New legislation would put PA on the road to economic recovery
Bill would create tens of thousands of jobs in fast-growing renewable energy sector
HARRISBURG, PA – Today a broad coalition of organizations announced their support for a new bill introduced by Senator Daniel Laughlin and Senator Art Haywood that would help Pennsylvania recover from the economic hardship of the pandemic by harnessing the power of solar and other renewable energies. The bill would amend the state’s 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) Act to increase Pennsylvania’s renewable energy goal from 8 percent to 18 percent by 2026, with 5.5 percent coming from solar energy (up from the current 0.5 percent goal that will be surpassed this May).
The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation, with jobs growing at a rate of 8.7 percent compared to PA’s statewide rate of 1.9 percent. Since the AEPS was passed in 2004, Pennsylvania renewable energy projects have created almost 5,200 jobs spanning the supply chain, from technicians and engineers to salespeople, construction workers, and manufacturers. And according to the Finding Pennsylvania Solar Future Project, increasing the solar portion of the state’s electricity mix alone from the current 0.5 percent goal to 10 percent by 2030 would create upwards of 100,000 jobs and result in a net economic benefit of $1.6 billion annually. This bill would get us on that path to 10 percent.
Quotes from coalition members:
“2020 was a tough year for so many Pennsylvanians on many levels, and we’re hoping this bill will help put us on the path to economic recovery,” said Sharon Pillar, Executive Director of the PA Solar Center. “We thank Senator Laughlin and Senator Haywood for their inspiring leadership on this issue and for introducing this bill. Not only would increasing our goals attract millions of dollars in private investment to Pennsylvania and grow tens of thousands of jobs, but it would create tax revenue for local communities, diversify our energy mix, and present a solution that may save some of our farms without the use of state revenues – all through the common-sense expansion of renewable energy.” The PA Solar Center is a nonprofit effort that works to increase adoption of solar energy through technical assistance, online resources and policy awareness in order to raise the benefits of solar energy to all Pennsylvanians. To learn more, contact Gretchen Dlugolecki of Rapport Communications at 401-301-0138 or firstname.lastname@example.org. or visit www.pasolarcenter.org.
“I am excited about this bill which moves in the right direction in terms of embracing clean energy and making air cleaner to protect the health of our children, both born and unborn,” said Kim Anderson, Field Organizer for the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN). EEN: We inspire, equip, educate, and mobilize evangelical Christians to love God and others by rediscovering and reclaiming the Biblical mandate to care for creation and working toward a stable climate and a healthy, pollution-free world. For more information, visit creationcare.org or contact Grace Swanson at email@example.com.
“Solar energy means good jobs, cleaner air, and lower energy bills for Pennsylvanians,” said Elena Weissmann, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of Vote Solar. “Increasing the solar and renewable energy goals across the Commonwealth could not come at a more opportune time, with Pennsylvanians working hard to rebuild after the pandemic and ensure a more resilient future. This bill is a critical step towards a healthy economy and environment in Pennsylvania.” Vote Solar is a national, non-profit solar advocacy organization that works at the state level to ensure a more equitable and inclusive clean energy future. For more information, visit https://votesolar.org/ or contact Hilary Lewis at 202-455-0361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A sustainable future for Pennsylvania needs to be built on clean renewable generation,” said Rob Altenburg, PennFuture’s Senior Director for Energy and Climate. “Increasing and extending the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard is part of that. This will not only protect public health and the environment, but it will bring jobs and growth to Pennsylvania.” PennFuture is leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. For more information, visit http://www.pennfuture.org or contact Jared Stonesifer at 412-443-4466 or email@example.com.
“Promoting renewable energy is a triple win for Pennsylvania: it’s good for our planet, good for our health, and good for our pocketbooks,” said David Masur, Executive Director of PennEnvironment. “It’s time for Pennsylvania to finally be a regional leader in tapping into the renewable energy economy.” PennEnvironment is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.PennEnvironment.org or contact David Masur at 267-303-8292.
“Pennsylvanians in rural and urban communities across the Commonwealth want to go solar,” said Henry McKay, Pennsylvania Program Director of Solar United Neighbors. “They want to lower their electric bills and take control over how their energy is generated. By raising the value of solar renewable energy credits, a stronger AEPS will help more homeowners, businesses, houses of worship, and others afford a solar installation.” Solar United Neighbors is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people go solar, join together, and fight for their energy rights. For more information, visit https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/ or contact Henry McKay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-440-8934.
“The Senate bill is exactly the kind of policy Pennsylvania needs to move forward with a clean energy future while creating jobs and cutting pollution,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the Clean Air Council. “The renewable energy targets set by the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act back in 2004 have long needed updating, especially as neighboring states have surpassed Pennsylvania with more ambitious goals. Rather than continuing to sacrifice billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, Pennsylvania needs to fully embrace the environmental and public health benefits of clean energy leadership.” Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization founded in 1967, headquartered in Philadelphia, and dedicated to protecting everyone’s right to a healthy environment. For more information, visit https://cleanair.org/ or contact Katie Edwards at email@example.com.
“Passage of this bill is an immediate tool to help Pennsylvania’s economic recovery,” said Anna Shipp, Executive Director, Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN). “Two of every three clean energy workers in Pennsylvania are employed by a small business with fewer than 20 employees. Nearly half of all clean energy jobs in the Commonwealth are in rural counties, and almost 80% are in the trades, construction, or manufacturing sectors. With strong policies like the AEPS, renewable energy will increase opportunities for small businesses in Pennsylvania to start, grow, and thrive; expand family-supporting jobs that advance the financial security of low-to-moderate income households across the Commonwealth; and improve community health outcomes for all.” The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) is building a just, green, and thriving economy in the region. For more information, please visit https://www.sbnphiladelphia.org/ or contact Jared Lowe, Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215.922.7400, ext. 102.