2021 Webinar Series - 13A NYSERDA’s Community Heat Pump Systems

NYSERDA’s Community Heat Pump Systems – PON 4614

Overview of First Round Awards

NY-GEO interrupts your summer to present an important news flash.  On July 19th Governor Cuomo announced nearly $4 million in awards for an impressive group of projects to study and construct community thermal networks, taking another major step to advance New York’s nation-leading climate agenda under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act). This program will give an overview of how the 23 winning projects will explore clean energy options at 600 buildings to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution with two-thirds of funding being directed to projects that focus on disadvantaged communities.  Take in the creative approaches from the winning projects and think of your own ideas since the program (PON 4614) is still open and inviting proposals at various due dates through late 2022.

Speakers:

  • Donovan Gordon /Director, Clean Heating & Cooling / NYSERDA
  • Dana Levy / Senior Advisor, Clean Heating & Cooling / NYSERDA
 

Recording

 

 Slides


 

Q&A

  1. More of a statement- Zayneb and her team have some groundbreaking (no pun intended) work on community efforts using previous gas pipelines to implement district systems. With the knowledge that we will need more drillers, technicians and "opportunistic" workers, will there be opportunities funded to train or retrain the needed workers?
    • NYSERDA has a robust program for workforce development, please tap into it!
  2. Once DiBlasio is out, will the NYC district systems still be a priority?
    • Still a priority to NYSERDA
  3. Is the Syracuse U ice rink going to be a geothermal one?
  4. Wondering if there is a baseline of where NYS is starting from in geothermal installations annually in the state?
    • NYSERDA is able to track installations that seek an incentive (installations that proceed without an incentive are not well tracked). In the past three-year term, approximately 2,000 ground-source heat pumps were installed receiving incentives, and it is estimated that few additional installations occurred in the absence of incentives. In the past three-year term, approximately 35,000 air-source heat pumps were installed receiving incentives (this represents approximately 14,000 sites because some sites installed multiple heat pumps), and it is difficult to estimate but it is expected that a significant number of additional air-source heat pump installations occurred in the absence of incentives.
  5. Will you talk about ownership would work for multi-owner campuses (like Innovation QNS in Queens)? 
    • As the project unfolds, more insights will become available.  One option might be that the district thermal system could be owned by an operator, and the various buildings would purchase heat as a service.  Another option might be that the various building owners might form a co-op to own the system.
  6. Curious how many are 4G vs. Ambient and how you are comparing and contrasting such design decisions? 

Name

Facility Ownership

Intends to Explore 4G

(aka Centralized Heat Pumps)

Intends to Explore 5G

(aka Ambient Loop)

Barnard College

Single Owner Campus

x

 

City of Oneonta

Multiple Owners

x

x

City of Troy

Multiple Owners

 

x

Fleet Financial

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Gowanus Green

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Innovation QNS

Multiple Owners

x

 

LCOR Coney Island

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Masonic Community New Rochelle

Single Owner Campus

x

 

National Fuel Gas Community in Buffalo

Multiple Owners

x

x

Phelps Hospital

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Pratt Institute

Single Owner Campus

x

x

Pratt Landing

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Rockefeller Center

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Silo City

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Spring Creek Towers

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Syracuse

Multiple Owners

 

x

Syracuse University

Single Owner Campus

x

 

The Children's Village

Single Owner Campus

 

x

The Peninsula

Single Owner Campus

x

 

University of Rochester

Single Owner Campus

x

 

Utica

Multiple Owners

x

 

Wagner College

Single Owner Campus

x

 

