For the first time, Medicare will be allowed to negotiate with drugmakers on the price of some prescription medicines. The law also extends subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act, which were set to expire at the end of the year, for an additional three years.
    Tax code. The law introduces a new 15 percent corporate minimum tax on the profits companies report to shareholders, applying to companies that report more than $1 billion in annual income but are able to use credits, deductions and other tax treatments to lower their effective tax rates. The legislation will bolster the I.R.S. with an investment of about $80 billion.
    Low-income communities. The package includes over $60 billion in support of low-income communities and communities of color that are disproportionately burdened by climate change. Among the provisions are grants for zero-emissions technology and money to mitigate the negative effects of highways and other transportation facilities.
    Fossil fuels industry. The legislation requires the federal government to auction off more public space for oil drilling and expand tax credits for coal and gas-burning plants that rely on carbon capture technology. These provisions are among those that were added to gain the support of Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia.
    West Virginia. The law is expected to bring big benefits to Mr. Manchin’s state, the nation’s second-largest producer of coal, making permanent a federal trust fund to support miners with black lung disease and offering new incentives to build wind and solar farms in areas where coal mines or coal plants have recently closed.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 350
    A few cities, like Ithaca, N.Y., have passed laws requiring all buildings, new and old, to get rid of all oil and gas in the coming years, whether for heating or cooking. Dozens of cities across the United States have also passed laws that prohibit new gas hookups. With that has come a counteroffensive, funded by gas companies and local utilities, to prohibit or discourage local laws to ban gas.
    The Inflation Reduction Act, the climate law signed in August by President Biden, offers up to $8,000 in tax rebates for property owners to purchase electric heat pumps and make energy efficiency improvements (think insulation and better windows). Many buildings will need to upgrade their electric panels in order to fully electrify. There are rebates for that, too. The bill also allocates $200 million to train workers who can install new electric appliances and insulate homes.
    But as buildings electrify, along with cars and buses, other challenges loom. One is cleaning up the electrical grid so that it burns less fossil fuel. Utilities will also need to produce much more electricity as demand grows.
    At the moment, New York City’s 24 power plants run mostly on methane gas and fuel oil, spewing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and polluting the air nearby. New York City aspires to have what it calls a fully “clean energy” electricity grid by 2040.
    Mr. Baird said that if any city can do it, it’s New York. It has the money and the political consensus to take climate action quickly. “New York is a test case of can you turn buildings into Teslas and can you use a municipal mandate to do it?” he said. “Those are the two real strategic questions.”
    Across the Atlantic Ocean, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the strategic calculations for electric buildings.
    The European Union relies on gas to heat homes, much of it from Russia. The European Commission is now scrambling to wean itself off gas, in part by doubling the installation of electric heat pumps by 2025, while also pushing for energy efficiency.
    An independent analysis jointly produced by four nonprofit research groups recently concluded that electrifying buildings could slash gas use by 25 billion cubic meters, or about one sixth of all the gas that the European Union imports from the Kremlin.
    Individual countries are taking their own measures. Germany is mandating heat pumps by 2024, and the Netherlands by 2026. Austria this year banned the sale of new gas boilers altogether. “Every gas heater we get rid of is a step out of our dependence on Russian gas,” its climate minister, Leonore Gewessler, said in June.
    Heat pumps work by expelling warm air out of buildings when it’s hot outside and pulling warm air into buildings when it’s cold out. They have a bad reputation to overcome: Older ones weren’t great at heating homes in really frigid temperatures. Their proponents say that the technology has markedly improved. And the evidence suggests that, too. Some of the coldest parts of the world have some of the highest penetration of electric heat pumps.
    Consider Sweden. Winters are very cold there, and fossil fuels account for less than 5 percent of home heating. That shift took 50 years.
    Sweden once heated its buildings with oil. The 1970s oil crisis was the first tipping point. Next was a 1991 carbon tax, which made heating oil more expensive with a levy on the carbon dioxide emitted.
    Today, Sweden relies on district heating: Pipes carry heat into apartment buildings. The heat comes mostly from burning garbage and biomass (which has environmental problems). Single-family homes, meanwhile, rely mostly on heat pumps.
    Sweden faces a new challenge. There might not be so much garbage to burn as the country expands recycling, and its buildings need to become more energy efficient.
    Mr. Baird’s Journey
    Mr. Baird, the heat-pump installer who worked with Ms. Nelson in Bed-Stuy, grew up in Brooklyn, then Atlanta, then returned to Brooklyn after college. For years, his company made money by hooking up homes that relied on heating oil, like Ms. Nelson’s property, to the city’s gas grid. Gas is less polluting than heating oil.
    The birth of his first child brought an epiphany. He realized that by hooking up those buildings to gas, he was helping prolong the city’s reliance on fossil fuels. “I was like, ‘Oh, when my kid’s 35, and he’s my age, this gas pipeline that I just paid for is still going to be there,’” he said.
    At the same time, two of his most prominent investors, the former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, nudged him to consider ditching gas altogether.
    It made business sense. Not only could he help the city’s 10,000 buildings leapfrog from dirty heating oil and go electric, but there were tens of thousands of other buildings that could also pivot from gas boilers to electric heat pumps.
    “New York City, I would argue, is the most aggressive city in the country on energy efficiency and green buildings,” said Donnel Baird, “and we are underperforming.”Credit...Elias Williams for The New York Times
    He shifted Bloc Power’s core business. It now focuses mainly on electrification in churches, swanky condos and apartment buildings in several cities nationwide. Bloc Power is also training 1,000 workers from low income neighborhoods.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 350
    edited September 15
    For Ms. Nelson, the switch to electric hasn’t gone entirely smoothly. It took much longer than she had hoped for the city to issue permits. The equipment is now installed, but the plumbing lines and wires haven’t been removed. The two machines in the back yard are enormous. So much for her plans to build a terrace back there.
    “Everyone was learning,” she said. “There was a lot we didn’t know.”
    Indeed, space is a huge challenge. Most high-rise buildings don’t have enough space to house the equipment. Developers of new buildings, if they want to go all-electric, need to set aside expensive real estate to accommodate the kit. Architects will have to find ways to cut down on energy use. “It really puts pressure on the design team to be massively efficient,” said Hale Everets, who manages new construction for Two Trees, the company remaking the old sugar refinery into office space.
    At the moment, Mr. Baird is vexed by a vast 300-unit housing cooperative in Queens, the Dorie Miller Cooperatives, one of the first where Black New Yorkers could buy their own homes. Like Ms. Nelson’s building in Bed-Stuy, this one too has been struggling with ancient, inefficient boilers that guzzle heating oil.
    If the cooperative replaces the old oil boilers with new oil boilers, it risks being hit with city fines. If it leases a new electric kit from Bloc Power, its residents’ maintenance fees go through the roof.
    Michael De Valera, the treasurer of the cooperative’s board of directors, worried about space. And he wondered if the city would have transmission lines in place to meet all the new electricity demand. It is a test of whether and how the new federal climate law can help a big city housing complex wean itself off fossil fuels.
    At the moment, Mr. De Valera said, the plan is to switch out the old oil boilers for gas ones, prolonging the building’s reliance on fossil fuels for another 40 years or so. “There’s less work that has to be done, there’s less cost, there’s less of an education for shareholders,” he said. “When you look at all of the above, the transition is going to be a bit slower for us.”

