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Thermal Energy Networks

We’re connecting communities throughout our service area to shared thermal resources that provide clean, renewable heating, cooling, and hot water.

Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New York State. Most of these emissions come from onsite combustion of fossil fuels for customers’ basic needs, such as heating, hot water, and cooking. Electric heat pumps, such as ground source and air-source, provide these necessities efficiently and without fossil fuels. In order to help achieve New York State’s ambitious climate goals and our commitment to achieve 100% clean energy by 2040, we are looking to pair ground source heat pumps with thermal energy networks, reimagining our energy system and taking a neighborhood approach.

Bringing Communities Together With Thermal Energy

Near the surface, the earth’s temperature rises and falls with the seasons, but a few hundred feet down, the temperature remains a steady 55° F year-round. The thermal energy stored in the ground acts like a battery and is a powerful source of renewable energy that we can tap into to heat and cool buildings using heat pumps, rather than fossil fuels.

Thermal energy networks connect multiple buildings through a loop of underground pipes carrying a water-based fluid. The fluid maintains a constant temperature by exchanging heat with the earth through geothermal boreholes, and/or by capturing excess heat from sources like data centers in buildings on the network.

Each building connects to the thermal energy network using a ground source heat pump, which provides heating, cooling, and hot water. The heat pump works by transferring heat from the underground loop into a building during the cold winter months and removing heat from the building into the loop during the summer. Heat pumps connected to the thermal energy networks operate more efficiently and use less electricity.

Thermal Energy Network Benefits

  • Lowers greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improves local air quality
  • Efficient
  • Reliable
  • Safe
  • Enables greater access to clean energy
  • Creates good-quality jobs in the growing green energy sector

Proposed Projects

The following projects are proposed as part of the Utility Thermal Energy Networks and Jobs Act, a statewide effort to reduce building greenhouse gas emissions through energy-company-scale infrastructure projects.

  • Chelsea: Multifamily NYCHA buildings in a designated “disadvantaged community.” The thermal energy network will repurpose excess heat from a data center.
    See project proposal. (File will download)
  • Mount Vernon: Low-rise buildings in a designated “disadvantaged community” that include community buildings, single-family homes, and affordable multifamily buildings. The thermal energy network will draw heat from geothermal boreholes. 
    See project proposal. (File will download)
  • Rockefeller Center: High-rise commercial buildings in dense urban environment. The thermal energy network will tap into multiple sources of waste heat.
    See project proposal. (File will download) 

For project status updates from Con Edison and the Public Service Commission, please see: