NGWA lauds Senator Tester for geothermal heat pump technology bill

WESTERVILLE, OH — The National Ground Water Association strongly supports a bill sponsored by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) that among other things would establish a geothermal heat pump (GHP) technology research and development program.

Senate Bill 1142 seeks to amend the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. It is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which held a hearing on the bill July 12.

GHP systems provide heating and cooling by exchanging heat to and from the ground or surface water.

“We applaud your efforts and those of Senators Murkowski and Reid to ensure the United States maintains a leadership position in geothermal heat pump technology,” said NGWA Executive Director Kevin B. McCray, CAE. “Thanks for recognizing that geothermal heat pump technology is smart, a great value, and outstanding stewardship of our natural resources.”

The bill would direct the U.S. Secretary of Energy to establish a program of research, development, demonstration, and commercial application for GHP technology. The program would award project grants to state and local governments, higher education institutions, nonprofit organizations, utilities, and for-profit companies, including manufacturers.

“This farsighted bill’s focus on enhancing research, development, demonstration, and commercial application of geothermal heat pumps — while maintaining environmental protections — will help address the nation’s energy needs in a sustainable manner,” McCray said.

More specifically, the bill seeks to advance GHP technology in areas including:
Heat pumps
Heat transfer fluids
Thermal grouts
Drilling methods
Geothermal ground loop installation
GHP system design
Large-scale applications (districts, neighborhoods, communities, large commercial or public buildings, and industrial and manufacturing facilities).

The bill would authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2012 through 2016 and require the Energy Secretary to solicit grant applications 180 days after enactment.

S. 1142 also would establish a loan program to support exploratory deep drilling for geothermal energy emanating from the Earth’s core.

NGWA, a nonprofit organization composed of U.S. and international groundwater professionals — contractors, equipment manufacturers, suppliers, scientists, and engineers — is dedicated to advancing groundwater knowledge. NGWA’s vision is to be the leading groundwater association that advocates the responsible development, management, and use of water.

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TAGS: Law Geothermal