MEA is Matanuska Electric Association (Another Touchstone COOP, as is Golden Valley Electric. At least MEA Was a Touchstone Coop. I just checked Touchstones' website and MEA is listed as included as a Touchstone Coop Maybe there is news that I m not aware of) (Oh, if you want some entertainment, look at the golden parachutes that recently fired execs at MEA were given, over $600,000 each)
Since MEA, GVE and others in AK have recently signed agreements for a Smart Grid, perhaps we shall see some efficiencies of scale and the price per KW will decrease. As you know, even though we are in the largest state of the Union, our energy companies counted all together do not measure up to the big ones in the lower 48.
Currently there is an off peak tariff (which requires Off Peak Thermal Storage). The tariff is roughly just less than $.08 cents KW, but the utility wants to phase it out soon, as in 2011. The off peak rate is little advertised and MEA is said to want to discontinue it as there are not enough customers using it
Consider going to the RCA and review the issue if you are in the MEA area, folks.
So, depending on where you live and what incentives there are for your various fuels, well, it depends, but electric heat can work, numbers wise.
So, back to the thread: I would still compare Fuels.
My MEA bill electric rate after the facility charge and regulatory charges is $0.139
For me, within the driving distance to Healy, with my old slope rig one ton and my 5 ton trailer, maybe I could get back home with 9 tons if the dispatcher will overload me
(OK maybe not): Coal is not a bad deal to buy it. But it requires a lot of capital costs to get setup...and yes, our coal at Healy has a relatively lower BTU/Ton.
I think even using resistance heating in the slab works out numbers wise, compared to #1 Diesel, or Propane, if the rate per KW is low enough. Radiant in floor heated, wood-fired and radiant in floor can work, but I would be aware of another capital intensive deal. It would take the right equipment. It just isn't possible to heat up enough water with a 'parlor' stove. I have a coil in my wood stove and it helps heat my domestic water just a little bit
For in floor heat, You could do something like the Romans did with their baths. Have you seen hypocasts? That is creative. We do not usually do things like that around here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocaust
(Another capital intensive deal
I am seeing a nice ground source heat pump,heating up my infloor radiant heat. But geothermal ground source heat pumps may not work efficiently where you are, unless you have warmer soil temps. my latitude is 61 What are your ground temps at your location.
If I went to coal, I think I would have a huge water storage, a gassifer in a separate building and covered, easily accessible outdoor coal shed with feed to the boiler, Electrostatic Precipitator, and in floor heat (don't forget the underslab insulation)...