Program to target rural homes and cleanest stoves
On September 7, 2012, the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) launched a pilot rebate program for some of the cleanest wood and pellet stoves available, marking the first time that a state has integrated wood and pellet stoves into a renewable energy rebate program.
"We are thrilled that Governor O'Malley and Malcolm Wolff, the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, extended the renewable energy grant program to appliances that low and middle-income families can afford," said John Ackerly, the President of the Alliance for Green Heat.
Full details of the program and the application can be found here: http://energy.maryland.gov/Residential/woodstoves/index.html. Wood stoves that are EPA certified and emit no more than 3 grams of particulates an hour and pellet stoves that emit no more than 2 grams an hour are eligible to receive a grant. Program funds are limited to $50,000 and available on a first come, first serve basis.
The original bill was introduced in the Maryland legislature in 2011, and drafted with assistance of the Alliance for Green Heat. The legislature did not approve the bill because of the cost involved but it had broad support and the only voices against it came from the oil and propane dealer associations. Despite the legislature's inaction, the MEA working together with Delegate Heather Mizeur and other legislators, decided to implement it with their existing budget.
As discussed in the October issue of Consumer Reports, there is no federal tax credit for wood or pellet stoves as there is for solar, geothermal and wind. And, the DOE and EPA have not developed a Energy Star program for wood and pellet stoves to help consumers identify the cleanest and most efficient units. "Wood and pellet stoves are the people's renewable energy device, and rural families have always been leaders of the renewable energy movement," explained Ackerly. "But little has been done to invest in cleaner stove R&D or to incentivize the cleanest and most efficient stoves. This rebate program is a step towards smartly deploying the cleanest stoves and makes Maryland a national leader in helping ordinary families affordably heat their homes."
The Alliance created a Q & A about the program that addresses some questions consumers may have.