    Correction: Sept. 14, 2022
    An earlier version of this article described incorrectly plans in Berkeley, Calif., to transition away from gas. While laws are in place that will ban gas in new construction, they will not require older buildings in the city to eliminate existing gas hookups.

    Somini Sengupta is The Times’s international climate correspondent. She has also covered the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia and is the author of the book, “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young.”
    A version of this article appears in print on Sept. 14, 2022, Section A, Page 12 of the New York edition with the headline: Helping Cities Evict a Climate Villain Lurking in the Basement.
    PC7060
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,243
    Well, she'll save all that money that she didn't spend on maintaining the oil equipment.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    Thank you for copying the whole thing. It's behind a paywall, and there is no way I'm going to pay for it.

    On the other hand... it's just sad. I have no desire to get into a political discussion. But I will say this: I'm a very old bunny now, and I've seen various schemes by starry-eyed people who have no grounding in anything real come and go. Usually they crash and burn with not too much collateral damage, but this set of schemes... there is simply no chance that this one is going to end well. That's not a political comment, that's just a sad observation based on reality. It won't hurt the promoters -- it almost never does (although the few conscientious ones may be left shaking their heads and wondering what went wrong) -- but it will be devastating for the ordinary man and woman in the street, and if it extends to rural properties -- which it will...

    Just sad.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    rick in Alaskaunclejohn
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,516
    ratio said:

    Well, she'll save all that money that she didn't spend on maintaining the oil equipment.

    This.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 573
    Ithaca comes out with some pretty nutty ideas at times. Our past mayor left during his term under a cloud.

    The entire city has natural gas for fuel gas from NYSEG and NYSEG buys high voltage electricity through the Niagara Mohawk National Grid Substation in Cortland, NY and the high voltage universal system operator in Marcy, NY where a lot of hydropower comes from Canada and goes to New York City.

    Heat pumps don't work well here when the temperature can drop to the 30's and below for long periods and it requires supplemental portable electric resistance heaters for heat.

