WASHINGTON — Doug Dougherty, president of the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) submitted a statement for the record regarding S. 2146, the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (CES), which is now before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

According to the organization’s press release, GEO strongly supports the goals of S. 2146, but would like to work with the committee to ensure that utilities can receive credit under the CES for renewable energy that geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) harness from the ground.

“Geothermal heat pumps capture a distributed, thermal form of renewable energy that can be measured, metered, verified, and effectively address one of the biggest consumers of U.S. energy — buildings,” said the organization. “Buildings account for more than 70 percent of the nation’s electricity usage, and geothermal heat pumps have the potential to reduce energy use by as much as 40-70 percent in a typical building.”

GEO also pointed out in its statement that, “GHPs are a 50-state technology that use the only renewable energy resource that is available on demand at the point of use and cannot be depleted. If included in the CES, every utility in the country can promote geothermal heat pumps as way to meet its CES obligation. Ensuring that utilities get credit under a CES for the thermal energy avoided by geothermal heat pumps will create an incentive for utilities to actively promote this proven technology. Every electric utility in the country can improve its load factor, mitigate the need for price increases, lessen the strain on the transmission grid, forestall future generation needs, reduce carbon emissions, and provide consumers with improved conditioned space by promoting geothermal heat pumps.”

The organization is supporting this measure to establish a CES and is endeavoring to work with the committee to ensure that “GHPs are included and that utilities can claim credit for the renewable energy.”

For more information, visit www.geoexchange.org.

Publication date: 7/16/2012