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O&R Seeks Developer for Electric Heat Pump Pilot Project


Orange & Rockland (O&R) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking a development partner to build a utility-owned project which will use electric heat pumps for residential heating and cooling.


The electrification of heating is a viable heating solution in the northeast United States and is growing in the market. This technology is an important tool to assist New York State in achieving its aggressive clean energy goals. Understanding the economics and adoption rates of electric heating by different building types will be an important outcome of this demonstration project.


The three-year demonstration project will consist of the deployment of ground source or geothermal heat pumps (GSHP) and air source heat pumps (ASHP) infrastructure.


During winter, geothermal heat pumps (or ground-source heat pumps) transfer energy stored in the earth into your building to provide space heating and/or provide hot water. In the summer, geothermal heat pumps transfer heat back into the earth to keep your building cool. Air-source heat pumps operate much the same way, though transferring heat from your building to the outside ambient air during the summer and reversing the cycle in the winter.


The project is intended to explore various means of customer outreach, utility investment, rate design and recovery models, with a specific focus on low- to moderate- income customers. The project seeks to demonstrate a business model for the allocation of infrastructure costs and identify the distribution of benefits to multiple stakeholders. If proven, the utility ownership model will provide an additional path for the acceleration of electrification of heating that may provide both greater value, and lower costs to customers. Click this link to review a copy of O&R’s Request for Information:


O&R Vice President – Operations Francis W. Peverly said, “Electricity has an advantage in a clean energy future as a low carbon solution. 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.”


As part of this project, O&R expects to install at least one geothermal community ground loop system to support a new development for residential customers. The company will give preference to a geothermal community ground loop installed in a new development suited for low- and moderate-income customers and in a location, which will provide gas and/or electric infrastructure benefits.


O&R will rely on each respondent to propose the infrastructure, set up and project location. The respondent and/or their partners will design and install the system(s).  Respondents should also identify preferred plans for operation, system monitoring, and maintenance. Respondents must further propose implementation and outreach plans for this 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. 


Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies. O&R is a regulated utility that provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company), and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.