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A gas utility and climate advocates in Framingham offer a vision for the future: cleaner, cheaper energy

By District Energy posted 10 days ago

  

Boston Globe

Summary

After years of planning and months of drilling boreholes hundreds of feet below the earth, a first-in-the-nation, neighborhood-scale geothermal heating and cooling project came online in Framingham on Tuesday.

Using geothermal energy — relying on the steady temperature below ground to heat and cool buildings — is nothing new. What’s new in Framingham is the fact that climate advocates and a utility company, Eversource, devised the plan together.

Rather than build individual systems, the Framingham project ties together 31 residential and five commercial buildings that now share the underground infrastructure needed to heat and cool them. This shared system has been used in places like college campuses, for example, but never before has a gas company installed geothermal across a neighborhood in the United States.

“It allows the energy transition to be ramped up, because we’re not going house by house, we’re going neighborhood by neighborhood,” said Priya Gandbhir, senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation.

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