We appreciate Hearst Connecticut Media’s thorough coverage of the Connecticut State Legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee forum earlier this month regarding our regional electricity grid facing possible planned blackouts during extremely cold weather. During the hearing, Gordon van Welie, president and chief executive officer of ISO-New England sounded the alarm, saying, “We’re running way to close to the edge.”

While this is may be breaking news for many, we have actually been sounding the alarm on this for years. We are glad policy makers and state leaders are heeding the warning and examining possible solutions to keep the lights on for Connecticut energy consumers who deserve reliable electricity, especially during cold winter months.

One of those solutions that came up during the forum from Welie would be to buy more heating oil. Heating oil and natural gas power most of the electricity in the region. However, government-led initiatives to take carbon emissions out the environment and steer the electricity grid away from oil has put our lives and economy on shaky ground.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We are part of the solution in more ways than one. Most heating oil used today is comprised of a green liquid fuel made right in New Haven. It’s called Bioheat Fuel and it takes things like bacon and french-fry grease and turns it into fuel to heat your home. It’s a blend of biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur heating oil, and is measurably safer, and better for the environment, because it comes from resources like soybeans or restaurant grease.

This new, renewable fuel is inside your oil storage tank right now and is some of the cleanest, greenest heating fuel in the whole country. As of July 1, a new state law will require all oil heat customers in Connecticut — that’s half of the homes in the state — to lower their carbon footprint. They will do this with Bioheat Fuel. We are confident our fuel is the cleanest available fuel that homeowners can use without having to spend their hard-earned money on electric heat pumps, which will only lead to more problems maxing out our fragile electricity grid.

On February 17, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will hold the first public hearing regarding its new Comprehensive Energy Strategy for 2022.

For the first time in a decade of various versions of CES, local family-owned fuel companies are part of the plan.

While the overall theme of the new CES will most likely look at putting more electric heat pumps in homes and businesses, and more electric vehicles on the roadways by building more EV charging stations, it also calls for a greenhouse gas accounting project for biodiesel, which is a big win for the environment and homeowners.

No only did we want this, we asked for it.

We asked for this new greenhouse gas accounting of biodiesel so we can demonstrate how it will give DEEP a bigger bang for its buck in terms of complying with The Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. All the data suggests that we are the best fuel available from an emissions standpoint, making it a less expensive option than wind- and solar-generated electricity.

The way things stand now, electricity is not a clean energy. The ISO-New England grid mix recently showed that natural gas is anywhere from 40 percent to 50 percent of the electric grid, oil 20 percent and coal 16 percent. From a climate perspective, electricity in Connecticut is not a zero-emissions fuel, but DEEP wants people to close their eyes and believe that electric vehicles and heat pumps are zero emissions — when the truth is, we are not even close to that.

This is why we are the hero in this story because we have the low-carbon liquid fuel option available today at no added cost to consumers. We can cut carbon emissions today and it doesn’t require restructuring the electric grid or building windmills in the Sound. We can start lowering emissions today; in fact, we already are.

Not only that, we are currently working on creating a new, renewable fuel that will lower emissions by 80 percent or more in the future. Green liquid heating fuel is paving the way of the future and it’s made right here in Connecticut creating jobs, and helping the economic growth of our state.

We look forward to talking more with DEEP and state lawmakers about the benefits of Bioheat Fuel over the next few months.

Chris Herb is president and CEO of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association.

opinion editorial published by Hearst Media