Geothermal Information

While geothermal technology has been used in residential applications for years, the technology has been used less frequently in commercial applications. Commercial geothermal installations can be edgy, requiring different needs and unique configurations, which can seem daunting to some installers. While choosing the lowest cost heating and cooling system today could seem like the best alternative to boards of not-for-profit and public entities, looking at the big picture and installing geothermal technology can glean big savings for those organizations. Geothermal installations can usually save an organization 30-70 percent on their heating and cooling costs, providing a payback within as little as two to three years, with a reduction in energy costs for the life of the system.

History of the GeoAlliance Grant Program

Geo Alliance was established in 2003 to encourage the growth of geothermal technology in Illinois electric cooperative territories through a grant incentive program. The grant program is a unique collaboration between the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation (ICECF) in Chicago, which funded the program, and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) in Springfield, which administered the program. The grant money was then passed down through the AIEC to member electric cooperatives that re-granted the money to their member/owners.

Four phases of the grant program were funded for a total of $1.5 million. Phase one of the grant program was launched in 2003, with $500,000 in funding from the ICECF. Those funds seeded 21 geothermal projects across Illinois. Those projects accounted for estimated energy savings of 3.25 million kilowatt hours of electricity. In May 2006, when Phase Two of the program kicked off, the ICECF contributed an additional $500,000 to further expand commercial use of geothermal technology in co-op territories. An additional 17 projects were funded with those grant monies. Grant Phases One and Two are now closed.

Phase Three of the GeoAlliance program, which included $250,000 for educational facility projects was added in 2009, which yielded six projects. It is also now closed. Phase Four grant funding, which became available in 2011, provided an additional $250,000 for geothermal projects in not-for-profits and public entities. Phase Four is now closed.

Case Studies

Here is a summary of geothermal projects funded through the GeoAlliance project:

Case Studies/Phase One
Case Studies/Phase Two
Case Studies/Phase Three
Case Studies/Phase Four