Identify Challenges to Local Development of Geothermal Heating and Cooling
The second step in developing strong, effective geothermal policy is to identify challenges to local geothermal heating and cooling technology development. Understanding development barriers, stakeholder concerns, and development capital needs, will help boost your knowledge about the local geothermal market condition and further increase the likelihood of effective policy.
Geothermal heating and cooling technologies must be able to compete with other clean energy technologies to ensure successful deployment. However, numerous barriers must be overcome to make geothermal heating and cooling technologies a viable option. A lack of specific machinery, equipment, financing, knowledge, and the personnel needed to develop geothermal heating and cooling technologies are some of the most common barriers to successful development. Direct-use applications face additional barriers such as leasing backlogs, regulatory roadblocks, and insufficient resource access. Ground source heat pump (GSHP) barriers also include high installation costs and varying system designs.
Conducting surveys and interviews, networking at conferences or meetings, and holding formal public comment opportunities with stakeholders on specific local and industry needs can increase the value of your geothermal heating and cooling policy by revealing barriers to development. These types of activities will be most effective if a clear distinction is drawn between GSHP and direct-use applications.
Geothermal heating and cooling technologies require specific equipment, personnel, and financing or development capital. Find out the level of financial and industry support needed to make GSHP or direct-use technologies competitive in your area by contacting existing or potential geothermal heating and cooling consumers as well as the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. Involving the HVAC industry will allow you to make direct comparisons between the economics of geothermal heating and cooling technologies and current heating and cooling technologies, such as HVAC loads, local climate variations, utility prices, and required funding.
Next, evaluate current policy.