State Backs Clean Energy

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday a proposal to accelerate the use of renewable heating and cooling technologies to stimulate the clean energy economy.

The new policy, released by the state’s Energy Research and Development Authority, includes a proposed two-year, $15 million program to provide rebates for the installation of ground-source heat pumps, also known as geothermal systems. It would further the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide, by 2030, to 40 percent below 1990 levels.

In residences and commercial enterprises, fossil fuel-based thermal energy — primarily natural gas, propane, and oil — is currently the main energy source. It is responsible for about 32 percent of the state’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, according to the energy authority.

The proposed rebate program would provide about $6,000 for a typical residential consumer who installs a ground-source heat pump, a technology that has the potential to provide homeowners with an energy-efficient and reliable heating and cooling system. It is not yet cost-competitive with conventional technologies, however; the rebate program is intended help stimulate market growth.

The policy also identifies options to lower costs, reduce barriers, and grow the market over the next few years, including community-based outreach, education, and bulk procurements; integrating renewable heating and cooling in new housing developments and campuses; developing a unified and streamlined permitting process; reducing project development risks by providing support for feasibility and engineering studies; introducing renewable heating and cooling technology into existing trade and distribution channels, and mitigating the high upfront costs of new business models by spreading them over time.