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Incoming $8.5B for home energy rebates would target New Mexico’s low-income households

New Electric Water Heater.
New electric water heater.

Last week, the Biden administration announced applications are now open for states to apply for a staggering $8.5 billion in rebate programs that encourage energy-efficient upgrades to homes.

It’s designed to provide more equity for homeowners with lower incomes who may not be able to afford things like heat pumps and energy efficient appliances. Federal officials want states to allocate half the program funds to households at or below 80% of an area’s median income.

Consumers can get those rebates once their states or territories get the federal funds and the Department of Energy is now looking for applications.

"These shouldn't be appliances just for the wealthy,” said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich of Albuquerque , one of the legislators who pushed for some of the incentives included in the law.

Heinrich said burning fossil fuels in our homes has an enormous emissions footprint and public health impact.

“This is a way of getting at that challenge with the new cleaner, zero emissions technologies and holding low- and moderate-income consumers harmless in the process," Heinrich said.

The Department of Energy estimates that the programs will save Americans $1B annually in energy costs and create 50,000 jobs nationwide.

In the coming weeks, the department will provide technical assistance and other help to guide state governments through the application process.

Bryce Dix is our local host for NPR's Morning Edition.
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