IGSHPA Completes First Train-the-Trainer for New Course on Electric Co-op Engagement

IGSHPA conducted its first train-the-trainer course for a newly developed training module, Geo 101 for Electric Cooperatives, March 26 to 28, 2024. The new course was developed with the GeoExchange Organization to help increase awareness of the benefits of ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) to electric co-ops in the United States. As more electrification takes place in rural areas, GSHPs have the ability to significantly impact how cooperatives and G&Ts plan for peak demand periods due to the low demand yet high capacity of GSHPs even at the coldest or hottest times of the year.

There were 30 participants in this first train-the-trainer course, increasing GeoExchange’s and IGSHPA’s “reach” to the rural electric network. Boyd Lee, Vice President of Strategic Planning at CKEnergy and IGSHPA board member, provided attendees with insight into the challenges that rural electric co-ops face as the world moves towards electrification. CKEnergy Electric Cooperative serves members across 10 counties in Western Oklahoma. The utility offers a rebate program to offset the installation cost of the ground heat exchanger, which not only saves members a significant amount of cost for the installation of a GSHP system, it helps the utility better manage its peak demand requirements due to the nature of GSHP operation compared to other heating and cooling technologies, ultimately helping to maintain lower electric rates for its members.

Attendees for the first course included representatives from Bosch, Carrier, Climate Control Group, ClimateMaster, Enertech Global, and WaterFurnace, as well as two guests from Vermont Community Geothermal Alliance. Additional train-the-trainer courses will be offered to other IGSHPA members who would like to be involved in working with electric co-ops. After the train-the-trainer course, attendees will complete a trainer agreement and will schedule an audit of their first class to ensure that their delivery of the material is up to IGSHPA trainer standards.

Instructors for the train-the-trainer course in March were Greg Kurtz, IGSHPA Technical Director, and Jeremiah Strode, Director of Cooperative Engagement at GeoExchange Organization. For more information about the course or IGSHPA training, contact IGSHPA.