Geo Blogs

IGSHPA Revived September 28 2020, 0 Comments

The International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) has been an industry-leading organization specializing in training and certification.

In an email to members, titled "A New Era for the Geothermal Heat Pump Industry" and dated 9/25/2020, IGSHPA wrote:

Following Oklahoma State University's decision last year to dissolve IGSHPA's Board of Directors, a process began to pursue a new home for IGSHPA. In June, the OSU Board of Regents voted to approve a transfer of IGSHPA, its intellectual property, and assets to the control of the Geothermal Exchange Organization [GEO]. While GEO will exercise some limited oversight of governance and financial solvency, the new IGSHPA will be functionally and operationally independent.

You can read the notice to members, including a listing of the new IGSHPA board members.

From a joint press release from IGSHPA and the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO):

With this new structure, GEO and IGSHPA will work together to grow the industry with GEO continuing to deliver advocacy and be a strong voice at federal and state levels for policies to address building decarbonization and beneficial electrification. IGSHPA will continue to develop and deliver training and standards that protect the integrity of the technology and ensure industry professionals have the skills, certifications, and accreditations to safeguard the proper design and installation of systems. Coordination with geothermal heat pump industry stakeholders and partners will be a key component of the effort going forward.

You can read the press release here.


Monitor: NGRID Settlement $ Sitting Unspent September 28 2020, 0 Comments

The "National Grid Monitorship: Fifth Quarterly Report" was submitted to the PSC on September 18, 2020 and is pursuant to the Settlement Agreement of November 24, 2019 between the New York State Department of Public Service ("DPS") and National GridUSA.

Among the comments by the monitor, Adam H. Schuman of Perkins Coie LLP:

As to the $36 million which National Grid is required to pay under the Settlement, more than $30 million of the funds have yet to be expended. That is, none of the $20 million allocated for clean energy investments has been disbursed; and less than half has been paid for each of: (a) the $7 million designated for the CAP [Customer Assistance Program, designed to address compensation to residential and commercial applicants who were harmed by the denial of service during the moratorium], as to which some portion of the balance still may be reallocated due to low utilization of the CAP ; and (b) the $8 million allotted for the Efficiency Plan, which is intended to deliver a package of enhanced EE, DR and other gas conservation measures.

Read a summary review of the report by NY-GEO member Billii Roberti.


NYSERDA Contractor Survey on Financing September 28 2020, 0 Comments

NYSERDA has released the results of a contractor survey on financing of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The survey polled contractors from various market segments on the importance of financing mechanisms.

You can download the survey results here.


Zero Place September 28 2020, 0 Comments

Zero Place is a mixed-use multifamily net zero building in New Paltz in the Hudson Valley set to open in December of 2020. It was the winner of NYSERDA's first-ever Buildings of Excellence Award in 2019 and features 46 residential units and 8,400 square feet of retail space.

With a focus on making the building as energy efficient as possible, the envelope is designed to perform 37% better than code. NY-GEO member Buffalo Geothermal's 15 borehole geothermal system provides 100% of heating, cooling and hot water, and 683 solar panels provide the electricity for this all-electric building.

Click here to see slides on this fantastic project.

The slide below describes the HVAC system.


Gas Companies Are Abandoning Their Wells September 21 2020, 0 Comments

From Bloomberg Green, "Gas Companies Are Abandoning Their Wells, Leaving Them to Leak Methane Forever":

Just one orphaned site in California could have emitted more than 30 tons of methane. There are millions more like it...

In the past five years, 207 oil and gas businesses have failed. As natural gas prices crater, the fiscal burden on states forced to plug wells could skyrocket…

...190 more companies could file for bankruptcy by the end of 2022. Many oil and gas companies are idling their wells by capping them in the hope prices will rise again…

"It's cheaper to idle them than to clean them up," says Joshua Macey, an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago, who's spent years studying fossil fuel bankruptcies. "Once prices increase, they could be profitable to operate again. It gives them a strong reason to not do cleanup now. It’s not orphaned yet, although for all intents and purposes it is."

Thanks to NY-GEO member Jens Ponikau for this tip.

Gas well No. 095-20708, 4 miles north of Rio Vista, Calif., in 2017 Photographer: Lisa Vielstädte


What's NYSERDA's Chair Thinking? September 21 2020, 0 Comments

From POLITICO Weekly NY & NJ Energy (2020 09 14):

Former Cuomo energy czar [and current Chair of the NYSERDA board] Richard Kauffman co-authored a report touting New York's approach to energy programs as a road map for other states to leverage limited financing.

Thanks to Jonathan Tham of PSEG-Long Island for this tip.


