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Pennsylvania State Rep. Greg Vitali has introduced H.B.100, which would increase the amount of electricity that the commonwealth's utilities must obtain from renewable energy sources.

"Superstorm Sandy was a reminder of the consequences we face if we ignore the climate-change issue," says Vitali, who is the Democratic chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. "We will not solve this problem without increasing our use of renewable energy."

H.B.100 would amend the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act by requiring Pennsylvania electric companies to obtain 15% of their power from renewable sources by 2023. The AEPS now requires electric companies to purchase 8% of their power from renewable sources by 2021. For 2013, Pennsylvania's AEPS requires 4% to come from renewable energy sources.

Currently, 0.05% of Pennsylvania electricity must come from solar energy - a figure that would increase to 0.5% under the AEPS in place by 2021. Vitali's bill would increase that amount to 1.5% by 2023.

This is the second bill Vitali has introduced this legislative session to increase the amount of renewable energy that Pennsylvania uses. His first piece of legislation, H.B.200, would provide $25 million per year for the PA Sunshine Solar Program, which helps residents and small businesses install solar systems.

The program has nearly exhausted its funding, and the governor's administration has announced the program would stop taking applications by the end of the year, Vitali notes. Funding would come from an impact fee on Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling, which the state enacted last year.

H.B.200 has been referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.


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