Report released as state legislators consider policies to increase the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS).
HARRISBURG, PA – More than $13.1 billion could be invested in Pennsylvania over the next seven years, and 129,000 jobs could be created, if policymakers increase the Commonwealth’s clean energy standards in line with Governor Shapiro’s ‘30% renewable energy by 2030’ campaign pledge, according to a new report released today by three business associations, Advanced Energy United, MAREC Action, and American Clean Power Association. The report examined potential economic and jobs benefits from expanding the renewable energy requirements within the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS), which a broad coalition of roughly 100 clean energy businesses and advocacy organizations this week urged Gov. Shapiro and state legislators to do this year.
“Clean energy can be a massive money-maker and job-creator for Pennsylvania, but only if elected officials take action,” said Nick Bibby, Pennsylvania State Lead for Advanced Energy United. “This report’s findings hammer home just how much Pennsylvania’s economy has to gain from clean energy—and what we’re missing out on as our policies lag further and further behind neighboring states.”
“Our new analysis shows that a modest increase of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard to 30% renewable energy by 2030 will return roughly $2 dollars in benefits to Pennsylvanians for every dollar invested,” said Evan Vaughan, Executive Director of MAREC Action. “AEPS expansion will maximize deployment of new energy sources while maintaining a strong foundation of legacy energy industries—ensuring the Commonwealth can meet the challenge of rising electricity demand and that Pennsylvanians benefit from a balanced, resilient and clean energy mix for years to come.”
The AEPS is a Pennsylvania law requiring electricity suppliers to include specified percentages of renewable energy and several alternative energy production technologies in their supply mix, creating a market mechanism to increase demand for those energy resources. The AEPS was enacted into law in 2004 but its renewable energy requirements plateaued in 2021, after requiring that 8% of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources that year. Meanwhile, New Jersey (50% by 2030), New York (70% by 2030), Maryland (50% by 2030) and many other states have enacted much stronger renewable energy standards that far surpass Pennsylvania’s 8% requirement.
The new report, “Economic and Environmental Impact of Governor Shapiro’s “30 x 30” Alternative Energy Pledge”, was written by Gabel Associates, and projects a wide range of benefits for Pennsylvania resulting from an increase in renewable energy requirements within the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards to 30% by 2030:
- Economic Benefits: AEPS expansion would spur private investment of $13.1 billion to develop energy projects, and the creation of over 129,000 job-years between 2024 and 2031. These economic benefits are specific to Pennsylvania, and out-of-state economic benefits are not included. A job-year is a metric that means one job for one year, and these jobs could include everything from the job installing a solar panel, to the job manufacturing gears for a wind turbine, to jobs induced in Pennsylvania communities where renewable energy projects are built.
- Environmental and Health Benefits: The report finds an increase to the AEPS would yield environmental benefits through reduced emissions, valued at $6.5 billion, due to avoiding costs associated with the negative health and economic impact of toxic air pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions.
Even after accounting for the modest ratepayer impacts forecasted in the analysis (at most, $3.43 more per month for the average residential customer, compared to business as usual, with cost impact declining into the future), Pennsylvania would still realize net economic benefits of $8.3 billion from 2024-2035. When factoring in both economic and environmental benefits, the net total benefits are projected to be $11.2 billion. The groups also noted that in addition to the ratepayer benefits accounted for in the net cost projections, increasing the AEPS would also provide additional ratepayer benefits not accounted for in the report, such as helping to avoid or lessen the ratepayer impact of fossil fuel price spikes, and providing more predictable electricity prices. Other states have also taken measures to protect low- and moderate-income households from ratepayer impacts, and the groups urged Pennsylvania to explore such options as well.
“Pennsylvania’s long and storied leadership on energy development forms the bedrock for the region’s energy security, grid reliability, and economic resiliency. Governor Shapiro’s pledge to achieve 30% renewable energy sources by 2030 advances the Commonwealth’s historic energy leadership, making massive investments in the region’s future that will drive job creation, health benefits, and clean energy development for Pennsylvanians for decades to come,” said Moira Cyphers, Director of Eastern State Affairs for American Clean Power. “Today’s report shows us that clean, affordable and reliable energy is the correct path for the future of the Keystone State.”
The report’s analysis is based on the framework provided for in House Bill 1467, which would increase the AEPS ‘Tier 1’ renewable energy requirement to 30% by 2030, via 14% from solar energy produced in Pennsylvania and 16% from renewable energy produced either in or out-of- state. The report’s authors expected that similar AEPS plans would likely produce similar costs and benefits projections. Tier 1 resources include solar, wind, low-impact hydropower, geothermal, and several other energy resources.