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Geothermal Advocates Pressuring Gov. Cuomo For Tax Credits

Chris Caya

Legislation to make one clean energy source more affordable in New York appears to be stuck on Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk. But advocates of geothermal heating and cooling want Cuomo to sign the bill.

Supporters point out that geothermal reduces greenhouse gases by using the earth to heat and cool buildings. They are questioning Governor Cuomo's commitment to the environment as he continues to delay approval of a package of tax credits. 

The installation of geothermal systems comes with heavy upfront costs, which have been lowered with a federal tax credit. However, that tax credit is expiring.

To offset that change, the state legislature approved a bill allowing for a 25 percent tax credit for geothermal installations. To this point, Governor Cuomo has not signed the bill into law.

"We need this kind of support to move forward and we're calling on Governor Cuomo to sign the bill," said Bill Nowak of the New York Geothermal Energy Organization. "You know, we've got an industry that's gearing out to really help the state to meet its greenhouse gas goals and to cripple that industry at this point makes no sense whatsoever."

Nowak made his comments in Buffalo near Grant Street and Potomac Avenue where a building is being fitted for geothermal.

"Much more of the greenhouse gases are caused by heating our buildings than by generating electricity. Yet all the focus is on generating electricity," Nowak said. 

The geothermal received overwhelming support from the legislature. The combined vote from the Senate and Assembly was 201-to-one.

According to Nowak, the geothermal industry maintains 1,000 jobs in New York State.

Copyright 2016 WBFO-FM.

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