Geo­ther­mal Gains in Ver­mont

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Burling­ton, VT

U.S. Sen. Bernie Mon­day high­lighted Ver­mont’s progress in us­ing geo­ther­mal tech­nol­ogy to cut heat­ing costs, sup­port jobs and re­duce green­house gas emis­sions.

In­vest­ments in geo­ther­mal en­ergy will re­duce the $350 bil­lion a year that Amer­i­cans spend to im­port oil from for­eign coun­tries. In Ver­mont alone, home­own­ers and busi­nesses rely on fos- sil fuel for 83 per­cent of the state’s heat­ing needs. That is chang­ing thanks to dra­matic ad­vance­ments in sus­tain­able en­ergy sources like biomass and the less no­ticed, but rapid­ly­grow­ing use of geo­ther­mal

tech­nol­ogy.

There now are geo­ther­mal sys­tems in place at Cham­plain Col­lege, the Vet­er­ans Home in Ben­ning­ton; the state of­fice build­ing in Ben­ning­ton; Stowe­flake Moun­tain Re­sort; NRG Sys­tems in Hi­nes­burg; the Viet­nam vet­er­ans rest stop on I-89 in Sharon; two Ver­mont Air Na­tional Guard build­ings at the Burling­ton Air­port and a Ver­mont Army Na­tional Guard build­ing in Jeri­cho; the Lawrence Barnes School in Burling­ton; C.P. Smith El­e­men­tary School in Burling­ton; the head­quar­ters build­ing for the Missisquoi Na­tional Wildlife Refuge in Franklin County; the Bor­der Pa­trol of­fice in Derby; and St. Johns­bury Academy.

In ad­di­tion, the Echo Lake Aquar­ium in Burling­ton, St. Michael’s Col­lege, and the Sut­ton School in the North­east King­dom are in the process of installing geo­ther­mal sys­tems.

“We are also see­ing more geo­ther­mal in new homes and ex­ist­ing homes as well,” said San­ders, a mem­ber of the Se­nate en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tees. “The rea­son for that is very sim­ple. Whether you are build­ing a new home, or try­ing to make an ex­ist­ing home more ef­fi­cient, geo­ther­mal is go­ing to save a sub­stan­tial sum of money com­pared to fos­sil fu­els.”

Geo­ther­mal sys­tems draw on un­der­ground tem­per­a­tures to pump heat into build­ings in the win­ter and cooler un­der­ground tem­per­a­tures for air con­di­tion­ing in the sum­mer. It costs only one-third as much as oil and the price of installing geo­ther­mal sys­tems may be off­set by a 30 per­cent fed­eral tax credit for home­own­ers.

It is im­por­tant, San­ders stressed, that more than 99 per­cent of the geo­ther­mal sys­tems in­stalled in Amer­ica were man­u­fac­tured in Amer­ica, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion data. “Geo­ther­mal is a win for the en­vi­ron­ment, a win for con­sumers, and a win for job cre­ation in Ver­mont,” San­ders said.

Join­ing the se­na­tor at a news con­fer­ence in his Burling­ton of­fice were Nick Manosh, vice pres­i­dent of Manosh Corp.; John Caulo, the act­ing vice pres­i­dent for cam­pus plan­ning at Cham­plain Col­lege; Jeff Wil­liams, a vice pres­i­dent of Spaf­ford and Sons Water Wells; and James Ash­ley of Green Moun­tain Geo­ther­mal.

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