Michigan Geo Energy Association Commits to Renewables Recognition

At its annual meeting, the Michigan Geothermal Energy Association (MGEA) agreed to pursue a state policy that would recognize geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) as a source of renewable energy, allowing utilities to count the technology against renewable energy mandates. Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) demands 10% of utility electricity be generated by renewable sources by 2015.

MGEA members acknowledged that several other states have made progress in recognizing geothermal as an option for utility renewable energy credits. The group agreed that the association should incorporate educational materials developed by the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) to foster support for geothermal heat pumps in Michigan’s Renewable Energy Standard.

“Although geothermal efficiencies get some limited recognition in state energy efficiency man-dates, the full extent of the geothermal contribution to the nation’s and the state’s energy requirements has yet to be acknowledged,” said MGEA Executive Director Mike Buda.

During the meeting, Buda provided an analysis of its discount coupon marketing program, which offered a $500 discount coupon to customers of MGEA member contractors who visited the association website and signed up for a coupon. The offer was promoted across the state in utility and electric cooperative magazines and on a popular handyman radio show. Though the program showed significant increases in visits to contractor websites, Buda said it’s still too early to measure sales because the coupons have a four-month shelf life and will be continued throughout the year.

MGEA members also learned about Michigan’s contribution to the American Association of State Geologists State Geothermal Data Project from Dr. William B. Harrison, director of the Michigan Basin Core Research Laboratory at Western Michigan University. MGEA agreed to help the Project map geothermal installations in the state.