Decarbonization of CA buildings: what does 2022 hold for us?

Incentives and TECH offers are available today, with at least 40% of program benefits directed to low-income and historically disadvantaged communities. Although important, the current funding for the program is just the beginning. It will take a lot more to completely transform the market, because the $2 billion California Solar Initiative did it for rooftop solar, and California should dedicate more resources to TECH and similar electrification programs to achieve that goal.

With a historical budget proposal from the governor’s office which commits billions of dollars for the climate, the imminent launch of several large-scale building electrification programs, a potential end to gas line extension grants and the proposed target of 6 million heat pumps in homes by 2030, this is shaping up to be a big year for building electrification. What can Californians concerned about a fair and affordable energy transition hope for 2022?

the Governor’s Budget Proposalpublished in January 2022, includes almost a billion dollars for a fair decarbonization of buildings efforts over two years, in addition to hundreds of millions for the AHSC program, low-income weatherization program, and other initiatives to improve climate resilience and expand access to sustainable housing across California . CEC and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) would distribute Fair Building Decarbonization Funding, which includes:

the so anticipated BUILD program, established in 2018, is expected to launch early this year. The $80 million program will help affordable housing developers with their first all-electric projects by providing incentives and technical assistance for all-electric construction. BUILD ‘2.0’, a $75 million build-to-market program, is also under development and will promote the use of electrical and storage appliances in new buildings through financial and technical support. .

2. Rebuilding Wildfire and Natural Disaster Resilience (WNDRR) Program

the recently approved WNDRR The program will be enable some of the Californians most affected by climate change to be part of the climate solution by switching to all-electric homes. The $50 million program will offer flat-rate incentives to red-tag post-disaster homeowners who rebuild with all-electric appliances, with 1.5 times higher incentive rates for occupants in low-income communities or historically disadvantaged.

3. The water saver Program

water saver is a PG&E initiative to replace electric resistance water heaters with efficient electric heat pump models that have demand response capabilities. The demand response feature will both help balance the power grid and help customers save money by heating water when the grid has excess renewable energy and storing it for more use. late in the day. The CPUC recently adopted implementation details for the program, scheduled to launch this year.

4. The Self-generation incentive program (SGIP)

the SGIP Heat Pump Water Heater Program (HPWH), which is close to aoption to CPUC, will spend $84.7 million on equity-focused residential and cocommercial HPWH installations. Long in preparation, the SGIP HPWH program should be launched this year.

5. Edison of Southern California (SCE) Electrification programs

In 2021, the CPUC approved two SCE pilot programs under ESAP: the Building Electrification Pilot and the Clean Energy Homes Pilot. the Building Electrification Pilot, which received $40.8 million in funding, aims to electrify nearly 3,000 low-income households in underserved communities in SCE territory. The pilot is expected to launch in August 2022.

The Clean Energy Homes Pilot program focuses on all-electric, affordable new construction in SCE territory. It has an approved budget of $10.5 million and will see the development of approximately 3,800 affordable multi-family and 700 single-family all-electric units. The pilot will launch in mid-2022.

In addition, SCE recently submitted a essential electrification proposal at the CPUC. As written, the proposed program would be spend $677 million to install approximately 250,000 heat pumps in homes and businesses and upgrade 65,000 households to electricity, with a focus on low-income customers and vulnerable communities . If approved by the CPUC, the SCE would begin program implementation in 2023 and begin operations in early 2024.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

A potential end to Subsidies for gas connection

the CPUC is also about to end subsidies for new gas line extensions This year-a since a long time step that will help end California’s reliance on fossil fuels in buildings. Currently, the state pays more than $100 million each year in new gas connections, which are paid for by utility gas customers, whether or not they receive the subsidies. But a recent Staff proposal of the CPUC recommends eliminating subsidies for all categories of customers, a decision that even large gas utilities partially supports. If the CPUC adopts the staff proposal, subsidies for new gas connections will end from mid-2023.

Proposed target of 6 million heat pumps in homes

Finally, in February 2022, the The CEC approved a recommended lens 6 million heat pumps in California homes by 2030. This proposed goal represents the ambition required to meet California’s climate goals, and the legislature or governor’s office should formally establish it through legislation or by executive order to help spur California’s building decarbonization efforts.

Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash

It’s aalready clear that 2022 will be a big year for building electrification. The Governor’s groundbreaking budget proposal, combined with policy changes and large-scale incentive programs on the horizon, is the product of years of decarbonization advocacy that is paying off. But while this work is essential and important, now is not the time to slow down either. Fairly ddecarbonizing every building in California—and achieving economy-wide decarbonization—will take far more investment, planning, and effort from all agencies, stakeholders, and decision makers across the State. But the programs and policies already in progress, and those beginning this year provide a blueprint for the future and give us hope that we can achieve California’s goal of meaningful climate action in a way that uplifts and benefits all Californians.

About Christopher Easley

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