March 13, 2024

PennFuture’s Statement on Governor Shapiro’s Energy Proposals

Governor Josh Shapiro announced on March 13, 2024 two new energy plans for Pennsylvania

PennFuture firmly believes that Pennsylvania’s best opportunity to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase its renewable energy infrastructure is by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and expanding the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS). Without the strength of these two policies, Pennsylvania lacks an ambitious enough plan to cut harmful climate-warming emissions from its energy sector.

Governor Josh Shapiro made a promise to Pennsylvanians to increase the state’s renewable energy requirements, and today, he took the first step to make good on that pledge with his announcement of The Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS), which will expand Pennsylvania’s energy production to include more clean energy sources. 

At the forefront of renewable energy policy 20 years ago, Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act has since languished at a mere 8 percent of renewable energy, far below neighboring states. It’s about time Pennsylvania diversified its energy generation to keep up with the public demand for more renewable energy options. Governor Shapiro’s new plan with PRESS is critically needed for more affordable and reliable electricity through renewable energy sources like solar and wind and to keep Pennsylvania competitive in growing jobs in clean energy. By updating clean energy standards, we can not only respond to the urgency of the climate crisis; we can be a leader in the changing landscape of energy production. 

Governor Shapiro’s announcement today also included a plan to explore a Pennsylvania-based carbon cap-and-invest program as an alternative to joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). 

RGGI has always served as a successful baseline policy: well established in ten East Coast states with proven results in significantly cutting carbon emissions and driving a renewable energy economy with sustainable, well-paying jobs. This is why Pennsylvania developed its RGGI rule years ago, and why it should be the standard by which we judge all other proposals. If the Commonwealth were to pursue a different path through the legislature, it must demonstrate that the alternative will result in the same amount of climate reductions as would be achieved through RGGI. It must retain the same high level of well-paying jobs provided by robust energy efficiency and clean energy investments that RGGI would provide. Any cap-and-invest plan must include market safeguards and infrastructure to ensure long-term sustainability and success, a key component of initiatives like RGGI. And the program must work to provide additional flexibility to assist the state’s underserved residents, those most burdened by legacy pollution, and those left behind when coal plants closed.

In the meantime, we will continue to fight alongside the Governor at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to protect PA’s RGGI rule. We will continue to support the passage of a strong AEPS update. Inaction is not an option for Pennsylvania.