State Sen. Pete Harckham with (l-r) Christine Hoffer from NY-GEO; Zach Fink from ZBF Geothermal; Supervisor Liz Feldman; Gibson Craig from WBP Development LLC; Mayor Rika Levin; Heather Deese from Dandelion Energy; William G. Balter from WBP Development LLC; Suzie Ross from Green Ossining; Leo Wiegman and Lauren Brois from Sustainable Westchester. Photo Credit: Office of State Sen. Pete Harckham / Victoria Doody.
Ossining, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham celebrated the enactment of his bill allowing geothermal boreholes exceeding 500 feet at a special press conference in Ossining. The event took place on the premises of the Station Plaza, a 109-unit mixed-use development by WBP Development LLC, which incorporates geothermal heating and cooling.
This project, situated at 30 Water Street, will be among the first in New York State to employ a geothermal borehole exceeding 500 feet for commercial use. The drilling rig, integral to the project, was on-site during the event.
The new law, passed in September, serves multiple purposes. It aids the state in meeting its decarbonization objectives and opens up fresh opportunities for clean heating and cooling technologies, particularly in densely populated areas. This aligns with New York State’s emission reduction targets as outlined in the Climate Leadership and Community Project Act (CLCPA).
“Geothermal energy systems, the most efficient way to heat and cool buildings, are a clean energy technology that needs to be encouraged,” remarked Harckham. “The new law allowing deeper boreholes means lower project costs, which will significantly ramp up this alternative energy industry statewide. More than ever, we need to reduce fossil fuel use. Being able to shift toward a geothermal energy source, especially in dense urban settings, will create new jobs and real savings to all involved parties—developers, contractors, homeowners—while boosting our economy.”
The press conference saw the presence of Ossining Village Mayor Rika Levin, Ossining Town Supervisor Liz Feldman, Christine Hoffer, Executive Director of NY-GEO, Heather Deese, Senior Director of Dandelion Geothermal and NY-GEO board member, Zach Fink, President of ZBF Geothermal and Vice President of NY-GEO, William G. Balter, President of WBP Development LLC, Leo Wiegman and Lauren Brois from Sustainable Westchester, and Suzie Ross from Green Ossining.
Closed-loop geothermal systems tap into ground heat for heating and hot water, while for cooling, the heat is transferred back into the ground. Incorporating closed-loop geothermal heating and cooling system boreholes is a crucial aspect of New York’s Climate Action Council’s final Scoping Plan.
In the past, regulatory hurdles in New York hampered large-scale adoption of geothermal energy systems. These obstacles not only threatened the state’s climate goals but also hindered the growth of the geothermal energy sector, particularly in densely developed areas.
Harckham’s bill has been instrumental in altering the regulatory landscape. Before its enactment, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) applied oil and gas well regulations to geothermal boreholes deeper than 500 feet, even though they didn’t entail ground injection or extraction. This approach added substantial costs and permitting complexities, hindering the implementation of ground-source heat pump installations and geothermal energy network projects that thrive on multiple boreholes for heat distribution.
The change in state law, however, allows for deeper geothermal boreholes, promising substantial economic advantages. It’s projected to reduce the expense of meeting New York State’s building decarbonization criteria by nearly $9.9 billion by 2050. Moreover, it will cut the costs of electrifying one million homes by 2030 by about $900 million, and reduce the expense of electrifying 85% of the state’s building stock by roughly $9 billion between 2030 and 2050, all in 2023 dollars. The overall cost savings, in nominal dollars, will amount to approximately $16.3 billion by 2050.