Press Release

Sens. Peter Welch and Roger Marshall Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Promote Heat Pumps, Reduce Energy Bills, and Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions

May 9, 2023

Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) and Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) today introduced the Heat pump Energy Assistance and Training (HEAT) Act, legislation to support the use of industrial heat pumps in rural areas. Industrial heat pumps can help farmers, ranchers, and other rural businesses save money on energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but they are not widely used in the United States. The HEAT Act would create a program within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help deploy heat pumps in rural communities across the country, cut energy bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Heat pumps are an incredibly powerful tool to help folks reduce their energy use, save money on utility bills, and fight climate change. Our role in Washington is to help more households access this important technology, and the HEAT Act does just that,” said Sen. Welch. “This bill will help our rural businesses, farms, and ranches access heat pumps with support from USDA—that’s good for the planet and for farms’ and businesses’ bottom lines. I’m proud to join Sen. Marshall to introduce this important bipartisan bill.” 

“I’m happy to partner with Sen. Welch on the HEAT Act,” said Sen. Marshall. “Farmers and ranchers are constantly looking for ways to decrease volatility in input costs and the use of industrial heat pumps could help on farm resiliency, especially when cold weather drives up the cost of propane. The HEAT Act would direct the USDA to ensure they have the appropriate materials to help educate and train folks on the availability and use of on-farm industrial heat pumps.”

“Commercial scale Heat Pumps can help farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses reduce volatile energy costs and cut carbon emissions,” said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “Existing federal programs could help businesses make these investments, but farmers and businesses haven’t been provided the adequate technical support by USDA. The Heat Pump Energy Assistance and Training (HEAT) Act would direct USDA to offer better support to businesses interested in capitalizing on this technology.” 

Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) received a $1.177 billion increase in funding, which can be used to support the deployment of heat pumps in rural communities. The HEAT Act will strengthen USDA’s ability to provide technical assistance and guidance on heat pump installation and usage and in doing so facilitate the implementation of the IRA and advance the electrification of on-farm energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To read the full text of the bill, please click here.