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Letter: Cuomo could make WNY a leader in geothermal energy

Cuomo could make WNY a leader in geothermal energy

The New York State Legislature has passed a bill to support the “invisible” source of renewable energy. Unlike visible energy collection from solar panels and wind turbines, geothermal systems are installed underground, leaving no visual impact.

More greenhouse gases are generated in New York by the heating of buildings than in the generation of electricity. Geothermal systems heat (as well as cool) buildings without the need to burn fossil fuels. It works because the temperature of the earth remains around 50 degrees Farenheit throughout the year at a minimum depth of six feet. And, geothermal is an on-demand energy source that will provide savings and comfort every minute of every day.

A typical geothermal system will pump fluids through piping to exchange heat from the earth to the building. In the winter, a heat pump will extract and concentrate the relative warmth gained from the earth for use in heating the building. This is what happens with your refrigerator. The heat from the coils on the back of the refrigerator is the excess heat removed from the inside of the refrigerator or freezer.

In the summer, the system is reversed to remove heat from the building to be absorbed by the cooler earth. This is how your car radiator works. Hot coolant moves from the engine through the piping in the radiator to be cooled by the air.

Thanks to sponsorship by Western New York State Sen. Robb Ortt and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, and strong bipartisan support, this legislation will lead to lower energy costs for consumers. Assuming Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs the bill, Western New York builders should also take the lead in promoting geothermal whenever ground is dug for new construction.

John Szalasny