Governor Shapiro’s Energy Plan Legislation Introduced

Nearly two months have passed since Governor Shapiro announced his first major energy policy since taking office. The next step in this policy consideration was for actual legislation to be introduced into the Pennsylvania General Assembly which happened last week. Governor Shapiro’s energy policy has two main components:

  1. Pennsylvania Climate Emission Reduction (PACER)

Introduced as Senate Bill 1191 (Comitta – D) and House Bill 2275 (Abney – D) is Governor Shapiro’s alternative to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that was adopted via Executive Order by Governor Wolf. RGGI is currently blocked through the state courts on the basis that the carbon cap-and-trade program is a tax and therefore would need to be approved by the state legislature (read more here).

The PACER program would establish a PA specific price (fee) to be assessed on carbon that would be incorporated into a trading platform for fuels used in power plant generation. The proceeds from these fees will be divided up in two categories:

  • 70% would be returned to consumers in the form of a monthly rebate on their electric bills.
  • 30% would go to fund energy efficiency projects to reduce air pollution, a year-round LIHEAP program, carbon capture and other emission reduction projects.

100% of RGGI cap-and-trade proceeds were estimated to generate $600 million for the state in the first year. PPA had concerns as to how these funds might be used in the push for electrification infrastructure and incentives. The PACER program would be significantly less but the PPA still opposes the proposal. House Bill 2275 was referred to the House Consumer Protection Technology and Utilities Committee. The Senate companion bill has not been assigned to a committee to date.

  1. Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS)

Introduced as Senate Bill 1190 (Santarsiero – D) and House Bill 2277 (Otten – D) is the second bill of the Governor’s package. The proposed legislation would update the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) which was established in Pennsylvania twenty years ago.

The core intent of the programs is to establish percentages of renewable fuels that must be used or bought by electric power companies in the state. This bill would expand the percentage requirements for wind and solar, and adding such fuels as nuclear power, fusion, lower emissions natural gas, etc.

House Bill 2277 was referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. The Senate companion bill has not been assigned to a committee to date.