Geo Blogs

Cluster Action Initiative Impact on Geothermal Jobs November 23 2020

NY State has issued guidance on its Cluster Action Initiative on COVID-19 regulations. Stay tuned for more on this, but for now, the Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association (CRBRA) notes:

In October, Gov. Cuomo introduced a new cluster action initiative to address COVID-19 hotspots by placing new rules and restrictions on areas that are identified as yellow, orange and red zones. Yellow zones are precautionary, orange zones are warning zones and red zones are the cluster itself. Once identified as a red zone, all non-essential business must cease. We were very happy to see that the updated description for construction as an essential business reads as follows:

Construction projects may continue, but any work that can be done remotely such as office-based work must proceed remotely, to the extent practicable. Employees/personnel who are not directly involved in in-person work at the business location/construction site are prohibited.
Cluster Action Initiative image


NYSEG/RG&E Precedent-setting Rate Case November 23 2020

On Thursday November 22, 2020 the Public Service Commission (PSC) set a 3-year rate plan for NYSEG and RG&E retroactive to April 2020. The plan includes a $30 million fund for financially stressed residential and small business customers. In settlement negotiations grass roots parties fought for and won several important and precedent-setting curbs on gas expansion. From a joint press release from the environmental groups:

The gas agreement, which was called "a model for future rate cases" by regulators today, includes a slate of gas reduction strategies, retraction of $128 million for gas infrastructure including pipelines, and funding of $1.5 million for renewable heating systems for low-income residents on top of the utilities' other incentives for renewable heating and energy efficiency. Importantly, as part of the agreement, NYSEG and RG&E also committed to planning for no gas growth (offsetting new gas customers with heat pumps and efficiency), to stop marketing gas, and to seek alternatives to nearly all new gas investments.

Read the full press release from environmental groups that participated in the settlement negotiations and the PSC press release.

San Francisco: No Gas in New Buildings Starting Next Year November 16 2020

On November 13, 2020, Inside Climate News reported on the new San Francisco ban on natural gas in new buildings:

The city's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban natural gas in new buildings, meaning that stoves, furnaces and water heaters will no longer burn gas for heat. The city cited cost savings, public health benefits and the urgent need to wind down greenhouse gas emissions to help curb the rapidly warming climate for the move…

San Francisco now joins a growing list of municipalities—most of them in California—that are attempting to tackle the climate crisis by shrinking the massive climate footprint of their buildings. Residential and commercial buildings account for more than 40 percent of San Francisco's total greenhouse gas emissions, with the burning of natural gas responsible for the bulk of that…

Read this informative memo supporting the gas ban from the SF Department of Environment.

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

NY-GEO Drilling Group Meets with DEC November 16 2020

A group formed from the NY-GEO Policy Advisory Board has examined ways to streamline regulation of ground source heat pump drilling in New York State. The Drilling Group has developed a presentation and held a first meeting with officials from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The DEC itself has also begun looking at ways to make their permitting process more efficient to encourage the use of ground source heat pumps while protecting groundwater and public health and safety.


NY-GEO Board Member Zach Fink on Geothermal, Resiliency and LMI November 16 2020

Sustainable Westchester has inaugurated a podcast, Conversations in Clean Energy, hosted by Radina Valova, Regulatory Vice President of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

From OmniFM:

In the premier episode of Sustainable Westchester's podcast "Conversations in Clean Energy," host Radina Valova explores the efficacy of clean heating & cooling technologies in affordable housing and the resulting benefit for the lower-to-moderate income communities in which they can be found.
The podcast features NY-GEO board member Zach Fink, Spencer Orkus from L&M Development Partners and Jennifer Leoni, Chief Sustainability Officer with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development discussing the Beach Green Dunes II project in Queens.

Listen to this first and fascinating podcast titled Building Resiliency in LMI Communities Through Clean Heating & Cooling Technologies here.

