Editor’s note: This is the second feature in a series about Roosevelt County Electric’s 75th anniversary in Roosevelt County.
By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
As Roosevelt County Electric moves forward and passes its 75-year mark, officials say geothermal energy is the way of the future.
A geothermal heating system uses energy from the heat within the earth because of its consistent temperature.
The cooperative is the first in the state that has geothermal energy service rate tariffs, according to the Robin Inge with the cooperative’s member services. It means Roosevelt County Electric will install, own and maintain the loops required for the system for a monthly fee.
“It’s an efficient heating and cooling system and that’s what we always recommend,” says the cooperative’s manager, Jerry Partin.
“We saw it as a way to help our consumers to lower their heating and cooling costs,” added Inge.
The system uses a heat pump to force the transfer of heat from the ground to the home. Water moves through a loop of pipes, and if the weather is cold, water heats up as it travels through the loops. Once above ground, the warmed water transfers heat into a home or building.
Joe Chandler, who lives east of Portales, is a co-op consumer. He’s had a geothermal heat pump system for more than 25 years, according to a cooperative newsletter.
“About 26 years ago, prior to building our home, we researched the different types of (heating and cooling) units and found that the geothermal unit was the most efficient system…so we installed one,” Chandler said in the newsletter. “Geothermal is still the most energy efficient unit out there and we are extremely satisfied with ours.”
Partin is encouraging others to hop on board because he says it will be beneficial not just for consumers now but for future generations.
“We have to think about the generation capacity, we try and reduce the amount of demand or capacity requirements for a power plant,” Partin said. “If we move toward that direction and used more geothermal energy, it just makes sense that less capacity will have to be built for future generations and that reduces costs.”
As for other future endeavors for the 75-year-old co-op, Partin says they are automating their systems including meter reading travel systems and distribution systems.
“We’re trying to use a lot more newer and better technology as far as operating,” Partin said.