More than 1,000 geothermal energy jobs are now at risk in New York due to a tax credit's not being renewed (Image from http://actionheatingandcooling.com/residential/)
More than 1,000 geothermal energy jobs are now at risk in New York due to a tax credit's not being renewed© U.S. Green Technology

Geothermal Jobs: 1,000 New York Jobs Now at Risk

1,000 geothermal jobs are now at risk due to a tax credit not being renewed

Geothermal heating and cooling has been steadily rising in New York, but more than 1,000 jobs are now at risk due to a tax credit not being renewed.

Back in December, the 30 percent federal tax credit that supports both solar and geothermal projects was renewed through 2022. However, it was only renewed for solar, not geothermal. A9925 has been drafted by State Legislature to solve the issue, with bipartisan sponsorship from Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, along with three other New York representatives. Despite the support, the bill sits in Congressional gridlock. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s signature is still needed for it to pass.

As a result, companies like Natale Builders, a GHP leader, have stopped using GHPs as their default system for new homes. Meanwhile other projects have fallen off rapidly and layoffs have begun. The livelihoods of more than 1,000 New Yorkers fell into jeopardy.

In June, New York’s State Legislature stepped into the void and passed by a vote of 201 to 1 a 25 percent tax credit, capped at $5,000, for residential GHP installations.

There is positive precedent however as Mayor Cuomo has taken significant steps to create and protect energy jobs in New York. The state is funding the $750 million SolarCity plant, which promises 5,000 jobs across the state. A recent nuclear bailout protects a reported 2,350 jobs at a cost of $7.6 billion. NY-GEO estimates the geothermal tax credit will protect 1,000 jobs at a yearly cost of just $3 million.

Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) use the constant temperature underground for heat in winter and as a heat sink in summer, making them a clean and efficient way to heat homes and offices without fossil fuels. Natale Builders has previously built subdivisions that are completely geothermally heated and cooled.

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