Marbletown, NY Commits to All-Renewable Future September 21 2020, 0 Comments

The Banner reported on Marbletown's Environmental Conservation Commission stating:

Environmental Conservation Commission Invites "Champions" to Lead Community's Shift from Fossil Fuels

On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, Marbletown's Town Board unanimously adopted a plan to shift local energy use to renewables for power, heating, cooling and transportation. In addition to protecting the climate, the plan would save residents money, according to Marbletown Environmental Conservation Commission (ECC) Chair Tom Konrad. In Marbletown, full electrification and renewables could cut residents' energy expenses by about 40%, or $6.5 million annually, Konrad told the Board while presenting the plan.

Created by the Marbletown ECC in collaboration with Sustainable Hudson Valley (SHV), the plan offers specific strategies and tools to assist residents and businesses in making voluntary changes. The plan focuses on educating the community about renewably powered alternatives to older equipment and vehicles, when they are ready to be replaced. It also encourages local policies that can make the switch easier while saving people money.

See some background on Marbletown's energy outlook in Green Technica's "A Small New York Town Plans a Profitable, 100% Renewable Energy Future."

You can read the whole Banner article, saved as a PDF, and the ECC Action Plan.

Thanks to The Banner for this tip.

Marbletown Community Center

GHPs Address Six Microgrid Imperatives September 14 2020, 0 Comments

"Six microgrid imperatives addressed by geothermal heat pumps" is a 2-page article by NY-GEO member Will Lange, WaterFurnace’s Director of Business Development & Utility Marketing. Published in Distributed Energy magazine, Lange notes:

...microgrids will play a role in the future of energy distribution. How many meters will be on a microgrid in 2030 is hard to predict. Nevertheless, it’s a good bet that there will be quite a few more than today. With that in mind, here are six microgrid paradigms with corresponding design imperatives.

They are:

  1. Power is Precious
  2. Onsite Sourcing is Best
  3. Electricity is the Highest Form of Energy
  4. Disruptions are Your Problem
  5. Storage is Good
  6. Climate Resilience is critical

Lange explains these imperatives and notes how geothermal heat pumps help address each of them.

In addition to the web article, WaterFurnace has published a brochure that contains the article and a back page listing seven utility challenges with a sentence for each on how geothermal heating and cooling helps solve that challenge.


More on the Con Edison $3,000 Incentive September 14 2020, 0 Comments

Last week we reported on a $3,000 incentive offered by Con Edison in addition to their $2,850 per ton rebate for geothermal installations. The $3,000 pre-payment incentive is paid to the contractor at the time of application and is not required to be passed along to the customer until the project is complete. The installer will have that incentive available for operations to improve cash flow.

Also, the application only needs to be submitted by 10/31 to get the extra $3,000. However, the project does not need to be completed until up to 120 days later (about 2/28/2021).

ICF is Con Ed's contractor for the geothermal program and they have expressed a strong willingness to help contractors through the application process. Contact Joe Cascio at joe@conedisonresidential.com for more information.

NY-GEO urges contractors to take advantage of this bonus. If it is successful in stimulating the market as the company intends, utilities across the state will have this bonus as an example of a measure that will help them to meet their heat pump goals.

Below are some images used for GHP outreach to Con Ed customers.


 


California Solution: Decommission Gas by 2045? September 14 2020, 0 Comments

From a Clean Technica article dated September 10th, 2020 written by the Rocky Mountain Institute:

Researchers at Energy and Environment Economics (E3) mapped out several paths for the California Air Resources Board in their recent report Achieving Carbon Neutrality in California. In this report, E3 evaluates three different scenarios to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045: "Zero Carbon Energy," "Balanced," and "High Carbon Dioxide Removal." Each varied in how much it relies on directly cutting fossil fuel emissions (such as electrifying buildings) versus relying upon carbon dioxide removal strategies (such as direct air capture and land-based carbon sinks).

This report adds to a growing body of work that makes clear that aggressive building electrification is required to truly tackle climate change.

One of the key takeaways from the E3 report is that aggressive building electrification is considered a "least-regret" strategy to get to carbon neutrality by 2045, meaning it's required for the state to reach its carbon goals in a cost-effective manner. In all three paths to carbon neutrality that E3 evaluated, the retail natural gas distribution system will need to undergo "a significant reduction in use," and one of the scenarios recommends the complete decommissioning of the system by 2045."

The table below (from page 35 of the Achieving Carbon Neutrality in California report) shows the differing needs for switching to electric appliances based on the three scenarios. The graph below (from the Rocky Mountain Institute report) shows how the electrical appliance sales might change over time based on the "Balanced" scenario.

Thanks to NY-GEO member Paul Coons for this tip.




