Praise for NYSERDA’s Policy Framework

Renewable Heat Now Campaign Praises NYSERDA’s Initiative to Promote Renewable Heating and Cooling Options in NY

Calls on NYSERDA to prioritize rebates for low-income households and for retrofitting the homes currently on oil and propane heat

NEW YORK STATE— Last month, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced a new policy framework for renewable heating and cooling, looking at options to advance industry growth and markets in New York State. The Renewable Heat Now campaign, comprised of a coalition of grassroots groups and businesses, praised NYSERDA for taking proactive steps towards making cold climate air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps economical and accessible for New Yorkers. The campaign also called on NYSERDA to go further and to use public money to help those who need access to the technology most – low income households and those currently paying high prices for oil and propane.

Heat pumps use free energy from the environment (ground or air) to provide more efficient heating and cooling than would be available using electricity alone. Once installed, they are very cost effective to run and protect homeowners from fluctuations in fossil fuel prices. Heat pumps are also “renewable-ready,” meaning they can be powered by renewable energy sources, providing an option for people to move completely off of fossil fuels used for heating homes and businesses.

Thermal energy use in New York State’s residential and commercial sector constitutes approximately 37% of statewide net energy consumption, and around 32% of NY’s energy-related, combustion-based greenhouse gas emissions.

“There is no way New York can hit its goal of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 without the technologies NYSERDA’s Policy Framework centers on.  The Governor and NYSERDA deserve high praise for taking on this challenge,” said John Ciovacco, President of Aztech Geothermal, LLC.

NYSERDA also announced $15 million in customer rebates for geothermal systems, in recognition that the geothermal industry was facing a crisis as a federal tax credit expired in 2016. The resulting increases in cost for geothermal systems were a threat to geothermal jobs (of which there are about 1,000 in NY), and some firms faced closure altogether.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo for the $15 million rebate for geothermal heat pumps and support taking the next step to expand this to air source heat pumps and other renewable heating and cooling technologies,” said Renee Vogelsang of New Yorkers for Clean Power. About one third of New York’s greenhouse gases coming from direct fuel use in buildings, such as for heating our homes. The time to prioritize renewable heating accessibility for New Yorkers is now.”

“This is a great first step,” remarked Jessica Azulay of Alliance for a Green Economy. “We are glad to see the Cuomo administration thinking comprehensively about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions coming from heating and cooling our buildings. We are asking them to go even further by setting a clear emissions reduction goal specifically for the thermal energy sector, putting an end to fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion, and ensuring that rebates are accessible to low-income people.”

“Renewable heating and cooling will be especially effective because it can eliminate fossil fuel heating bills for the many rural and small town New Yorkers who rely on propane and heating oil, which are expensive and subject to price volatility, to heat their homes and businesses,” said Bill Nowak, Executive Director NY-GEO

Comments on NYSERDA’s Framework Policy are due on Friday, March 10. Renewable Heat Now has provided links to relevant documents, comment talking points, and instructions for commenting on its website, www.RenewableHeatNow.org

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Renewable Heat Now is a campaign organized by Alliance for a Green Economy, New Yorkers for Clean Power, NY-GEO, HeatSmart Tompkins, Sane Energy Project, and FrackAction. The campaign aims to accelerate the adoption of ground-source (geothermal) and air-source heat pumps in New York to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to heat and cool our homes and workplaces, through public education and advocacy.