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An Electrified Future?

Arthur Marin, executive director of the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), sketched out scenarios for an energy future in the region, including one that focused primarily on electrification of heating. It would feature air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps, Marin says. Referring to “the burgeoning air-source heat pump industry,” Marin notes, “Many of the major companies that are putting this technology in place are traditional heating oil companies. Obviously, it’s not the same kind of service opportunity that heating oil provides, but in terms of installations we see heating oil companies have the contacts, the credibility with consumers. So, if consumers want to put an air-source heat pump in they’re likely to go to their oil heat dealer because they know those folks.”

“Positive messaging” for the heating oil industry, Marin says, includes this: “We see natural gas as a bridge fuel. I know it’s been the primary competitor for heating oil. In some ways, we project that there should not be a lot more transitioning to natural gas heat if we’re to meet our climate goals.”

Marin spoke at the Southern New England Energy Conference in Newport, R.I., in September, and later summarized his remarks in a telephone interview with Fuel Oil News. Marin says, “Every industry sector—from electricity generation to transportation to buildings—is going to have to change dramatically.” Reducing GHG emissions, he says, “is going to affect all industries, and the heating oil industry is no different. It really comes down to what vision does this industry have for itself and how does it transform in a way that allows it to capture new and emerging markets for heating.”

NESCAUM, based in Boston, is a nonprofit association of air quality agencies in the Northeast. Its board of directors consists of the air directors of the New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and of New Jersey and New York. The association’s purpose is to provide scientific, technical, analytical, and policy support to the air quality programs of its member states, helping them implement national environmental programs required under the Clean Air Act and other federal legislation.—Stephen Bennett


Stephen Bennett is the editor of Fuel Oil News.

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