Achieving carbon neutrality in the building sector will require converting 100% of the fuels used for heating and cooling to zero carbon sources. Most technology applications to date have been implemented on a building-by-building basis, an approach that tends to limit the speed of transition, reduce efficiency gains, and depress the participation of low-income residents. A possible alternative is for an energy utility to transition an entire street to networked geothermal, which has potential for lower costs, greater efficiency, and improved air quality.
In 2019, the non-profit HEET commissioned a statewide feasibility study of these “GeoMicroDistricts” by BuroHappold, a global engineering firm with deep experience in clean heat technologies. The analysis indicated Massachusetts could meet 100% of its energy needs in a significant portion of the state. Based on the HEET feasibility study, both Eversource and National Grid have filed or announced they will file for regulatory approval to implement pilot projects in 2021 in their gas service areas.
This GRCx program will provide an overview of the GeoMicroDistrict concept and include presentations from both of the utilities on the design of their pilot projects and what they see as the opportunities and barriers related to this clean energy technology. The program will also include a discussion of the regulatory changes that will be needed to eliminate any barriers to broader adoption of GeoMicroDistricts, and opportunities for piloting this technology in Boston.
– John Cleveland, Executive Director, Green Ribbon Commission (Moderator)
– Zeyneb Magavi & Audrey Schulman Co-Executive Directors, HEET
– Mike Goldman, Director, Energy Efficiency, Eversource
– Owen Brady, Future of Heat, National Grid