Community Geothermal Identifier image

Office: Geothermal Technologies Office 
FOA Number: DE-FOA-0002632
FOA Amount: $13 million
FOA Release Date: July 12, 2022
Phase 1 Selections Announced: April 25, 2023

On July 12, 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), for projects that will help communities design and deploy geothermal district heating and cooling systems, create related workforce training, and identify and address environmental justice concerns. Widespread adoption of geothermal heating and cooling systems will help decarbonize the building and electricity sectors, reduce energy costs for families, and boost resilience.

The projects supported under this FOA will:

  1. Help expand community-scale geothermal by supporting new systems and developing case studies to be replicated throughout the country;
  2. Support the formation of U.S.-based community coalitions that will develop, design, and install community geothermal heating and cooling systems that supply at least 25% of the heating and cooling load in communities; and
  3. Advance the objectives of DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) to realize the potential of community-scale geothermal heating and cooling nationwide.

Eligible applications were required to demonstrate that switching to geothermal district heating and cooling system would result in greenhouse gas emission reductions for the community where the system is installed.

On April 25, 2023, GTO announced the selection of 11 projects in the first phase of this project. In the second phase, following a downselect, GTO will support multiple projects to deploy their systems. 

Community Geothermal Postcard image

Approach

Under this initiative, GTO is funding U.S.-based urban/suburban, rural, or remote/islanded community coalitions to develop, design, and install community geothermal heating and cooling systems that will feature representatives for four key roles: 

  1. Community voice: Understand and can communicate the energy, environmental, economic, social, and/or other relevant needs that the proposed system would address, as well as local development and regulatory requirements. 
  2. Workforce: Know the community labor market and can help the coalition with apprenticeship opportunities, job placement, and developing training or lesson plans for the applicable trades. 
  3. Analysis/design: Have experience designing geothermal systems as well as analyzing the economic and technical aspects of such systems. 
  4. Deployment: Have experience building new or retrofitting existing energy systems.

To assist coalition formation, GTO provided a Teaming Partner List where interested parties could provide contact information and areas of expertise and search for other entities interested in partnering on an application for this FOA. 

Click on the graphic to learn more about how district heating and cooling systems work.

Objectives

GTO has five primary goals for the Community Geothermal Heating and Cooling Design and Deployment initiative:

  • Deploy new or retrofitted geothermal, or geothermal-hybrid, district heating and cooling systems in U.S. districts, neighborhoods, and communities
  • Identify solutions for environmental justice conditions, such as cumulative environmental pollution and other hazards; underserved and disadvantaged communities; and community members who have historically experienced vulnerability due to climate change impacts
  • Assist U.S. communities to develop career and technical education and workforce transition initiatives to design, install, inspect, operate, and maintain new energy systems such as geothermal heating and cooling
  • Develop U.S. case studies about projects, including technical and economic data, to illustrate how projects can be replicated by communities throughout the United States
  • Publish data and information about U.S. community-scale geothermal heating and cooling system deployment to demonstrate the success of such systems in a range of environments and geographies.

Click to expand the map displaying the selections sites.

Selected Projects

GTO announced the selection of 11 projects on April 25, 2023. The selected projects span 11 diverse communities nationwide, with coalition partners from local and state governments, nonprofits, national labs, academia, Tribal entities, utilities, industry, and unions. Project locations and high-level project plans are summarized below. In Phase 1, coalitions will refine these plans; actual implementation details are subject to change based on that initial work. 

-- Award and cost share amounts are rounded and subject to change pending negotiations --

Geographically isolated from reliable grid transmission or population centers, resulting in limited access to centralized energy systems.

Project Location: Nome, AK 
Project Lead: Kawerak, Inc.
Coalition Partners: Community: Kawerak, Inc.; Unaatuq, LLC Analysis / Design: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Cold Climate Housing Research Center; DeerStone Consulting, LLC Workforce: Kawerak, Inc.; DeerStone Consulting, LLC Deployment: Kawerak, Inc.
DOE Anticipated Award: $600,000
Planned Project: A direct-use geothermal district heating and cooling (GDHC) system to provide space heating and domestic hot water to buildings, provide cooling to food storage areas, design with future expansion in mind, promote sustainability, and reduce fossil fuel usage in a unique, underrepresented region of remote northwestern Alaska. 

Towns/unincorporated areas with populations of less than 10,000 that do not fall within a metropolitan statistical area and are not remote 

Project Location: Seward, AK
Project Lead: City of Seward
Coalition Partners: Community: City of Seward Analysis / Design: Your Clean Energy, LLC (YCE) NREL Workforce: Alaska Vocational Technical Center Deployment: City of Seward; YCE 
DOE Anticipated Award: $315,000
Planned Project: A geothermal heat-pump system that will reduce dependency on heating oil and lower CO2 emissions while meeting more than 90 percent of the heating demand for half of the city’s public buildings in Seward.

