Continuing his #RIMomentum Tour, Governor Dan McKee, joined by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos and the Office of Energy Resources, announced today the High-efficiency Heat Pump Program. The program will provide financial incentives for highly efficient electric heat pumps to both residential and commercial customers. A public comment period for the HHPP is now open until August 31.
“I am proud to announce that Rhode Island residents and businesses will have access to heat pump rebates that will help improve our state’s energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor McKee. “Shifting our thermal sector to electric heat and away from fossil fuels is critical in our fight against climate change. Furthermore, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will help lower pollution-induced health impacts, especially for those living in communities with high asthma rates. Today’s announcement is another sign of our Administration’s commitment to making investments in our clean energy momentum here in Rhode Island.”
The adoption of electric heat will assist Rhode Island in the fight against climate change and to achieve the mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals outlined in the 2021 Act on Climate. The Act on Climate requires a 45 percent reduction in the State’s GHG emissions by 2030, leading to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Currently, the thermal sector – technology that converts power into heating or cooling – accounts for one-third of statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
The Governor allocated $25 million in the FY 2023 State Budget from the federal State Fiscal Recovery Fund, a component of the American Rescue Plan Act, to develop an incentive program for heat pumps. At least 40 percent of funds shall be used to provide incentives to disadvantaged communities, to conform with federal program guidelines.
“This is a deeply important program not only for fighting climate change, but as a matter of equity. This program will provide crucial relief for economically-disadvantaged Rhode Islanders and for seniors living on a fixed income,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “It will also be a boon for nonprofits, especially shelters, across the state in staying warm this winter; every dollar saved on their heating is a resource they can put towards helping their clients.”
“This new High-efficiency Heat Pump Program offers an excellent opportunity to Rhode Islanders who have been looking for the right time to upgrade their aging oil and natural gas heating systems or air conditioners,” said Interim State Energy Commissioner Christopher Kearns. “This program modernizes and expands our original heat pump incentives to include a greater range of customers and technologies. We welcome public input as we finalize the program design and look forward to making it available in early 2023.”
There will be four categories of the HHPP:
The Residential Incentive will be available to all Rhode Island customers who currently use fossil fuel heating and cooling appliances.
The Enhanced Incentive will provide additional funds to low-income and disadvantaged customers.
The Community Incentive will be available to Rhode Island small businesses, non-profits, community organizations, and public buildings.
The Workforce Development incentive will provide opportunities to scale up and further train the clean HVAC industry.
These incentives aim to assist a wide range of customers by lowering the cost of heat pumps to help replace the need to burn fossil fuels for heating and cooling. Heat pumps move heat from outside to inside (in heating mode) or indoors to outdoors (in cooling mode). Heat pumps provide heating and cooling that is three times more efficient than fossil fuel burning appliances, while providing whole home climate control. In addition to providing heating, these systems are ideal for replacing inefficient window AC units or older central heating and cooling technologies.
OER will be accepting comments on the proposed design through the end of August. At the conclusion of the public comment period, OER will review all comments received from the public for consideration in the final HHPP incentive program design. HHPP is expected to become available to the public in the winter of 2023. Comments may be submitted at https://energy.ri.gov/heating-cooling/high-efficiency-heat-pump-program.
Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!