    All the new large buildings that have been erected have natural gas for fuel so it is a dead issue for the most part and very few new single family residences have heat pumps when gas is readily available here.


  • vtfarmer
    vtfarmer Member Posts: 69
    Thanks for making the article available. I don't really know how to react to it; I've made a good living in my day job interacting with wholesale electricity markets and I can tell you that these heat pumps will be powered mostly by natural gas for the foreseeable future (and fuel oil in the pipeline constrained northeast when temperatures are really cold).

    As someone who has owned and maintained several houses in the northeast with hot water/oil heat and now has owned three houses in "the south" (Virginia) with heat pumps I will say that aside from the issue of supplying electricity to them, occupant comfort and long term longevity are issues when moving to HPs for heat and people don't seem to fully appreciate this. I read some textbooks and bought an old Dwyer smoke and CO2 test kit to maintain my oil burners and found it to be fairly straightforward and even sometimes rewarding when you get one dialed in just right; those systems tend to be pretty reliable and last for decades with regular maintenance and occasional easily obtained generic replacement parts.

    When I moved south and started owning houses heated by heat pumps I found that I have to keep the thermostat several degrees warmer to feel the same level of comfort on the occasional "cold" day we get down here (66* on the thermostat with CI rads is like 72 or 73* with a heat pump), but the real issue is the maintenance. I took a community college class and sat for the EPA608 test then bought hundreds of dollars of tools to be able to replace TXVs and deal with other issues on my systems, and I am finding that even heat pumps that are only a few years old can start to have reliability problems. Part of what drove me to take the class and buy the tools was local technicians who said I needed to replace an entire system because of what turned out to be a bad TXV, most homeowners won't be as savvy as I have become and will have a really hard time keeping these systems alive long term, which does not seem to be an issue for fossil fueled heating systems.
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 423
    For years, Tami Nelson struggled with what she called the “temperamental old man” in the basement. He was inefficient. He was smelly. Plus, he took way too much of her money.
    That was Ms. Nelson’s nickname for the ancient oil-fed burner that provided heat and hot water for her 8-unit apartment building on a historic block in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Her tenants called to complain of cold showers. In winters, her monthly heating oil bill went upwards of $1,000. Her basement walls were coated with soot and stench.


    So the oil boiler was not maintained, and probably long overdue for replacement...do they expect better results from the heat pumps if the same maintenance program is followed?
    ratioch4man
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    Thanks for making the article available. I don't really know how to react to it; I've made a good living in my day job interacting with wholesale electricity markets and I can tell you that these heat pumps will be powered mostly by natural gas for the foreseeable future (and fuel oil in the pipeline constrained northeast when temperatures are really cold).


    Yes, natural gas supplies roughly 40% of electricity. However, less gas is used when gas->electricity-> heat than gas is burnt on-site.
  • vtfarmer
    vtfarmer Member Posts: 69

    Thanks for making the article available. I don't really know how to react to it; I've made a good living in my day job interacting with wholesale electricity markets and I can tell you that these heat pumps will be powered mostly by natural gas for the foreseeable future (and fuel oil in the pipeline constrained northeast when temperatures are really cold).


    Yes, natural gas supplies roughly 40% of electricity. However, less gas is used when gas->electricity-> heat than gas is burnt on-site.
    Sort of - when these heat pumps are running you will be more likely to have the less efficient open cycle combustion turbines (the smaller units at Ravesnwood and Mystic, for example) and they'll also be more likely to be running on oil when it's cold. This is where the annual average can be really misleading - net metered solar really pushes this fallacy. If you generate 1000 MWh over the year but make all of that when it's sunny and/or not winter, then you are relying on a diesel (or distillate!) fired combustion turbine to generate your power at 5 AM on a cold February morning.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    Sort of - when these heat pumps are running you will be more likely to have the less efficient open cycle combustion turbines (the smaller units at Ravesnwood and Mystic, for example) and they'll also be more likely to be running on oil when it's cold. This is where the annual average can be really misleading - net metered solar really pushes this fallacy. If you generate 1000 MWh over the year but make all of that when it's sunny and/or not winter, then you are relying on a diesel (or distillate!) fired combustion turbine to generate your power at 5 AM on a cold February morning.


    Agreed, generation mix changes minute to minute. But it's not as dirty as you think! For PJM, the least efficient gas generators spend most of the winter sitting on the sidelines.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    vtfarmer said:

    Thanks for making the article available. I don't really know how to react to it; I've made a good living in my day job interacting with wholesale electricity markets and I can tell you that these heat pumps will be powered mostly by natural gas for the foreseeable future (and fuel oil in the pipeline constrained northeast when temperatures are really cold).


