Is your home heated by natural gas, oil, or electricity? Supplies of oil and gas are at a very low level and will continue to be that way for the rest of 2022. So the cost of heating your home and the use of electricity will be considerably higher based on current trends and increases in the price of oil and natural gas.
This has occurred, partially attributed due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, but mainly because of the reduction and lack of drilling and exploration by all the oil and natural gas companies. The big oil conglomerates had been advised earlier that the new economy going forward would be moving away from fossil fuels to less polluting and energy-efficient, cleaner methods, namely, more solar, wind, maybe hydrogen fuel cells, etc.
These giant suppliers are supposedly planning to convert to new energy sources in the future and away from oil and gas or just not as fast as one would believe. But will this really be accomplished?
Gas is more efficient, less polluting, and still less costly in producing heat when temperatures are above 20 degrees. You also do not have to worry about deliveries or an oil tank either. Your natural gas bill is budgeted and averaged over the 12 months instead of your receiving a huge bill for oil.
Could we go back and revisit nuclear power as a clean energy source? Maybe, if we can build them safely, determine proper and adequate, common sense, and logical evacuation plans as well as ascertain where to permanently store the spent fuel cells and other radioactive materials after five years of use. Then our energy needs could most definitely be satisfied.
But the space needed to safely store the radioactive material is far less than one hour of coal waste products and from what I have read, it is still somewhat safer than using coal for our energy needs. However, there are several studies both pro and con against the use of nuclear power. Europe is able to successfully use this form of energy safely with fewer deaths than the usage of coal-fired plants, according to several studies comparing the two as per an article done by William Marshall for Stanford University on March 16, 2019. (large.standfor.edu/couses/2019/PH241/marshall2/).
France has successfully mastered its energy needs with 80% of its electricity being produced through its safe and less costly nuclear power. So why can’t we?
Looking back, after years of costly increases and cost overruns, the Shoreham Nuclear Power plant, which was supposedly going to provide cheap electricity, was decommissioned on May 1, 1989, and fully decommissioned in 1994, over safety concerns and the lack of consensus on a viable evacuation plan. We have the technology, but are we that lame and incapable of building and maintaining a safe and secure nuclear power plant in the future?
For now, I guess so!
GM says it will no longer produce gas engines by 2035, converting its production to all-electric EVs. But the real question will be how will that electric to charge and create your EV batteries be produced and from what source, oil, gas, solar, wind, etc.? To me, right now hybrids are the best choice for transportation since the electric motor is accompanied by a small gas engine that assists in charging the EV battery without plugging it into re-charge overnight. Gasoline usage is cut drastically as you are generally running on the electric motor.
So for now, we will all be using natural gas, oil, or whatever form of energy that you may have to create your heat. Some may even have or purchase a wood-burning stove to heat their homes. (I had one back in the late ’70s which kept our home toasty warm during the winter, using less than 275 gallons of oil). But I now know pollution was still created by burning wood, but financially it was my best route to take at the time.
How are all our electricity and heating fuel needs going to be produced in the future? With less availability of oil and natural gas and no end in sight due to the lack of drilling and the creation of new supplies, price stability going forward will be jeopardized. Prices will be considerably higher and you have to be prepared in advance financially as well as be proactive in how you handle your individual situations.
Whatever source you may currently have and the type of heating unit, I would suggest that you check out its efficiency ASAP, so your heating dollars will go as far as possible before your next bill. The value of your home will benefit greatly from an efficient heating unit.
Consider keeping your thermostats as low as possible, (I keep mine around 60 degrees and its setback to 55 at night), and wear a sweater or two during the day. The north side of your home is the coldest area, so if you have any water pipes there, either keep the heat on enough to keep them from freezing or you can purchase 24V wire that wraps around the pipe to keep them from breaking during the winter. I have an outside pipe that is wrapped with that wire and I have had complete success with no breakage.
So be smart and be proactive and check out your heating system’s efficiency today or suffer the consequences of much higher bills this winter.