TORONTO — A new report commissioned by the Ontario Geothermal Association (OGA), in partnership with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), outlines the advantages of ground-source heat pumps not just to individual residential and commercial building occupants, but also to the electricity system.
The study, conducted by Dunsky Energy Consulting, found if the heating of homes and buildings across Canada were electrified using ground source heat pumps rather than air source heat pumps, which have been assumed as the default in most electrification plans, the avoided total societal cost of electrification would be $357 billion over the next 30 years, states a release.
In Canada, where energy demand for home heating peaks on the coldest days of winter, government plans to replace the current reliance on carbon-based fuels (oil, natural gas and propane) with electric modes of heating have created legitimate concerns about how to ensure capacity to meet those demand spikes on the coldest days, adds the release.
The Dunsky study quantifies the system-wide benefits of the ground-source technology, demonstrating that the avoided electricity system development costs will more than pay for the investment in these heating systems.
“Heat pumps are the most promising solution to heating homes and buildings in the low-carbon Canada of the future,” said Martin Luymes, VP of government and stakeholder relations at HRAI, in a statement. “While the latest air source heat pumps perform at impressive efficiencies, a unique benefit of ground systems is their ability to perform consistently at high efficiencies regardless of outdoor air temperatures, due to their reliance on the more stable thermal energy stored in the ground. Deployed at scale they will effectively ‘flatten the curve,’ reducing peak electricity demand for the whole grid.”