Program Overview & Goals
With $450,000 from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, HEET established Kickstart Mass to fund feasibility studies for Massachusetts communities that have displayed interest in implementing geothermal networks.
- Funding: Grants of up to $50,000 to communities through a competitive application process.
1) Develop a pipeline of shovel-ready geothermal network sites in the state whose readiness attracts funding for the next stage of implementation.
2) Foster community engagement and education around the benefits of networked geothermal and how these systems work in homes and businesses.
- $10,000 (Tier 1) grants were awarded to projects located in the Acton, Ashland, Melrose, New Bedford, and Newton communities.
- $50,000 (Tier 2) grants were awarded to projects located in the Arlington, Deerfield, Gloucester, Lexington, Lowell, Salem, Somerville, and Worcester communities.
Funding Diverse Populations & Use Cases
The selected projects feature a mix of building retrofits and new construction and include residential homes, affordable housing, and industrial, commercial, and lab space—demonstrating how geothermal networks can serve a wide range of use cases. They also represent diverse potential thermal energy sources that geothermal networks can tap into. Nearly 50% of the $450,000 funding is directed to environmental justice communities, surpassing Kickstart Mass’s goal and in line with the federal government’s Justice40 Initiative—as well as HEET’s commitment to advancing an equitable energy transition.
The Big Picture
Kickstart Mass is part of HEET’s larger goal of accelerating national progress on the transition from natural gas to clean energy at the speed and scale that this moment in history demands. HEET’s work is being done in parallel with state legislative and regulatory efforts and gas utility initiatives to decarbonize building heating and cooling. Working together towards a shared vision of net zero carbon emissions by 2050—as established by the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2050—offers our greatest chance of success.
As HEET works with state and local governments, utility companies, and customers to identify potential locations for geothermal networks in Massachusetts, the Kickstart Mass communities will be at the forefront of this statewide progress and will also serve as a national model for other states looking to support the proliferation of geothermal networks.
The Kickstart Mass projects, along with the Eversource and National Grid pilots underway in the Commonwealth, will provide essential information on the costs of installing and operating geothermal networks as well as system performance metrics. This information will amplify learnings and foster industry development and growth.
Geothermal Network System Requirements
Kickstart Mass projects must adhere to the design parameters specified in this definition of geothermal networks and system components. Additional information and resources can be found in the Gas to Geo Wiki.
- HEET conducted two informational webinars about Kickstart Mass:
- Networked Geothermal Site & Design Considerations
- HEET’s Gas to Geo Wiki and Networked Geothermal Toolkit provide a wealth of resources for community engagement and education.
- Geothermal consultants
- MA DEP Water and Geothermal Well Map
- The Environmental Justice Map Viewer
- Prototype Building Models
- Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Database
- Sample feasibility studies: NYSERDA Community Heat Pump Systems Projects
- HEET’s Want Geo map is a great way to capture public interest in bringing geothermal networks to your community
Supplemental Funding Opportunities
- Empower Massachusetts (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center)
— Build organizational capacity and explore innovative solutions ($5,000 to $50,000)
— Implement solutions ($50,000 to $300,000)
- NREL Clean Energy to Communities Program
— Provides communities technical assistance in the form of expertise and tools to achieve their clean energy goals
- SOLVE IT Prize: Please reach out if you're planning to apply; we may be able to assist with your application and provide a letter of support.
Best Practices for Communities Pursuing Geothermal Networks
At HEET, we like to take the old adage “knowledge is power” and think of it instead as “knowledge is empowering.” When people understand change, feel involved in it, and have opportunities to share their concerns and questions, an initiative is more likely to succeed and be replicated, which is the ultimate goal with geothermal networks—we want the initial installation to connect to additional networks and expand over time.
The best practices below are general guidelines for building a ladder of understanding and engagement. The more a community can build on this, the better—bringing increasing numbers of stakeholders into the process and listening to diverse voices and perspectives.
Members of the community
- A significant percent of community members have at least heard of the geothermal network project and have a basic understanding that it provides renewable heating and cooling.
- Outreach is conducted through multiple channels, taking into account language and cultural factors.
- HEET’s Want Geo map is a great way to capture public interest in geothermal networks
- Sustainability advocacy groups, town sustainability committees, and other community-based organizations have a more detailed understanding of the benefits of geothermal networks and its important role in advancing building decarbonization (e.g., emissions reductions, increased safety and better indoor air quality, resilience, lower utility costs, and being part of a larger strategy to transition our cities and towns off the gas system in line with state mandates)
- Members are enlisted as leaders in community engagement and building grassroots support for the project.
- Identify whether a geothermal network project could be synergistic with other sustainability efforts or planned infrastructure projects
- Stakeholders and decision makers are aware of the impacts and timeline of construction
Potential customers of the geothermal network
- Once identified, this group is contacted in person and educated thoroughly about the project, including any needed weatherization work and/or building retrofits.
- Letters of interest are offered for interested parties to sign, enrolling them in the project.
- Participants are encouraged to share their knowledge and experience with neighbors and others to further advance networked geothermal in the community.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Thank you for your interest in bringing networked geothermal to your community!