Pennsylvania is lagging behind in its renewable energy goals, and it’s time for the state to take action. In 2022, Gov. Josh Shapiro made a promise to secure 30 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. However, little progress has been made towards achieving this goal.
The key to fulfilling this promise lies in updating Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS). Currently, the AEPS mandates that 7.5% of the state’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources within Pennsylvania or its 13-state electric grid. Additionally, only 0.5% is required to come from Pennsylvania-based solar energy by 2021. While these goals have been met, the policy needs to be updated to reflect the changing landscape of renewable energy.
One of the driving forces behind the AEPS is its energy credit trading system. Renewable energy generators receive alternative energy credits that can be exchanged on a marketplace. Electric utilities are required to purchase these credits to meet the AEPS goals. However, because the goals have not been updated, the price of these credits is plummeting.
This lack of updates and resulting decrease in credit prices has already cost Pennsylvania residents, businesses, municipalities, and schools millions of dollars in increased electricity prices. Without updated goals, investors are turning to states with more competitive incentives to drive their renewable energy projects.
Updating the AEPS law is crucial for diversifying Pennsylvania’s energy mix, reducing electricity rates, and decreasing reliance on natural gas. Without interventions, natural gas could make up as much as 70% of the state’s electricity mix by 2030, leaving ratepayers vulnerable to volatile fuel prices.
Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar offer stability in pricing, as the fuel is free once the upfront equipment costs are covered. The Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future study shows that when the state reaches just 5% solar on the grid, wholesale electricity pricing starts to drop, benefiting everyone, even those without solar energy systems.
By updating the AEPS goals, Pennsylvania could experience significant economic benefits. Research suggests that reaching just 10% solar energy by 2030 would create over 70,000 jobs and attract billions in private investment.
State House Bill 1467 proposes expanding the AEPS renewable energy goals to 30% by 2030. It also aims to increase the in-state solar goals from 0.5% to 14% and enable community solar projects. This would allow individuals to subscribe to electricity generated by off-site solar projects and receive credits on their utility bills, benefiting customers like renters.
It’s time for the Pennsylvania General Assembly to prioritize clean energy advancement. Updating the AEPS and embracing renewable energy will not only benefit the environment by reducing carbon and air pollution but also save money for citizens and create tens of thousands of jobs.
Q: What is the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard?
A: The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) is a policy that mandates a certain percentage of electricity to come from renewable sources.
Q: How does the AEPS work?
A: The AEPS includes an energy credit trading system, where renewable energy generators earn credits that can be exchanged on a marketplace. Electric utilities are required to purchase these credits to meet the AEPS goals.
Q: What are the benefits of updating the AEPS?
A: Updating the AEPS would diversify Pennsylvania’s energy mix, reduce electricity rates, decrease reliance on natural gas, create jobs, and attract private investment.
Q: What is community solar?
A: Community solar projects allow individuals to subscribe to a portion of electricity generated by an off-site solar project and receive credits on their utility bills.
Q: How would updating the AEPS save money for citizens?
A: When Pennsylvania reaches just 5% solar on the grid, wholesale electricity pricing starts to drop, benefiting everyone even if they don’t have solar energy systems.