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Shapiro Unveils Energy Plan as Alternative to Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Gov. Josh Shapiro on Wednesday unveiled what he called “a new era of energy leadership in Pennsylvania.

In a release, he said his plan would: 

  • protect and create nearly 15,000 energy jobs 

  • lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and

  • take real action to address carbon pollution

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.

Here’s an excerpt from the release, which you can read in full here:

As part of his bold vision for Pennsylvania’s energy future, Governor Shapiro is proposing two critical initiatives that together will lower prices for consumers, create and protect Pennsylvania jobs, and lower climate emissions.

Following the recommendations of 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), the Governor is proposing the Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Act (PACER) to establish a Pennsylvania-specific cap-and-invest program that allows Pennsylvania to determine its own cap on carbon and invest directly in lowering consumers’ electricity bills. 

If passed, PACER would take Pennsylvania out of RGGI and give the Commonwealth control over its own energy future.

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.

In addition to reducing emissions and saving Pennsylvanians money on their bills, PACER will support projects that reduce air pollution in Pennsylvania; further lower costs on energy bills for low-income Pennsylvanians; and invest in new job-creating clean energy projects – such as carbon capture and storage, geothermal deployment, and clean hydrogen – in energy communities that have hosted coal, oil, or gas infrastructure.

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 20 years.

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. 

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

Editor’s Note: GASP has been following the RGGI issue closely. You can read more about RGGI and the legal challenges that it’s faced here.

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