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Articles by Alison F. Takemura, Canary Media

Alison F. Takemura is staff writer at Canary Media. She untangles thorny concepts in the clean energy revolution to make it something everyone can understand and embrace.

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This story was originally published by Canary Media.

You might consider heat pumps to be a tantalizing climate solution (they are) and one you could adopt yourself (plenty have). But perhaps you’ve held off on getting one, wondering how much of a difference they really make if a dirty grid is supplying the electricity you’re using to power them — that is, a grid whose electricity is generated at least in part by fossil gas, coal, or oil.

That’s certainly the case for most U.S. households: While the grid mix is improving, it’s still far from clean. In 2023, renewable energy sources provided just 21 percent of U.S. electricity generation, with carbon-free nuclear energy coming in at 19 percent. The other 60 percent of power came from burning fossil fuels.

So do electric heat pumps really lower emissions if they run on dirty grid power?

The answer is an emphatic yes. Even on a carbon-heavy diet, heat pumps eliminate tons... Read more

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