This week legislation (Senate Bill 979) was introduced by Senator Sharif Street that would reform our state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to advance low and net-zero carbon electricity generation. This includes expanding requirements for generation from renewable sources, providing a mechanism to sustain nuclear generation where justified, and establishing a pathway for emerging technologies like advanced nuclear and carbon capture. PEC has advocated for Clean Energy Standard legislation for several years, and we applaud Senator Street for developing this bill.
Pennsylvania’s sizeable electric generation sector provides both challenges and opportunities for meaningful emission reductions, and requires a full complement of policy approaches to spur investment and deployment of clean energy technologies. One essential part of the mix is utilizing a market-based approach like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to both price and reduce emissions while also providing proceeds to further energy efficiency, emissions reductions, and net-zero energy investment. Initiatives like RGGI focus on the generation sources themselves. A corresponding approach, which a Clean Energy Standard would support, is to set targets for net-zero generation by focusing on utilities and energy use: in other words, reinforcing measures that set clean energy objectives, but also provide the means to achieve those goals. Several other states, including energy-producing states like Virginia, have already adopted these dual, complementary policy designs.
Pennsylvania’s sizeable electric generation sector provides both challenges and opportunities for meaningful emission reductions, and requires a full complement of policy approaches to spur investment and deployment of clean energy technologies.
We need policies that drive greater emission reductions in a more immediate time frame, help advance Pennsylvania’s electricity portfolio for future demand, and ensure that diversified, ready, and cost-effective resources are available. Citizens, businesses, and industry alike recognize that elimination of carbon pollution is more than aspirational; it is now essential. Given that Pennsylvania has considerable fossil-based generation, and recognizing that renewables (and emerging technologies like energy storage) will take time to deploy even in ideal circumstances, achieving a net-zero profile over the short and long term will mean creating opportunities for approaches like carbon capture. Importantly, Senate Bill 979 sets both emission and cost parameters on carbon capture, thus providing a pathway that ensures results.
PEC has developed a Fact Sheet to help explain the Clean Energy Standard concept, and why it is a critical piece of the larger climate change puzzle.
Pennsylvania needs an ‘all-in’ approach to emission reductions and clean energy deployment, and that requires a suite of policies to maximize technology and business development. The Clean Energy Standard as provided in Senate Bill 979 is an essential part of that solution.