Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Gov. Shapiro Unveils Cap-And-Invest PA Climate Emissions Reduction Initiative To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Power Plants; Update Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards To Diversify Electric Generation, Improve Reliability

On March 13, Gov. Josh Shapiro unveiled a cap-and-invest PA Climate Emissions Reduction Initiative in legislation to reduce carbon pollution from power plants to protect and create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and take real action to address carbon pollution.

A second legislative initiative, as well, to build out a more diverse, reliable, and affordable energy sector by updating the state's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to require 35% of Pennsylvania’s electricity by 2035 from the clean energy sources of today and the future like solar, wind, small modular reactors, and fusion, 10% from sustainable sources like large hydropower and battery storage, and 5% from ultra-low emission forms of natural gas and other traditional fuels. 

If passed by the legislature, the Governor’s initiatives would save Pennsylvania ratepayers $252 million in the first five years, while generating $5.1 billion in investment in clean, reliable energy sources.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” said Gov. Shapiro.

Click Here for Video/Photos from announcement.  Click Here for Plan summary.

Click Here for the Senate Republican reaction to Energy Plan.

Click Here for Gov. Shapiro's reaction to the Republican reaction.

Cap-And-Invest Program - PACER

The Governor’s plan creates an emissions reduction program that leverages Pennsylvania’s advantages as a major energy producer to reduce climate emissions while also--

-- Directly lowering prices for Pennsylvanians through an electric bill rebate; 

-- Solidifies an all-of-the-above vision for Pennsylvania’s energy future through bold new reliability targets that will produce a more diverse, resilient electricity grid by 2035;

-- Attract more federal dollars;

-- Support Pennsylvania’s low-carbon natural gas and nuclear facilities for the first time; and

-- Builds on the Governor’s economic development strategy to make transformational investments in clean energy production.

The benefits of PACER will be passed on directly to Pennsylvania consumers. 

Under PACER, 70% of the revenue will be directed back to Pennsylvania residents as a rebate on their electric bill – more than any other cap-and-invest program in the nation – resulting in long-term, price relief on energy costs.

PACER allows Pennsylvania to chart its own energy future, independent from the influence both from foreign oil and other states’ energy policies. PACER leverages Pennsylvania’s strengths to lower costs, create jobs, and protect our environment.

"If the legislature passes my plan known as PACER, I will sign it and immediately remove the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from RGGI [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative],” said Gov. Shapiro. “Instead [of RGGI], we will have in its place a Pennsylvania made and Pennsylvania run system.”

These proposals were based on the Governor’s RGGI Working Group, which brought together labor leaders, environmental advocates, and industry to evaluate the merits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Updating Renewable Energy Standards - PRESS

Twenty years ago, Pennsylvania led the nation by establishing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS), which successfully promoted new and innovative forms of energy in the Commonwealth. 

Over the last two decades, Pennsylvania’s energy standards have become outdated, and we are losing out to other states with more modern standards that attract new energy investment. Pennsylvania is 45th in the nation in terms of investing in clean energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower.

That’s why Gov. Shapiro’s plan introduces the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS), which will attract federal investments in the Commonwealth and keep utility costs low in the long-term by building out the reliable, affordable fleet of power sources we will need for the decades to come.

PRESS continues all of the successful elements of AEPS but is also more inclusive to ensure reliability – adding nuclear power, next generation technologies like fusion, and clean forms of natural gas for the first time. 

This revitalized energy standard will attract hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic investments in our state and create 14,500 jobs, all while improving the reliability of our electricity grid and positioning Pennsylvania as a leader in the energy arena for the next twenty years.

[On March 7, the Independent Fiscal Office issued its latest Pennsylvania Electricity update that reports the electricity grid is dependent on one fuel for 59% of the state’s electricity generation--  natural gas-- followed by nuclear power-- 31.9%, coal-- 5.4% and 3.7% from other sources.  Read more here.]

PRESS is designed to incentivize a more reliable power generation fleet to combat the threats of extreme weather, cyberattacks, and other challenges that could impact individual sources of electricity.  [ Read more here.]