    Yes, natural gas supplies roughly 40% of electricity. However, less gas is used when gas->electricity-> heat than gas is burnt on-site.
    Sort of - when these heat pumps are running you will be more likely to have the less efficient open cycle combustion turbines (the smaller units at Ravesnwood and Mystic, for example) and they'll also be more likely to be running on oil when it's cold. This is where the annual average can be really misleading - net metered solar really pushes this fallacy. If you generate 1000 MWh over the year but make all of that when it's sunny and/or not winter, then you are relying on a diesel (or distillate!) fired combustion turbine to generate your power at 5 AM on a cold February morning.
    Yup. Awful hard for some folks to swallow that... but they don't teach arithmetic in schools, either, so what can you expect?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • vtfarmer
    vtfarmer Member Posts: 69

    Sort of - when these heat pumps are running you will be more likely to have the less efficient open cycle combustion turbines (the smaller units at Ravesnwood and Mystic, for example) and they'll also be more likely to be running on oil when it's cold. This is where the annual average can be really misleading - net metered solar really pushes this fallacy. If you generate 1000 MWh over the year but make all of that when it's sunny and/or not winter, then you are relying on a diesel (or distillate!) fired combustion turbine to generate your power at 5 AM on a cold February morning.


    Agreed, generation mix changes minute to minute. But it's not as dirty as you think! For PJM, the least efficient gas generators spend most of the winter sitting on the sidelines.
    I can't get into too much detail, but when I used to sit at a trading desk and see the dirtier units get RUC'ed (Reliability Unit Commitment) or RMR'ed (Reliability Must Run) online, synchronize to the bus, then not get fully loaded I would wonder just how much fuel they wasted to do so. This will not show up in annual totals of how many MWh comes from each type of generating unit.

    Regardless, we should agree that the solution is baseload nuclear and large hydro (where convenient) with opportunistic variable renewables and some battery storage in there for frequency regulation and get back to talking about air conditioners and heaters :smile:
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,908
    If I read the numbers above correctly, it seems that wind output has only went up 1/2% of total outputs of all combined......and solar increased only .2 % .....both in one year.

    For all the wind turbines you see in the Midwest and all the trucks hauling more down the highways it seems we have a long way to go before reaching Nirvana of truly being green.

    Just the push for EV's and HP's seem to be way ahead of the possible output.....so they will be coal or NG remotely powered for a long time.

    Or am I not seeing this correctly?
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    edited September 16
    If I read the numbers above correctly, it seems that wind output has only went up 1/2% of total outputs of all combined......and solar increased only .2 % .....both in one year.

    For all the wind turbines you see in the Midwest and all the trucks hauling more down the highways it seems we have a long way to go before reaching Nirvana of truly being green.

    Just the push for EV's and HP's seem to be way ahead of the possible output.....so they will be coal or NG remotely powered for a long time.

    Or am I not seeing this correctly?


    You're reading the chart correctly, but my post should have made clear that this is for PJM, not the nation as a whole. Only about 1/5th of the nation's population spread across a dozen East Coast states and parts of some Midwest states.

    Regardless, we should agree that the solution is baseload nuclear and large hydro (where convenient) with opportunistic variable renewables and some battery storage in there for frequency regulation and get back to talking about air conditioners and heaters :smile:


    I guess so! Since we're already at 30% nationwide hydro+nuclear, we're well on our way. Combined cycles dominate NG usage for electricity, it sets us up well for overall gas usage reductions.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 781
    JUGHNE said:
    For all the wind turbines you see in the Midwest and all the trucks hauling more down the highways it seems we have a long way to go before reaching Nirvana of

    @JUGHNE I was very surprised how much wind power generation was online between Norfolk and Stuart.  Looked like over hundred unit visible from the highways; probably many more becuae I stopped counting.
    I wondered who  repairs all those things?

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,908
    NE Tech College in Norfolk has had a Wind Turbine course for several years now.

    It covers the electrical and mechanical workings of these eyesores.

    Some forward looking person started that back then.

    While fueling at the pumps I talked to one of the escort vehicle drivers, he said they haul the components between SD and Texas. It takes about 7- 8 extended semi trailers and tractor to move one system.
    Also the escort vehicles and police to stop traffic when they have to turn a corner.

    I asked who is paying for all of this activity and he said "check your back pocket".
    But we all know that.
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,524
    edited September 16
    The question remains on how we'll heat our homes efficiently and effectively, and by reducing carbon outputs. It takes ten to 15 years to build a nuclear plant and the electric grid is too small to add millions of heat pumps. Or electric boilers. The tipping point will not wait for very long without a solution and a smart pathway. It may already be too late. I'm hoping were smart enough to start correcting what works in the long haul. It took 8 years to figure out a moon landing.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    The question remains on how we'll heat our homes efficiently and effectively, and by reducing carbon outputs. It takes ten to 15 years to build a nuclear plant and the electric grid is too small to add millions of heat pumps. Or electric boilers. The tipping point will not wait for very long without a solution and a smart pathway. It may already be too late. I'm hoping were smart enough to start correcting what works in the long haul. It took 8 years to figure out a moon landing.


