Final geothermal energy grant will save Macomb church

A $50,000 GeoAlliance grant was presented in February to the First Baptist Church of Macomb. The grant will help offset the cost of the highly energy efficient geothermal heating and cooling system that was recently installed in the church’s new fellowship hall.

Although the grant program is now closed, GeoAlliance was a collaboration between the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives (AIEC) in Springfield and Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation in Chicago (ICECF). The program was developed in 2003 to promote the use of highly energy efficient, clean and safe ­geothermal technology in commercial applications. The foundation funded the GeoAlliance grant money; the association was the program’s administrator and the grant money was re-granted to electric cooperatives within Illinois, such as McDonough Power Cooperative, to pass to not-for-profit entities in their service territories.

Nancy McDonald, Marketing Administrator at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, who ­presented the grant check to the church, said, “Geothermal systems generally save from 30-70 percent on heating and cooling.”

It is estimated that the 51 projects in the $1.5 million GeoAlliance grant program will experience energy savings of more than $699,000 in annual savings.