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Biden’s Green Policies Will Leave People Freezing This Winter

Joe Biden and his EPA’s push for electric heat pumps will be an even bigger fail than their push for electric vehicles.

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Although Biden’s various electric vehicle (EV) mandates and subsidies tend to get more press than his other half-brained attempts to reduce carbon dioxide, the administration’s push for electric heat pumps could prove to be even more of a disaster.

Heat pumps are a novel innovation for electric heat that are presented as innocuous but are arguably the most ill-advised of consumer products. In addition to concerns about cost, functionality, net pollution, and disposal, the elephant in the heat pump living room is grid dependency. If the electric grid fails even temporarily, homeowners in cold regions reliant solely on electric heat face life-threatening consequences. Consumers may want to hold off disconnecting their woodstoves in blind trust of such a fragile technological reed.

Heat pumps are extolled as climate-saving alternatives to traditional energy sources such as gas, oil, and firewood. The Biden administration announced $169 million of manufacturing subsidies for heat pumps as part of his “Investing in America” agenda, which his National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi claimed was “using his wartime emergency powers under the Defense Production Act to turbocharge U.S. manufacturing of clean technologies to strengthen our energy security…”

Americans are justified in seeing that they are the targets in Biden’s war, using EPA regulations to compel EVs over gas-powered vehicles, and unfairly “turbocharging” (favoring) an elitist industry that itself is drawing ever more energy from the grid, does not deliver on “clean” promises, and cannot compete in the free market even after subsidies and regulatory favoritism. But the biggest lie by Zaidi and the administration is that heat pumps will “strengthen our energy security.” 

Electric heat has not historically managed to compete with fossil fuels on cost, but heat pump efficiencies are touted as game-changing. Yet even if all the claimed benefits of these new supposedly salvific gadgets were true, there are glaring hazards that go uncritically challenged. The greatest of these is grid dependency.

Heat pumps may be terrific for areas of the country that rarely see freezing temperatures. (This is true also for EVs, which in deep freezes pose serious problems not faced by their California Dreamin’ cousins.) An efficient supplemental heat source in a house, barn, or garage in Kentucky or Tennessee, where temperatures do not often dip to sub-zero threats, let alone over sustained periods, may be a wise and efficient upgrade. Most northern U.S. regions, in contrast, annually battle that ancient enemy: Old Man Winter. For centuries, people have chopped and dried wood in anticipation of that often-grueling combat, only recently augmented by oil furnaces or gas heaters.

But even oil and gas heat can usually be kept running when the grid goes down, for homeowners equipped with a modest (gas-powered) generator. If not, pipes can freeze and cause extensive damage; cold children get sick; and old, sick, and isolated people freeze to death. Businesses cannot operate to provide goods or services.

Pushing heat pumps without such backup threatens future disaster. The exponential demands being placed on the nation’s electric distribution system by data processing centers and AI are already straining a grid weakened by climate policies that undermine routine maintenance of transmission lines. New manufacturing facilities to assemble heat pumps, solar panels, and EVs add to that camel’s back burden. The drastic push for yet more EVs (and EV truck and bus fleets) slurping energy will steadily increase infrastructure fragility.

This creates a climate of vulnerability as novel as these new technologies. Trusting technology above local reliance is a high-stakes gamble for millions of rural Americans living in winter climes.

Vermont received $58.5 million for Home Energy Rebates under the Inflation Reduction Act. The State’s Department of Public Service announced:

The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program will provide point-of-sale rebates to low- and moderate-income households for a variety of electric technologies, including heat pumps for space heating and cooling, heat pump water heaters, electric stoves and ovens, and electric service upgrades. Eligible households will be able to receive up to $14,000 for installing energy efficient electric equipment, including up to $8,000 for heat pumps, $1,750 for heat pump water heaters, and $840 for electric stoves.

These are expensive upgrades, despite substantial subsidies. More costly yet may be the resultant dependency which places many low- and moderate-income households at unprecedented risk of property damage or death when (not “if”) the lights go out. According to the messaging of climate alarmism that claims every cold snap, heat wave, wildfire, or flood is the direct consequence of climate change, this plan seeds disaster. Americans are told they should brace for ever more storms, blizzards, and extreme weather events, which threaten to disrupt the power supplies to the expensive technologies that are supposed to save them from … more storms, blizzards, and extreme weather events.

Vermonters routinely face sustained, brutal temperatures and blackouts that can last for days. Historically, Green Mountain woodchucks have sawed wood against that threat: They might lose TV in a winter blast, but they were always warm. Even in days before insulation and chain saws, hard Yankee muscle work ensured the family would always be warm.

Self-reliance is abandoned if this independence is displaced by government-subsidized techno-dependency. Human mitochondria generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), employed by the body to push and pull a bucksaw, swing an axe, haul and store wood, and feed a woodstove. ATP is a form of chemical energy naturally available at hand, without any need for fossil fuels (or grid energy) of any kind.

EVs won’t go far with a dead grid, either. At least an old pickup and a jug of gas keep chugging when three feet of snow (and temperatures) fall. An entire grid-dependent fantasy is being regressively implemented.

Is this hazardous dependency the consequence of a lack of foresight or a planned enslavement? It doesn’t really matter. The outcome is the same. Americans are being force-fed untested boondoggle products like imprisoned geese, paid for with their own tax dollars, using “wartime” powers never intended to compromise free markets or individual freedoms. All this under the snake oil clarion of “strengthening energy security.” As for me and my house, we will keep our woodstove and a sharp axe.


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