Directory of our member GeoExchange contractors, drilling contractors, ground loop installers, engineers, designers, distributors, architects, builders, utilities, training, financing, software and suppliers.
The Illinois General Assembly has passed language sponsored by the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) that removes impediments to the promotion and financing of geothermal heat pump (GHP) installations within the state.
SB 1603 was amended in the Illinois House of Representatives to include GEO-crafted language, followed by approval of the full Senate on May 30.
Prior law inadvertently prevented Illinois investor-owned utilities (IOUs) from promoting the use of GHPs under the state's existing Energy Efficient Portfolio Standard, and also prevented the Illinois Finance Authority from financing a building with GHPs.
"The GEO language had to amend three separate existing statutes," explained GEO President and CEO Douglas A. Dougherty, "including the Illinois Finance Authority Act, the Illinois Power Agency Act and the Public Utilities Act (PUA)."
The reason for having to amend all three statutes is complex, but was basically an effort to straighten out prior definitions of "energy efficient" by tying the term to reductions in the use of thermal energy.
With passage of SB 1603, all three Acts will now use a common definition: Energy Efficiency also includes measures that reduce the total Btus of electricity and natural gas needed to meet the end use or uses.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill, especially considering GEO's work with his staff and their support of the legislation.
"The new definition will encompass GHPs for the first time in Illinois," said Dougherty. "GHPs will be recognized as being an energy efficient technology, and IOUs will be able to promote them with financial reimbursement from a fund for such purposes under the state's Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard. And the Illinois Finance Authority will be empowered to issue bonds for energy efficient projects that incorporate GHPs for heating and cooling."
The text of the bill can be found here.
Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) President and CEO Doug Dougherty recently spent several days "On the Hill" in Washington D.C. with the GEO advocacy team, meeting with key congressional staff to ensure that geothermal heat pump (GHP) technology will finally be included in the federal definition of clean energy.
Senate Bill 761 would do just that. Introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), the legislation seeks to improve energy efficiency in commercial buildings, the manufacturing sector and by the federal government. Among other things, the bill promotes a number of energy efficiency and renewable initiatives, and defines clean energy.
Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) has failed to collect information about the geothermal heat pump (GHP) industry because of budget cuts. The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) recently met with EIA officials to craft a method to restart that important data collection. As a result of the meeting, EIA has asked GEO to serve as a trusted third party designee to collect GHP industry data.
"We had a very productive meeting, and are excited about the designation," said GEO President and CEO Doug Dougherty. "EIA recognizes GEO as national voice and primary representative of the U.S. geothermal heat pump industry. They will assign staff to work with GEO Operations Chief John Kelly to develop a data collection form, and we will soon fill the GHP data void that started in 2010."
New York City Mayor Bloomberg signed IN-694-A, legislation that will require the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability to study geothermal energy resources and the feasibility of developing them in New York City. The Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization (LI-GEO) was the primary driver of the legislation. LI-GEO's territory currently includes Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties on Long Island, but extends statewide in many cases.
The study will include a summary of building characteristics suitable for retrofit installations of geothermal systems; a summary of federal, state, and city regulations regarding geothermal heat pumps; and a map that identifies areas of the city that would be appropriate for geothermal energy development. The study will also make recommendations to promote geothermal heating and cooling in new construction, alterations, and retrofits of buildings.
Legislation has been introduced in the Maine Senate that would include geothermal heat pumps as a qualifying technology to satisfy the requirements of the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Sponsored by Sen. Troy Jackson, the bill is LD 1507, an "Act to Include Useful Thermal Energy as a Renewable Energy Source."
The legislation provides that Renewable Energy Credits can be based on "renewable energy derived from geothermal, solar thermal or biomass thermal sources that can be metered; that is delivered to an end user in the form of direct heat, steam, hot water or other thermal form; and that is used for heating, cooling, humidity control, processes or other thermal end uses, the energy requirements for which nonrenewable fuel or electricity would be otherwise consumed."