NY-GEO Policy Advisory Board Appointed September 14 2020, 0 Comments

NY-GEO has appointed a Policy Advisory Board (PAB) comprised of members who have taken an active interest in policies to advance the geothermal industry in New York State. PAB members are showcased with short bios on a new page on the NY-GEO website.


Jack DiEnna Jr. on AwesomeEarthKind.com September 07 2020, 0 Comments

On August 3rd NY-GEO member Ron Kamen interviewed NY-GEO member Jack DiEnna Jr. for his Awesome EarthKind podcast.

From the Awesome EarthKind webpage:

Supernova 1: Commercial & non-profit buildings can get geothermal systems with zero cash. Third-parties will install & own the systems- you just pay for the energy delivered over time ("energy as a service"). Homes in some areas may have a similar opportunity. Jack is working to have utilities & other 3rd parties provide this same model everywhere.

Supernova 2: Many schools, US Department of Defense (DOD) bases, and other buildings already have geothermal. We just can't see it because all the equipment is hidden underground and inside the buildings.

Supernova 3: Moving to Geothermal for 30% of our buildings would create 5 million jobs.

 


Con Ed Project Pre-Approval September 07 2020, 0 Comments

The Clean Heat rebate program in Con Edison NYC/Orange & Rockland territories is now using a central website where contractors can submit GSHP projects for approval/pre-approval.

For the NYS Clean Heat program in, geothermal contractors are able to submit preliminary project info for future installs that are intended to finish before October 31st, 2020. The utility can “pre-approve” the preliminary project info and issue a $3,000 customer incentive ahead of the actual install. Then when the project is installed and commissioned, they would issue the regular project rebate ($2850 per 10,000 btu heating capacity) in addition to the $3,000.

Joseph Casio from Con Edison will give a quick (maybe 30-minute) demo of the website for NY-GEO members and answer questions on Thursday, September 10th at 8 AM. Mr. Cascio can help contractors create a user account for the website and get you started submitting for GSHP clean heat rebates. Click here to join the session.


Moravec Voted to NY-GEO Board September 07 2020, 0 Comments

Driller and geothermal installer Kevin Moravec was elected to the NY-GEO board at its August 24th meeting. Moravec is president of Barney Moravec, Inc. a company that has developed well over 800 geothermal installations and drilled more than one-half million feet of closed geo-exchange loops.

In 2016, Moravec purchased VanHee Heating and has overseen the development of the company to be a leading installer of both GSHP and cold climate ASHP. VanHee has installed over 4,000 GSHP systems since 1979. More recently, Moravec helped create the Ground Up Geothermal Alliance of Western New York, an organization that created a standardized methodology of GSHP installation, a custom loop system along with 100% domestic hot water and WaterFurnace Variable Capacity 7 series. Welcome Kevin !


NYSERDA Expands Cooperative Advertising and Training Program August 31 2020, 0 Comments

NYSERDA has announced the expanded Cooperative Advertising and Training for Clean Energy Partners program through Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 4482.

The program:

provides cost-sharing incentives to support advertising, special promotions and/or events, including training, for eligible clean energy technologies including cold-climate air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, energy efficiency (i.e. air sealing and insulation), and high-efficiency low-emission wood heating systems.

The cost-shared funds "can be used to promote industry focused advertising and manufacturer-led sales, design and/or installation training. This program promotes the benefits and available offers to drive the adoption of Clean Energy."

New program highlights:

New incentive caps have been established. The program also includes wood heating in each of the three categories, but we have altered the graphic from the Cooperative Advertising and Training Program Manual to the one below to fit the Just In! format and the interests of NY-GEO members.

All eligible participants start with a clean $0 balance with the release of this PON. If you previously participated under the co-op funding opportunity (PON 3684) your accumulating balance toward the incentive cap has been reset to $0.

"To assist with recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, NYSERDA will pay up to 80 percent of the cost of approved advertising, promotion or training activities for applications submitted" August 24, 2020 through December 31, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Effective January 1, 2021 (and continuing through December 31, 2022, or until all funds have been committed) the cost-share percentage will be reduced to up to 50 percent of the cost of approved advertising, promotion or training activities.

The PON 4482 – Summary and the Co-op Advertising and Training Program Manual detail eligibility and all requirements. If you have any questions, please reach out to coop@nyserda.ny.gov.


NY-GEO Proposes Changes to GSHP QA Checklist for Utility Rebate Program August 31 2020, 0 Comments

After doing an extensive review of the Ground Source Heat Pump Quality Assurance Checklist, NY-GEO sent the Joint Management Committee (JMC) a set of recommended changes to checklist. This checklist was filed June 1st by The Joint Utilities of New York for use in the statewide Heat Pump Rebate Program. The JMC is made up of utility and NYSERDA representatives.