    I think we have a fair shot here. Hear me out:
    1. Any place with high AC market share likely has a summer peak. Here's PJM's annual peaks. This means they already have excess winter capacity. The grid (well PJM because I have their PDF open) has space.
    2. Hybrid installations can keep the winter peak the exact same if desired and still substantially drop overall energy usage. I think this would keep the utilities happy.
    3. We have decades to figure this out. Heating systems last a long time and heat pumps are not the only heaters being installed today. There will be homes with 100% gas heating well into the 2050s.
    4. Say the peak does increase. What if it doubles by 2050? That means annual growth of 2.5%. Seems manageable to me.
    5. We have other peak load reduction options - some interesting options are insulation, air sealing, cogeneration, electric battery storage, and thermal energy storage. I'm sure I'm missing some.

    Long way of saying, I don't plan on freezing to death anytime soon

  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 573
    edited September 17
    JUGHNE said:

    NE Tech College in Norfolk has had a Wind Turbine course for several years now.

    It covers the electrical and mechanical workings of these eyesores.

    Some forward looking person started that back then.

    While fueling at the pumps I talked to one of the escort vehicle drivers, he said they haul the components between SD and Texas. It takes about 7- 8 extended semi trailers and tractor to move one system.
    Also the escort vehicles and police to stop traffic when they have to turn a corner.

    I asked who is paying for all of this activity and he said "check your back pocket".
    But we all know that.


    ================================================================


    We have had about a hundred+ of these tower segements pass through our area with massive NYS police escorts as these things travel south from the Port of Oswego or from Buffalo.

    ALL this and Adam Fullers patented and wind tunnel tested Vertical Axis Wind Turbine design that spins in 5 MPH winds that presents itself as a solid object to birds and bats, requires a smaller footprint and foundation and can be stacked to offer more wind bearing surface in all directions and placed in multiples much closer in distance to generate electricity with much easier repairs and maintenance as everything is on the ground except one roller bearing at the top of the stack and cost less to install and own and it remains unused by so many that could benefit by it because of the Horizontal axisi Wind turbine Interests being the PROPELLER MAFIA-emphasis mine.

    Of course, they being the 3 blade propeller wind turbine people "deny that our units" kill birds and bats
    and deny that they have to pick up dead birds from ground in the shadow of the towers every morning and there is no such thing as wind turbine vibration syndrome that make nearby residents sick or any wind noise they create that can be heard for miles and we won't talk about lightning strikes destroying our turbines and knocking the entire tower down as a result of the fires from the lightning strikes causing the nacelles to go out of balance and pull the entire tower down to the ground in the process and tripping circuit breakers and blowing the high voltage cut outs knocking out the entire wind farms grid ties.

    Any time they have to access the horizontal axis wind turbines they have to winch the " windsmiths" up to the nacelles wearing 2 way radios using a bosuns chair attached to a sheave block pulley using a wire rope along with any tools and any parts that can be replaced without using a diesel powered crawler crane with a counterweighted upper and lower boom.

    I hope they use the MSHA/OSHA 6 broken wire rule when inspecting and oiling the winch cables which is any elevator cable in use cannot have more than 6 broken wires at any time.

    I just shake my head at these wastes of money and laugh when there is nothing but a five mile per hour wind blowing and the propellers are not moving.

    Stupid kid.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 889
    I just recently got into a spirited debate on Facebook about ev's overloading the grid in CA, peak usage, time of use, etc... The grid today could handle it even if every registered vehicle in the US was an EV and every ones home were fully electric utilizing heat pumps. It simply comes down to time of use and grid manegment. I even ran all of the numbers for everyone using CA as an example. It still descended into nothing but ad hominem attacks. 

    Of course this doesn't take into account the limitations of EV's and their batteries themselves at this point in time. No one is going to use an EV semi, for example, to move goods across country. And obviously if you have electric baseboard heat installing a heat pump is an expensive proposition. But these are technological speed bumps, not insurmountable energy production obstacles. 

    Bottom line people fear change, and what they don't know or understand. And the special interests and lobby groups are experts at fear mongering and misinformation. 

    No consensus based on science will be found. Instead we will run ourselves right off the cliff into the abyss and we'll still be fighting amongst ourselves over alternative facts as we're falling to our demise. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    Not that I'm doubting you personally, @JakeCK , but I'd love to see your numbers. Specifically, numbers for the New York and New England power grid in winter.

