2021 Webinar Series - 26 Non-Pipeline Alternatives

Non-Pipeline Alternatives (NPA): Bringing Together Utilities & the Heat Pump Industry

Natural gas pipeline expansions are being evaluated carefully and alternatives are being explored. Natural gas supplies are also constrained in some existing service areas, and again utilities are looking for non-pipeline alternatives. In this session we will hear from investor-owned utilities about what NPA activities have occurred to date and desire to continue collaborations with the heat pump industry in the search for sustainable solutions.


  • Zach Fink / ZBF Geothermal


  • Elizabeth Murphy / Avangrid
  • Arthur Pearson / National Grid
  • Cory Scofield / Central Hudson







                1. Does the Societal Cost Test include public health benefits, and if so, how are these calculated and what negative impacts are considered to be mitigated by using heat pumps?
                  1. The Societal Cost Test is intended to evaluate if the State of New York is better off as a whole and is further defined in the publicly-filed Benefit Cost Analysis Handbook located here: https://jointutilitiesofny.org/sites/default/files/NYSEG_RGE_2020_DSIP_BCA_Handbook.pdf
                2. Why has it taken 4 years to implement the Lansing NPA (still not implemented), if I were cynical I would suspect NYSEG is not committed, hoping for a pipeline solution ultimately winning.
                  1. NYSEG is committed to the overall NPA process, which includes cost-effective clean energy solutions to meet our customers’ needs. NYSEG invested a significant amount of time collaborating with the Lansing community, Department of Public Service Staff, and other key NY stakeholders on multiple iterations of the RFI and then RFP processes to help ensure the Lansing NPA project was fully vetted and reviewed. NYSEG is required to secure NY Public Service Commission approval prior to moving forward with an NPA project like this. We have learned a lot by going through the overall Lansing process that we are using to streamline future NPA projects.
                3. What factors lead to the Lansing School System heat pump system cost to dramatically exceed the cost of the condensing gas alternative?
                  1. This type of specific project information cannot be shared due to confidentiality agreements in place with Lansing NPA project developers.
                4. Can a 2-stage heat pump be used to boost water temperatures to a temperature hot enough to replace gas boilers in domestic hydronic heating systems?
                  1. John Ciovacco Heat pumps can serve low temperature hydronic distribution systems quite well, like radiant floors and high surface area radiators/radiant panels.  Like to see a system that can heat the home with a maximum output temperature of 120 F.  There are some exceptions with heat pumps with higher temp capabilities but that’s the general industry condition.  Most existing homes with boilers out to baseboard water or hot water radiators run between 160 F to 180 F.  Sometimes if the home can be super well insulated and the existing hydronics have enough surface area, you can sneak by with 120 F but not usually.  The other issue is you can’t take advantage of the reversible aspect of a geothermal heat pump to produce air conditioning unless you put in hydronic air handlers or hydronic fan coils.  There are exceptions there too - like chilled beams - but that’s the general guidance.   We install a lot of central ductwork systems into older homes with high temp water systems - so they have heat and AC and the most efficient heat pumps - but it’s a big project. If you have additional questions you can contact me.  jciovacco@aztechgeo.com 
                5. Two questions: 1) Is it possible for the public to identify the RG&E/Avangrid "Targeted Areas" for electrification? 2) Openness/receptiveness to working with startups in demonstrating new technology solutions for NPA? Ellie Rusling, MicroEra Power (Developing a Thermal Energy Storage Solution for heating/cooling C&I buildings)
                  1. 1 - Targeted areas and customer counts are published as part of the specific NPA RFP
                  2. 2 - Send me an email following the webinar (elizabeth.murphy@uinet.com) and I will ensure your company is added to our NPA distribution list - we are open to working with any third party that meets the requirements specified in the RFP
                6. How does the pace of these NPA projects correspond with the timeline that the CLCPA lays out ?
                  1. NYSEG and RG&E are in the process of advancing NPA projects per the terms of the Companies’ current rate plan and as directed by NY PSC.  NPA solutions would assist the state in achieving the 2050 GHG emission reduction goal delineated in the CLCPA.
                7. cory - has anything been written up on the 3 NPA cases that have been completed.  It would make a fascinating article
                  1. Agreed these are interesting projects.  We have promotional material from our Clean Heat program that is often used to promote Heat Pump technology to folks in a targeted TMA project, but we haven’t created material for general circulation of these unique TMA projects.  In discussions with customers in a TMA project we may offer example projects we’ve completed so they have an understanding of what the program is about.  I’ve provided a few presentations like I did with NY-GEO last week, but no articles created yet for general circulation. 
