Connecticut Geothermal Industry Workforce Needs Assessment

In 2008, Connecticut set statewide goals to reduce statewide GHG emissions. To meet these climate goals, the state urgently needs to decarbonize its thermal sector. Geothermal heat pumps (also referred to as ground-source heat pumps, or GSHPs) are among the most efficient technologies available on the market for space and water heating. However, deployment of this technology is nascent due to cost and market barriers, including a lack of sufficient and highly trained workforce for project installations. Initial conversations about the difficulties of installing geothermal heat pumps in Connecticut highlighted that shovel-ready geothermal projects might wait months for drillers to be available, causing significant delays in project implementation. This workforce challenge is a significant barrier to increased adoption and scalability. Furthermore, although geothermal is one of the most energy-efficient space heating options available, upfront costs associated with installation and equipment are among the highest.

Workforce shortages, as well as high upfront costs, are factors that may slow the rate of wide-scale adoption. Installing a networked geothermal project involves multiple processes, and a trained, licensed workforce must exist at each step. This assessment seeks to understand the current state of the geothermal workforce across the residential and commercial sectors in Connecticut, and whether the status of training infrastructure and the current rate of growth will be sufficient to meet the growing demand for decarbonization. 

This workforce needs assessment is part of a larger project in which the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), The University of Connecticut, NEEP, the Wallingford Housing Authority (WHA), and the Wallingford Electric Division public utility are using funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to explore the feasibility of a networked geothermal heating and cooling system for Ulbrich Heights, a public housing complex in Wallingford, CT. 

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