Public Policy Research Education and Advocacy
F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E Contact: David Hughes
November 21, 2004 412/421-6072 Ext. 213
THE NEW PA ‘CLEAN’ ENERGY ACT IS THE FIRST IN THE NATION TO INCLUDE FOSSIL FUELS AND TO PROMOTE DIRTY ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES MORE THAN CLEAN SOURCES, SAYS CITIZEN POWER.
PITTSBURGH, November 21/PRNewswire—The newly enacted “Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act”(AEPSA) bears little resemblance to what started out as a legislative initiative to promote clean and renewable energy in Pennsylvania, according to Citizen Power, a regional energy advocacy organization. Citizen Power authored the first renewable energy bill (SB 962) introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in November 2003 by Senator Jim Ferlo (D, Pittsburgh).
On the positive side, the Act could increase the use of solar power and energy efficiency technologies. However, many of the claims for increased development of renewable energy sources being made by proponents of the AEPSA are highly questionable because: (1) the requirements for renewable energy have been made optional by allowing the state Public Utility Commission to lower the standard for renewables in our energy mix if companies fail to develop renewables as required, and (2), large amounts of cheap, existing power (like hydroelectric dams) will fill up the requirements, leaving little room for new wind power.
Pennsylvania is the 16th state to pass this kind of legislation but it is the first state to include fossil fuels in an electricity generation portfolio standard. “A series of amendments tipped the scale heavily to the polluting side, and it is probable that the amount of new renewable energy sources being developed will be less than expected,” said David Hughes, executive director of Citizen Power.
Instead of a Renewable Portfolio Standard like what was enacted in other states, the AERPS favors the use of dirty, non-renewable sources, including:
· new coal plants
· existing trash incinerators
· burning waste coal and natural gas from coal mines
· burning gas from digestion of factory farm waste
· burning unfiltered, toxic landfill gases
· burning crops, animal wastes, trees and paper mill wastes
“There was a lot of opposition to this legislation from the environmental community, but this
is what you get when back room deals are made,” Hughes said. “We kept hearing: ‘this is a coal state’ and ‘you have to compromise’, but there’s a point when the line is crossed and more harm than good is being done. The fact that the polluters didn’t fight this legislation is telling. They got what they wanted and the public lost,” Hughes concluded.