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Thermal Energy Networks (TENs) State Legislation

This page compiles legislation advancing or promoting thermal energy networks (TENs) that has passed in states across the country. While legislation mandating or permitting utilities to operate TENs is a recent advancement, the technology has long operated in public and private settings. Read about existing TENs here.

Massachusetts Tens


Massachusetts was the first state to enshrine provisions for utility TEN pilots in law.

Image1  2021: S.2995 An Act Creating A Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy was the first law in the nation to allow gas utility companies to pilot networked geothermal.

  • In 2022, Eversource Energy broke ground on the country’s first gas utility-installed networked geothermal system. Located in Framingham, MA, the system will provide heating and cooling to 140 customers in homes and businesses and is expected to be operational in summer 2024. In 2023, National Grid broke ground on its first networked geothermal system in Lowell, MA.

Image1 2022: H.5060 An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind adds provisions specifying that networked geothermal pilots can be paid for with funds from their pipe replacement program, the Gas System Enhancement Plan.

Minnesota Tens


Image1 2021: 216b.2427 Natural Gas Innovation Act encourages gas utilities to propose “innovation plans” that consider alternatives to gas, including electrification, district thermal energy, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, RNG, and others. Mandates that gas companies with more than 800,000 customers include a district energy pilot in their innovation plans.

  • As of April 2024, Centerpoint Energy and Xcel Energy, the state’s major gas utilities, included thermal energy network pilots in their submitted plans.

Image1 2024: SF4942 / HF 4975, the omnibus agriculture, commerce, energy, utilities, and climate appropriations bill, bolstered financial support for TENs in Minnesota, including through appropriations for a statewide TENs site suitability study and a TENs working group at the Public Utilities Commission. The law also changed utilities’ obligations for their “innovation plans” under the NGIA, requiring them to invest at least 15% minimum of their plans in TENs.

Image1 2024: SF3887 / HF 3911, the omnibus environment and natural resources bill, granted the Pollution Control Agency the power to encourage the recovery of waste heat from wastewater treatment, which can make wastewater a useful source of thermal energy for TENs.

New York Tens

New York

Image1 2022: S9422 Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act enables both gas and electric utilities to build, own, operate, and sell thermal energy. In addition, the law provides jobs to transitioning utility workers and promotes good jobs for local residents in the expanding decarbonization sector.

  • This law was notable for its support by a range of stakeholders who have not historically been aligned on issues related to building decarbonization. Environmental organizations, environmental justice advocates, organized labor, consumer advocates, building industry, and utilities collaborated on a bill that not only allowed for the creation of utility-scale thermal energy infrastructure projects, but also laid the groundwork for a just transition for utility workers and the inclusion of under-represented workers in labor unions through pre-apprenticeship programs.
  • In 2023, New York utilities proposed 13 TENs pilots to comply with the UTENJA law. One was later withdrawn. In April 2024, the Department of Public Service (DPS) approved nine proposals to advance from the scoping to the engineering phase. The other three were returned to the utilities with recommendations for improvement.

Colorado Tens


Colorado has passed several bills to spur the development of geothermal energy and thermal energy networks. In 2022, Governor Jared Polis identified geothermal energy as the annual theme of the Western Governors’ Association, which he titled “The Heat Beneath Our Feet.”

Image1 2022: HB22-1381 Colorado Energy Office Geothermal Energy Grant Program provides funding support for eligible public and private entities developing geothermal energy projects, including thermal energy networks.

Image1 2022: SB22-118 Encourage Geothermal Energy Use provides geothermal energy projects with similar legal treatments and entitlements to solar energy projects.

Image1 2023: HB23-1252 The Thermal Energy Act modifies the state’s recent clean heat standard by stipulating that thermal energy networks can be counted as an acceptable “clean heat measure” to help utilities meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals. In addition, the law mandates that large gas utilities (serving more than 500,000 customers) propose at least one thermal energy pilot by September 2024. It also establishes labor standards for state or public university-owned thermal energy projects.

Washington Tens


Image1 2024: HB2131 An Act Supporting Thermal Energy Networks broadens the scope of electric and gas companies to include ownership and operation of thermal energy infrastructure. The law permits gas utilities to meet their “obligation to serve” through thermal energy networks and establishes a TENs pilot program for gas utilities, with criteria for labor involvement, equity, and innovation.

Maryland Tens


Image1 2024: HB0397 Working for Accessible Renewable Maryland Thermal Heat (WARMTH) Act allows gas, water, and electric utilities to own thermal energy networks. The law requires ​​gas companies with more than 75,000 customers to propose 1-2 pilots, and enables smaller companies to choose to develop a pilot. The law also funds community outreach programs to increase community interest in participation in a thermal energy network pilot.

Vermont Tens


Image1 2024: S.305 makes multiple changes to Vermont’s Public Utility Commission, and is unique in that it opens multiple pathways for TENs ownership in the state. Municipalities can form thermal energy utilities without PUC approval (as they do for water and sewer utilities), and existing utilities, businesses, developers, co-ops, and nonprofits can also seek authorization to operate TENs under PUC supervision, setting rates and providing service to thermal energy customers.

Usa Tens

Which state is next?

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