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January 2023 Policy Blog

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Kristen Cheriegate  |  ICAST Policy Analyst

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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $45 Million to Support Resilient and Efficient Building Energy Codes 

Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has announced $45M in competitive grants to help states and partnering organizations implement updated building energy codes and reduce energy bills. According to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, homes and businesses account for more than one-third of emissions across the country. Building energy codes establish minimum acceptable energy efficiency (EE) standards for new buildings, additions, and major renovations in residential and commercial buildings. DOE estimates that by 2040, these modern energy codes would save homes and businesses $138B on their utility bills (equivalent to $162 in annual savings per residential unit).  

White House Releases Inflation Reduction Act Guidebook for Clean Energy and Climate Programs 

Through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the Biden Administration aims to build a clean energy economy, reduce energy costs, tackle climate change, and curb harmful pollution. On December 15th, the White House released an IRA guidebook that clearly describes the Act’s tax incentives and funding programs and background information on each program’s purpose, eligibility requirements, period of availability, and more. This guidebook is designed to help state, local, territorial, and Tribal leaders, the private sector, non-profit organizations, homeowners, and communities better understand how they can benefit from IRA investments. 

House Passes $1.7 Trillion Spending Bill for Fiscal Year 2023 

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 totals $1.7 trillion in discretionary resources with $800B in non-defense funding. The DOE will receive a total of $46.5B to support: 

  • EE and renewable energy – $3.5B to provide for clean, affordable, and secure energy; $471M of this funding is dedicated to supporting state and community energy programs. 
  • Electricity – $350M to advance technologies to increase the resiliency and efficiency of the nation’s electricity delivery system. 
  • Fossil Energy and Carbon Management – $890M to advance carbon reduction and mitigation in sectors and applications that are difficult to decarbonize, including the industrial sector.  

Additional special funding requests have secured funding for solar projects for local government buildings and facilities. In total, the bill allocates just over $50M in solar-related earmarks. For example, Rep. Troy Carter secured $3.8M to establish a network of disaster resilience hubs with solar power and back-up batteries at churches and civic institutions; this earmark is sponsored by Together New Orleans. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen secured $1.9M for six solar installation projects in New Hampshire. 

Treasury Releases Information on Clean Vehicle Provisions of Inflation Reduction Act 

On January 1, 2023, consumers and businesses could start accessing tax benefits from the IRA’s clean vehicle provisions. The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS recently released information on certain clean vehicle provisions, including FAQs for consumers to help them better understand how to access the various tax incentives to purchase new and used electric vehicles. Treasury also released a white paper on the anticipated direction of upcoming proposed guidance on the critical minerals and battery components requirements and the process for determining whether vehicles qualify under these requirements. 

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