County hopes to land grant to lower costs of geothermal well

Published 8:32 am Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mower County will seek the help of an expert to improve the county’s chances of receiving a grant to lower the construction costs for the geothermal well to heat the new Mower County Jail and Justice Center.

An expert with Northland Securities will write the county’s application for the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant. The Mower County Board of Commissioners approved costs of $150 an hour for a total cost not to exceed $2,500.

Mower County Coordinator Oscarson said Northland Securities estimated the county could receive a grant of at least $100,000.

“You’ve got to pay some more to see if you can get a bunch of money,” Oscarson said.

Even though the project is underway, Oscarson said Northland Securities has said the county is still eligible for the grant.

The geothermal well at the “Robbins block” will eventually heat and cool the building. The grant application will highlight why the geothermal system is an environmental plan and a cost effective solution, Oscarson said.

While a geothermal system costs more upfront, Oscarson said the grant could shorten time it takes to pay off those costs.