GEO Keynotes Ball State GEOCON II
Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) President Doug Dougherty provided the luncheon keynote address to 80 participants at Ball State University’s GEOCON II: Design, Drilling and Equipment, at the Ball State Alumni Center in Muncie, IN.
The conference celebrates the largest geothermal heating and cooling system at a university in North America. The one-day event highlighted the design, installation and operations of geothermal heat pumps from single-family housing to campus-wide installations, and included a tour of the university’s second ground heat exchanger bore field currently under construction, and its pumping station.
Dougherty’s keynote speech described that current status of the U.S. geothermal heat pump industry, including barriers to more rapid development and the many positive drivers that promise to ultimately increase market share.
“Many of the old barriers to geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), such as consumer awareness and installation infrastructure, have been addressed and significantly reduced,” said Dougherty. “But we still face egregious regulatory and legislative policies, including governmental definitions of renewable energy and efficiency that exclude GHPs, and completely goofy regulations that define boreholes for geothermal heat exchangers as ‘closed loop wells’, subjecting us to costly water well regulations.”
According to Dougherty, the natural gas industry has taken a renewed and negatively charged position on GHPs as the industry continues to expand its market share into sectors like educational institutions, “net zero” homes and developments, big box stores like IKEA and Walgreens, and fast food outlets like McDonalds. “Our continued success will only bring out more negativity from the natural gas industry,” he concluded.