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Boise geothermal innovation is up for a national award

Boise is starting to deploy new pump technology to reuse one-used geothermal energy.

Boise is starting to deploy new pump technology to reuse geothermal energy. File photo.

Boise’s new heat pump technology for reusing geothermal water is one of three finalists in a national awards program.

The technology arose from a collaboration of the city’s Public Works, its Sustainable Boise Program, and the Capital City Development Corp. More than 65 downtown Boise buildings use geothermal energy. The new technology allows the city to offer geothermal in another downtown sector.

The technology was nominated for an award from the NewDEAL Leaders, a Washington, D.C. group that promotes economic development ideas that are innovative and sustainable. City Councilwoman Lauren McLean, a member of NewDeal, nominated the program in the Infrastructure & Energy for the Future category.

The city is incentivizing developers to tap into the existing geothermal heating system in the Central Addition LIV District between Front and Myrtle streets and the area between Capitol Boulevard and Broadway. In this area, the new heat pump technology will enable the reuse of once-used, lower temperature water, McLean said.

Lauren McLean

Lauren McLean

“The incentive is we will cover the cost of the technology to make it for affordable for developers to use,” McLean said. “It’s very unique that we have such a large geothermal system in our city. This is a new solution to extend the geothermal system.”

The incentive package includes the offer of free water to the equivalent of 125 percent of the additional capital costs associated with connecting to the geothermal system, plus a 60 percent rebate on the monthly bill. The incentive is supported by the city’s geothermal fund.

Boise is vying for the award with Chattanooga, Tenn. and its efforts to bring its Internet service, among the fastest in the world, to more residents, and with California’s efforts to make renewable energy directly available to customers.

The winners in this and five other categories will be announced Nov. 18.

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.