GEO Leads Effort to Amend Illinois Regulatory Policy for GHPs

Illinois MapThe Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), Geothermal Alliance of Illinois and ComEd are collaborating to amend the Illinois Technical Reference Manual (TRM) used by Illinois’ electric utilities to determine the efficiency of geothermal heat pumps (GHPs). “We changed state law last year to redefine energy efficiency as the reduction of energy consumed for an end use, and now we must change the rules used to determine product efficiency,” said GEO President and CEO Doug Dougherty. The group’s amendment would change four critical points:

  • Allowing GHPs to be compared to 80%-efficient natural gas furnaces;
  • Including the desuperheater water heating efficiencies of GHPs;
  • Recognizing the true cost of air-source heat pumps, raising the average by 54%; and,
  • Extending the useful life of a GHP from 18 to 25 years.

“The changes we propose are based on reality, not hypotheticals, and clearly dismiss the arcane notion of fuel switching when comparing the efficiencies of GHPs to fossil-fuel appliances for space and water heating,” Dougherty said. “We’re sharing our amendment with the newly formed NY-GEO (previous article), which is launching a similar effort in New York.” GEO believes the Illinois changes can serve as a template across the country in states that have similar regulatory impediments.