The district geothermal pilot in Framingham, Mass., that I wrote about two years ago goes online this week, reports Canary Media:

On Tuesday, utility Eversource will flip the switch on the country’s first utility-operated underground thermal energy network. The $14 million project includes a one-mile loop of pipes that will connect to houses, apartments, commercial buildings, a community college campus, and a fire station. Those pipes will circulate a water-and-glycol solution through 88 boreholes that extend hundreds of feet into the earth, fetching the ambient temperature buried beneath the surface and shuttling it up into buildings, where it will reduce the electricity needed to run heat pumps.

“The pipe is in the ground, the boreholes have been drilled. We’re ready to turn the pumps on and get going,” said Eric Bosworth, Eversource’s manager of clean technologies.

Full story is here.

This is a cool project that should be copied in many places, but there’s one important thing that made it possible: Eversource provides both electricity and natural gas in Framingham, so when it loses a gas customer it will regain them as an electricity customer. As a result, you didn’t have one company complaining (via lobbyists at regulatory hearings) that a new technology would cut its income.

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