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CALMAC Supports Proposed Thermal Energy Cooling and Heating Act of 2009

If approved, bill would give 30 percent tax credit for installation of thermal energy storage systems

CALMAC Thermal Storage
Photo credit: CALMAC

CALMAC has announced its support for the Thermal Energy Cooling and Heating Act of 2009 (HR 3918), introduced by Congressional representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA),Wally Herger (R-CA) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND). The proposed bill would give business owners a 30 percent tax credit and accelerated depreciation for the installation of a thermal energy storage system. This bill directly addresses the impact of daytime cooling, a key factor in reducing overall energy consumption.

In the U.S., buildings use one third of the total energy consumed. Nearly 40 percent of a building's electricity use during peak hours is due to daytime air-conditioning energy demand. Reducing peak electrical demand improves power generation efficiencies, making more efficient use of existing resources. As a result of utilizing existing resources more efficiently, thermal energy storage reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

"In these economic times, incentives for energy storage and other low carbon emitting technologies will help in our move towards a lower carbon world," said Mark MacCracken, CALMAC CEO and USGBC Board Member. "Thermal cooling is the most practical and least expensive of the all the energy storage types.

Thermal energy storage provides a return on investment by reducing peak demand which lowers electric bills, but currently storage only represents one percent of the air-conditioning market. Greater incentive is needed to integrate this simple reliable solution and others like it into the marketplace."

Congress has already recognized that tax credits are needed to accelerate the renewable energy technology and smart grid market forward. Renewable energy's availability is dependant upon wind and sunlight and so it is less reliable than fossil fuel generation. Energy storage incentives will increase renewable energy utilization and will further support the development of the smart grid along with renewable energy sources while lowering our reliance of fossil fuels. Building owners can use thermal energy storage as a load shifting response tool and reduce peak demand in response to price signals with little if any impact on building occupants.

"Let's face it," Continues MacCracken, "Today's utility infrastructure can barely keep up with the increased demand for energy especially during peak demand hours, typically in the middle of the day, and air-conditioning is the main culprit. The "on-demand" system we use to meet our peak electric consumption requirements over the last 60 years no longer meets our needs nor does it enhance the use of renewable energy sources. In fact, with our current infrastructure there is approximately twice as much electric capacity as we need if only electricity could be evenly consumed throughout the day. Energy storage can level electricity usage by shifting consumption for air-conditioning from day to night so that ratepayers can avoid paying the cost of building new power plants and avoid expensive peak electric demand charges while helping to make renewable energy more viable."

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