Orange & Rockland Utilities issues RFI for electric heat pump project

Published on July 27, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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Orange & Rockland (O&R) Utilities, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a project that will use electric heat pumps for residential heating and cooling.

The electrification of heating is a viable heating solution in the northeast region and is an important tool to assist New York State in achieving its clean energy goals.

The three-year demonstration project would entail the deployment of geothermal heat pumps (GSHP) and air source heat pumps (ASHP) infrastructure. During winter, geothermal heat pumps, also called ground-source heat pumps, transfer energy stored in the earth into a building to provide space heating or provide hot water. In the summer, geothermal heat pumps transfer heat back into the earth to keep the building cool. Air source heat pumps operate in a similar way, transferring heat from the building to the outside during the summer and reversing the cycle in the winter.

The project seeks to explore various means of customer outreach, utility investment, rate design and recovery models, with a focus on low- to moderate-income customers. Further, it intends to demonstrate a business model for the allocation of infrastructure costs and identify the distribution of benefits to multiple stakeholders.

“Electricity has an advantage in a clean energy future as a low-carbon solution,” O&R Vice President of Operations Francis Peverly said. “However, a transition to electric heating takes time and planning and barriers to customer participation must be reduced. This project will be designed to test whether utility ownership of heat pump technologies and infrastructure can accelerate the transition period and provide savings to our customers. We also want to determine the benefits to the electric and gas distribution systems.”

O&R will rely on each respondent to propose the infrastructure, set up and project location. In addition, the respondent will design and install the systems and propose implementation and outreach plans for the collaboration. O&R will compare each respondent’s technical proposal and deployment costs, with the overall program budget to optimize the scope of the deployment.

O&R Utilities provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State and northern New Jersey and gas service to 150,000.