    Especially since the local grid where I live couldn't even come close...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 889
    edited September 18
    Remind me Monday to pull all the numbers again. The original post on FB got deleted I believe and I didn't save them anywhere else. I work all this weekend and it took me several hours to dig into the numbers just for California. I honestly did not look into the upper parts of New England. One thing that New England has going for it is that the number of registered vehicles outside of NY is only a tiny fraction of what CA has. CA has over 14 million registered vehicles. NY came in second at 8 million and then Ohio and one other state tied for 4 million each. Now New England gets much colder then most of CA. And half of CA is a desert making retro fitting insulation much easier.

    Edit: I had some of my numbers wrong for registered vehicles by state. Cali has 14.2 million, Texas has 8, Florida has 7.8, and NY and Ohio are nearly tied both at 4.2 million. 
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 889
    edited September 17
    And maybe you're correct. It is very likely there are pockets in the US where the grid couldn't handle it currently. But just converting the large population centers of CA to all electric would be nearly 10% of the total US population.
    Hot_water_fan
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    JakeCK said:

    And maybe you're correct. It is very likely there are pockets in the US where the grid couldn't handle it currently. But just converting the large population centers of CA to all electric would be nearly 10% of the total US population.

    Oh I agree with that. And the problem in New England and New York is that yes, it does get chilly (California doesn't) and there are quite few people there, too... and I'm not at all convinced that, in New England at least, the grid problems are just pockets (or if it is just pockets, it's large chunks of the 6 New England states and New York which classify as "pockets"). Population wise, no, probably can get by (though New York might get interesting -- upgrading Manhattan's grid would be rather a challenge) -- but there is a rural population as well, even if they are outvoted by the cities.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 889
    edited September 18
    The truth is that the demands from things such as EV's are not nearly as high as everyone first imagines. I made that mistake went I first discredited the idea of using solar panels to charge an EV. Then I ran the numbers and it not only would be possible but it wouldn't even be a blip on the radar for me... Now I know this is supposed to be about heat pumps but bare with me for a second. So sure if 14 millions vehicles in one state plugged into level 2 40 amp 240v charges at 5 pm the grid would collapse. But do you fill your gas tank everyday in your car? The average miles driven in the US is about 14k miles a year now I believe. In the city it's a good bit lower and the rural areas it's much higher. That can be rounded out to about 40 miles a day for a daily commute. The average EV uses about .35kwh per mile, or about 14Kwh a day. Plugged into a 15amp 120v outlet it would take about 8 hours to charge that car. Plug it into a 40amp 240 and the job gets done in 2 hours. Average range for an ev as of the 2022 model year is 234miles, or looking at it another way many EV owners could get away with only charging once a week with a 40amp charger when the car is new, in theory. Realistically two or three times a week or every night with a 15amp. Slow charging with a lower amperage is also better for the battery fyi. 

    Now I'm still trying to find valid data on the iso new England's grid. I did find their peak demand for this past July 24th at 23,711Mw. But I have yet to find any graphs that show demand over the course of 24 hours during summer. However that one peak can be a good gauge of how many MW's the grid can deliver. There are 4.6 million registered vehicles in New England. If every one of them started charging every night around 10pm they would all be charged by 6am. If they were all plugged into 15amp 120 outlets they would be pulling about 8300Megawatts all night. A bit more than 1/3 the total output of the grid on the hottest day of the year. 

    One interesting ability in development for ev's is the ability to to put power back into the grid or to be used as a battery backup for the house using grid aware chargers. Imagine the load smoothing 4.6 million ev's could provide. Dead of winter on the coldest night of the year at 2am the grid is overloaded from all of these EV's, and heat pumps and the cars, instead of pulling power, start putting some of it back into the grid until more generation can be brought online. We're talking thousands of megawatts if a large enough percentage of registered vehicles are compatible and using grid aware chargers. 

    Now for the reality check, even if new ICE vehicles were banned tomorrow we wouldn't see all of those registered vehicles turn in to EV's for decades maybe never. And not everyone would be charging their vehicle everyday. We would see a mix of types chargers being used. Some smart, and some just a dumb 15amp plug.

    For the heat pump side of the equation... Tbh I am finding it difficult to get good statistics for New England. My first thought was to try to find out how much NG was delivered to residential customers during the winter so I could get a handle on just how much energy is needed but those numbers don't seem to exist, at least I haven't been able to find them. Same for heating oil and LP. Anyone else have them? 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    It isn't the EVs that are the problem in New England. Most of us can't afford them anyway, and -- perhaps paradoxically -- an astonishingly large fraction of the population which can commutes by public transport anyway. (the rural folks wouldn't buy one, even if they could -- what use is a vehicle which poos out after 75 miles carrying a load of hay?) (On the supply side it's renewables; New England simply does not have the sunshine that some other areas -- the ones that are pushing this stuff -- have). It's heat.

