For Mainers, the tax credits and rebates associated with home efficiency upgrades could make some of the biggest difference.
MAINE, USA — Editor’s Note: The video above aired August 9, 2022.
Editor’s Note: The following story first appeared in The Maine Monitor’s free environmental newsletter, Climate Monitor, that is delivered to inboxes for free every Friday morning. Sign up for the free newsletter to get more important environmental news from reporter Kate Cough by registering here.
Many of my journalism colleagues are undoubtedly more efficient, but reporting (at least for me) often begins as a long exercise in flailing about, lots of deep Googling, and periodic panic that I have accidentally closed the one tab that held all of the vital information, the key to the story. I begin making phone calls only once I’ve grasped enough information on a subject to mostly avoid embarrassing myself in front of interviewees, or at least ask marginally informed questions.
But with the climate-health-tax legislation (also known as the Inflation Reduction Act) passed by Congress, I had no idea where to start, and my attempts at poring over the 750-page bill proved fruitless. So I called Jack Shapiro, climate and clean energy director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, and asked him what is, on its face, a pretty basic question: What does the legislation mean for Maine?
Short answer: everyone is still figuring it out. But, said Shapiro, “It’s going to accelerate all of the key elements of the clean energy transition,” and that will impact all of us.
It’s helpful to think of the money in the bill (which includes $369 billion over ten years for climate and energy programs) in three buckets: transportation, home and building, and energy, said Shapiro. For Mainers, many of whom heat with oil and live in older, leaky houses with outdated systems, the tax credits and rebates associated with home efficiency upgrades could make some of the biggest difference.
According to Rewiring America, the bill includes $4.5 billion in direct rebates for low- and moderate-income households to incentivize the installation of more efficient electric appliances.
Low-income households (those who make 80% or less of area median income) would get the most money back, while moderate-income households (up to 150% of area median income) would be able to access rebates covering 50% of the cost.
Here’s a list of the rebates that will eventually be available:
Up to $8,000 for the cost of heat pump or space heating installation
Up to $1,750 for a heat pump water heater
Up to $840 for an electric stove, cooktop, range, or oven
Up to $840 for an electric clothes dryer</…….