Senate Bill to Propose Billions of Dollars in Federal Grants for Residential Conversion to Electric Heat

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) unveiled proposed legislation this week that would provide consumers with federal funds to convert home appliances to all electric service, including home heating equipment.

The Zero Emissions Home Act will provide homeowners up to $10,000 in federal grant money to install new electric equipment needed for conversion away from natural gas, propane and heating oil. Low and moderate-income homes would receive more money to offset the higher costs associated with purchasing and installing electric appliances under the proposal.

U.S. households account for 42 percent of all annual carbon emissions, through a variety of activities including cooking, heating, and cooling. The proposed legislation is a 10-year, multi-billion-dollar federal investment designed to “decarbonize” American households through electrification.

However, the goal of the proposal is likely a long way off as fossil fuels currently generate 60 percent of all electricity used nationwide (40.3 percent by natural gas, 19.3 percent by coal) and the replacement lifecycle for household appliances is between 15 and 20 years.

The proposed federal incentive, together with current electric utility subsidies for new electric appliances, could launch another wave of home heating conversions that will hit heating oil and propane dealers the hardest.

EMA has major concerns with the bill and will be working to improve the legislation to recognize how low carbon BioHeat® and upgraded heating fuel equipment lower carbon emissions on a greater scale than electrification.

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