Housing slowdown doesn’t dampen low-temp geothermal sales

WaterFurnance Renewable Energy Inc. continues to cut through the U.S. economic downturn like a hot knife through butter. The company, which makes ground-source heat pump systems for homes and businesses, reported today that sales in its second quarter had increased by 21 per cent to $31.3 million and profits jumped 64 per cent to $3.43 million. “Sales in the U.S. residential business were robust despite the slowdown in residential new construction and the tight lending markets,” said CEO Bruce Ritchey. “Our dealers are finding that homeowners are very interested in saving money on their heating and cooling bills and in doing the right thing for the environment.”

In other words, the cost of operating a home — i.e. day-to-day energy costs — is becoming just as important as the cost of the home itself. Low-temperature geothermal is a growth story deserving of more attention.

Geothermal power generation is also showing solid growth, with Santa Rosa, Calif.-based ThermaSource LLC another example of the opportunities ahead. The company announced today it has completed a $41.5 million (U.S.) private equity financing with Riverstone Holdings LLC, US Renewables Group, and Rustic Canyon Partners. ThermaSource is a provider of drilling and engineering services to the geothermal industry. The lack of specialized drilling gear is a huge bottleneck for the market, so companies such as ThermaSource are expanding to meet the demand. The company has raised $93 million in equity and debt over the past two years to fuel its growth. It currently has 210 employees and plans to double that to 420 by year’s end.

For a recent overview of the market — both low-temp and high-temp geothermal — read this recent article in the Chicago Tribune.