Beach Green Dunes II
Beach Green Dunes II"

NYSERDA to Add $25,000 Companion Loan November 09 2020

From NYSERDA Treasurer Jeff Pitkin:

A strong interest has been expressed in increasing the $25,000 maximum GJGNY Loan amount limitation (which is set in legislation). We are pleased to announce a new Residential Financing Program loan product, the Companion Loan. NYSERDA's loan originator, Slipstream (EFS), will begin accepting applications for the Companion Loan starting November 13, 2020.

The Companion Loan will be available to GJGNY financing customers that have fully utilized the $25,000 GJGNY Loan for their energy efficiency or renewable energy project and need additional loan funding to pay for remaining project costs.

Companion Loans are funded by the New York Green Bank, a division of NYSERDA, and will be an unsecured loan modeled after the Smart Energy Loan (repaid by statement billing/check or automatic payment). The Companion Loan is not eligible for On-Bill Recovery (paid through utility). Separate loan documents and notes will be issued for the GJGNY Loan and the Companion Loan. NYSERDA's loan originator, Slipstream (EFS), will originate both loans simultaneously.
NYSERDA is looking for feedback on the Companion Loan as well as questions, which can be submitted to Stakeholders are urged to spread the word on this new opportunity!

See Mr. Pitkin's full note here.


Energy Efficiency & Housing Roundtables November 09 2020

Roundtables will inform the work of the Energy Efficiency & Housing Advisory Panel. For each session, the Panel has invited specific individuals to participate in a "fishbowl-style" discussion; additional attendees will remain on mute and will be able to use the WebEx Q&A function to submit comments and questions.

Here is the schedule:

  • Tuesday November 10:
    Builders, Installers and Designers Roundtable
    Single Family Housing

    1:00 – 2:30pm
    Event link: Event number: 145 530 8859
    Event password: climate
    Audio conference: +1-415-655-0003
    Access code: 145 530 8859

  • Tuesday November 10:
    Builders, Installers and Designers Roundtable
    MultiFamily Housing
    3:00 – 4:30pm
    Event link: Event number: 145 760 1715
    Event password: climate
    Audio conference: +1-415-655-0003
    Access code: 145 760 1715

  • Thursday November 12:
    Builders, Installers and Designers Roundtable
    Affordable Housing
    1:00 – 3:30pm
    Event link: Event number: 145 452 2116
    Event password: climate
    Audio conference: +1-415-655-0003
    Access code: 145 452 2116

NY Domestic Hot Water Data November 09 2020

Jens Ponikau, NY-GEO board member and founder of Buffalo Geothermal, has put together a presentation on the performance of geo domestic hot water (DHW) vs. electric resistance and gas DHW heating.

The data comes from 8 installations by member companies of Ground Up, the Geothermal Alliance of WNY. Ponikau emphasizes the importance of DHW to peak energy demand because of the high percentage of use during early morning hours as New Yorkers take showers.

Average DHW usage

DHW Peak Considerations


Phoenix Energy is Hiring! November 02 2020

NY-GEO member Phoenix Energy Supply, located in the beautiful Finger Lakes area of New York, is a prominent New York State heat pump distributor. With 30 years of developing relationships and focusing on customer service, Phoenix is positioned to grow and is seeking the next generation of leaders to continue the journey.

Phoenix is looking for a General Manager and an Office Manager. See the jobs posting here.

Con Edison Wants YOU November 02 2020

Con Edison has expressed interest in having more geothermal installers working to make their heat pump program a success. Five to six new GSHP installers have registered to do work in the company's service territory in addition to those who were "transitioned" in from NYSERDA's program.

The company is also welcoming feedback on how installers are promoting incentives from the program to customers. Please contact Mark Brescia at for details.

Climate Action Council Seeks Input November 02 2020

The New York State Climate Action Council (CAC) is responsible for developing a Scoping Plan to achieve the State's bold clean energy and climate agenda. The CAC is supported by sector-specific panels, including the Energy Efficiency & Housing (EE&H) Advisory Panel.

