PA Environment Digest, April 18, 2016
David Hess, Crisci Associates
The Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently released its 2016 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook showing Pennsylvania is well-positioned to accelerate its clean energy deployment, is a leader in energy efficiency and receives significant economic benefits from these investments.
The report notes Pennsylvania, like much of the country, is already shifting to low-cost, lower-carbon natural gas as a result of cheap natural gas driven by in-state production. The state is scheduled to retire another 18 percent of its coal generating capacity by 2020.
In fact, Bloomberg found Pennsylvania is already halfway to achieving compliance with the EPA Clean Power Climate Plan as a result of the increased use of natural gas.
Market forces mean that less-polluting - and often cheaper - power is inevitable. Companies from a range of sectors are looking at energy prices and options as they consider where to invest.
In fact, corporate procurement of clean energy was a major story in 2015 - it doubled from 2014 to 2015 and reached 3.5GWs. Companies like Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Google, General Motors, among others are leading players.
Their investments shows that clean energy is affordable and reliable and key to their business planning.
While renewables account for a small amount of Pennsylvania's power mix today, a study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that sustainable electricity sources including small hydro, onshore wind, waste-to-energy, and CHP (combined heat and power plants) are already among the cheapest options for generating electricity in the state.
In addition, a 2014 study by the global consulting firm Lazard found that when excluding subsidies, wind and solar are the cheapest forms of electricity generation for new installations.
The study also found that Pennsylvania is a relative leader in terms of its overall energy efficiency efforts, but more can be done.
Pennsylvania's own analysis under Act 129 shows it could feasibly reach a 17.3 percent cumulative energy savings by 2023. Given the PUC just approved Phase III Act 129, this should help the state along. Not only will efficiency investments lower carbon emissions, but, done right, they also will lower customers' bills.
The Business Council said Pennsylvania is well-positioned to be a leader in the power shift that is unfolding across the nation.
Business Council member companies in the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors are engaged in Pennsylvania and would like to see the state utilize the full portfolio of clean energy technologies available.
A copy of the fact book is available free online.
Click Here for a Pennsylvania-specific fact sheet by Bloomberg that is due to be updated.
For more information, visit the Business Council for Sustainable Energy website. The Business Council is a coalition of companies and trade associations from the energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy sectors.