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The New York City Council is poised to vote on Wednesday to prohibit natural gas from being used in new buildings, following in the footsteps of dozens of other smaller American towns looking to transition away from fossil fuels and toward greener energy sources.
If the rule is passed, new buildings in the 8.8 million-strong city, which is the largest in the United States, will be required to utilize electricity for heating and cooking.
In the short run, the new regulation will do little to reduce carbon emissions in New York (NASDAQ: AAPL), as many older buildings will be unaffected, and new ones will utilize fossil-fuel-generated power nonetheless.
Longer term, however, the state intends to phase out the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy. The law would apply to new structures that are less than seven stories tall before the end of 2023 and those that are more than seven storeys tall by the end of 2027.
The most populous U.S. city that has banned natural gas in new buildings is San Jose, California, which has a population of about 1 million people.
Carbon emissions from fossil fuels in the United States fell to their lowest level since 1983 in 2020, but were predicted to grow by around 7% in 2021 as power providers burned more coal to generate electricity due to a steep spike in natural gas prices.
Buildings that use electricity for heat may face greater costs than those that use natural gas as a source of heat as a result of New York’s decision.
The average household in the Northeast of the United States will pay $1,538 to heat their home with electricity this winter, compared to $865 for natural gas.
“Using gas to produce power and then subsequently heat buildings is less efficient than using gas for heating directly,” analysts at energy consultancy EBW Analytics Group said.
Story by : Norvisi Mawunyegah