                8. For Cory, what if anything does Central Hudson do to showcase the whole-home beneficial electrification in order to build general consumer awareness and confidence?
                  1. Our Clean Heat promotional materials are the primary education tools for Heat Pump technology and benefits en mass.  
                9. cory - you specify air source heat pumps  do you not evaluate for ground source or offer that option to customers?
                  1. The customer can select ground source as an option, but they would be required to cover any cost differential above the ASHP solution (if any) and for it to be completed within the timeline that the project requires to retire the main.
                10. how long of a term (# of years) does the completion incentive cover?
                  1. The incentive is a one-time bonus for their participation.  They can choose to have it as a check or bill credit.
                11. Elizabeth and Cory - is the depreciation for gas infrastructure you use in your BCA compliant with the CLCPA that requires an 85% reduction in co2e by 2050?  What social cost of carbon do you use?  For gas does it include CLCPA's 20 year term and supply chain leaks ?
                  1. The depreciation for gas infrastructure used is consistent with the latest depreciation rates approved by the NYPSC. NYSEG and RG&E look forward to working with DPS Staff and other stakeholders in refining the current BCA process to reflect the CLCPA once further guidance from NY State is provided.
                12. What is the 100' rule?
                  1. Gas utilities are currently obligated to provide a connecting pipeline to the main gas service line to customers that are up to 100 feet from the main service line.
                13. When money is spent to retrofit residences with non-gas alternatives, how is this expense recovered?
                  1. For NYSEG and RG&E, the “Order Approving Electric and Gas Rate Plans in Accord with Joint Proposal, With Modifications’ issued by the Commission on November 19, 2020” details how NYSEG and RG&E will recover costs of their NPA programs.
                14. Cory - how are Clean Heat rebates treated in the NPA cases?
                  1. They’re not permitted.  If the TMA project were to use the Clean Heat rebates, the benefits associated with those dollars would have to go to the Clean Heat program.  So we’ve found that while we lose  
                15. What makes a project "unsuitable" for an NPA? Cost compared to traditional solutions? Or what other factors are taken into consideration to make an unsuitable NPA project
                16. Are you booking / earning on the installed residential facilities?
                17. For Cory, has Central Hudson done any "A/B" testing of what kinds of marketing messages have been most effective (i.e., environmental benefits vs. cost savings or other)?
                  1. Not formalized.  Our process starts with us ensuring we can get a hold of the customer for a conversation and we're generally pretty successful with that.  Once we have a foot in the door the IC has follow up calls and consultations and explains all the benefits of the offer.  The most effective message depends on the customer and the field representative "tunes" into that.  Many are driven by the free equipment, some the more green aspect, somewhere looking to replace their existing system and the timing was right etc.
                18. What was the lancing non-residential fuel switching?
                  1. Installation of electric boilers at different non-residential sites. The sites would switch from gas to electric boilers which would operate during times of peak gas use when there is low gas pressure.
                19. Can Elizabeth share how many residential heat pumps are targeted under Petition Proposal #1?
                  1. The number of heat pumps targeted in Proposal #1 is confidential at this point but we will share that information when we can. I can share that this project is expected to achieve an hourly gas demand savings of 42.7 MCFH (as noted in the table in the presentation) after an installation period of three years.
                20. NYSEG filed 2021Q3 report last week
                  1. NYSEG and RG&E filed our Q3 NPA Report with the Commission on 11/29/21.
                21. and please say re geothermal that was installed but then replaced by fuel switching - did I hear that right?
                  1. Yes, that is correct. This was a decision made by the Public Service Commission that is further described in the Order approving the Lansing NPA portfolio
                22. What happened to the geothermal system and why was it replaced?
                  1. This was a decision made by the Public Service Commission that is further described in the Order approving the Lansing NPA portfolio.
                23. Are the involved customers educated as a group with films on the advantages of electrification?
                24. For involved customers currently cooking with natural gas, it behooves utilities to help convert them convert to induction cooktops rather than standard electric or the "success of the project" may be impacted. Do you agree?