On May 22, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a renewable energy bill into law that allows utilites to use the installation of geothermal heat pumps to obtain Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).

Mandated under Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standards, 20 percent of electricity suppliers’ retail sales must be made up of renewable sources of energy by 2022. Now under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard for Solar Energy and Solar Water Heating Systems bill, utilities can use RECs from installing geothermal heat pumps toward meeting the state’s minimum requirement.

Geothermal heat pumps, aside from being energy-efficient, also save building owners money by reducing the costs to heat and cool a facility. Instead of relying on conventional boilers and air-conditioning systems to regulate a building’s temperature, the heat pumps draw from the thermal energy stored in the Earth’s crust. The temperature of the crust remains between a constant 50 and 60 degrees year-round, creating a stable base-temperature to draw from when heating and cooling facilities. Geothermal heat pumps can help reduce the large amount of energy buildings consume by cutting down energy use by 40 to 70 percent. 

For more on S.B. 652, visit the Maryland General Assembly website.