One of our most promising sources of renewable energy — geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) — is rapidly approaching a crossroads. This pending watershed moment is not technical in nature, nor is it environmental. Geothermal heat pump (GHP) technology is ramping up exactly as hoped, according to the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), and represents one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly options for heating and cooling buildings.
The organization points out that an important challenge is facing geothermal today and it relates directly to Congress. Time is running out on the renewable energy tax credits for commercial and residential GHPs, which expire at the end of 2016.
In 2015, Congress negotiated an extension of existing energy tax credits, but solely for wind and solar technologies. A range of other technologies that currently qualify for energy tax credits under Sections 45, 48, and 25D of the tax code were excluded from a five-year extension of the credit with a phase-down period, including GHPs.
“Losing the renewable tax credits starts a domino effect of losing tax incentives. If GHPs lose the renewable tax credit, they will also lose its accelerated depreciation. If GHPs lose accelerated depreciation, they will also lose bonus depreciation,” GEO says.
For this reason, GEO is urging GHP manufacturers, installers and contractors to raise the importance of the issue with Congress.
“The louder the drum beat, the more Congress will be persuaded to provide the same treatment to geothermal heat pumps as it provided to wind and solar. Geothermal technology deserves to take off, but our voices need to be heard loud and clear to make sure it gets its chance,” GEO says.
GEO is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of the geothermal/ground-source heat pump industry across the U.S. GEO advocates the technology to government, industry and the public, educating leaders about the economic, national security and environmental benefits of geothermal heat pumps for residential, institutional and commercial applications. To learn more, go to www.geoexchange.org.