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Cuomo: Nearly $4 million awarded to grow community heat pump networks across NYS

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Mon, Jul 19th 2021 12:55 pm

Winning projects to explore clean energy options at 600 buildings with two-thirds of funding directed to projects that support disadvantaged communities

√ Supports governor's goals in Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, including 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced nearly $4 million in awards to 23 projects under the first round of the Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot program to advance community thermal networks that harness geothermal and waste energy to heat and cool buildings. The winning projects will explore clean energy options at 600 buildings to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution with two-thirds of funding being directed to projects that support disadvantaged communities. This announcement supports Cuomo's clean energy and climate agenda in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, including an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Community thermal networks create the opportunity to scale up building electrification by providing healthier places to live and work to communities across the state," Cuomo said. "These projects showcase how we can pair new, clean energy infrastructure in our communities while also delivering long-term energy savings for residents, including those in low income and disadvantaged communities."

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "New York state is investing in community thermal networks to both advance clean energy options and deliver long-term energy savings to communities in need. The Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program will provide healthy living and working spaces and bring New York closer to our nation-leading goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2025."

The Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and seeks to create community thermal networks by connecting multiple buildings located in proximity to each other through shared heat pump piping and infrastructure. A community thermal strategy accelerates the decarbonization of New York's building stock – moving from a building-by-building approach to a block-by-block and community-by-community model.

A press release explained, “This announcement includes projects that were awarded in three categories: scoping studies, construction projects and best practices guidebooks to ensure that new, innovative models for thermal networks will be developed to maximize project scope and community impact. The pilot program also focuses on exploring waste energy discarded by other buildings or community sources to supply the heat pumps. Funding for additional proposals is still available for scoping studies, construction projects and best practices guidebooks and in the area of design studies.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Heat pumps provide innovative technology to deliver clean, affordable energy to homes and businesses, which is a game-changer in the fight against climate change, particularly in underserved communities. Together with our partners, we are creating pathways and resources that will lower carbon emissions from buildings, improve access to clean energy, and empower sustainability across New York state."

Awarded Projects

Scoping Study Awards: 21 of the 23 awarded projects are scoping studies, which are subject to contract execution, and will look at the feasibility of installing heat pump networks. This first step in assessment will include more than 600 buildings and represent more than 40 million square-feet of occupied spaces, including colleges, hospital, multifamily residential complexes, commercial buildings, and mixed-use complexes. Ten of the studies focus on disadvantaged communities and will determine how to realize community thermal heat pump networks to benefit more than 8,000 affordable households.

In Western New York, two projects were awarded:

•Existing Buildings, Multiple Owners

√ National Fuel Gas Community in Buffalo – Wendel Energy Services LLC, Buffalo*

•Existing Building, Single Owner Campus

√ Silo City mixed-use complex – Endurant Energy, Buffalo*

*Located in a disadvantaged community.

Learn more about the projects awarded by visiting NYSERDA's website.

Assembly Member Michael Cusick, chair of the Energy Committee, said, "As we continue to pursue ambitious energy and climate goals, it is crucial that we embrace innovative technologies and creative solutions. Decarbonizing our building infrastructure is a crucial component of reducing our overall emissions and improving energy efficiency.”

New York State Sen. Kevin Parker, chair Energy Committee, said, "I applaud Gov. Cuomo and NYSERDA for their latest initiative to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution throughout the state, while making disadvantaged communities a priority. The Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program will be an asset to thousands of affordable housing residents and I look forward to the expansion of this project overtime."

Announced by Cuomo in February, the Community Heat Pump Systems Pilot Program helps reduce the capital upfront costs of converting to a heat pump system. Eligible teams can be building owners and consultants or developers that submit proposals with ground-source, air-source, water-source or multisource community thermal systems.

The press release said, “Buildings account for more than 33% of carbon emissions in New York state, and ground-source heat pumps are highly energy-efficient and cost-effective systems that can reduce emissions from buildings through clean heat. The systems provide heating and cooling by transferring heat to or from the ground, water or air sources. Heat pumps are proven to be more efficient, increase energy savings and provide a higher level of comfort than traditional fossil fuel heating systems.”

This program is funded through the Clean Energy Fund, and this investment is part of New York's building electrification efforts under the New York State Clean Heat Implementation Plan, jointly administered by the investor-owned utilities and NYSERDA, which will commit nearly $700 million to building electrification solutions, including a variety of heat pump technologies.

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