Brown Signs California Geo Bill

jerry-brown 9c5be 0The California Geothermal Heat Pump Association (CaliforniaGeo) applauds Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of AB 2339, Energy Geothermal Technologies, into law on Sept. 27, 2012. The legislation directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to evaluate policies and implementation strategies that will promote widespread deployment of geothermal heat pumps and geothermal ground loop technologies as key components of a clean California energy future.

AB 2339 is part of California’s renewed emphasis on a technology that has long been called the most effective meth-od of heating and cooling buildings. With increased awareness of the technology through the legislation, various state agencies have already weighed in with their support for geothermal heat pump systems:

    • The California Public Utilities Commission went on record stating geothermal heat pump technologies qualified as both an energy efficiency technology and a distributed generation (DG) technology and the industry would be welcome in its DG and Energy Efficiency proceedings.
    • The Department of Water Resources (DWR) initiated a program on July 1, 2012 to establish Borehole Standards replacing its 1999 draft standard that has caused so much confusion for the industry. DWR says it will complete and issue the new standards by June 30, 2013.
    • Geothermal heat pumps and geothermal ground loop technologies with be included—for the first time—in the CEC 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report.

The newly-formed CaliforniaGeo championed AB 2339. Its passage was made possible by the efforts of a committed group of volunteers led by association President Phil Henry (Geoexchange Solutions) and Board Chair Lisa Meline (Meline Engineering). Assistance by California geothermal heat pump industry leaders Gaia Geothermal, Air Connection and All Year—along with many other industry stakeholders across the United States—was also key to successful passage of the bill.

Environment California, Planning and Conservation League, Sierra Club and Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative supported the effort, as well as a coalition of allied organizations including the California Groundwater Association, the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), USGBC California, and the California Geothermal Energy Collaborative.

“CaliforniaGeo appreciates the leadership of Assembly Members Das Williams (35th District) and V. Manuel Pérez (80th District) in authoring AB 2339, and thanks all members of the Legislature for their unanimous support of the legislation and the geothermal heat pump industry,” said Henry. “We also thank the commissioners and staff of the CEC for their interest and recognition of geothermal heat pump technologies as an effective energy efficiency measure and viable emerging distributed energy technology.”

Henry said CaliforniaGeo will continue its efforts to build awareness of geothermal heat pumps as it unifies the industry in the state to remove barriers to widespread deployment of the technology. To learn more about CaliforniaGeo, including how you can join the effort, visit www.CaliforniaGeo.org.