On Dec. 15, New Yorkers for Clean Power and the NY Geothermal Energy Organization delivered a letter to Governor Cuomo calling on him to include a 25 percent tax credit for geothermal installations in his upcoming state budget. In November, the Governor had vetoed a geothermal tax credit bill which had been passed overwhelmingly by the Legislature in June. His veto message stated that, as a revenue impacting item, consideration of the tax credit belongs in the budget process.
The letter to the Governor was signed by more than 160 local elected officials, and representatives of New York businesses and environmental organizations.
The Geothermal Tax Credit Bill A9925/S6249, as passed by the legislature, gives a tax incentive of 25 percent up to $5,000 to homeowners and business owners to install geothermal heat pumps, a renewable energy technology for heating and cooling buildings.
The tax credit initiative comes at a crucial time for the geothermal industry, which employs about 1,000 people in the state and will be feeling the impacts from a 30 percent federal tax incentive that sunsets at the end of this year. The solar industry has benefited from a similar state tax incentive that has made the renewable energy source more affordable and accessible to homeowners and businesses in the state.
Geothermal is critical to executing New York State’s recently adopted aggressive mandate to achieve greenhouse gas reduction goals of 40 percent by 2030, as well as the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050. The New York State Energy Plan states that 35 percent of New York’s climate damaging greenhouse gases come from on-site combustion, primarily to heat homes and buildings.
Assembly tax credit sponsor Sean Ryan (D-Erie County) said, “The tax credit proposal has drawn remarkably strong support from a broad spectrum of New York businesses, environmental organizations and elected officials. At the end of the year, the federal tax credit for geothermal energy systems is set to expire, potentially crippling the geothermal industry in New York. I strongly believe a significant geothermal incentive is consistent with the state policies of reducing our reliance on carbon-based fuels and increasing green jobs within the state. For these reasons I urge you to include in your Executive Budget an allocation of funds for a geothermal tax credit”.
State Senator Rob Ortt (R,C,I – Niagara, Orleans and Monroe Counties), who sponsored the tax credit bill in Senate, noted “ The geothermal industry in New York employs 1.000 individuals, but with the impending expiration of the federal tax credit, layoffs are already under consideration among the larger installers. Smaller operators are facing the possibility of permanent closure. A strong measure in your budget is needed to continue the momentum this renewable industry has been building in New York State. In addition to protecting our environment for future generations, a geothermal tax credit helps protect and create local jobs and helps reduce costs for financially-strapped energy customers.”
“Renewable heating & cooling technologies like geothermal are critical to reaching New York’s 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2030,” said, Renee Vogelsang, Campaign Coordinator with New Yorkers for Clean Power. “We applaud the New York State legislature for taking bold leadership in passing Bill A9925/S6249 for a geothermal tax credit similar to what is currently available for solar energy in the state. We call on Governor Cuomo to continue to lead the way in fighting climate change and supporting clean jobs by including these provisions in his upcoming budget.”
John Ciovacco, President Aztech Geothermal, Ballston Spa, NY stated “Aztech is Capital District’s leading company in the design and installation of geothermal heat pump systems. In recent years we have created good paying jobs for our employees and a network of subcontractors. With the federal tax credit unlikely to be extended past the end of the year, our company is facing very uncertain times. We urge the Governor to include a NYS geothermal tax credit in the budget, thus allowing companies like ours across the state to set the foundation for greenhouse gas reductions in buildings.”
“On behalf of Elected Officials to Protect New York, we applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership and support for the transition to clean energy. Geothermal energy is an important component of this transition. It puts money towards good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced, instead of out of state fossil fuels,” said Greg Young with Elected Officials to Protect New York.
Joanne Coons is the Capital Region leader of the NY Solar Energy Society. She said “I am a homeowner with a geothermal heating and cooling system. I feel good that I do not contribute to our carbon based fossil fuel problems. By including a geo tax credit in his budget the Governor will provide more opportunity for people to replace their heating and cooling with non carbon solutions that address our climate change problem.”
Geothermal heating and cooling is key to cutting fossil fuel use and helping New York State reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals. I’m proud to be a New Yorker, living in a state whose Governor remains committed to facing the challenge of climate change head on even while Washington is being taken over by politicians who are afraid of science. Governor Cuomo — help us be ready to boost your administration’s heating and cooling initiative by including the NY Tax Credit in your budget and protecting 1,000 good paying New York jobs in the process.