A year has passed since the US enacted a significant climate law - let's reflect on its impact and what's ahead for Iowa

posted by Kristen Weaverling on Wednesday, August 16, 2023

IRA BirthdayOne year ago, the nation celebrated the passage of the historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – marking the largest-ever federal investment in climate action. The law addresses climate issues through renewable energy investment, clean energy tax credits, energy efficiency and electrification rebate programs, and much more. Between the creation of hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and investment in clean technology and manufacturing, the United States is already seeing a significant return on investment. 

Over the course of the last year, IEC began building the framework to support education and outreach in Iowa related to these offerings. In December of 2022, IEC launched the Iowa Energy & Infrastructure Funding Hub, aimed at connecting Iowans with information regarding program details, application guidelines, and eligibility requirements regarding key funding opportunities stemming from the IRA.  

Today, many tax credits are now available to Iowa’s residents and communities. Notable mentions include the "direct pay" provision, which allows tax-free entities like nonprofits, cities, and tribes to access clean energy subsidies for the first time; as well as “bonus credits” which further incentivize projects located in low-income communities or on Tribal land.  

In late July, The Department of Energy released guidance and opened applications for states and territories to apply for $8.5 billion in funding through a pair of rebate programs created by the IRA geared at home efficiency, and electrification projects. The state of Iowa intends to apply for the states’ share of these dollars. The Iowa Economic Development Authority, which houses the Iowa Energy Office, recently issued an update on the status of these programs:  

  • Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Rebate Program: Iowa expects to receive over $60 million in funding to provide rebates for energy efficiency retrofits ranging from $2,000-$8,000 for individual households and up to $400,000 for multifamily buildings.  
  • High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebates (HEEHRA) Program: Iowa expects to receive approximately $60 million in funding to provide prescriptive rebates for low- and moderate-income households on a percentage of the cost for an efficiency project, with a rebate cap of $14,000.

Iowans will have a combined $120 million available to them through the HOMES and HEEHRA programs. According to the Iowa Energy Office, Iowans can expect these rebates to be available in mid-2024. In addition to these dollars, the state expects to receive just over $2 million to cultivate a diverse local workforce to deliver these newly created programs. 

EJ TCTAC LaunchIEC is committed to elevating awareness of federal funding opportunities and helping Iowa communities access resources to help them leverage these funds. In partnership with Wichita State University, IEC will help ensure that Iowa’s underserved communities get access to historic federal funding opportunities through collaboration with the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (EJ TCTAC). These centers were formed in response to feedback from environmental justice leaders who have long called for technical assistance for communities as they work to access critical federal resources. EJ TCTACs will provide training to build capacity for navigating federal grant applications, writing strong grant proposals, and effectively managing grant funding.   

Near-term plans also include expanding our website, the Iowa Energy and Infrastructure Funding Hub, to broaden access to timely and accurate information about federal funds available to Iowans. This effort, paired with a robust outreach plan, will aim to uplift the White House’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities here in Iowa. 

  1. clean energy
  2. energy efficiency
  3. federal funding
  4. inflation reduction act (ira)

About The Author

Kristen Weaverling joined the Iowa Environmental Council in 2020 and is now in the role of Energy and Climate Project Manager. Before starting at IEC, she spent several years implementing energy efficiency programs for small business customers on behalf of utility companies here in Iowa. She also ... read more