    I hope you can get the natural gas figures; it's a large part of the equation in the metro areas (but remember that it is supply limited -- can't have those filthy pipelines, you know) so also try and get the fuel oil and LP figures. Also, be sure you also look at winter peak loads as well. They have to be met. too.

    Now I have no doubt that the urban/suburban people will force us all into electric pedal cars and electric heat, whether we like it or not, and those of us in rural areas will just do as we always have -- make do somehow with what we are permitted to have.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,522
    edited September 18
    For what it's worth, Con Edison in New York City ( at least the Brooklyn and Queens branches) has been running a rebate program. Basically they install mini split units for air conditioning and for heating and offer full rebates if the boiler is decommissioned. The program ran for about a year or so (I think) and ended sometime around this past March or April. I cannot begin to tell you how many people called me up, some of them in tears, about the extraordinarily poor quality of the heat or the extraordinarily high heating bills, or some combination of the two. All in the name of greening the planet. Not quite sure why, but they were not allowed to install mini splits in bathrooms.
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 573
    edited September 18
    I learned yesterday that a 2013? model tesla owners car died.

    You will love this part; tesla locked him out of his car until he buys a new battery.

    Wait, wait, it gets even better, tesla will not unlock his car until he buys a new $13,000.00USD dollar battery!

    It is going to be less costly for me to own and operate a road legal rough terrain vehicle or license a farm tractor on the road than to buy a new truck.
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 133
    Let's see if we can inject some vaguely real math into this thread, for NYC at least.
    • I found peak winter numbers from a few years ago for ConEd - they set a record (when it was 4F in central park) in 2014 at 1,113,254 dekatherms of gas and ~9GW of electricity at 6PM (and 185.5 GWH for the day). A lot of that gas is actually used to generate that electricity though.
    • Summer peak electric consumption is around 13GW (260 GWH for the day). I found some older numbers for peak summer gas usage showing it was around 1.077 million dekatherms, with 0.9046 million dekatherms of that actually going to electricity usage (84%).
    • So winter electrical usage is around 70% of summer usage right now - that implies around 0.633 million dekatherms at the winter peak was going to electrical generation, leaving about 0.48 million dekatherms used for direct heating.
    • At ~80% efficiency, that's about 384 billion BTUs, or 112.5 GWH if replaced with resistance heating, leading to a peak demand of (112.5+185.5=298 GWH (vs our current summer peak of 260GWH).
    • To limit it to our summer peak numbers without any upgrades, I think that would mean we need to limit the increase to (260 - 185.5) = 74.5 GWH, vs the 112.5 GWH using resistance heating, requiring an average COP of 112.5/74.5 = 1.5
    So from a grid delivery perspective, for ConEd territory at least, these numbers don't seem crazy (although please point out any gross mistakes of factors of 10 I might have missed).
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 573
    edited September 18
    The Northeast Energy newsletter has been highlighting the fight that they have been having to upgrade the power lines from Canada due to the age of the system.

    And I vaguely remember them discussing converting the heating systems in the city to heat pumps would create a much larger electrical demand as well as most of them would be 110-220 volt air to air heat pumps.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    @JakeCK have you looked into New England ISO’s “state of the market” report? There’s a good chart showing winter hourly usage on pg 108.  Overall, the peak load is 2x average load  annually and looks similar for the winter months. 
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    Now I have no doubt that the urban/suburban people will force us all into electric pedal cars and electric heat, whether we like it or not, and those of us in rural areas will just do as we always have -- make do somehow with what we are permitted to have.
    A bit dramatic here Jamie  :smile:
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424

    Now I have no doubt that the urban/suburban people will force us all into electric pedal cars and electric heat, whether we like it or not, and those of us in rural areas will just do as we always have -- make do somehow with what we are permitted to have.
    A bit dramatic here Jamie  :smile:
    Really? We -- both family and region -- have to be prepared for what we can see coming (and what is already here), not some rosy dream, or a "solution" handed down for the cities and urbanized areas. Our grid (for the four Towns in our vicinity) can only just barely handle the load placed on it now, and the cost of electricity shows no signs of dropping. The cost of fuel oil is down, granted -- it's below $5 per gallon now, anyway. LP is out of sight. Unlike the cities and urban areas, though, we can and will manage.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 730
    I see rural houses with heat pumps all the time. Nobody is forcing anything anytime soon - sometimes people choose things you may not personally want and that's okay!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,424
    leonz said:

    The Northeast Energy newsletter has been highlighting the fight that they have been having to upgrade the power lines from Canada due to the age of the system.