Project Location: Carbondale, CO
Project Lead: Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER)
Coalition Partners: Community: Town of Carbondale Analysis / Design: NREL; Grey Edge Group or Major GEO Workforce: CLEER Deployment: Third Street Center
DOE Anticipated Award: $646,000
Planned Project: An advanced 5th-generation geothermal energy system to enable a Zero Energy District (ZED) in downtown Carbondale that currently relies on natural gas for heating. The ZED includes a library, school district offices, affordable housing units, a high school, a nonprofit site, and townhomes.

Project Location: Shawnee, OK
Project Lead: University of Oklahoma 
Coalition Partners: Community: Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) Analysis / Design: University of Oklahoma, University of Miami, Texas A&M University (TAMU), ADG/Blatt Architects Workforce: University of Oklahoma, University of Miami, TAMU, Moore Norman Technology Center, CPN Deployment: ADG/Blatt Architects, Mechanical Sales, Harrison Orr Air Cond, Oklahoma Gas and Electric
DOE Anticipated Award: $662,000
Planned Project: A hybrid solar-geothermal district-scale system with a single pipe loop and electric-powered heat pumps to provide heating and cooling to a community owned and operated by a Tribal Nation.

Project Location: Hinesburg, VT
Project Lead: GTI Energy
Coalition Partners: Community: Vermont Gas Systems; Evernorth; Neighbor Works; Efficiency Vermont; Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET); Same Planet Analysis / Design: Salas O’Brien, GTI Energy, Frontier Energy, LN Consulting, NREL Workforce: Vermont Gas Systems, Frontier Energy Deployment: LN Consulting, Summit Properties, Vermont Gas Systems
DOE Anticipated Award: $662,000
Planned Project: A community geothermal system that will meet at least 50% of the heating and cooling needs for a new affordable housing development in Hinesburg, VT, with more than 30% of units intended for low- and medium-income households.

Cities/towns with populations of 10,000 or more and all communities located within a metropolitan statistical area as defined by the White House Office of Management and Budget

Project Location: Wallingford, CT
Project Lead: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)
Coalition Partners: Community: DEEP, Wallingford Housing Authority (WHA), Wallingford Electric Division (WED) Analysis / Design: University of Connecticut (UConn), WHA, WED Workforce: UConn, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, DEEP Deployment: WHA, UConn, WED, DEEP
DOE Anticipated Award: $732,000
Planned Project: A district geothermal heating and cooling system that will serve at least 50% of the heating and cooling load of a 132-unit, affordable housing complex.

Project Location: Chicago, IL
Project Lead: Blacks in Green™
Coalition Partners: Community: Blacks in Green (“BIG”), City of Chicago, Citizens Utility Board Analysis / Design: University of Illinois, The Accelerate Group Workforce: Illinois AFL-CIO, Climate Jobs Illinois Deployment: dbHMS, Geoexchange
DOE Anticipated Award: $746,000
Planned Project: A shared community geothermal network across four city blocks containing more than 100 multi-family and single-family residential buildings, as part of the community’s Sustainable Square Mile effort.

Project Location: Framingham, MA
Project Lead: HEET
Coalition Partners: Community: HEET, City of Framingham Analysis / Design: CDM Smith, Eversource Energy Workforce: HEET Deployment: Eversource Energy
DOE Anticipated Award: $704,000
Planned Project: A utility-managed, community geothermal network in the socioeconomically and ethnically diverse community of Framingham to meet 100% of the heating and cooling needs of the buildings connected to the system.

Project Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Project Lead: City of Ann Arbor
Coalition Partners: Community: City of Ann Arbor, Community Action Network, Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor Public Schools, DTE Energy Analysis / Design: IMEG, Midwest Geo, D4 Consulting, Michigan Energy Services, Michigan Geothermal Energy Assoc, IGSHPA
Workforce: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 252, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry Local 190, IGSHPA Deployment: Midwest Geo, Michigan Energy Services
DOE Anticipated Award: $588,000
Planned Project: Community-scale geothermal system design that covers at least 75% of the heating and cooling load and eliminates energy burden for 262 low-income households, a local school, a community mental health service center, and the city’s public works facility.

Project Location: Duluth, MN
Project Lead: City of Duluth
Coalition Partners: Community: Eco3 Analysis / Design: Ever-Green Energy Workforce: CORD Deployment: Ever-Green Energy
DOE Anticipated Award: $700,000
Planned Project: A geothermal district heating system that can meet 100% of the heating loads of the properties adjacent to an area being rebuilt through a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s USDOT Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity.

Project Location: New York City, NY
Project Lead: Electric Power Research Institute, Inc.
Coalition Partners: Community: New York City Housing Authority, New York Power Authority 
Analysis / Design: Salas O’Brien Workforce: International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) Deployment: New York Power Authority
DOE Anticipated Award: $738,000
Planned Project: Integrated geothermal heating and cooling system to serve apartments identified for geothermal upgrades within the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) portfolio.

Additional Information

For more information on this FOA:

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