From Science Matters
By Ron Clutz
Mark Krebs exposes federal shenanigans in their war on home appliances in his Master Resource article Update: DOE Appliance Minimum Efficiency Standards. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and added images.
“It started with gas cooking. It will end with getting gas out of homes and business entirely, If they can. Basically, what we’re witnessing is the energy equivalent of ethnic cleansing. I’ve been saying this for years but now it should be obvious.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under the Biden Administration has significantly accelerated the pace of minimum appliance efficiency rulemaking. With this acceleration, there has been a marked decrease in DOE’s analytical quality and transparency. The purpose of this update is to summarize:
- Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Conventional Cooking Products
2. Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Products; Boilers
3. Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Water Heaters
Note: In DOE-speak, the term ‘consumer’ means non commercial/industrial, or just residential.
Part 1: Consumer Cooking Products
On April 27, 2023, MasterResource published DOE vs. Gas Cooking: A Review of Critical Comments. On August 2, 2023, DOE reopened the docket with a “Notification of data availability and request for comment (NODA) with comments due September 1. More than 100 comments were filed.
Some commenters viewed the NODA and relatively short (30-day) comment period as a violation to the Administrative Procedures Act codified by 5 U.S.C. § 551(5)–(7) and the DOE’s “process rule” codified by 10 CFR 430 Appendix A to Subpart C. One such commenter making this case was the Institute for Energy Research (IER).
Other comments privided detailed content in opposition of DOE’s proposal for consumer cooking products. My comments addressed what has changed since DOE determined (in 2019) that additional efficiency mandates for gas cooking appliances is not justified. In short, Biden happened. With that change, DOE resorted to a longstanding bias that any amount of net positive cash flow (greater than zero) on average was sufficient economic justification. I cited AHAM’s press release “Gas Cooking Appliances Remain at Risk Despite New DOE Data” for this NODA that succinctly justified what that amount now is:
“The revised data reduces consumer savings to just 9 cents per month.”
I contend no one would freely elect to invest in anything with that kind of return-on-investment (ROI). Additionally, 9 cents per month is far less than the uncertainty range within DOE’s economic calculations. Besides, DOE’s economic calculations typically low-ball increased maintenance costs and over-inflate fuel costs (among many other biased input assumptions).
What else has changed is that DOE cost-effectiveness now includes highly controversial benefits from reduced climate change allowed by grossly inflated social cost of carbon (SCC) avoidance and health benefits from improved indoor air quality (IAQ).
Part 2: Consumer Boilers
On September 12, 2023, DOE held a public webinar to go over its proposal for increased minimum efficiencies for residential boilers. A 59-page slide deck for that meeting is here. (If you have never read one of these slide decks, I urge you to do so. It’s a relatively painless way of getting familiar with the ‘administrative state’ going about its business of picking winners and losers.)
There were many participants representing manufacturing interests that would be adversely impacted by DOE’s proposal, and they were quite vocal about it (in a professional way of course). But why would manufacturers want to litigate? DOE would put some of them out of business.
DOE has been (ostensibly) ‘improving’ appliance efficiency for nearly a half-century. The low hanging fruit is long gone. In many cases, DOE is doing more harm than good and using unfair tactics to maintain control and reward its minions. What we have now is relentless self-serving “mission creep” of the administrative state and its “useful idiots” that forces consumers to fund the erosion of viable energy alternatives. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is greatly aiding and abetting this forced transformation away from free market forces.
DOE doesn’t care what it costs to litigate. After all, DOE has the backing of the Department of Justice for such matters. In my opinion, DOE has strayed too far from any redeeming virtue that may have originally existed from the 1975 passage of EPCA. It’s past time for Congress clean up the mess it created by enacting EPCA and the numerous ambiguous loopholes that gives undeserved deference to the administrative state to interpret. A valid question is whether EPCA (and DOE for that matter) should be salvaged or scrapped.
Biden’s DOE wants to eliminate alternatives to electricity.
This fixation became apparent to all with their planned elimination of gas cooking and ran head-on with consumers that hold gas cooking near-and-dear. Consumer preferences for gas cooking was and is a major obstacle to control via societal electrification overall. As this article hopefully conveys, it started with gas cooking. It will end with getting gas out of homes and business entirely, If they can.
The Department of Energy (DOE) quietly promoted a top adviser to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to a senior role overseeing home appliance regulations after he failed to clear Senate confirmation.
The DOE announced last week that Jeff Marootian was appointed to be the principal deputy assistant secretary of the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). The appointment came days after the White House withdrew his name from consideration to lead EERE as the office’s assistant secretary.
While Marootian’s nomination failed after Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., opposed him over the Biden administration’s crackdown on natural gas-powered stovetops, his appointment last week makes him the effective chief of the DOE’s EERE office.