From left: Tracy Scott of Energy Trust, Charity Fain of Community Energy Project, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, IBEW apprentice Alana Graves, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Portland homeowner Sammie Lewis, and Ernesto Fonseca of Hacienda CDC.
Energy Trust joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Oregon Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Suzanne Bonamici on Tuesday for a roundtable panel with community leaders to discuss the clean energy benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act for Oregonians.
The federal Inflation Reduction Act that passed last month represents the single largest investment in clean energy and climate in American history and is expected to help millions of Americans benefit from energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Tracy Scott, Energy Trust’s director of energy programs, was invited to speak at the event, which was held at Energy Trust’s office in Portland. She described the impact of Energy Trust’s investment in clean energy over the past 20 years, which has helped create healthier homes, a cleaner environment, lower utility bills, clean energy jobs and more resilient communities.
“Together in partnership with the State of Oregon, utilities, trade ally contractors and community partners, we will be able to deliver far greater benefits by leveraging these transformational federal investments – helping us all magnify our collective impact,” Scott told the group.
The legislation includes provisions that support energy-efficient commercial buildings and promote prevailing wages and apprenticeships. In her remarks, Pelosi highlighted the need for workforce development opportunities for women and people of color in particular.
“It won’t be effective unless is has justice – social justice, economic justice, environmental justice,” she said. “And again, part of the economic justice is enabling women and people of color who had not been able to participate, and that these are prevailing wage jobs.”
Also included are rebates to encourage Americans to install energy-efficient heat pumps, which also provide cooling that can be lifesaving in extreme heat events. The $2,000-$8,000 rebates, combined with Energy Trust’s existing incentives, will make them more affordable for more Oregonians.
There are also rebates for heat pump water heaters, heat-pump clothes dryer, electric stoves, electrical panel upgrade to support new electrical appliances, electrical wiring improvements, insulation and sealing.
On renewable energy, the legislation extends a federal tax credit for rooftop solar and adds a tax credit for stand-alone battery storage systems.
Portland homeowner Sammie Lewis, who participated in the roundtable, received a heat pump and solar energy system from Community Energy Project with support from Energy Trust this spring.
“Choosing renewable energy was the first step to controlling my own energy use,” Lewis told the group. “Over the last few months, my (Portland General Electric) bill was reduced significantly. And now I have a credit balance. I love it. I joyfully tell my friends, my neighbors. I so appreciate all the IRA has done and will do.”