This is the first piece on geothermal lobbying efforts that I’m completing in addition to other industry communications and research efforts. In the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing information on the current state of policy and next steps in Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and New York as well.
The goal of outling the current policy and legislative space in Massachusetts has a few very specific goals.
We are an industry with a limited amount of time and money (at the moment) but a HUGE amount of potential. Thus, we need to be razor sharp about where we apply our efforts. This cannot be another full time job for anyone. However, we need to make ourselves a seat at the table. I think we can do this by creating the right relationships and being useful.
Because we have a limited amount of resources, providing a simple, clear and straightforward overview of what is happening in each state will allow us to use our resources in the most effective manner.
This is a living document that will be used to keep track of pieces of legislation that are being created, hearings beings had, or bills that have been passed that impact our industry. We’ll use it to keep track of key legislatures and other stakeholders that can be our an ally. We’ll look for allys that agree and have goals that overlap with geothermal: Geothermal provides the lowest cost of thermal energy, it directly replaces heating oil, it can be installed FAST, it creates 100% local jobs across the whole supply chain, and eliminates air and water pollutions issues associated with burning oil.
We’ll use it to understand which other organizations we need to create relationships with in order to impact the policy that is being created that will affect geothermal.
The process also outlines next steps for our industry in Massachusetts.
As always, if I missed anything, or you’d like to add something in terms of bills, studies, legislatures, or other stakeholders please email or call me [email protected], 917 767 8204.
Also, if you’re commissioning a large residential or commercial geothermal project in one of these district PLEASE LET ME KNOW, so we can invite a Senator who represents the district where the job is happening and create a press opportunity to show them that the technology is being used, it’s creating local jobs, and saving property owners tons of money. These are the district we’re focusing on, see more information on this below.
1st Plymouth and Bristol District
Berkshire, Hampshire and Franklin District
Middlesex and Worcester
SB2395 – Passed
Citation for SB2395: http://www.malegislature.gov/Bills/187/Senate/S02395
Section 46 is most critical to us with underlined sections that are more critical:
SECTION 46. The executive office of energy and environmental affairs, in consultation with the department of energy resources, shall study whether any alternative energy development, as defined in section 3 of chapter 25A of the General Laws, that generates useful thermal energy shall be added to the list of alternative energy generating sources that may be used to meet the commonwealth’s energy portfolio standard for all retail electricity suppliers selling electricity to end-use customers in the commonwealth under section 11F½ of said chapter 25A. For purposes of this study, “useful thermal energy”, shall mean energy in the form of direct heat, steam, hot water or other thermal form that is used in production and beneficial measures for heating, cooling, humidity control, process use or other valid thermal end use energy requirements and for which fuel or electricity would otherwise be consumed. The executive office of energy and environmental affairs shall submit a report of its findings not later than January 1, 2013 to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate who shall forward a copy of the report to the joint committee on telecommunications, utilities and energy.
SB2768 – Green Communities in 2008 – This is an old bill, but it will be key to understand who support it because they will likely have open ears to ground source heat pumps.
What SB 2395 bill says, in a nutshell
SB 2395 says that Massachusetts DOER will do a renewable thermal study and they will send results to energy committee by January 1, 2013. This means that the geothermal industry needs to establish relationships and get involved with both the DOER and the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utility, and Energy. Our primary goal right now is simply exploratory and to create relationships with both those organizations.
When reaching out it’s key that we understand the impact that the language around “retail electricity suppliers” will have around the analysis and their understanding of geothermal, as the technology largest benefit in the Northeast is replacing fossil fuel use for space heating and shaving peak cooling demand. What this means is that from the government’s perspective, they may only be interested in the technology for shaving peak demand from cooling, even though it has a huge heating benefit. Or, they might just be interested in it’s benefits for replacing oil use for heating.