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Wednesday 7 December 2022
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Despite Similar Programs Finding Success, New York’s Thermal Energy Program Continues to Struggle

For the first time ever, biomass thermal energy was included in the United States’ federal department’s renewable energy goals in the recently passed House and Senate energy bills.

According to BioMassMagazing, ever since the passing of the Renewable Thermal Bill in 2014, heating and cooling energy — and not just electric and transportation energy — has gained national and international attention. Various groups, including the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, the Solar Energy Industries Association, the New England Geothermal Professional Association, and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, all collaborated together to push the thermal energy bill.

New York released a $28 million Renewable Heat New York program that includes wood pellet boilers along with water thermal storage systems. Wood pellet demand is projected to exceed more than five million metric tons across North America by 2025.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a statement detailing the importance of the U.S. national heat metering accuracy:

“Manufacturers would no longer compete in the market on accuracy, but instead compete on product cost and other features. Standardization would instill confidence in parties who exchange payments for useful energy delivery and could support greater confidence in the deployment of renewable heating and cooling technologies through innovative third-party financial structures such as energy purchase contracts. This benefit also extends to several states that have included thermal energy as an eligible resource under state renewable portfolio standard policies and states that have implemented performance-based incentives to develop renewable thermal markets.”

Advocates of Renewable Heat New York, which supports the residential and commercial installation of modern wood pellet burners, has been pushing this type of energy for years, but continues to see resistance. BioMassMagazine reports that due to unnecessary technical requirements, administrative issues and installation requirements, the new program hasn’t had as much success as similar programs in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.

The implementation of this program is important for New York because it is the largest heating oil-consuming state in the country. Installing thermal pellet boilers without government rebate makes some uneasy, and the government won’t install the boilers with the rebate because of the administrative and technical stringent requirements regarding this young industry.

Consequently, there is no thermal market growth in New York State as of now.