Critics of Vancouver’s Natural Gas Policy Ignore These 3 Items

Posted by in News, on April 29, 2017

Once again politicians and industry groups are attacking Vancouver’s policy to reduce the use of natural gas in the city.   Not only do they get the basic nature of the policy wrong (it is not a ban), they also misrepresent the alternatives to natural gas.

Induction Cooking

The critics point out the many cooks and restaurants prefer using natural gas.  But induction cooking is an electric alternative that has all the advantages of natural gas that cooks enjoy.   Many top chefs are already embracing it.  It uses less energy than both natural gas and traditional electric stove tops.  And it cleaner, safer and healthier than natural gas.

Heat Pumps

Critics often claim that using electricity instead of natural gas will greatly increase the cost of heating buildings.  But this assumes that the building use resistive electric heating.  This is really an obsolete way to heat with electricity.  Modern buildings should be using heat pumps which use about one third the energy of both resistive heaters and natural gas.  This means that the cost of using electricity is only slightly higher than natural gas.

If new buildings are built to passiv haus standards there will be little if any energy used for heating in Vancouver.  So it really is a non-issue.

Update: Some people think that heat pumps don’t work below freezing.  Some good information about that issue can be found here: https://www.sunshinerenewables.ca/how-does-the-outdoor-temperature-affect-the-performance-of-my-heat-pump/

Distributed Solar Energy

If you add a solar energy system to your building you can lock in your electricity cost at a fixed rate for decades to come.    Currently in Vancouver it can be less than $0.10 per kWh.  There is no way you can put a natural gas plant on your building and fix your cost going forward.

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