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USE the IRA

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is probably the most comprehensive federal legislation ever enacted to fight climate change in this country.  It invests $369 billion in Energy Security and Climate Change programs over the next ten years.

 

The goals of the IRA are:

  • reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030

  • invest approximately $300 billion in Deficit Reduction to fight inflation

  • extend the expanded Affordable Care Act program for three years, through 2025 to reduce health care costs

  • allow Medicare to negotiate for prescription drug prices

Cut Carbon with the IRA

 

As part of the Whidbey Climate Week 2023, WCA's Linda Irvine gave a terrific presentation and led a panel of local renewable and low carbon businesses including Paul Reinken of Island Ductless Heat Pumps and Paul Dickerson of Whidbey Sun & Wind (9/20/2023).

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Overview

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Fortunately the most direct and immediate consumer-focused advantages come in the form of tax credits and rebates for buying emissions-reducing goods and services.  Let’s look at how you can get onboard. 1st take the qualification review by entering just 4 bits of info here and get the numbers from Rewiring America

Credit: Environmental and Energy Study Institute

1. On the Road
 
The transportation sector produces a hefty 38% of our emissions and the IRA will help more families never pay at the pump again, with tax credits up to $7,500 for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles – while saving families an average of $950 a year on fuel costs.  

There’s some stipulations still being ironed out but the main ones are:

  • That new ev sedan must cost less than $55,000 while uv’s and vans max out at $80,000 

  • not have a foreign made battery.  

  • Used Ev’s must be less than $25,000.  

To see which vehicles quality, check the IRS website here.


The $7,500 new EV tax credit applies to electric vehicles with a maximum MSRP of $55,000 and vans, SUVs, and pickup trucks with a maximum MSRP of $80,000. Starting in 2023, the credit will also be subject to geographic manufacturing requirements that may initially limit the list of eligible models. And starting in 2024, these tax credits will be transferable to dealers, essentially converting into an upfront discount.

 

Are EV’s they hard to find?  Hard but not impossible.  You won’t be able to dicker much on the price in this environment but cars dealers are moving toward standardized sticker prices, believe it or not.  Try Car Guru.com for both new and used EV’s around here.

 

 

2. In the house

Electricity beats fossil fuel to heat your home and your water with the heat pumps achieving a coefficient of performance that beats those old space and baseboard heaters 3 to 1.(3)  Beginning in 2023, you could be eligible for a tax credit of 30% for qualifying heat pumps and heat pump water heaters under the new tax guidelines included in the Inflation Reduction Act.  These are good till 2032 and there are no income or cost restrictions.  In addition, our local PSE offers $800 for heat pump installation and this incentive can goto $2400 based on income figures..

 

In addition to reduced install cost, your operating expenses for 1 year will be $1300 with a heat pump versus $2900 for propane, $2300 electric furnace and $3900 for electrical resistance (source energysage.com)

  2.a Need some insulation?

PSE will do a free home check and offer home weatherization assistence while the feds will kick in 30% for qualifying weatherization improvements. Call PSE energy advisors at:


1-800-562-1482
8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Mon. – Fri.

  2.b. Efficient household appliances

The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate (HEEHR) Program, one of the main incentive programs established through the IRA, offers rebates of up to $14,000 per household on qualified electrification purchases for heat pump appliances, electric cooktops, weather-proofing projects, and more.


In addition, these energy related home expenses are incentivised as follows:

 

  • Home energy audit: $150

  • Exterior doors: $250 per door, up to a maximum of $500

  • Exterior windows and skylights, central A/C, and other equipment: $600

  • Certain heating appliances powered by electricity or natural gas: $2,000

  2.c. The installers are likewise incentivised

The IRA offers an added incentive to installers of home energy improvements. These include $200 million in electrification and energy efficiency contractor training grants, as well as contractor incentives per qualifying electrification (up to $500) and per qualifying energy efficiency project ($200).

3. Like to fly, who doesn’t?

Green houses gases from Aviation are about 4% of the total.  Although you won’t find any IRA incentives to cut back on your flying, which is often an easy way to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, this legislation did create a stimulus to increase the amount of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) out there.  
 

4. IRA incentives for businesses

Some other incentives from the IRA for business interests, rather than individuals and families are:

  • Expansion and increased value of tax credits for carbon capture

  • New "technology neutral" PTCs (Production Tac credit) and investment tax credits ("ITC"s)

  • New tax credit for clean hydrogen production (some of the big players are trying to produce clean hydrogen from fossil fuel products like natural gas and sequester the released CO2 - not scalable yet)

  • New tax credit for green hydrogen (use alternative energy to split H2 from water with zero CO2 emission - relies on solar and wind for the process)

  • New tax credit for zero emission nuclear power production

What's Missing?

One thing missing from the IRA Bill is an incentive to get an e-bike.  While electric cars have have had an explosion f sales over the last few years, they lag the rampant sales of e-bikes according to Outside magazine.  A little exercise never hurt anyone and do you really need a 3000 lb. vehicle to get around all the time? An excellent review of affordable e-bikes is provided by the people who stay on top of such things at Electrak.

References

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