Sierra Club: Tougher renewables bill introduced in Pennsylvania

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Harrisburg – Today State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) introduced a bill to amend Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards. He was joined by the Sierra Club, Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) and representatives of PennFuture, the BlueGreen Alliance and wind and solar industry leaders.

The new legislation (SB 1171) would nearly double the amount of renewable energy generated in the state, including tripling the amount of solar power installed. This would move Pennsylvania closer to the more aggressive standards that are spurring clean energy industry growth in neighboring states like Maryland, New Jersey and New York.

"Amending Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards is essential to creating jobs, protecting our environment and preserving public health. The benefits that our Commonwealth will see by updating these standards and thereby ensuring the use of more clean, renewable energy can not be understated," said State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware). "I am proud to introduce this legislation, and I thank the supporters who joined me at the Capitol today to rally for this cause. I am hopeful that my colleagues in the General Assembly will see the need for this important legislation and will act with haste to make it law."

“Nearly ten years ago our alternative energy standard made Pennsylvania one of the fastest growing markets for new wind and solar installations. Unfortunately, we’ve fallen behind and our clean tech industry has taken a hit. Now we have the opportunity to get back on track by building more wind and solar that will safely and reliably power our homes, lower energy costs and create thousands of new jobs at a time when we need them the most,” said Tom Schuster, Pennsylvania Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club.

“Increasing renewable energy lowers electricity costs for consumers, so Pennsylvania must do more to promote these clean energy resources.  Increasing our use of renewable energy protects families and businesses from rising fossil fuel costs while lowering the overall price of electricity, all while reducing pollution that negatively impacts public health,” said Christina Simeone, Director of PennFuture's Energy Center for Enterprise and the Environment

“More renewable energy investments will result in cleaner energy sources that are better for public health, American energy independence, and our economic and environmental future. The added benefits of this bill are that it builds on President Obama’s comprehensive plan address climate change, which he introduced this summer. Pennsylvania can’t afford to miss out on the important opportunities this legislation would to provide,” said Khari Mosley, Regional Programs Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance.

"The Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) has worked well and has been a very effective piece of legislation as it has created jobs and provided needed investment in the communities where developers have sited their projects.  As a result of the AEPS, Pennsylvania ranks first in the Mid-Atlantic region for wind energy development, but a lot more can be done. There is no doubt that the citizens of Pennsylvania would receive additional benefits as a result of the passage of this bill," said Bruce Burcat, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition.

The standards have not been amended since 2007. Leach said that with this legislation, he aims to bring the standards up-to-date, create jobs, reduce pollution and invest in Pennsylvania’s future.

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