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July 18, 2019


Up on Summit Drive

It's not ridiculous, it's related to the damage that leaking natural gas causes for the atmosphere. Natural gas is approximately 84 times more powerful for global warming than carbon dioxide, and Berkeley is looking ahead at the trends. Other municipalities are also pursuing this approach. Feel free to continue the fine tradition of provincial, I-got-mine NIMBYism in Burlingame, and most especially on this rantblog of 'no new housing' & 'get off my lawn' posts. Some others in the Bay Area will deal with change and progress, and Burlingame can mooch off those efforts later.

Paloma Ave

Talk about sticking it to the consumer. Natural gas is much more affordable than electricity.

And who is the nimrod living up on Summit Dr.? If you don't like living in one of the best spots in the world, then you and Cornell can leave (why don't you both move over to Berkeley).

Up Yours on Summit Drive

Right on, Paloma. He's some clown up in the hills who doesn't have to deal with people parking on his street and going to the airport for a 3 day trip or Uber drivers sitting on the street smoking all day long. Nobody is building a big apartment building next to his house. He don't have to say 'get off my lawn' because nobody ever walks on his lawn or even drives down his street. He don't smell 101 or burning jet fuel from SFO. He's just some Green Raw Deal limousine liberal with less sense than he was born with. FO.


I suppose you were wearing your MAGA hat while writing this message.


It looks like we have worked out the "Comments are closed" issue- at least for now.

hollyroller, from past comments I figured you have your MAGA hat on all the time :-)
Now back to the topic at hand. I was a couple days ahead of the Wall Street Journal on the Berkeley ban. Here is a bit of what they had to say yesterday:

Berkeley claims in its ordinance that “all-electric heating technologies are cost-competitive substitutes to their natural gas counterparts.” If that’s true in California it is only because the state’s climate regulations have increased the cost of fossil fuels. Electric heaters are generally less expensive than gas furnaces, but in most places gas is less expensive than electricity. Residential natural gas prices have risen 16% in California over the last five years while falling 8% on average nationwide.

Electricity prices statewide have also increased 20% since 2014 due in part to increased reliance on solar and wind and are set to rise even higher as the state weans itself from fossil fuels.
In a related article also from yesterday's WSJ we learn:

Now look at solar and wind. In 2018, according to BP, all U.S. solar projects produced about 441,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. The increase in oil and gas production from 2014 to today in the Permian (i.e. West Texas and parts of New Mexico) alone is equal to about nine times the output of every solar project in the U.S.

Add production from all the other shale plays—including the Haynesville, Utica and Marcellus—and total U.S. oil and gas production since 2014 has jumped by about 5.7 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. That means that over the past half-decade alone U.S. oil and gas production has increased by roughly 13 times the total output of all domestic solar projects and more than four times the total output of every wind turbine in the country.
Bottom Line: If you really want affordability and reliability, you want natural gas to be allowed to exist. Period.


I believe the cost of climate change and sea level rise (tidal gate under the Golden Gate anyone?) will overwhelm any short-term cost savings in using methane instead of non-carbon-generated power.

I hope I'm wrong, but the current trends are indicating I'm not.


Thank you for your comment. However, I do not what your point is.
Was it about the MAGA Hat?


Paloma Ave

Holy roller - please proof read your posts so that we can understand what you are trying to say.


Sorry, and thank you for your advice.

Barking Dog

Well said Paloma Ave and Up Yours On Summit Drive...


There are a couple of fun Letters to the Editor of the WSJ. Here is one:

Regarding Richard Golomb’s July 29 letter responding to your editorial “Berkeley Bans Natural Gas” (July 22): Converting building heating to renewable electric is a substantial problem. In both the Mid-Atlantic and the Upper Midwest, heating energy used by buildings is about 60% of the total energy use there, while in New England, buildings use about 64% of the total energy for heating. In the coldest weather the percentage of energy used for heat increases. On a peak New England heating day, the combined oil and gas heat would be equivalent to about 76,000 megawatts.

In January 2018, the peak New England power load was about 18,000 megawatts, so heating would be about 4.25 times total electric production, while the electricity use includes more than heat. Using heat pumps instead would reduce this by a factor of 2.3 on a cold winter day, so that the peak heating demand would be only 33,000 megawatts, 1.8 times the present total winter electric load.

A new load of about twice the existing load would be added to the entire electric system, just for heating, tripling the load on the electric system. Not only would new renewable generation have to be added, but the capacity of the entire transmission and distribution system would have to triple, all the way from the renewable energy generators to each house.

Not all parts of the country would require such a drastic expansion of the electric system for renewable heat, but most parts would need some expansion. These grim numbers should motivate a search for alternative ways to decarbonize building heating.

Robert W. Timmerman, PE, CEM


Sign Me Up

Can you believe Menlo Park is thinking about doing this too? It's nuts. On one hand they want housing to be affordable then they turn around and make housing more expensive.


Follow along with these excerpts from today's WSJ article and think about the "complacency" it mentions as you ponder Berkeley and Menlo Park taking away the most reliable energy source we have (U.S. natural gas) from new construction:

Saturday’s attack on a critical Saudi oil facility will almost certainly rock the world energy market in the short term, but it also carries disturbing long-term implications. The Wall Street Journal reported that five million barrels a day of output, or some 5% of world supply, would be taken offline as a result.

While the outage may not last long given redundancies in Saudi oil infrastructure, the attack may build in a premium to oil prices that has long been absent due to COMPLACENCY.

U.S. shale production may have upended the world energy market with nimble output, but the market’s reaction time is several months, not days or weeks, and nowhere near enough to replace several million barrels.


