Increase in electric heating helped trigger Christmas blackouts in Southern states, will it be worse in Minnesota?

Bloomberg reports that an increase in electric heating in Southern states over the last ten years was a key factor in why power companies could not keep up with electricity demand over the Christmas holidays.

Minnesota policymakers would be wise to learn from this event because climate groups in our state want to “electrify everything,” which includes converting homes that use natural gas furnaces for home heating to electric heat.

Such a move would be a massive shift in our energy consumption. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 66 percent of Minnesota families used natural gas for home heating, 18 percent used electricity, 10.8 percent used propane, and 4.2 used wood or some other form of energy for heat.

EIA data show Minnesota households used 130,583 million cubic feet of natural gas in 2021. To compare this to the energy output of electricity, we will convert the cubic feet to British Thermal Units (BTUs).

This comes out to about 134 trillion BTUs. Now, its time to convert the 23 million megawatt hours of electricity that was sold to residential customers in 2021 to a heat energy rating, which comes out to 79 trillion BTUs.

This means that the energy used for residential heating exceeds the total amount of electricity usage in Minnesota households for all of our electricity needs (i.e. lighting, refrigeration, entertainment etc.) by a factor of 1.69.

Producing the additional electricity needed to replace gas furnaces will require an enormous buildout of new power plant capacity to meet this new demand, but renewable energy special interest groups want to shut down our coal plants as soon as possible and they don’t want to allow Minnesota to replace them with natural gas plants.

This means electrifying home heating would generate an enormous increase in electricity demand while green groups simultaneously push to constrain supply.

The Green Group Blackouts will soon be headed to a theater near you.