    And I vaguely remember them discussing converting the heating systems in the city to heat pumps would create a much larger electrical demand as well as most of them would be 110-220 volt air to air heat pumps.

    Both these comments are quite true. There are a couple of additional jokers in the deck, which the privileged elites pushing all electric conveniently forget. The first of these is that heating thing. It is common in discussions to look at summer peak electricity usage, and suppose that that is the number which must be dealt with -- but this is not true for at least the northern part of the eastern megalopolis (New Jersey to Boston), never mind the rest of the northeastern states and New York. Most of the heating in those areas is not electric, but is either natural gas where it is available or oil, and simply put it takes more energy to heat a structure to --well let's say 70 -- when it is 0 outside than it does to cool it to 70 when it is 90 outside (in fact, a bit of back of the envelope math will give you about 2.5 times as much power required). Thus the notion that the projected winter peak grid load will be in some way comparable to the summer peak load when things are electrified simply doesn't add up.

    The second, and perhaps bigger joker in the northeast regions, is the question of where that power is to come from. There are actually several problems here. As @leonz notes above, there are efforts to bring in more power from Canada. Unhappily, not all of the people across whose lands the needed power lines would be strung are completely on board with this idea -- particularly as they would receive no benefit from them. Second, the power from Canada comes largely from hydroelectric projects. While these are classed as renewable, and thus a Good Thing, unfortunately Canada -- and particularly Quebec -- has a pretty appalling record in terms of both the environmental impacts of creating more hydro and in terms of dealing with people who live in the areas which are to be inundated. Further, it is reasonable to suppose that Canada's demand for power will also increase -- and quite unreasonable to suppose that they will continue to happily export power for eastern megalopolis. The second is aspect is, well, what about on-shore and off shore wind? Well, again, the folks who actually live in the areas where this is proposed are not all enthusiastically on board with this. This is mostly a political problem -- the people favouring this do not live in these areas or work in them, and they outnumber those who do, and in all the northeastern states they have the ability through state regulation to ignore the objections from those who do.

    What is needed is for all of us -- professionals and interested lay people alike -- to do the best we can to bring our best, unbiased, judgment to bear, and particularly to remember and take into account that what works for southern coastal California, or the southeastern US (including Washington) may not work as well, if at all, in other parts of the country. That's a big ask, but we can do it if we try.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 889
    edited September 18
    fentonc said:
    Let's see if we can inject some vaguely real math into this thread, for NYC at least.
    • I found peak winter numbers from a few years ago for ConEd - they set a record (when it was 4F in central park) in 2014 at 1,113,254 dekatherms of gas and ~9GW of electricity at 6PM (and 185.5 GWH for the day). A lot of that gas is actually used to generate that electricity though.
    • Summer peak electric consumption is around 13GW (260 GWH for the day). I found some older numbers for peak summer gas usage showing it was around 1.077 million dekatherms, with 0.9046 million dekatherms of that actually going to electricity usage (84%).
    • So winter electrical usage is around 70% of summer usage right now - that implies around 0.633 million dekatherms at the winter peak was going to electrical generation, leaving about 0.48 million dekatherms used for direct heating.
    • At ~80% efficiency, that's about 384 billion BTUs, or 112.5 GWH if replaced with resistance heating, leading to a peak demand of (112.5+185.5=298 GWH (vs our current summer peak of 260GWH).
    • To limit it to our summer peak numbers without any upgrades, I think that would mean we need to limit the increase to (260 - 185.5) = 74.5 GWH, vs the 112.5 GWH using resistance heating, requiring an average COP of 112.5/74.5 = 1.5
    So from a grid delivery perspective, for ConEd territory at least, these numbers don't seem crazy (although please point out any gross mistakes of factors of 10 I might have missed).
    Are you implying my numbers weren't real? Lol

    That said a cop of 1.5 isn't that hard to reach. But one detail I would like to point out is that not all natural gas consumption is for home heating. A lot is for industrial processes. Just in the shop I work at alone we probably use enough NG in one day to heat an entire neighborhood the entirety of the coldest week of the year. And we don't have to use much over the course of the year for heating the building either. Just one of our acmes, or hydromats put out enough waste heat to keep a moderately sized home warm and we have dozens of these kinds of machines. That said the back of the shop by the docks can get chilly...

    Also I want to be clear I am not an advocate for forcing anyone to change over to anything or for out right bans on any technology. This requires open minds and a science based approach.

    Edit: Also let's all not forget the importance of tightening up our buildings. I bet we could cut half our energy use just by tackling that alone. 
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,524
    Sometimes we can expect governments to over react with powerful changes in laws when the tipping points become overwhelming. By then there's not much that can be done.