GEO Speaks to California Prop 39

130924-California-Energy-Commission-LOGOIn a letter to the California Energy Commission, the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) commented on Proposition 39 Draft Guidelines for School Energy Projects (Docket 13-CCEJA-1), seeking to elevate the importance of geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) in the state’s energy efficiency efforts.

“GEO is concerned that in their current form, the Prop 39 Draft Guidelines for School Energy Projects places such a low priority on GHPs compared to other heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) options…. This is unacceptable, considering that GHPs are much more efficient than air-source HVAC equipment. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency call geothermal systems the most efficient and environmentally friendly heating and cooling technology available.

“GEO believes that the priority should be equal to conventional HVAC options. Assigning a low priority to GHPs conflicts directly with real experience across North America—as well as statements that favor geothermal systems in California’s own Draft 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR):

  • While purchase and installation costs can be higher than those of conventional heating or cooling systems, geothermal heat pump systems can use 25 percent to 50 percent less electricity.
  • The Energy Commission supports the proper design and installation of geothermal heat pump technologies as a strategy for meeting California’s energy efficiency goals.

“GEO also asks that in your draft, GHPs systems given fair treatment alongside other heating and cooling systems, without inhibiting language such as ‘when conditions allow,’ and calling for ‘custom audits,’ that alternative systems may not be subject to.”