Biden Seeks Fossil Fuel-Free Federal Buildings in Hit to Gas




  • In Business
  • 2022-12-07 21:21:24Z
  • By Bloomberg
 

(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration is poised to ban federal buildings from using fossil fuels, adding the government's heft to a growing electrification movement that has natural gas distributors on the defensive.

Most Read from Bloomberg

  • Putin Calls Russian Nukes Deterrent Factor, Says War Risk Rising

  • Peru's President Accused of Coup After Move to Dissolve Congress

  • Musk Spars With San Francisco Over Probe of Bedrooms at Twitter

  • Stock Traders Skittish With Treasury Curve Signals: Markets Wrap

  • Trump Companies Are Convicted in NY Criminal Tax Fraud Trial

All new federal buildings would be required to be fossil-fuel free by 2030 under an Energy Department proposal announced Wednesday. The plan, which also applies to federal buildings that undergo renovation, would start in 2025 by mandating buildings reduce their on-site emissions associated with energy consumption by 90% relative to 2003 levels, the department said.

"Ridding pollution from our buildings and adopting clean electricity are some of the most cost-effective and future-oriented solutions we have to combat climate change," Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement.

The requirement comes amid a thriving climate movement to "electrify everything" that has seen cities from coast-to-coast banning fossil fuels in new buildings that could disrupt natural gas distributors. Montgomery County, Maryland, which has a population of over 1 million people, last week voted to forbid the use of natural gas for heating and cooking in new buildings.

Previous iterations of a mandate, which was attempted without success by the Obama administration, would have completely phased-out the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings. The latest version only applies to onsite consumption such as that used for heating buildings and water.

The proposal was panned by the American Gas Association, which represents utilities such as Dominion Energy Inc. and DTE Energy Co., saying natural gas was more affordable than electricity.

"Eliminating natural gas in federal buildings is an impractical, unscientific and expensive idea that will have no environmental benefit," the group's president, Karen Harbert, said in a statement.

Read more: Carbon-cutting cities plug in to the 'electrify everything' movement

While natural gas, which releases about half as much greenhouse gas as coal, was previously embraced by environmentalists as a bridge to a zero-emissions future, the fuel is now vilified by many greens. Their concerns focus on the fracking process used to produce it and the leaks of methane - a powerful greenhouse gas.

Buildings are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and fossil fuels used in federal buildings account for over 25% of all federal emissions, according to the Energy Department, which estimated the new emission reduction requirements could save $8 million a year. The agency forecasts that the requirements would, over a 30-year period, reduce carbon emissions from federal buildings by 1.86 million metric tons and methane emissions by 22.8 thousand tons - amounts roughly equivalent to the emissions generated by nearly 300,000 homes in one year.

The proposal builds on a broader Biden administration goal of net-zero emissions for all federal buildings by 2045.

In addition to the Energy Department rule, the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced it was setting a new building performance standard that would require federal agencies to reduce electricity usage and electrify appliances and equipment in 30% of their building space by 2030.

(Updates with statement from gas trade group starting in sixth paragraph.)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Airbus Is Coming for Boeing's 737

  • The Viral List That Turned a Yale Professor Into an Enemy of the Russian State

  • The Cult of the Retail Trader Has Fizzled

  • The Club With a 60,000-Woman Waitlist

  • Twitter Under Elon Musk Still Has to Live in Apple's World

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Bull Market Beckons China Stock Traders as Consumption Revs Up
Bull Market Beckons China Stock Traders as Consumption Revs Up

(Bloomberg) -- A four-week rally in Chinese equities is set to culminate in a bull market when trading resumes Monday, as a rebound in consumption galvanizes...

Fed Set to Shrink Rate Hikes Again as Inflation Slows
Fed Set to Shrink Rate Hikes Again as Inflation Slows

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for the New Economy Daily newsletter, follow us @economics and subscribe to our podcast.Most Read from BloombergPension Funds in...

The Bond-Market Comeback of 2023 Is Heading to First Big Test
The Bond-Market Comeback of 2023 Is Heading to First Big Test

(Bloomberg) -- The bond-market's bulls are poised for the first major test of 2023.Most Read from BloombergPension Funds in Historic Surplus Eye $1 Trillion ...

The Fear of Being J. Crewed Is Once Again Roiling Leveraged Loans
The Fear of Being J. Crewed Is Once Again Roiling Leveraged Loans

(Bloomberg) -- It's the notification every lender fears: designation of an unrestricted subsidiary. Most Read from BloombergPension Funds in Historic Surplus...

US, Netherlands and Japan reportedly agree to limit China
US, Netherlands and Japan reportedly agree to limit China's access to chipmaking equipment

The Biden administration has reportedly reached an agreement with the Netherlands and Japan to restrict China's access to advanced chipmaking machinery made ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business