Austin, TX — The South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER) released the following statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing HR 1, which would repeal key energy efficiency and decarbonization investments from the Inflation Reduction Act:
Passage of H.R. 1 on March 30th, 2023 by the US House of Representatives could have long-term detrimental effects on how states, including Texas, administer energy efficiency programs and what grants and rebates would be available to homeowners. Below is a listing of those items that could be eliminated if the bill was to be taken up and passed by the Senate.
Sec. 10016. Homeowner Energy Freedom.
- This section repeals Section 50122 of Public Law 117-169 (relating to a high-efficiency electric home rebate program).
- This section repeals Section 50123 of Public Law 117-169 (relating to State-based home energy efficiency contractor training grants).
- This section repeals Section 50131 of Public Law 117-169 (relating to assistance for the latest and zero building energy code adoption).
- This section rescinds the unobligated balances of any amounts made available under each of sections 50121, 50122, and 50123 of Public Law 117-169.
The possible rollback of building and energy codes by stating that they are a hindrance to builders and consumers is a stance that SPEER does not support. H.R. 1 does just that, ROLLBACK. During Winter Storm Uri, which killed more than 250 Texans, homes that were built to increased code standards or that had energy efficiency upgrades such as insulation, windows, and radiant barriers withstood the brunt of the storm much better. These homes were able to maintain a more constant and livable temperature increasing their passive survivability and therefore improving both the health and resiliency of the occupants. If loss of life wasn’t enough, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas estimates the direct and indirect cost of Uri was between $80 billion to $130 billion due to power loss, physical infrastructure damage and forgone economic opportunities. Rolling back building and energy codes that help in dire situations such as these put potentially millions of Texans at risk. Coupled with energy efficiency measures, stronger code standards actually SAVE TEXANS MONEY in the long run through improved and more up-to-date building and efficiency measures. This is more vital than ever and comes at a time when 45% of Texans report having to cut spending on basics to pay for energy bills. That’s 11 percentage (!) percentage points higher than the national average of 34%.
For SPEER, and our stakeholders, drastic and substantial changes such as these once again show the need for more education at the decision-maker level on why energy efficiency is a force multiplier for Texans. Energy Efficiency adds stability to the already vulnerable and aging Texas power grid by reducing peak demand during critical times. Energy Efficiency enables millions of Texans to better afford rising energy bills. Energy Efficiency adds to the Texas economy by putting more disposable income into our neighbor’s pockets. Energy Efficiency programs add jobs through contractor collaboration and it’s worth noting that energy efficiency already employs roughly 2.2 million Americans; more than any other clean energy sector and Texas ranks second for the number of EE jobs. Energy Efficiency reduces costs to Texans by decreasing the need for costly transmission buildouts. Energy Efficiency reduces costs to Texans by decreasing the need for costly generation build-out. Energy Efficiency helps ALL TEXANS by reducing power consumption across our great and growing state.