U.S. Senate’s Inflation Reduction Bill Seen as Big Win for Oregon

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By Alex Baumhardt

Clean energy developers, farmers, ranchers, forest and home owners in Oregon are slated to get hundreds of millions of dollars in grants, tax credits and incentives from legislation that passed the U.S. Senate this weekend.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, an umbrella name for a climate and energy package that includes provisions for health care, could go to the U.S. House for a final vote as soon as Friday and is likely to pass under the Democratic majority. It is expected to cost more than $700 billion during the next decade, slightly more than the $660 billion in subsidies the coal, oil and natural gas industries received in 2020 alone, according to a report from the International Monetary Fund.

The 775-page package includes tax credits and incentives for producers of nuclear power, geothermal, wind, wave and solar energy as well as “clean hydrogen,” a controversial form of clean energy that not all environmentalists favor. It also includes rebates for farmers and forest landowners who invest in projects that sequester carbon dioxide and create less waste; for homeowners who invest in energy efficiency, solar panels and electric heating and cooling pumps; and for buyers of used and new electric cars.

Homeowners who install solar panels would be able to claim a larger rebate on their federal income taxes. The package includes $9 billion for consumer home energy rebate programs, and boosts the income tax rebate on solar panels from 22% to 30% of the cost.

The Federal Housing Administration would get more than $1 billion to improve environmental conditions in homes, provide better access to transportation and enhance safety in disadvantaged communities. Rebates of up to 100% of the cost for clean heavy duty vehicles, such as school buses and garbage trucks, are also in the package.

For Oregonians interested in a new electric vehicle, a rebate up to $15,000 would be available under state and federal programs.

The federal package includes a $7,500 rebate for purchases of new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles. These rebates resemble those offered by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and could be claimed on top of the state’s rebate.

For the complete story, see the Oregon Capital Chronicle.