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The Reach Code is needed to reduce methane consumption

From: domainremoved <Tom>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2019 18:04:24 -0700

Dear Council Members,

I read several letter writers sharing their theories on how the electric and gas systems work.
Based on my 40 years experience as an electric and gas utility planner and energy consultant, I hope to shed light on the interaction of:

Reach Codes for new construction, defining what can be built in new buildings ( 2019 code requires electric Heat Pumps as electric resistance heating will not comply with the energy budget )
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) defining what fraction of the annual electric sales supply has to be renewable or carbon free ( 90% for PCE) Adding a new load requires adding more renewables regardless of what time of year any loads exist.
Power Plant Efficiency (about of electricity that can be generated by burning a unit of methane) 50% is very common for the modern fuel weighted mix of fossil power plants.
Heat Pump Efficiency (Amount of heat provided by a unit of electricity) 300% (uses one unit of electric energy to gather 2 more units of energy and deliver all 3 to the home.)
Gas Furnace Efficiency (Amount of heat delivered by burning a unit of methane energy) 80% Uses 5 units of methane combustion energy to deliver 4 units of heat to the home.

To deliver 12 units of heat to a home, a furnace would need to burn 15 units of gas at 80% efficiency

To deliver 12 units of heat to a home, a heat pump needs 4 units of electricity (it gathers 8 units of energy from the air blowing by and delivers all 12 to the home).

The power plant has to generate 4.3 units of electricity to deliver 4 units to run the heat pump. (the Transmission and Distribution system loses about 0.3 = 7% )

Without RPS IF ALL THE POWER WERE SOMEHOW ALLOWED to be fossil fired, the fossil power plant would need 8.6 units of fuel to deliver all the 4.3 units of electricity.

But because of 90% RPS, 3.6 units of electricity have to be supplied by renewables, and up to 0.9 units can be supplied by methane.

So both systems delivered 12 units of home comfort energy.
The gas furnace needed 15 units of gas fuel.
The electric alternative needed less than one unit of gas fuel. The electric case will get even cleaner as the RPS hits 100% in 2 years.

Thank you for wading through this dry math exercise a writer asked for.
I support your strong Reach Code action tonight to demonstrate leadership for many cities to follow.
Strong leadership is the only plausible way to protect Menlo Park from the worst that climate change may deliver.
We need to avoid looting the future from our children.

Tom Kabat
Menlo Park
Received on Tue Sep 10 2019 - 17:56:54 PDT

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