I very seldom post the same comment on more than one thread, but I put this on the Lot Y electric vehicle post and also here with some added commentary from the Chronicle today:

The Daily Journal has a "Thought for the Day" on page 2 as do a lot of smaller papers around the country. I happen to get it in email from my hometown paper in Massachusetts as well. Today's thought brought to mind the climate change-coal-natural gas-oil-electric car discussion:

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” — LAURENCE J. PETER, Canadian writer (born this date in 1919, died 1990)

And from the Chronicle, a rare bit of complete reporting:

The state does not include every source of gases that contribute to climate change when measuring its progress against the 2020 goal of 431 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — or its even more ambitious 2030 target.

Significantly, California does not factor in emissions from wildfires, even though trees release carbon dioxide when they burn and people often provide the first spark. Out-of-state and international air travel is another area that is excluded, according to the California Air Resources Board.

But the numbers left out of the state’s calculations are staggering. Last year alone, WILDFIRES released 45.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air, according to state estimates. That’s MORE THAN HALF as much as the state’s industrial sector emits in a typical year.

If California factored wildfire estimates into its final count for 2017, the last year the state tallied all of its greenhouse gas emissions, the state would have seen OVERALL EMISSIONS RISE, not fall.
So the natural reaction to the giant emissions left out of the tabulation? Ban gas stoves........


Since this post in July, Menlo Park has followed Berkeley down the rabbit hole and things are stirring in Palo Alto to do the same. That drove a great letter to the Post yesterday:

"Virtuous city council members who have voted to ban natural gas in new construction should have the gas service in their homes to their homes shut off. As proof of compliance, I expect each of them to publish their utility bill every month showing no gas used."

Stuart Eichert
Mountain View
Very well put, Stuart. Goose meet gander.


...and I posted the letter to the Post before reading today's DJ:

During a discussion of reach codes Monday, Nov. 4, the Burlingame City Council shared a variety of reservations with the potential unintended consequences associated with the effort ostensibly designed to limit dependency on fossil fuels.

While no decision was made during the study session, councilmembers signaled they supported the intent of the initiative but would not consider taking action without more thoroughly examining the potential policy.

“I think there is a lot of uncertainty here,” said Councilwoman Ann Keighran, capturing the perspective of most councilmembers who were uncomfortable moving full speed ahead on a gas restriction.

Mayor Donna Colson expressed a similar sentiment.


A separate letter to yesterday's Post on the topic also noted that "and electric stoves are basically glorified hot plates".


From today's WSJ plus MY COMMENT:

No matter how Americans heat their homes, they’re probably paying less this year than last to stay warm. (EXCEPT CALIFORNIANS STUCK IN CITIES WITH STUPID CITY COUNCILS WHO TALK ABOUT AFFORDABILITY BUT DO THE OPPOSITE) Natural gas prices are 30% below where they traded a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average price for residential propane is 22% less than last year and heating oil is down 11%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Lower prices now, on the cusp of heating season—when prices should be rising as furnaces switch on—show how the glutted energy markets that threaten oil and gas producers are benefiting U.S. households.


In the "Totally predictable and likely to win the case" file:

The California Restaurant Association sued Berkeley over the city’s natural gas ban on Thursday, arguing it violates existing law and would hurt businesses. The association, which said it represents around a quarter of restaurants in the city, wants to halt the ban before it goes into effect in January.

The association said Berkeley’s ordinance violates the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act by favoring one type of energy over another, and argued Berkeley doesn’t have the authority to impose the ban.

Hopefully more city councils will note this and avoid unnecessary legal expenses that come with being added to this suit.

Barking Dog

The craziness of this has arrived on our doorstep.


Thanks you Ms Colson and Ms Keighran for using common sense with your vote.

Brownrigg just lost another point for me asking him to vote for him to represent Burlingame residents in the State Senate.

Barking Dog

The letter that Joe posted above from Stuart Eichert hits the nail on the head.

Mr Brownrigg, does your newly refurbished home in Burlingame comply to what you are are seeking? Or your rental property(ies)?


That would be true leadership--before you vote, take out your gas line. Great idea, Barking Dog.


Here's the DJ piece on Tuesday's study session:

While some Peninsula cities have been swift to get on board with the mounting movement to ban natural gas in new construction projects, Burlingame officials took a more measured approach to dampening the flame.

During a discussion of reach codes Monday, Nov. 4, the Burlingame City Council shared a variety of reservations with the potential unintended consequences associated with the effort ostensibly designed to limit dependency on fossil fuels.


Oddly, the hardcopy version of the article noted Beach, Brownrigg and Ortiz "supported the ban but Keighran and Colson maintained reservations". Wonder why the on-line version is less specific?


Seriously Folks?
I am sure Putin is backing Brownrigg too.


We have a little spurt of sense at the federal level making the news today. The question is will Sacramento, Beserkely and B'game follow suit?

Gas stoves can keep high-powered burners, oversize cast-iron grates and other features under new energy-efficiency standards completed Monday by the Energy Department.

The final rules, which reflect a September agreement between the appliance industry and environmental and consumer groups, turn down the heat on a debate industry critics said would have forced nearly all gas-stove models on the market to be redesigned, though the department and some environmental advocates disputed that.

The Energy Department said the final rules mean that 97% of today’s gas stoves already meet the new efficiency standards, though 23% of smooth top electric stoves fall short. Andrew DeLaski of the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which advocates for energy efficiency, said the rules would ensure that those electric stoves won’t waste energy when they aren’t operating.
That last bit is funny/sad! 23% of smooth top ELECTRIC stoves aren't cutting it!


Get out of my kitchen Burlingame Council.

Let’s vote in some small-government folks.

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