Project Carbon Freedom seeks to advance equitable, common-sense clean energy policy
Updated: Mar 2, 2021
A cross-industry climate initiative by the U.S. liquid energy and agricultural sectors aims to affordably and equitably decarbonize 5 million homes across the Northeast by transitioning to renewable liquid heating fuel in alignment with state carbon-reduction targets.
A virtual launch of the campaign, Project Carbon Freedom, will be hosted by Eric Slifka, CEO of Global Partners LP, and Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board, March 8, at 1:00 pm Eastern time.
The launch of Project Carbon Freedom, coalition leaders say, will help facilitate advocacy and coordination between heating oil distributors, farmers, domestic biodiesel producers and policy makers from the Northeast and Midwest to chart—as an alternative to forced electrification—an economically, environmentally and socially responsible path to complete decarbonization of the residential heating oil market across New England and New York. This first-of-its-kind initiative brings together the region’s wholesale and retail fuel community, equipment manufacturers, and the agriculture sector to break historical barriers in support of shared climate policy action.
“There is a critical lack of public awareness around several important realities that aren’t addressed by current climate bills calling to electrify home heating across our region,” Slifka said. “Homeowners need to be informed of the substantial costs and inadequate cold-weather performance of electric heat pumps. There is a realistic, renewable solution available today that will reduce their carbon footprint, save thousands of jobs and family businesses, utilize existing infrastructure, and provide an affordable solution for our disenfranchised communities.”
Over the past two decades, the heating oil supply pool has been increasingly cleansed of sulfur and blended with renewable, clean-burning biodiesel to create ultra-low sulfur Bioheat® fuel. Commonly delivered to customers today as 5 to 20 percent bio blends (B5 to B20), some of today’s forward-thinking fuel retailers are delivering blends of up to B40 and B50, which is cleaner and more renewable than both natural gas and electricity. There are heating fuel customers right now whose conversion to electric heat would represent an increase in their carbon footprint.
“Our heating oil partners in the Northeast have worked for years to start the transformation of their industry to bring Bioheat, the cleanest alternative available, to tens of thousands of homes in the region,” Rehagen said. “Bioheat requires zero additional investment by the homeowner and offers a superior, dependable heat, even at the temperatures we have recently been experiencing. Policymakers across the region must now join together to take this transformation to the next level, multiplying the carbon reduction benefits already being realized, across the entire region.”
According to analysis by global management consultancy firm Kearney, a decarbonization plan that increases biodiesel supply to the Northeast, while supporting the ongoing commercialization of complementary advanced biofuels, represents the most realistic and responsible path forward to net-zero home heating.
Additionally, clean energy legislation that includes the deployment of renewable liquid heating fuel:
Supports small businesses and farmers
Utilizes billions of dollars in existing assets, supply chain infrastructure, and a workforce of more than 160,000 liquid heating fuel professionals to deliver a commercially viable advanced biofuel already in use today
Tempers utility costs forecasted to rise due to increased adoption of electric vehicles
Promotes environmental justice, energy security, and jobs in our communities
Reduces GHG emissions immediately, rather than waiting on decarbonization of the power grid
Takes a significant load off the region’s burdened electric grid as it struggles to meet increasing demand with weather-dependent renewables.
“Clean energy policy that puts an elected official in the position of asking a constituent to pay tens of thousands of dollars to increase their carbon footprint is not only counter-productive, but erosive of public trust in government at a time when we should actively be working to restore it,” Slifka said. “There’s a more responsible, equitable path to net-zero home heating that will universally benefit the homeowners, small businesses, and communities our elected officials represent. Project Carbon Freedom looks forward to working with them in earnest to that end.”
Project Carbon Freedom brings together a diverse group of stakeholders to advance clean energy legislation that supports the deployment of renewable liquid heating fuel in order to efficiently, affordably and equitably decarbonize the residential heating sector across the northeastern United States. Through outreach, education and advocacy, Project Carbon Freedom will raise public awareness of the decades-long effort by the liquid heating fuel industry, in partnership with the agricultural sector, to provide homeowners with a renewable heating fuel that’s increasingly clean, safe, and energy efficient, and which represents the most prudent, affordable, and expedient path to complete decarbonization of the residential heating sector.