Energy Efficiency Legislation Included in COVID-19 Relief Funding

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A massive year-end bill, announced by congressional leaders December 21, 2020, and signed by President Trump December 27th, includes provisions to improve the weatherization of low-income homes and reduce industrial emissions…This omnibus bill, which funds the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year and provides $900 billion in COVID-19 relief funding, also contains a bipartisan package of energy legislation, including several efficiency measures. The bill would:

  • Modernize the federal Weatherization Assistance Program to help it address health and safety issues in homes, add solar cells, and test innovative approaches to expanding weatherization…
  • Reduce industrial energy use and greenhouse gas emissions through research and development of efficient industrial technologies, technical assistance, and the development of a national smart manufacturing plan.
  • Authorize a smart buildings program, energy and water-saving pilot programs, an energy-saving information technology plan, coordination of assistance for retrofits in schools, rebates for efficient motors and transformers, and other programs.
  • Make technical corrections to better measure the energy efficiency of large ceiling fans in standards.

…The bill’s COVID-19 relief section includes $14 billion in funding for struggling public transit agencies, whose success is key for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating healthy and livable communities, and ensuring equitable access to clean transportation…

The bill also makes permanent a tax deduction for commercial building owners to make energy efficiency upgrades. It indexes the incentive value to inflation and allows the IRS and Energy Department to update the baseline efficiency level to require greater efficiency (except for lighting).