In a heating transformation study presented to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, economists at The Brattle Group examine potential solutions that can transform Rhode Island’s heating sector as part of the state’s commitment to economy-wide decarbonization. While it is not yet clear which specific pathway will best provide decarbonized heat, substantial progress can be made in the next decade to replace the fossil fuels – natural gas, heating oil, and propane – that the state currently uses for heating.
The report finds that cost-effective energy efficiency retrofits will reduce both emissions and costs to consumers, but cannot eliminate the need for heat in hundreds of thousands of existing buildings in the state. Thus, some combination of the decarbonized heat alternatives – electrification with heat pumps or decarbonized fuels – will also need to be adopted in virtually all of Rhode Island’s buildings.
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