March 23, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) today introduced legislation aiming to lower energy expenses for consumers while also reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Air Source Heat Pump Act will allow consumers to receive a refundable federal tax credit for costs associated with installation of an eligible new heat pump. This credit will encourage the use of heat pumps—which can heat and cool homes more efficiently than fossil fuel based systems, standard central air conditioning systems, or window units—resulting in increased efficiency that reduces both costs to the consumer and carbon emissions. Senator King introduced this legislation in the previous Congressional session.
“When we talk about reducing energy costs and minimizing our carbon footprint, it’s important to remember that the cheapest, cleanest kilowatt hour of energy is the one that isn’t used,” said Senator King. “That is why the federal government should be using every tool at our disposal to encourage energy efficient choices. Heat pumps have proven to be an efficient heating and cooling system for homes, resulting in both long-term savings for consumers and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Cheaper and cleaner: that’s the type of economic and environmental win-win Congress should be promoting, yielding benefits in the short-term and for generations to come.”
“Due to our state’s long, cold winters, many Mainers face significant costs to heat their homes. Electric heat pumps offer an affordable, energy efficient alternative,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would provide tax incentives for Mainers to purchase and install new heat pumps that can save homeowners money and are more environmentally friendly.”
“Heat pumps are saving Maine people money on their energy bills, supporting good-paying jobs, and are an important tool in our state’s fight against climate change, which is exactly why I set a goal of installing 100,000 new heat pumps by 2025 and why Maine’s climate action plan sets more aggressive 2030 targets, ” said Governor Janet Mills. “Pairing strong Federal tax credits with Maine’s state incentives would benefit Maine people and the environment. I applaud Senators King and Collins for introducing this legislation, and I strongly urge Congress to follow Maine’s lead by making heat pumps more available and affordable.”
“Electric heat pumps are a critical technology for reducing home energy costs throughout the country and cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “This proposal by Senators King and Collins would help more households in Maine and beyond invest in the latest efficient equipment when replacing their heating system. This is smart policy for combatting climate change while cutting people’s utility bills.”
"The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) fully supports Air Source Heat Pump Act, which will incentivize the quality installation of energy efficient heat pumps according to ACCA standards," said Chris Czarnecki, Government Relations Manager at Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). "We applaud the efforts of Senators King and Collins to promote energy efficiency and more importantly we commend them for recognizing how important quality installation is in respect to realizing the full energy efficiency potential of heating equipment. If implemented, this legislation will help drive business for ACCA members across the country, save consumers money on their energy bills, promote energy independence, and reduce carbon emissions. ACCA sincerely thanks Senators King, Collins, and their staffs for their efforts on this bill. "
Under the Air Source Heat Pump Act, consumers would be eligible for a tax credit of 20% of qualified expenditures, up to $800 total, for heat pumps that meet certain criteria. The heat pump must be purchased for a consumer’s primary residence, and the model must either meet specifications by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships or receive the most efficient certification from the applicable Energy Star program. The tax credit is refundable, allowing lower-income homeowners to access the benefit, and would not preclude homeowners from utilizing state-based incentive programs.
A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions wherever they can be found, Senator King is a founding member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, and a lead sponsor on a range of bills that encourage energy efficiency and research on clean energy technologies, such as the Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act which aims to incentivize the recycling of rechargeable and electrochemical batteries needed to meet the United States’ growing clean energy needs and decrease dependence on critical mineral imports, and the Joint Long-Term Storage Act, which seeks to speed up deployment of long-duration energy storage technologies through strategic collaboration between federal agencies.
As part of the fiscal year 2021 government funding bill, Senator Collins secured several provisions she authored to support the use of clean, renewable power as well as improve energy efficiency and weatherization programs to save consumers money.