in Up Front
print the content item

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and environmental advocacy organization PennFuture are at odds over the state's renewable energy standard.

Pennsylvania's current Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) requires 8% of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2021, with a 4% mandate for this year. According to PennFuture, the DEP has told the Climate Change Advisory Committee (CCAC), a group charged with making recommendations to the department regarding climate change issues, not to consider a plan to increase the state's renewable energy law.

In addition, PennFuture says the DEP will exclude information on how the current AEPS mandate lowers electricity rates from Pennsylvania's next Climate Action Plan.

However, Patrick Henderson, energy executive for Gov. Tom Corbett, told Renew Grid that the DEP's action plan is still being developed, and therefore, it is too soon to comment.

PennFuture also contends that the DEP revealed a proposal to the CCAC earlier this year to increase the current AEPS from 8% to 10.5%. Yet, after the DEP reviewed the proposal, it informed the CCAC that it would not be used, the organization says.

Furthermore, the DEP withdrew an analysis that illustrates how current renewable energy mandates benefit consumers by reducing electricity prices, PennFuture asserts.

Henderson argues that Pennsylvania currently has a significant renewable energy standard.

"It is critical to state that Pennsylvania already has an AEPS statute - which Governor Corbett is committed to - that, by law, annually increases required uses of alternative energy through 2021," Henderson said. "We also must examine the positive impact market-based approaches to energy generation is having on emission reductions across the board.

"Each of these factors will inform the department's approach to the final action plan. Gov. Corbett is also committed to promoting and expanding Pennsylvania's competitive electricity markets - which is one of the most effective approaches to growing and sustaining a diverse energy portfolio," Henderson added.

Nevertheless, PennFuture is not buying what Henderson is selling.

"While other states in the region and around the country recognize the multiple benefits of renewable energy and have increased the requirements in their state portfolios, DEP is telling us up front that they won't consider the idea of increasing renewable energy in Pennsylvania," Christina Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center and chair of the CCAC, said in a press release.

"This administration chooses to ignore the benefits renewable energy offers, including greenhouse gas reductions, cost reductions for electricity customers and economic development opportunities. The administration claims they have an all-of-the-above policy, yet their actions prove contrary," she continued.

In responding to Simeone's statement, Henderson did not mince words.

"Ms. Simeone's statement is hypocritical. The reality is, in nearly three years, neither Ms. Simeone nor PennFuture has taken up the administration's offer to engage in a reasonable dialogue on energy issues - preferring instead to play the role of keyboard warriors by issuing baseless press releases instead of face-to-face discussion," Henderson said.


Hse SandyHook
Latest Top Stories

New Study Underscores Value Of Customer Engagement, Ranks Most-Trusted U.S. Utilities

According to the report, which analyzes 125 utilities across the country, earning a customer's trust can lead to monetary gains.


Washington State Doles Out Cash For Utility Energy Storage Projects

Three utilities have been awarded millions of dollars in grants to explore energy storage technology that could help integrate renewable and improve the power grid.


Utilities Reveal Just How Much Customers Are Saving With Energy Efficiency Programs

Two U.S. utility companies have issued progress reports and solid numbers regarding their respective initiatives.


Middle East And North African Countries To Spend Billions On Smart Grids, Solar Integration

According to a new report from Northeast Group LLC, the MENA region will make big investments to modernize the grid and add more solar power by 2024.


Ohio Halts Renewables, Efficiency Mandates For Two Years

Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a freeze of the state's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard - a move praised by some utilities and protested by the renewables community.

S&C Electric_id176
edf_id180