PRESS requires Pennsylvania to get 50% of its electricity from a diverse range of energy resources by 2035, including 35% from the clean energy sources of today and the future like solar, wind, small modular reactors, and fusion, 10% from sustainable sources like large hydropower and battery storage, and 5% from ultra-low emission forms of natural gas and other traditional fuels. 

By raising these targets for a diverse range of energy sources, PRESS will jumpstart a new era of reliable and affordable energy development in Pennsylvania.

Protections For Consumers

Finally, Governor Shapiro’s plan includes commonsense protections for consumers against unfair practices like excessive reconnection fees and greater access to medical waivers, along with other measures that protect Pennsylvanians and help them pay their utility bills.

“Pennsylvania is falling behind in the race to create clean and reliable energy – and we must take action to be more competitive, ensure our consumers pay less for their electricity bills, and create more jobs and opportunities for our businesses to grow and our workers to get ahead,” said Gov. Shapiro. 

“From the very beginning, I have made clear that any energy policy supported by my Administration must meet the three-part test of protecting and creating energy jobs, taking real action to address climate change pollution, and ensuring reliable, affordable power for consumers in the long term. 

"My energy plan is built to do all three, making sure the first dollar goes to Pennsylvania ratepayers and ensuring Pennsylvania will continue to be a leader on energy for decades to come.”

PACER and PRESS are designed to work together to deliver on Governor Shapiro’s goals of protecting and creating energy jobs, lowering energy costs for Pennsylvanians, and ensuring Pennsylvania’s energy independence for the long term. 

Together they will spur a new generation of energy development and save consumers money each month on their electricity bills, all while reducing emissions and building the most reliable fleet of energy resources in the nation.

Gov. Shapiro’s plan also recognizes the critical importance of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) in meeting our emissions reductions goals, and he is urging the General Assembly to pass enabling legislation to create a legal and regulatory framework for CCUS in Pennsylvania. 

This will help our state reduce emissions from the largest industrial sources and create good-paying, clean energy jobs in the process.

Click Here for the complete announcement.

Click Here for Video/Photos from announcement.

Related Articles - Energy/Climate Plan:

-- Gov. Shapiro Unveils Cap-And-Invest PA Climate Emissions Reduction Initiative To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Power Plants; Update Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards To Diversify Electric Generation, Improve Reliability  [PaEN] 

-- Gov. Shapiro Joins Industry, Labor, Environmental, Consumer Leaders To Highlight New Energy Plan To Create Jobs, Lower Costs For Pennsylvanians  [PaEN] 

-- Gov. Shapiro: PA Labor & Industry Leaders Praise Energy/Climate Plan 

-- Gov. Shapiro: PA Environmental Leaders Praise Energy/Climate Plan 

-- Gov. Shapiro On Republican Reaction To His Energy Plan: They’ve Done Nothing And Power ‘Plants Have Closed On Their Watch;’ They’re ‘Used To Doing Nothing;’ ‘Doing Nothing Is Not Acceptable’ [PaEN]

-- Senate Republicans Reject Gov. Shapiro’s Offer To Work On Legislation To Make The Electric Grid More Reliable, Diversify Our Energy Sources, Lower Energy Costs For Ratepayers, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions  [PaEN] 

-- EPA: Pennsylvania One Of 45 States, MSAs To Submit Priority Climate Action Plans As Part Of $5 Billion Climate Pollution Reduction Grant Program  [PaEN] 

-- DEP: Conventional Oil & Gas Operators Will Not Be Eligible For New Methane Reduction Well Plugging Grants If They Are Not In Compliance With State Law, Regulations  [PaEN]

-- DEP Invites Comments On Proposed Changes To General Air Quality Permit Authorizing Coal Mine Methane Flares  [PaEN]

-- Pennsylvania’s Electric Grid Is Dependent On One Fuel To Generate 59% Of Our Electricity; Market Moving To Renewables + Storage  [PaEN] 

-- US EIA Report Shows How Winter Storms Have Reduced US Natural Gas Production, But Disruptions Can Happen Any Time Of The Year  [PaEN] 

NewsClips - Energy/Climate Plan:

-- AP: PA Gov. Shapiro Backs New Plan To Make Power Plants Pay For Greenhouse Gases 

