Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to participate in a technology demonstration program for next generation heat pumps in support of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced DOE’s partnership with MMWEC on Dec. 3 at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Wind Turbine Technology Center in Boston.
DOE is also partnering with Energy New England (ENE), the largest municipal utilities cooperative in the Northeast, as well as Eversource, an investor-owned energy company, and National Grid, a multinational electricity and gas utility company.
ENE says its participation in the challenge ensures that its member municipal light plants have a voice during this point in the drive for carbon neutrality.
Granholm was joined by state officials, including Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Katie Theoharides, and Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock, to discuss the partnership, which is part of DOE’s Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump (CCHP) Technology Challenge.
Granholm mentioned that MMWEC would be part of a “consortium of those who will be getting us to the goals of efficiency and the deployment of heat pumps.”
The CCHP Challenge was announced by the Biden Administration in May and aims to reduce the carbon footprint of cold climate heating solutions by bettering the efficiency and affordability of new heat pumps. The challenge focuses on centrally-ducted, electric-only CCHPs that exceed efficiency performance at five degrees Fahrenheit or below.
MMWEC’s participation will include recruiting sites to install a prototype heat pump in a residential unit, fostering data collection, encouraging testing of grid interactivity features, and conducting customer satisfaction surveys.
MMWEC plans to work on developing customer incentives and pilot programs to promote the benefits of CCHP adoption. DOE will cover the costs related to equipment, installation, testing and evaluations of the pilot demonstrations.
Bill Bullock, sustainable energy policy and program senior manager at MMWEC, said MMWEC’s involvement in the challenge highlights its leadership in bringing technology opportunities to its member municipal utilities.
Established in 1976, MMWEC is a joint action agency that provides power supply, financial, risk management, and other services to municipal utilities in Massachusetts.