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$39.6 million available to low-income New Yorkers for home energy efficiency and electrification upgrades

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Fri, May 31st 2024 09:55 am

New York becomes first state to offer US Department of Energy home energy rebate funding; funds now available through state’s EmPower+ program

√ Advances Climate Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050

Submitted by the Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Gov. Kathy Hochul joined U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and White House Senior Adviser John Podesta at the Andromeda Community Initiative in Queens on Thursday to celebrate New York state becoming the first state in the nation to offer the first phase of Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates (HEAR) Program funding to consumers.

The initial $39.6 million formula grant will expand the reach of New York’s EmPower+ program by allowing more low-income families to improve their homes with energy efficiency and electrification upgrades that will reduce energy costs and transition away from burning fossil fuels in their homes.

This announcement supports the state’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050 and requirement for at least 35%, with a goal of 40% of the benefits of clean energy investments supporting disadvantaged communities.

“As the first state in the nation to offer these Inflation Reduction Act rebates, we are expanding access to home improvements that will save New Yorkers money on their energy bills and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” Hochul said. “Thanks to our strong partnership between New York state, the Biden administration, and U.S. Department of Energy, we are making important progress to make the clean energy transition affordable for all New Yorkers.”

Granholm said, “From tax credits to rebates, the Biden-Harris administration is determined to lower costs for American families and change the economics of home energy bill. New York is leading the charge as states across the country gear up to launch their home energy rebates program, delivering jobs, savings, and healthier homes.”

The announcement represents the first step in New York state deploying these IRA rebates to residents. Funding for the full portfolio of IRA home energy rebate programs and deployment of additional rebates is expected later this year. The state is eligible to receive a total of $317.7 million through the DOE’s IRA home energy rebate programs: $159.3 million for the home efficiency rebates program and $158.4 million for HEAR program.

In April, the U.S DOE approved the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s partial-scope application for this initial funding, which allows NYSERDA’s low-income EmPower+ program to expand its current reach by providing funding for additional energy efficiency and beneficial electrification improvements, such as insulation and air sealing, heat pumps for space and water heating, and any necessary electrical upgrades to support those improvements.

Eligible owners of one- to four-family households that have a household income below 80% of the area median income or participate in a utility payment assistance program will automatically be enrolled to benefit from IRA HEAR incentives when they apply to the EmPower+ program. Incentives are provided to residents through EmPower+ contractors to reduce the cost of installing energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in a home or apartment, making them more affordable for New Yorkers. For more information, including the application process and eligibility requirements, visit NYSERDA’s website.

NYSERDA is currently working toward developing and submitting the full HEAR application to enable rebate offers to moderate-income residents, up to 150% of area median income, and to owners of larger low- and moderate-income multifamily buildings, including high-efficiency electric appliance rebates.

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “The Inflation Reduction Act will be critical in helping New Yorkers make affordable home efficiency upgrades while also leveraging the state’s strong commitment to reduce emissions and confront the global challenge of climate change. With this funding, the state’s expanded EmPower+ program will focus on those who need assistance the most by providing the opportunity to reap the benefits of high-performance, energy-saving measures throughout their homes.” 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, “The Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates/HEAR program is the secret sauce of our groundbreaking Inflation Reduction Act: It saves consumers money on energy costs while reducing the polluting greenhouse gasses driving global warming. With this $40 million federal boost, the HEAR program will reduce the cost of installing energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in a home or apartment, making them more affordable for New Yorkers while radically reducing carbon pollution. I am proud to stand with Secretary Granholm and the Biden administration to announce this major investment in clean energy and environmental justice and thank Gov. Hochul for helping New York achieve a healthier and brighter future.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries said, “This $39.6 million in Inflation Reduction Act rebate funding will allow New Yorkers to breathe cleaner, safer air, put money back in the pockets of families, and help bring this nation-leading climate plan to life. In the last Congress, House Democrats, in partnership with President Biden and Senate Democrats, passed the transformational Inflation Reduction Act to create the largest investment in combating the climate crisis in the history of the world. I am grateful to President Biden, the U.S. Department of Energy and Gov. Hochul for their partnership in securing this important funding for New York.”

Building Performance Contractors Association President Hal Smith said, “On behalf of New York’s Building Performance contractors, hats off to everyone who has helped to lead the way for the whole country. It is a great time to be a New Yorker!”

Rewiring America CEO Ari Matusiak said, “Today marks a landmark moment in the implementation of the largest climate bill in history. We congratulate New York for becoming the first state in the nation to roll out the home electrification and appliance rebates, and applaud the Department of Energy for prioritizing getting these dollars out the door and into communities. By crafting a program that meets the needs of its communities and directing this first tranche of funding exclusively to low-income households that stand to benefit the most from lower energy bills and healthier homes, New York is taking an important step in ensuring that the transition to an all-electric future is an equitable one. We’re eager to see the next batch of rebate programs roll out in the coming months and to see states follow New York’s lead in thoughtfully designing effective programs that make the most of this historic opportunity.”

Climate & Energy at Natural Resources Defense Council New York Policy Director Samantha Wilt said, “New York is the first state to leverage the IRA's home electrification and appliance rebates program to invest in the homes of the state's most vulnerable families while cutting climate pollution. These funds are being invested in a way that drives benefits to the New Yorkers who need them most and ensures that the harms from burning fossil fuels are reduced in disadvantaged communities. With this investment, New York will be delivering more all-electric appliances, insulation, and wiring upgrades for seriously improved, zero-emission homes.”

Buildings are one of the most significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in New York and, through NYSERDA and utility programs, over $6.8 billion is being invested to decarbonize buildings. By improving energy efficiency in buildings and advancing statewide installations of onsite storage, renewables and electric vehicle charging equipment, the State will reduce its carbon pollution and advance toward the ambitious target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 TBtu by 2025, the equivalent of powering 1.8 million homes.

Funding for EmPower+ is provided through the Enacted FY 2023-24 state budget, the state’s Clean Energy Fund, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and the Federal Inflation Reduction Act. More information about the program and associated funding can be found on NYSERDA's website.

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