How will the Inflation Reduction Act help Pa. fight climate change? | Thursday Morning Coffee

Five takeaways on how the Keystone State benefits from the massive bill

By: - August 18, 2022 7:25 am
President Joe Biden signed his party’s signature climate, health care and tax package into law Tuesday (Screen Capture).

President Joe Biden signed his party’s signature climate, health care and tax package into law Tuesday (Screen Capture).

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

President Joe Biden signed his party’s signature climate, health care and tax package into law on Tuesday, capping off more than a year of tumultuous negotiations that saw his original proposal to Congress slimmed down considerably.

The law, which will roll out in phases over the next few years, will funnel $370 billion to clean energy programs, including electric vehicle tax credits and tax incentives for energy companies to produce renewable energy, the Capital-Star previously reported.

The torturous process that ended with the bill landing on Biden’s desk was one in a series of recent legislative wins that both the Democratic White House and its allies on Capitol Hill hope to use to remind voters that they should remain in power during this November’s midterm elections.

But if you were sitting at home asking yourself the only question that really matters when it comes to politics — What’s in it for me? — wonder no longer.

The White House has released a series of state- and issue-specific fact sheets on the ground-level impact the bill will have nationwide.

So without further ado, here are five big ways the bill will benefit the Keystone State on matters of climate change and clean energy.  

Row houses in Philadelphia (Capital-Star file)

1. Rebates, rebates rebates: According to the White House, the law authorizes 50 to 100 percent rebates on the cost of installing new electrical appliances, including heat pumps, water heaters, dryers, stoves, and ovens. Millions of low- to moderate-income households in the state are eligible for the rebates, according to the White House. The law also offers rebates for households so they can make energy efficiency repairs to single- and multi-family homes.

(Getty Images)

2. Solar Energy and Clean Power Jobs: The bill authorizes tax credits that cover 30 percent of the cost of installing solar panels and battery storage systems, make home improvements that reduce energy loss, or upgrade heating and cooling equipment. There are no income limits, and projections show an additional 610,000 Pennsylvania households will install rooftop panels as a result, according to the White House. The bill also offers tax credits that cover up to 30 percent of the cost of community solar projects, which are owned by local businesses that sign up families to save on their electric bills. The bill offers an additional 20 percent credit for projects in affordable housing communities and 10 percent for projects in low-income communities, according to the White House. The bill will further bring “an estimated $270 million of investment in large-scale clean power generation and storage to Pennsylvania between now and 2030. It provides a historic set of tax credits that will create jobs across solar, wind, storage, and other clean energy industries,” the White House said. The credits include bonuses for businesses that pay a prevailing wage.

Businesses located on 2200 block of Ridge Avenue in North Philadelphia are pictured (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

3. Small Business Impacts: Pennsylvania’s 1.1 million small businesses comprise more than 99 percent of all businesses in the state, according to the White House. The bill provides commercial property owners with a tax credit of up to $5 per-square foot to support energy efficiency efforts aimed at cutting their utility bills. The bill also authorizes tax credits covering 30 percent of the cost of installing solar power and for the purchase of clean trucks, according to the White House.

A farmer plants corn into a cover crop of barley. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service/The Missouri Independent).

4. Opportunities for Rural Pennsylvania: The bill “supports climate-smart agriculture practices, which will help Pennsylvania’s 52,700 farms lead on climate solutions and reward their stewardship,” according to the White House. And electrical cooperatives, which serve about 220,000 homes, businesses, and other customers in the Keystone State, will be eligible for “direct-pay clean energy tax credits,” according to the White House. The bill also “dedicates investments for rural electric cooperatives to boost resiliency, reliability, and affordability, including through clean energy and energy efficiency upgrades.”

(Image via Pittsburgh City Paper).

5. Resilient Communities: The bill provides upgrades for affordable housing, including “that boost resilience in the face of intensifying extreme weather,” according to the White House. Tens of thousands of people living in affordable housing units across the state are eligible for such upgrades as flood-proofing and storm resistance, as well as clean energy and electrification efforts, the administration said. The bill also authorizes the creation of a new “Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program includes support for transportation projects and planning to protect against flooding, extreme heat, and more,” the White House said.

Getty Images
(Getty Images)

Our Stuff.
Good news if you’re tired of spam, state attorneys general are uniting to fight robocalls, our friends at report. 

State officials announced Wednesday that a new investigative team will be tasked with preventing, identifying, and mitigating financial abuse and exploitation of older Pennsylvanians. Cassie Miller has the story.

In Philadelphia, LGBTQ activists are seeking changes to the city Health Department’s monkeypox messaging and its vaccine rollout, our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News report.

From me, a column: It’s no longer time to ask whether we’re in a new age of political violence. The only questions worth asking now are when it will flare beyond control, and the extent to which politicians and non-government actors from Pennsylvania will fan the fires of insurrection.

On our Commentary Page this morning: In an ongoing series of op-Eds published by our sibling site, the Minnesota ReformerJustin Stofferahn explains how the United States cracked down on corporate power and built a middle class. And Tara Murtha, of the Women’s Law Coverage, says it’s time for Washington to step up to protect reproductive rights, now that it’s clear that Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled General Assembly isn’t interested.

U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz speaks in Harrisburg (Capital-Star screen capture).

The Inquirer takes readers to GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz’s new hometown of Bryn Athyn, Montgomery County. It’s a religious community where opinion of him is split, the newspaper reports.

Oz’s Democratic rival, John Fetterman, has rolled out a new economic plan. The Bucks County Courier Times parses the details (via GoErie).

A new poll by Pittsburgh Works Together shows Fetterman and Democratic governor candidate Josh Shapiro building their leads in their respective races, PoliticsPA reports.

Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, now an adviser to GOP governor candidate Doug Mastrianohas been ordered to appear before a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia that’s investigating election tampering in the state, Talking Points Memo reports.

State lawmakers are in line for big raises next year thanks to an automatic cost-of-living adjustmentSpotlight PA reports (via the Tribune-Review).

Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities are planning ahead to prevent monkeypox outbreaks on campus this fallPennLive reports.

Could passenger rail return to the Lehigh Valley? PennDOT is already making plans, the Morning Call reports.

President Joe Biden has rescheduled a visit to Luzerne County that was derailed when he tested positive for COVID-19 last month, the Citizens’ Voice reports.

Children who live near fracking sites in the state have an increased risk of leukemiaWHYY-FM reports, citing new research.

Pittsburgh will host a nationwide gathering of progressives this week. WESA-FM has the details.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Pennsylvania Wilds (@thepawilds)

What Goes On
The desk is clear. Enjoy the silence.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
11 a.m.: Golf outing for Sen. Chris Gebhard, R-Lebanon. Admission runs $100 to $7,500.

Gov. Tom Wolf has a pair of events on his docket today. At 10:30 a.m., he’s in Philadelphia to welcome a new Asian shipping service at the Port of Philadelphia. At 1:30 p.m, he’s in Lancaster to talk manufacturing at Lancaster County Career & Technology.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept
Best wishes go out to reader Joe McDermott, of Allentown, who celebrates today. Congratulations and enjoy the day, sir.

Heavy Rotation
This one is a straight groove. It’s ‘Let Go,’ by RAC with Kele and MNDR.

Thursday’s Gratuitous Baseball Link
You win some, you lose. After taking two games, Baltimore dropped a 6-1 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon. Today’s a new day.

And now you’re up to date.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.