AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers will contemplate rolling again strict new guidelines requiring Mainers to disconnect fossil fuel-burning furnaces and boilers to say the biggest warmth pump incentives.
A proposal from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, would “search to seek out some center floor” by eradicating a number of the new rebate guidelines on putting in whole-home warmth pump techniques in particular areas of the state primarily based on temperatures, his spokesperson, Christine Kirby, mentioned Monday with out sharing extra particulars on the proposal.
The concept has already been superior to the 2024 legislative session by Jackson and a panel of fellow legislative leaders. It’s squarely aimed toward Effectivity Maine’s newer rebate pointers for whole-home warmth pump techniques that say furnaces and boilers should be “disabled” or related solely to a generator to get the most important rebates.
Oil corporations and Gov. Janet Mills expressed security considerations over the disabling requirement, however Effectivity Maine’s government director, Michael Stoddard, mentioned specialists had not informed the company of any points and the change got here because of owners and installers realizing the electrical units can totally warmth properties regardless of Maine’s chilly temperatures.
The quasi-state company’s elevated incentives started with whole-home warmth pump initiatives accomplished on or after Sept. 18. On the state degree, they’re as much as $8,000 for low-income residents, as much as $6,000 for moderate-income clients and as much as $4,000 for all residents.
Whereas Jackson helps warmth pumps and thinks Effectivity Maine, the quasi-state company that runs vitality financial savings applications, “does an excellent job,” he’s frightened the principles will dissuade folks in northern Maine from making the change and will endanger them. Final February, wind chills in Jackson’s district reached between 50 and 60 levels beneath zero.
Stoddard mentioned Monday he couldn’t touch upon Jackson’s proposal with out extra specifics and language out there, however he reiterated Effectivity Maine shouldn’t be requiring residents to surrender their backup heating supply.
“It needs to be turned off, but it surely’s there in the event that they want it,” Stoddard mentioned.
Stoddard additionally mentioned Effectivity Maine researched the utilization of warmth pumps all through the state and is “assured about their reliability,” so the company wouldn’t have superior a major push if we didn’t assume the expertise out there at this time was not succesful.”
Stoddard famous Effectivity Maine accomplished a examine about two years in the past that discovered about 20 p.c of all new dwelling development in Maine featured no furnaces or boilers however as a substitute had warmth pumps and different all-electric techniques.
Whereas Jackson’s proposal is the primary invoice coping with the warmth pump rebate guidelines, Rep. Steven Foster, R-Dexter, who serves on the Legislature’s vitality committee, mentioned he would favor to see the disconnection language get eliminated altogether.
Moreover the state rebates, $2,000 federal tax credit can be found for each partial- and whole-home warmth pump techniques. The typical home-owner spends $5,500 to put in a warmth pump, which might save about $1,000 yearly over fossil fuel-burning heaters.
Greater than 65 Mainers representing an “even combine” of low, average and all revenue ranges have thus far taken benefit of the rebates below the brand new guidelines, Stoddard mentioned.
The rebate debate is taking part in out in a state that has lengthy led the nation in heating oil dependence, with greater than half of Maine properties utilizing it as the first warming supply. The Mills administration has set bold objectives for warmth pump adoption, together with having 115,000 properties use whole-home warmth pump techniques by 2030.