Metro, Politics, Newton

Green Energy Consumers Alliance Discusses Home Power and the Transition to Electric Vehicles at a Wednesday Webinar

Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader Cynthia Stone Creem addressed incentives for utilizing energy-conscious ways to power the home and buying or leasing electric vehicles (EVs) with representatives from the Green Energy Consumers Alliance during a webinar on Wednesday.

“There’s no question that in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, we have to stop using gas and other fossil fuels to heat our homes and run our appliances,” Creem, who represents parts of Newton, Brookline, and Wellesley, said. “The most readily available option is electrification. Massachusetts has to convert as many homes as possible to heat pumps in the coming years.”

Larry Chretien, executive director at Green Energy Consumers Alliance, began by explaining the need to transition toward heat pumps, devices that extract heat from the outdoors for indoor heating. 

“If we’re going to meet our greenhouse gas goals, we have to essentially stop installing new combustion appliances that heat with gas, oil, or propane, and we have to electrify,” he said. “So, that means heat pumps.”

Multi-family units can receive rebates of up to $10,000 as long as the heat pump is the sole source of heating for the building, while rebates of $1,250 are available for those who may not want to fully invest in electric heating, according to Chretien.

“In order to get the $10,000 per home, you have to demonstrate that you’re able to meet 100 percent of your heating needs,” he said. “However, you are not required to remove the old fossil fuel heating system that you have.”

Green Energy Consumers Alliance provided information for rebates specific to Massachusetts, based on national standards

Chretien said that energy efficiency tax credits will be available through 2032 following the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA).

“It created energy efficiency tax credits of up to 30 percent,” he said. “You can get a tax credit of up to $2,000 for heat pumps or heat pump water heaters.”

After Chretien’s presentation, Creem shifted the focus of the webinar to electric vehicles. She said Massachusetts hopes to have 900,000 vehicles on the road by 2030. 

The IRA introduced new provisions regarding federal tax credits for EVs, extending them through 2032, according to Anna Vanderspek, the electric vehicle program director at Green Energy Consumers Alliance. 

“The way it used to be set up, a manufacturer was eligible for the federal tax credit up until they sold 200,000 electric units,” she said. “The Inflation Reduction Act does away with that … which is really good news because that is the kind of confidence we need consumers to have, that they know that that tax credit will be there when they decide to purchase a vehicle.”

At the state level, Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) provides rebates, with restrictions, of up to $3,500 for battery electric vehicles, according to Vanderspek.

“If you purchase an electric vehicle or lease one for at least 36 months, once you’ve taken possession of the vehicle you can go to, fill out an application, and the state will send you a check in the mail,” Vanderspek said.

Referencing Massachusetts’ 2022 climate bill H.5060, Vanderspek listed many policies that will soon be implemented.

“It extends the MOR-EV rebate to used vehicles,” she said. “There are additional rebates in the law for low income drivers and those who are trading in gas cars.”

Above all else, Chretien said that residents should remain open-minded yet realistic when considering options for renewable energy. 

“We encourage you to move towards electrification and to clean energy,” Chretien said. “But, it’s not a sprint.”

March 26, 2023