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Gov. Shapiro Calls For PA Carbon Cap-And-Trade Market, Plus Higher Clean Energy Requirements

-- StateImpactPA - Rachel McDevitt: Gov. Shapiro Proposes State Climate Program To Replace RGGI, Asks For New Renewable Energy Goals

-- Inside Climate News - Jon Hurdle: PA Governor Wants To Cut Power Plant Emissions With His Own Cap-And-Invest Program

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: Shapiro Tees Up Independent Carbon Tax Plan For Pennsylvania

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Shapiro Unveils Alternative To RGGI That Would Keep Proceeds And Cap In State

-- PennLive: Shapiro Pitches Sweeping Two-Piece Energy, Climate Change Plan

-- PA Capital-Star: Shapiro Pitches Carbon Cap-And-Invest Plant To Capitalize On PA’s Energy Exports

-- The Center Square: Building Trades Say Governor’s Carbon Tax Plan ‘Sets The Thanksgiving Table, Now It’s Time To Sit Down And Eat’

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: Governor’s Carbon Tax Plan Called A ‘Disastrous’ Gift To Ohio, West Virginia By Republicans, Others

-- WVIA: Frustrated With Water Polluted By Shale Gas Drilling, Dimock, Susquehanna County Residents Confront Governor At Clean Energy Announcement In Scranton 

-- PennLive Guest Essay: There’s No Excuse For Inaction On Climate Change In Pennsylvania - By Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester), Minority Chair Of Senate Environmental Committee

-- PA Interfaith Power & Light: National Faith + Climate Online Forum Set For April 16In-Person Watch Party

-- Penn State Earth Talks: March 18 In-Person/Webinar On City Heat Adaptation Tool For Cities To Improve Public Health, 4:00 p.m.

-- The Center Square - Anthony Hennen: Report: Billions In PA Taxpayer Subsidies Go To Polluting Shell Petrochemical Plant Without Regard To Environmental Compliance 

-- Utility Dive: US Electricity Prices Outpace Inflation; Consumers Not Seeing Rate Decreases Due To Gas Price Drops; Increased LNG Gas Exports Could Send Prices Higher Again  

Related Articles - Clean Energy:

-- House Hearing: Shapiro Administration Supports Expanding Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards; Renewables Lower Energy Costs; Increase Grid Reliability; More Work Needed To Improve Gas Reliability [PaEN] 

-- Bipartisan House, Senate Members Introduce Legislation Establishing Real Community Solar Program To Help Address Home/Business Energy Spikes Caused By Volatile Natural Gas Prices   [PaEN]

-- Coalition For Community Solar Access Thanks House Consumer Protection, Technology & Utilities Committee For Hearing, Calls For Vote On House Bill 1842  [PaEN] 

-- PUC To Seek Comments On Proposed Regulation On Use Of Distributed Energy Resources And Virtual Power Plants  [PaEN] 


-- Guest Essay: A Conservative Argument For Clean Energy -- Follow The Market, Fossil Fuels Are No Bargain  [PaEN]

-- Guest Essay: Key To Lower Energy Prices And Energy Freedom Is Diversifying Electricity Generation With Solar, Renewable Energy  [PaEN] 

-- Guest Essay: Energy Independence Is A National Security Issue - By Lt. General Richard Zilmer, USMC (Ret.), Pennsylvania Native  [PaEN] 

-- Guest Essay: Support Solar Energy For Family Farms And Build A Stronger Economy And Grid - By PA Conservative Energy Forum   [PaEN]

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Pittsburgh-based CNX Resources Latest Local Gas Driller To Cut Back On Production [To Raise Gas Prices] 

-- Bloomberg: Natural Gas Prices Jump As EQT Slashes Output To Fight Glut 

-- Reuters: US Natural Gas Producers Reduce Output In 2024 [To Raise Prices] While Demand Rises To Record High, US EIA Says 

-- Forbes: U.S. Natural Gas Production Set New Record, But Don’t Expect Relief On Your Heating Bills [LNG Exports Link U.S. To High Prices]   [PaEN] 

-- Reuters: Chinese Company Wants Say In Louisiana LNG Gas Export Facility Permit Extension

[Posted: March 13, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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