The EE&H Advisory Panel invites you to provide input into these important efforts by completing the survey linked here. Please complete this survey by no later than November 30, 2020 to inform the EE&H Advisory Panel's work this fall. If you are able to complete the survey by November 6,2020 your input also will inform several near-term meetings.

Responses will be anonymized before they are shared with the larger Council or the public. If you have any difficulty accessing the survey via the link provided, please contact:

For more information, visit the Climate Act page.

NYS Clean Heat Stakeholders Conference October 26 2020

The New York Electric Utilities and NYSERDA have established a Joint Management Committee (JMC) for the NYS Clean Heat Statewide Heat Pump Program. NYS Department of Public Service Staff will serve in an oversight and consultative role.

The JMC plans to host two stakeholder forums each year and the first, Heat Pump Program Stakeholder Conference, will be held on November 20, 2020 from 10 AM - Noon.

Here is the agenda, in part, from the notice:

NYS Clean Heat Program Update
  • Program performance
  • Program processes and documents
  • JMC work group update
  • Eligible technologies
  • NYSERDA market development
  • Future considerations and plans
Open Discussion*

Growing the Heat Pump Market
  • How would you characterize customer awareness and perception of heat pump technologies? What information or arguments are most influential in convincing customers to consider and purchase heat pumps?
  • What type of tools or resources would be helpful in expanding customer awareness of these technologies? Would certain customer segments benefit more than others from increased awareness?
  • How can the JMC, Electric Utilities, and associated parties support increased adoption of heat pump technologies throughout New York State?
  • In what ways has COVID continued to impact customer decisions, business activities, sales pipelines and project completion? Please share specifics.
Supporting the Contractor Network
  • How have code, regulatory, and technical considerations played a role in project design and completion?
  • What new types of contractor/manufacturer/code official trainings would be helpful in the market?

Read the entire notice to the conference here. Here is the link to register for the meeting.

This Is What Geothermal Looks Like October 26 2020

Alan Waller, Lower Michigan Territory Manager at WaterFurnace International, recently gave a virtual talk in Michigan that was part of a webinar titled All- Electric New Homes with Incentives and Utility Incentives in Michigan.

The talk includes several excellent slides, including the one below, illustrating where the energy comes from in a typical geothermal home.

The webinar can be viewed here. Waller's section runs from 13:36 to 19:50.

Whar Geo looks like

Fantastic Case Studies October 26 2020

Sustainable Westchester has put together a fantastic collection of 17 short commercial clean heating and cooling case studies. Feast your eyes and stimulate your imagination with extraordinary examples of high-performing North American buildings with heat pump HVAC systems, like the one below.

NYC Case Study

Is Natural Gas Flaming Out? October 19 2020

Jim Kapsis' Ad Hoc Gist newsletter for October 2020, "Is Natural Gas Flaming Out?" impressively compiles a list of all the pieces:

Utilities are looking beyond their gas businesses

See the full article here.

Elected Officials Comment on Gas Proceeding October 19 2020

Ninety-one (91) elected officials from across New York State signed a letter to the NY Public Service Commission that was filed October 15th by Catherine F. Parker, Westchester County Board of Legislators, 7th Legislative District.

The letter supports the Commission's proceeding and offers the following:

We ask the PSC to use this proceeding to impose measurable emissions reduction requirements on gas utilities to achieve the goals of the CLCPA [Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act]. Climate change is rapidly exceeding worst case predictions; aggressive goals and benchmarks for energy transition are needed to get ahead of the escalating speed of the climate emergency…

NYSERDA must provide guidance and resources to cities and towns for responsible development. New construction is one of the drivers of gas expansion, but it is often more economical for new buildings to go "all electric" with energy efficiency, heat pumps, and induction stoves, rather than investing in outdated fossil fuel combustion technologies. Local municipalities and cities need planning resources to help their local residents and businesses avoid costly retrofits, stranded assets, and crises due to gas moratoria.

Zero Place and the Future of Geothermal October 19 2020

“Zero Place boreholes under building

On Oct 13, 2020 Contactor magazine featured an article about Zero Place, "Zero Place and The Future of Geothermal," by Steve Spaulding. Here is an excerpt:

Award-winning, multifamily, mixed-use building to deliver the data that proves the technology.

