In a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Thursday, Department of Environmental Protection Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell (photo right) and Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin outlined the impacts of proposed cuts to U.S. Department of Energy programs would have on Pennsylvania.
The elimination of funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) would end approximately $41 million for low-income families to improve energy efficiency and cut down on energy costs.
Additionally, $1.5 million would be cut from the State Energy Program (SEP), which has been used to test new technologies and help businesses lower energy costs.
“Eliminating this funding cuts the legs out from underneath popular and effective programs that spur economic activity beyond what the line-item costs are,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Energy efficiency, especially for low-income families, is a way to cut expenses and reduce pollution from power generation.”
The WAP benefits more than 8,000 low-income families in Pennsylvania, ensuring adequate heating during cold Pennsylvania winters.
In addition to energy efficiency, WAP funds were also being used to study long-term health impacts of radon in homes. High incidence of radon gas in homes occurs in 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
State Energy Program
Cuts to the State Energy Program would curtail several ongoing projects, ranging from energy security and grid protection projects to job training for college graduates.
“State Energy Program funds allow the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance (Energy Office) to design and carry out programs tailored to the needs of our residents and business. In recent years, $1.5 million has been provided annually in SEP funding, effectively leveraged at least four to one.”
The letter points out elimination of SEP funding will cause the following programs to close--
-- Development of new energy security technology such as the microgrid project at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is demonstrating how Marcellus Shale natural gas combined heat and power can be integrated with renewables to provide cost-effective energy security solutions.
-- Energy efficiency training for building managers to operate schools, local government buildings and state government buildings at the highest efficiency to save an estimated $3.5 million per year for schools and taxpayers.
-- Development and use of tools to respond appropriately to energy supply disruptions caused by weather, cyber security or other events.
-- Nearly 100 energy efficiency assessments annually for small and mid-sized manufacturers with implemented energy saving measures resulting in 2.8 million kWh per year of electricity conserved and $700,000 in economic benefits.
-- At least 60 energy assessments for small business owners of urban restaurants and corner stores in at-risk neighborhoods, which result in energy retrofits with significant annual energy savings.
-- Training college students, who benefit from participating in the implementation of these programs to prepare them for tomorrow’s energy-related jobs in Pennsylvania.
“These programs don’t just represent savings for residents – they are also important job-creation tools,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “The contractors that install the upgrades, the more than 300 businesses supplying the materials, and staff that oversee the program are all contributing to Pennsylvania’s economy.”
A copy of the letter is available online.
A copy of the Trump Administration’s Budget Blueprint released in March is also available online.
Related Stories:PA National Heritage Areas: Trump Budget Would Have Severe Consequences In PA