ENERGY BRIEFING: Groups Push Home Appliance Transition Rebates
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A new report recommends the government create a system of consumer rebates worth an estimated $265 billion over the next decade to help American households transition to electric appliances, Kellie Lunney reports.
Decarbonization goals mean robust investments in electrification across the U.S. economy, including in people’s homes. That starts with more energy-efficient heaters, stovetops, and breaker boxes, according to the analysis from the Center for American Progress and Rewiring America, a nonprofit advocating for the electrification of the economy.
But the groups don’t want that transition to be cost-prohibitive for families. The plan calls for an average incentive of $4,000 to participating households and an average rebate of $6,200 to participating low-to-moderate income households to incentivize the replacement of fossil fuel-powered appliances.
“We don’t need to invent new technology, and we aren’t asking people to sacrifice,” said Ari Matusiak, CEO of Rewiring America and co-founder of Purpose Venture Group, in a recent interview. Traditional appliances last between 10 and 20 years before they need to be replaced, which is why it’s important to introduce a rebate and consumer education program now for electric alternatives before missing that window of opportunity, he said.
The shift to electric appliances—the kind that are ubiquitous in households—has several benefits, proponents say, from reducing pollution inside homes to reducing utility bills to creating jobs. And those jobs can’t be automated or offshored, Matusiak said. “The person who installs your water heater is going to be relatively nearby.”
The rebates would help cover upfront equipment and installation costs. The proposed numbers are “designed to capture the kind of market dynamic we see,” said Matusiak. “As the market scales, the rebate levels would come down over time.”
Every zip code in America has homes that need these items, Matusiak said, arguing for the proposal’s bipartisan appeal. “Why wouldn’t this be bipartisan? You are creating jobs and helping constituents save money on their bills.”
Last week, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced the Electrifying America’s Future Resolution (fact sheet) which aims to electrify residential and commercial construction, transportation, and industrial sectors to reduce energy bills, improve air quality, and create jobs. The resolution is a blueprint to inform the infrastructure package in Congress, he said
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With assistance from Jennifer Kay
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