...The idea behind Zero Place was to build a net-zero, mixed-use, multifamily building in New Paltz, New York, that could be a model for projects across the Northeast. had completed a similar building...which immediately gave them an advantage over the competition.

...Construction broke ground in 2018 and Zero Place is scheduled to open for its first tenants sometime in December of 2020 (the COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the opening by several months). The building will feature 46 residential units (25 two-bed, 21 one-bed), including five affordable housing units, and 8,400 sq. ft. of retail space.

This is the first multifamily building at this scale to go Net Zero in a cold climate with winter peaks as low as -15° F that we know of.

Read the full article here.

Zero Place, in New Paltz, NY, was also featured in a previous NY-GEO blog.

“Zero Place borehole field
“Zero Place solar panels

Sewer Heat Recovery Project in Denver October 12 2020

From the International District Energy Association (IDEA) website blog:

EAS Energy Partners (EAS), a consortium led by Enwave Energy Corporation, announces completion of a landmark renewable energy project partnership for the National Western Center in Denver, Colorado. Enwave’s "Sewer Heat Recovery system," an innovative technology that heats and cools buildings with recycled thermal energy from nearby pipelines, will be the largest clean technology system of its kind in North America.

Increasingly, modern campuses, municipalities, and districts are looking for sustainable energy solutions to harness both environmental and economic benefits.

This new district energy technology, custom-built for the National Western Center, an urban campus intended as a year-round global destination for agriculture, western heritage and culture, will help the center meet its ambitious clean energy goals.

Read the full article here.

Electrify Your World – Exciting new Resource October 12 2020

The Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) is a project of-the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

In a new episode of NRECA's Along Those Lines, podcast, hear about their goals for the group and how co-ops are getting involved from the BEL's co-chair, Gary Connett and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc.'s CEO Duane Highley, who heads the league's Colorado chapter.

The League has developed two new videos that are focused on two consumer groups—businesses and residential consumers. The video links are below and can also be found on BEL's website.

Your organization is able to co-brand these for free by adding your logo at the end. Please contact BEL ( for additional information.

For Commercial & Industrial Consumers: Businesses Choose Electricity!

For Residential Consumers: Electrify Your World!

Clean Heating Program Utility Contacts October 12 2020

NY-GEO has been working with the leadership of the Clean Heating Joint Management Committee (JMC) to develop an effective line of communication regarding the utility GSHP rebate program.

The JMC urges GSHP stakeholders to feel free to contact the utility program managers below with any questions or concerns regarding your projects in their service territory. Each utility also has hired an implementation firm, and installation contractors should each be assigned an account manager from the utility’s implementation firm.

Please do feel free to reach out to the contacts below or your assigned account manager and please let us know at if you need any further help with the rebate program. We'd appreciate knowing about both successes and glitches as the program moves forward.

Central Hudson
Ray Cotto, Associate Energy Efficiency Program Manager
Phone: 845-486-5750

Con Ed
General Inquiries:
Residential ASHP: Steven Pak,
Residential GSHP: Mark Brescia,
Multifamily: Caroline Packowski,
Small-to-medium Business: Shaun Hoyte,
Commercial & Industrial: Amaury de la Cruz,

National Grid
Jennifer Cross, Senior Program Manager
Phone: 518-433-5034 or 888-889-7207

National Grid's implementation firm is Rise Engineering
Phone: 888-889-7207

Elizabeth Rhoda - Program Manager, Conservation and Load Management
Phone: 585-771-4866

Orange & Rockland
Matthew Siano
Phone: 845-532-5971

Although PSEG LI is not part of the Clean Heating Program, here are their contact numbers:

PSEG Long Island
Residential: Josh Ebner, Home Comfort Program Coordinator
Phone: 631-479-7582

Commercial: Wendy Smith, Lead Energy Consultant
Phone: 516-497-1354