The members of the Renewable Heat Now are working together based on the following policy platform:
In order to meet our state climate goals of at least 40% greenhouse gas reductions below 1990 levels, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from heating our buildings and heating our water by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.
Technologies to achieve these goals are available today, and we cannot afford to wait. We must immediately begin mass conversion away from fossil-fuel heating to renewable-ready heat pumps, such as geothermal and cold climate air-source heat pumps.
The state must create policies and incentives designed to meet these climate goals, including:
- Rebates and incentives for households, businesses, and municipalities that install heat pumps. Rebate and incentive levels should be based on the efficiency of the technology, with the most efficient receiving the highest incentives.
- Additional incentives for low-income households to ensure the transition is equitable and because there are additional social benefits derived from reducing low-income energy burdens and fuel volatility.
- Building codes that eliminate fossil-fuel heating in new construction starting in 2021.
- Reversal of New York’s gas expansion policy, which incentivizes utilities and customers to convert households from fuel oil to gas.
- Accounting for the full global warming potential of methane in cost-benefit analyses and other metrics.
The scale of heat pump adoption needed to meet our climate goals is enormous. Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy estimates we need to convert over 200,000 buildings per year. State policies must reflect this scale and urgency.
The benchmarks and assessments of progress toward the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals must be based on an accurate greenhouse gas inventory, which takes into account the most up to date science on life cycle emissions of all sources, which is currently a 5% leakage rate for natural gas, and a 20-year global warming potential (GWP) of methane.