LD 1507 requires the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to provide by rule "a methodology for measurement of useful thermal energy and valuation of that energy for purposes of calculating renewable energy credits under the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)."
Maine's original RPS was passed as part of the state's 1997 electric-utility restructuring law. In 1999, the Maine PUC adopted rules requiring each power provider to supply at least 30% of their total electricity sales using electricity generated by eligible renewable energy and certain energy efficiency resources.
Governor Tom Corbett announced that Pennsylvania is expanding its commitment to advance clean, alternative and renewable energy sources with the investment of more than $9.6 million in 13 projects in 11 counties. The state investments are projected to result in more than $109 million in additional economic investments.
The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) approved 13 projects through the state's Alternative and Clean Energy Program, including five Compressed Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas fueling stations which have the benefits of reducing emissions, fuel savings and utilizing the large domestic source of natural gas available in the state. "The projects supported by the CFA will help businesses and school districts save collectively on their utility costs and reduce their environ-mental impact," said Corbett.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a new product finder tool for Geothermal Heat Pumps. It provides consumers, partners, and others with a user-friendly search tool. The tool displays the same product attributes that appear on the current qualified product lists and will allow manufacturers to display additional identifying information for models such as SKUs, UPC codes, and retail model numbers. Such identifiers can make it easier for purchasers and consumers to find ENERGY STAR certified products.
Utilities, retailers, and other more advanced users can access the detailed datasets (qualified product lists) directly at data.energystar.gov, sign up for a user account, and take advantage of filter and advanced export options best suited to their needs. For updates on product finder tools, including additional key features and a full list of previously released product finder tools, please visit www.energystar.gov/productfinder.
GEO Guest Editorial by Terry Proffer CGD / Major Geothermal
While well intentioned, geothermal heat pump (GHP) incentives—including rebates, electricity cost reductions, tax incentives, and grants from utilities and governments—can be detrimental to acceptance of the technology if steps aren't taken to ensure successful installations. Even with such "carrots" to motivate adoption of GHP systems, some programs have experienced problems due to improper design, installation and validation. There are two primary reasons for this:
- No accountability to verify the system is designed, installed and tested to validate performance and operation, or the end-user is satisfied with the final product; and,
- A perception that someone else's money is always necessary to pay for a GHP system, which is often entrenched in the minds of the end-users, whether they be homeowners, school boards or commercial facility customers.
Money—either directly or indirectly through various incentives—is thrown at these systems, often without any requirements other than completing minimal paperwork. The incentive provider and construction team "food-chain" assumes that the design, installation and operation will be competent and the system will work as intended. But to reduce the potential for problematic GHP installations and help ensure such programs are successful, appropriate validation and/or test confirmation procedures must be tied to these incentives.
The American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will convene a special track on "Ground Source Heat Pumps State of the Art: Design, Performance and Research" at their annual conference at the end of June 2014. Chaired by Dr. Jeffry Spitler (Oklahoma State University) and Michael Kuk, P.E. (ASHRAE), the track has been unanimously endorsed by Geothermal Roundtable Members, including the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) and the National Ground Water Association (NGWA). Each Roundtable organization—including ASHRAE— will support the track with individual speakers.
Ground-source heat pump (GSHP) systems are one of the most energy-efficient, cost effective, and environmentally benign HVAC options available. This has been proven over and over again through energy efficient buildings which are the highest performers in EnergyStar and LEED performance ratings. However this performance only comes with proper design and application of the technology.
The ASHRAE Ground Source Heat Pump Track will take the engineer through all aspects of design that lead to optimally performing systems and satisfied building owners. It will also help the engineer avoid common pitfalls that lead to poorly performing systems. Research into innovative systems, heat exchanger performance, design and simulation methods, and optimal operation will also be covered. Papers and presentations are invited for all types of GSHP systems—including closed loop, open loop, vertical, horizontal, standing column wells, energy piles, and surface water heat pump systems.