This week, Governor Cuomo created a $15 million rebate program for geothermal heat pumps, a longtime ask of NYLCV and other environmental advocates. In 2016 Governor Cuomo vetoed a bill to create the credit arguing it would negatively affect New York’s 2016 budget. The New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) has continuously supported the geothermal energy rebate program as an opportunity to diversify New York’s energy outlook while improving the state’s energy stability. Geothermal energy will also reduce pollution and the production of greenhouse gases.
Geothermal energy originates underground beneath earth’s surface. Like most forms of energy, it uses heat to provide power, however this energy is harnessed from underground, not from burning fossil fuels. Buildings use geothermal heat pumps as a means of heating the building, water, or for energy production. Geothermal pumps also help to divert from fossil fuel use to more sustainable resources, combatting climate change. Unfortunately, the initial costs of establishing a geothermal pump can be quite expensive. The rebate program will provide $6,000 to consumers who install the geothermal heat pumps to reduce their costs.
The program takes further steps to reduce the costs of geothermal energy. Some of the measures include community education and outreach, as well as bulk purchasing. There are also plans to integrate sustainable heating systems throughout new housing projects. New York also plans to further research new business models to mitigate the primary costs of certain renewable energies. The rebate program is key to New York’s pursuit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The program includes a $1,500 per ton rebate for residential and small commercial projects with a $15,000 cap and a $1,250 per ton rebate for large commercial project with a $500,000 cap per building and a $3 million cap per site. The rebates will apply in all areas that pay into NYSERDA’s System Benefits Charge.
The majority of homes and businesses use fossil fuels as an energy and heating source. Furthermore, residential and commercial heating contribute to over 30 percent of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable technology such as geothermal energy is essential to improving public health, conserving our environment, and fighting climate change. The use of geothermal energy also contributes to Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy and creates new opportunities for employment in the geothermal energy sector.
The New York State Energy and Development Authority (NYSERDA) developed the rebate program and hopes to put it into action this coming spring. NYSERDA still has to work with various stakeholders and get approval from the Department of Public Service before the program can be implemented as a part of the Clean Energy Fund. Following the program’s currently tentative approval, NYSERDA will collaborate with the New York Power Authority to further advance the geothermal energy rebate program.
Following the announcement of the rebate program John Franceschina, President of NY-GEO, demonstrated his support stating, “New York is now charging ahead with a rapidly evolving program to address climate change that combines renewable heating, cooling, power generation and electric vehicles. NY-GEO thanks Governor Cuomo, who has come to the rescue of 1,000 family-supporting geothermal jobs, while paving the way for New York to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.” With this rebate program New York will establish itself as a leader in renewable energy and will contribute to the fight against climate change, qualities the NYLCV is very supportive of. For further information and history behind the rebate program and how geothermal energy works, please read our Governor Vetoes Geothermal Bill Again, But Momentum Grows article.