House Bill No. 5358, reported by the Committee on Energy and Technology, proposes a study on the feasibility of establishing a community geothermal pilot program. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection is tasked with conducting this study and is required to report the findings, including any recommendations, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly with cognizance over matters related to energy and technology by January 1, 2025. The bill includes a new insertion, File No. 364, which indicates that this act shall take effect from passage and amends a new section, Section 1.

The fiscal impact statement provided with the bill indicates that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) may incur potential costs in the fiscal year 2025, with no impact in the following years. DEEP is currently working on a community geothermal pilot program at an affordable housing complex and plans to seek federal funding for the construction of the system. The department has the necessary expertise and resources to complete a report based on its experience with this pilot program. However, if the report expands to include multi-owner community geothermal projects, there could be a one-time cost of approximately $500,000 for a consultant. The bill does not have any fiscal impact in the out years, and the Office of Legislative Research does not analyze Special Acts. The bill received a joint favorable vote from the Energy and Technology Committee.