Eversource to begin work on geothermal project

Published on August 14, 2023 by Liz Carey

© Eversource

Electricity and natural gas company Eversource announced Thursday it would start drilling this week on a first-in-the-nation geothermal pilot project.

The company will begin drilling approximately 90 bore holes, an essential component of its networked geothermal program in Framingham, Mass. Once finished, Eversource’s geothermal “loop” will connect 140 customer across nearly 40 buildings to provide energy efficient and sustainable heating and cooling systems regulated by the earth’s natural temperature. Buildings on the loop include residential homes, a cabinet store, a fire station, the Framingham Housing Authority buildings and a community college, the company said.

“We’ve been working hard installing main and other equipment for several months, and putting drills into the ground is another major step toward making our geothermal pilot system a reality,” Eversource President of Gas Bill Akley said. “This is especially exciting for our 140 customers who are eager to participate in this innovative pilot program as we explore the potential of networked geothermal to decarbonize the natural gas system. Over the next two years, we’re going to study if this technology is cost-effective for our customers, and whether we can expand this kind of networked geothermal system to other customers and communities beyond this neighborhood in Framingham.”

Drilling will take place over the next few months within two city-owned parking lots and a Framingham Housing Authority parking lot. The energy company said it had partnered with a contractor that specialized in geothermal drilling. Each of the wells drilled with be 600 to 700 feet deep.

Eversource provides electricity, natural gas and water to 1.8 million customers throughout Massachusetts, including 1.47 million electric customers, 639,000 gas customers and 8,800 water customers.

The company said it expects the networked geothermal system to be complete and place in service ahead of the 2023 heating season. As part of the pilot program, the company will operate the geothermal system for two complete heating and cooling seasons, and provide regular updates to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The company will use the data gathered from the pilot program to determine whether the technology is a cost-effective option to complement or replace delivered fuels like heating oil, propane and natural gas.