December 13, 2017, Rhinebeck, NY – Last night, at the Village of Rhinebeck Council meeting, Mayor Gary Bassett announced his intention to give Right-of-Way to Dandelion Energy, the geothermal heating and cooling company started at Alphabet’s research and development lab, “X.” This first-of-its-kind initiative was met with unanimous support from the Village of Rhinebeck Board and the meeting’s public attendees.
The Right-of-Way will take the form of an easement, allowing Dandelion to install and own ground loops, the most expensive and cumbersome part of geothermal installations, on village property alongside the street in front of homes. Ground loops are underground pipes containing water that transfer heat from the ground to a home.
The ground loops will be installed at no cost to the town or homeowners, and homeowners will then have the option to connect to the ground loops and purchase renewable thermal energy, similarly to how homeowners with access can decide to hook up to natural gas. Dandelion estimates homeowners in the Village of Rhinebeck can save thousands of dollars a year by switching off of heating oil and onto geothermal with Dandelion.
Part of Dandelion’s technical innovation has been developing a small, fast drill that can install ground loops at significantly lower cost than a conventional drill as it rolls down a block, as Right-of-Way allows for.
“By enabling Dandelion to install ground loops along the Right-of-Way in the Village of Rhinebeck, we remove the biggest barrier to homeowners adopting geothermal,” said Mayor Bassett of the Village of Rhinebeck. “When the loops are installed at no upfront cost, homeowners can seamlessly switch and save thousands of dollars on heating each year, eliminate carbon monoxide risk in their homes, and reduce air pollution for our neighborhood. It’s a no-brainer.”
Kathy Hannun, CEO of Dandelion, said, “The Village of Rhinebeck is a setting an exciting precedent by making low-cost, renewable heating available to its citizens. We look forward to a future where more and more communities follow the Village of Rhinebeck’s lead and provide homeowners with access to affordable geothermal.”
The Village of Rhinebeck, like many areas of upstate New York, does not have access to natural gas. Geothermal, under the Dandelion model, achieves the affordability and convenience of natural gas, without the emissions, risk of gas leaks or hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning.
After receiving unanimous positive feedback from the Board last night, Mayor Bassett plans to bring the easement to a vote at a Village meeting in January. If the easement is approved, Dandelion will begin signing up homes in February and bring the Dandelion Drill to Rhinebeck for the first-ever Village-wide installation in mid-2018.