  1. How many of them are single-ownership projects vs. multi-ownership projects?
    • Please see the table depicted in the answer above.
  2. What types of financing models are included in these proposals to fund the project?
    • . Feasibility Studies will conduct cursory assessments of financial models, and those projects that progress to the next step of Detailed Design Studies (PON 4614 Category B) will conduct more-detailed exploration at that time.
  3. Will these studies/projects evaluate the permitting/administrative requirements/feasibility as well as the technical feasibility?
    • . Those studies where the basis for design includes crossing a public right-of-way with a private thermal pipe, and those exploring use of a surface water body (river or ocean), and those exploring sewage thermal energy from sewage in pipes beyond their property, will explore these issues.
  4. These projects all seem to be in privately held buildings. Schools, libraries and other municipal buildings are always dealing with tight budgets. How do we upgrade muni buildings given the high up-front costs? Are there grants available for muni buildings to do this?
    • . Not necessarily all private. Answered Live.  For example, there are numerous public buildings in the projects at downtown City of Oneida, downtown City of Troy, and downtown City of Syracuse.
  5. Many of these projects are designed for larger buildings, would there be interest by NYSERDA to do smaller community ground loops that would connect 20 or less residences?
    • . One of the awarded projects is in Buffalo with National Fuel Gas and Wendel and will explore 10 single-family homes bundled with a nearby commercial building and will provide insights beyond what has already been learned (information is publicly-available) via the National Grid project that installed a system serving 10 single-family homes in Riverhead (Long Island) NY. http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/Common/ViewDoc.aspx?DocRefId={2511B9E5-F94E-451E-BD27-BB9535BEA596} PON 4614 prizes projects that can fill-in the gaps in knowledge as opposed to merely repeating examples that have already been demonstrated.
  6. The PSC has been reluctant to allow utility ownership of geothermal systems.  Will the Erie County National Fuel project need PSC approval?  Is a process in place on the utility ownership question.  It's good to see this gas only utility looking forward.
    • . Answered live. The feasibility study project will explore what must occur to enable utility ownership.
  7. Is this PON open to areas that do not pay into the SBC?
    • . Unfortunately, no. Answered live.
  8. What distribution systems are being anticipated to replace steam systems?
    • . We’re seeing proposals for steam distribution being transitioned to water distribution. Answered live.
  9. Is the Pot of money for each PON 4614 category going to be refilled for 2022 and beyond?
    • . NYSERDA can add money or extend the program - we made awards to more proposals than we anticipated and it’s great to be off to such a good start. NYSERDA’s pot of money is large enough to jump start the market so more projects like these pop up. Answered live.  NYSERDA’s intention is to develop a robust marketplace, and Leadership will monitor the progress of the program at stimulating the desired outcome and to what extent ongoing intervention is warranted.
  10. What type of funding remains now that 21 projects are chosen?  What will the process be for new projects moving forward
    • . This is a $15 million program and could balloon to a bigger program. If we continue to get good projects and scoping studies, and when studies are completed and the projects proceed to Detailed Design Studies/Construction, we will want to be effective at enabling such progression and ultimately achieve Construction so as to obtain those benefits. Answered live.
  11. Will each project team have access to real energy usage data for the buildings in the scope? Is there any need to collect (or simulate) the data?
    • . Answered live.  Some projects have access to better quality data than others (some may need to rely more-so on simulation).
  12. Is control/operation plan a part of the feasibility study?
    • . Some feasibility studies might look at this but that might be in Category B Detailed Design Studies. Answered live.
  13. Will the feasibility studies be peer-reviewed? How will they be refereed for quality assurance?
    • . Each study will be coached by a NYSERDA project manager, the collective group of NYSERDA project managers will cross-talk regarding all of the projects in the portfolio, so the collective wisdom of the whole group of NYSERDA project managers can be funneled back to each project.
  14. Can winners of PON 4614 propose additional proposals for other projects they may be developing. Are there any limitations here? 
    • . No team member (regardless of whether the prime proposer or the site owner or a subcontractor etc.) can be involved with more than 10 concurrently-open Category A feasibility studies, and no more than 2 concurrently-open Category B studies. Answered live.
  15. Thanks for addressing my question about public buildings. As a Trustee of my local library, my concern is the high up-front cost of retrofitting our old building. We are about to replace our entire HVAC system, and our engineer seems to be steering us away from a geothermal system due to the upfront costs. I’m wondering if there’s a way around this?
    • . One of the example projects just awarded funding by NYSERDA to conduct a feasibility study is The Children's Village, a campus that specifically sought a solution provider partner who could offer a no-money-down option if the feasibility study reveals an attractive project (the solution provider would Design, Build, Own, Operate, Maintain the system -- DBOOM -- and the customer would pay a monthly energy use fee).  Several other solution providers also offer this type of arrangement. A fact sheet about this project is available on NYSERDA’s website at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Community-Heat-Pump-Systems/Winners
  16. In what ways, if any, do you think community heat pump systems could help NY address social and environmental justice issues?
    • . Pivoting from combustion systems (furnaces and boilers) in the buildings to electric-driven heat pumps will reduce local air quality pollutants such as NOx and SOx and fine particulate matter that are known to exacerbate respiratory health issues (such as asthma),and if the Community Heat Pump Systems approach is found to be more cost-attractive than the individual-building-style heat pumps approach, that could expand the locations where heat pumps get installed and accelerate when heat pumps get installed.  Furthermore, the Community Heat Pump Systems approach is typically more-likely when buildings are in close proximity to each other (density) and social justice and environmental justice communities often have buildings that are closely-spaced. 
  17. Will any of the studies involve the consumer and general public aspects of implementing district geothermal systems?  This question particularly relates to systems that serve groups of privately-owned buildings, that are owned by the residents or by small-scale landlords.  Part of what prompts this question is that a friend of mine recently got an air-source heat pump system and is perplexed by how to operate it, how it works, and whether a problem during the installation actually got fixed.  Trouble-shooting and information for members of the public who are newly on district thermal systems may be important for acceptance of these.  Heat pumps are a new technology for many people, particularly those who are intimidated by technological things.
    • . Certainly a project with a single-owner campus will have an easier task at customer education than a project with multiple owners. Some limited amount of education and outreach to prospective customers may occur during Category A Feasibility Studies, and more-detailed education and outreach is expected for those projects that advance to Category B Detailed Design Studies (thereat such detailed design studies will focus on a more-tangible project concept, and pricing structure can be better detailed).
  18. For multi-ownership community loops, who would own the loops after the project is completed? Are there utilities who are willing to take this responsibility and at what cost?
  19. Can you explain 4G, 5G?
    • . Answered live. Configuration could be either so-called 4G or so-called 5G (sometimes 5G is also referred to as “ambient temperature loop”):  4G would be a system serving numerous buildings via a distribution loop consisting of water at hot temperature (often approx 140-to-160 degrees F) produced by a centralized heat pump, and using the campus loop to feed hydronic devices such as radiators or air coils in each building; 5G would be a system serving numerous buildings via a distribution loop to water being circulated at ambient temperature (often approx 50-to-60 degrees F), in conjunction with heat pumps in each building that use the campus loop as their thermal source/sink.
  20. How many of the winning projects benefit LMI?
  21. Will the funded feasibility reports be made publicly available? If so, when? Will there be any opportunity for public or industry input to these studies? Will NYSERDA accept comments on the reports after they are published?
    • . Each feasibility study will proceed at its own schedule, some will be completed in a few months, most will be completed in about half-a-year, some will be completed in about a year.  Each Fact Sheet indicates the anticipated date when its Feasibility Study Report will be available.  The fact sheets are available on NYSERDA’s website at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/Community-Heat-Pump-Systems/Winners