NY-GEO's changes are meant to provide a robust quality assurance program while shortening, simplifying and clarifying the checklist and eliminating conflicts between local code enforcement and quality assurance activities.

NY-GEO representatives are looking forward to discussing the proposal with the JMC, which has been responsive to concerns NY-GEO has been raising about the rebate program implementation.


ConEdison: Gas No Longer in the Longer Term View August 31 2020, 0 Comments

S&P Global Market Intelligence reports:

Consolidated Edison Inc. will no longer invest in long-haul natural gas pipelines and may sell its existing portfolio, the company said just days after outlining plans for adopting alternative energy technology.

"I don't expect we'll be making any further investments in those types of gas transmission assets," Chairman, President and CEO John McAvoy said during an Aug. 26 investor presentation about environmental, social and governance issues.

"...natural gas, while it can provide emissions reductions, is no longer...part of the longer-term view," particularly in the U.S. Northeast where state regulators have blocked pipeline projects.

ConEd is one of several utilities looking to ramp up their renewable energy footprint as cracks appear in the role of natural gas as a bridge fuel between hydrocarbons and cleaner forms of energy. As of mid-July, 13 of the 30 largest U.S. publicly traded electric and gas utilities had set goals to achieve either zero or net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or earlier or have set a goal of 100% clean electricity. At least 10 plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily methane, from their gas distribution and retail sales operations. Many of these efforts involve replacing older gas delivery pipelines.

See the full article from S&P Global here.

Thanks to NY-GEO member Bob Wyman for this tip.


National Grid Lobbied Against Massachusetts Renewable Energy Bills August 24 2020, 0 Comments

On the Energy and Policy Institute website a post by Itai Vardi dated August 19, 2020 says:

Electric and gas utility National Grid lobbied in opposition to legislation aimed at promoting renewable energy in Massachusetts, recent lobbying reports show. In the first half of 2020, the company fought measures to enhance both solar and wind energy in the state.

...National Grid has employed a total of six lobbyists in Massachusetts thus far this year. Four of them are the utility's in-house lobbyists and two work for the lobbying firm Joyce & LeBretton. The utility paid its lobbyists a little over $94,000 for the first six months of 2020, with $72,000 doled out to Joyce & LeBretton.

Last year the company spent nearly $200,000 on lobbying in Massachusetts.

See the full article here.


Rolling Blackouts in California August 24 2020, 0 Comments

From the Aug. 15, 2020 LA Times article "More rolling blackouts ordered in California amid power shortages and searing heat":

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Saturday night [8/15] it was beginning to rotate power outages affecting up to 250,000 customers in Northern and Central California. San Diego Gas & Electric said it also interrupted power to some customers but had restored all service by 7 pm.

…The broiling conditions that began Friday may rival the deadly seven-day heat event of July 2006, the National Weather Service said.

…Air quality officials issued an advisory Friday warning that the heat wave is pushing lung-damaging ozone pollution to "very unhealthy" levels and that much of Southern California will experience elevated smog through Monday.

Thanks to NY-GEO member Jens Ponikau for this tip. He points out that geothermal heat pumps cool with maximum efficiently and can cut the peak electrical demand that, when it exceeds supply, causes blackouts.

[Editor's note: The LA Times article is behind a paywall for some, so we made a PDF of it.]

Pandemic behavior?


The Methane Difference August 24 2020, 0 Comments

Here is a follow up on last week's Just In! piece on the DEC's new Part 496 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction regulation.

The two charts below from the Regulatory Impact Statement- Proposed Part 496 show the importance of New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). This law requires greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts to be defined based on their 20-year impact, rather than their 100-year impact, since scientists warn the battle for climate stabilization will be won over the next decade rather than the next century.

The tables below show GHG emissions for the 1990 base year from which reductions are to be measured. Using the 100-year time frame GHG emissions measured 311.47 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Using the more accurate and relevant CLCPA methodology (20-year time frame) the 1990 emissions were 401.38 million metric tons of CO2e. Methane (CH4), the primary component of fossil gas (more commonly called natural gas), has more than 80 times more climate warming potential than carbon dioxide on a 20-year time scale.

Looking at the charts below, we see that most of the difference is in the CH4 column of the Energy and Waste rows. Simply put, under the CLCPA, fossil gas is now counted as far more damaging to the climate.

New York's data will now show a greater benefit every time a heat pump replaces a gas furnace. Wind and solar electric generation replacing gas power plants will also be more valuable. In the tables below IPPU is Industrial Processes and Product Use, and AFOLU is Agriculture Forestry and Other Land Use.