Geo Blogs

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.



 


NY-GEO's Ciovacco on Advisory Group August 17 2020, 0 Comments

In January 2020, the Department of Public Service Staff were directed to develop an Energy Efficiency and Building Electrification Performance Management & Improvement (PM&I) Process.

In May, Staff filed a PM&I plan which, according to the appointment letter, includes :

...a Strategic Advisory Group (SAG) consisting of a broad cross-section of knowledgeable representatives from critical customer and market groups and leading solution providers to inform program design, identify gaps in portfolios and areas for improvement. The PM&I Plan also provided an opportunity for interested individuals to apply to serve on the SAG for a two-year term.

On August 11th, PSC Chair John Rhodes announced appointments to the SAG and NY-GEO Board member John Ciovacco was one of the appointees. Peggie Neville, Deputy Director of Efficiency & Innovation, in the Department's Office of Markets & Innovation, will Chair the Group.

Here is a list of the appointees:

 


NY-GEO Advocates for Improved Rebate Program August 17 2020, 0 Comments

NY-GEO has been communicating with the Joint Management Committee to advocate for an improved geothermal heat pump rebate program process. This committee was set up to oversee the Utility Heat Pump Rebate program.

Here is the letter to our members laying out recommendations we have made to the Committee and their initial response.


Baltimore Gas Explosion August 17 2020, 0 Comments

On August 10, 2020 two people were killed and seven injured due to a gas explosion in Baltimore on Labyrinth Road.

From WJZ CBS Baltimore:

The gas infrastructure in the area dates back to the early 1960s and was last inspected in June and July 2019, Baltimore Gas & Electric said. Prior to Monday's explosion, there had been no gas odors reported in the area.

According to CNN's coverage, the Baltimore Gas & Electric press release issued Aug. 13 claims "all of its equipment—gas mains, gas service pipes and gas meters, as well as electric equipment—has been operating safely and was not the cause of the natural gas explosion."


DEC GHG Reduction Regulations Out August 17 2020, 0 Comments

From the NY DEC Delivers website:

DEC Releases Proposed GHG Reduction Regulations to Implement Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

New York's Climate Act Sets Nation's Most Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Limits

Proposal Combats Climate Change by Requiring Decreases in Methane and Other Harmful Gases-40 percent by 2030, 85 percent by 2050

Two Virtual Public Hearings scheduled for October 20, 2020

The Department of Environmental Conservation has applied the terms of the CLCPA regarding methane emissions to its greenhouse gas (GHG) calculations. This results in a striking increase in the estimate for how much carbon (CO2e) was being released in the base year of 1990. Under these revisions, fossil gas emissions are counted as far more damaging to the climate. This increases the GHG reduction benefit in each case where it is replaced with renewables, such as heat pumps replacing gas furnaces and wind and solar generation replacing gas power plants.
From 6 NYCRR Section 496.4 Statewide Emission Limits:
(a) For the purposes of this Part, the estimated level of statewide greenhouse gas emissions in 1990 is 401.38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, using a GWP20 as provided in the IPCC assessment report.

(b) For the purposes of this Part, the table below establishes statewide emission limits for the year specified, as a percentage of estimated 1990 statewide greenhouse gas emissions of 60 percent and 15 percent, respectively, measured in millions of metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent gas using a GWP20 as provided in the IPCC assessment report.

See the full announcement here.

 


NY-GEO member Launches Podcast August 10 2020, 0 Comments

Ron Kamen, NY-GEO member and CEO of EarthKind Energy, has launched a twice a week podcast called “AWEsome EarthKind Energy." From the website:

"After coordinating the mobilization of 3 million people in his region for the 1990 Earth Day celebration, Ron went on to create cost-saving clean energy policies, programs, and projects for business, government, non-profits, and communities. Now the AWESome EarthKind Energy podcast brings his inspiration, practical know-how, and empowerment tools to everyone. Go Clean & $ave Green!" – DENIS HAYES - Founding Chair of the worldwide Earth Day Network
Here is a 92-second promo video here and scroll down to the Welcome and first 2 episodes here.

 



Effect of Energy Efficient Real Estate Listings August 10 2020, 0 Comments

On August 6, 2020, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) issued a first-of-its-kind empirical study, Valuing Efficiency by Clicking on Energy Efficient Real Estate Listings: A Controlled Experiment, showing that including home energy efficiency scores in online real estate listings would lead buyers to choose more efficient homes with lower energy costs. The new controlled experiment provides the clearest evidence to date that state or local policies ensuring home energy information is presented to buyers would influence their choices, not only meeting their needs but incentivizing both sellers to make home efficiency upgrades and builders to construct more-efficient new homes.

You can download the full report here.


Con Ed Asks to Market 3rd Party Loop Ownership! August 10 2020, 0 Comments

Con Edison has filed a 7-page request for authorization to spend $7 Million over the next 3 years on non-pipe solution projects that include:

  • Behavioral Demand Response
  • Heat as a Service, (HaaS) and
  • Solar Photovoltaic Heat Recovery
From page 6 of the filing:
Under the proposed HaaS model, technology vendors would invest the upfront capital to own clean heating systems or components such as variable refrigerant flow units or geothermal ground loops at a customer site and charge that customer a monthly fee to provide the site heating and cooling from the equipment. This service contract would also include maintenance to keep the system operating as expected for the duration of its expected useful life. These financing offers would be similar to the service fee business model for solar projects. This business model should reduce the high upfront cost barriers to adoption of clean heating technologies. It has been successful in this regard in the solar industry. Con Edison would consider marketing third-party financing offers to customers and/or contractors for high-efficiency electric heating technologies. The Company requests funding for marketing and implementation activities. This solution could result in the increased adoption of these technologies for an estimated 2,654 peak day dekatherm reduction and support statewide goals to use private capital to achieve carbon reductions.

Renewable Heat Now on Gas Planning August 10 2020, 0 Comments

On Friday, August 7th, the Renewable Heat Now Campaign filed testimony in New York's Gas Planning proceeding. In it, the campaign outlined steps and questions that need to be addressed and acted on in order for the heating sector to reach NY's Climate goals. The testimony includes an Appendix from Complex Systems Architect Jerry Acton that is the first published analysis of what it will take to reach the heating sector climate goals utilizing New York's new standards for methane. This groundbreaking testimony is directed to the staff of the Public Service Commission, which is developing a white paper on gas planning for the State.