The report recommends pairing grid-scale solar arrays with battery storage to help reduce carbon emissions and increase grid resilience. One way to catalyze this would be to set a state energy storage capacity target, as seven other states have done. There are currently about 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of energy storage capacity in the state. This represents 22 operational or announced energy storage projects, including traditional pumped hydro storage facilities (1.07 GW), lithium-ion batteries (18 megawatts; MW), lead-carbon batteries (12.5 MW), ice and chilled water thermal storage (6 MW), and other technologies providing smaller amounts.
For example, to get 10 pct of electricity from solar energy, the DEP Pennsylvania’s Solar Future Plan recommends increasing in-state solar energy from about 700 MW today to 11 GW by 2030. If 25 pct of this solar target were paired with a target of 1.5 GW of battery storage, Pennsylvania energy customers could save $273 million per year in wholesale energy costs and cut 2.5 million metric tpy of carbon emissions.
The Pennsylvania Energy Storage Assessment recommends 14 other measures to foster energy storage investment and integration, including convening a statewide storage issues forum, designating public funding to accelerate storage deployment, establishing incentive programs for storage projects, and accelerating microgrid deployment at critical facilities. As of February, there were 64 solar-plus-storage projects, totaling more than 2.3 GW, in the Pennsylvania portion of the planning queue of PJM, the wholesale electric regional transmission organization serving all or part of 14 states.
Download the report HERE (Source: Penna., PR, DEP Energy Programs Office MyChessCo, 18 Apr., 2021) Contact: Penna. DEP, www.dep.state.pa.us/Energy/Office
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The DEP and GELF work with building owners to ensure projects meet minimum energy savings requirements. In preparation for financing, GELF offers borrowers technical assistance to help building owners identify the most efficient, effective solutions to improve their building's energy performance. The improvements make it easier for borrowers to get even lower interest rates if they commit to performing a retro-commissioning -- upgrading -- several years after installation of their energy-saving project. New equipment must reduce energy use at least 25 pct, and whole building projects must reduce energy use more than 10 pct over current building energy code.
The GELP prioritizes local community development efforts and seeks to support projects in Environmental Justice areas. Nearly 30 pct of funded projects have been in buildings owned or controlled by persons of color or with low income, and more than half have been located in low-income census tracts.
The Green Energy Loan Fund has financed 16 projects for a total of $23 million in improvements to 2.1 million square feet of building space since 2009. The financing has enabled a carbon dioxide emissions reduction of 110,000 tons over the life of these projects.
Download Penna. Green Energy Loan Fund details HERE. (Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PR, Mar., 2021) Contact: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, www.dep.pa.gov
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The program supports liquefied propane gas, biodiesel, CNG, ethanol and other cleaner fuels as replacement for older gasoline -- or diesel-fueled vehicles with cleaner-fuel vehicles to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants. The program also provides fueling stations for these vehicles.
Businesses, organizations, local governments, and schools are eligible for grants which are administered under the Pennsylvania Alternative Fuels Incentive Act of 2004. (Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, PR, Pennsylvania Business Report, 22 July, 2020) Contact: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, RA-GrantsCenter@pa.gov, www.dep.pa.gov
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McDonnell's comments came in response to concerns from the House Appropriations Committee over how the state's share of the RGGI programs quarterly auction program would be used by the state, relative to climate change issues rather than unrelated programs and projects.
Sec. McDonnell assured the Appropriations Committee "improvements to public transportation, installing energy efficient windows, insulation, or appliances, or building out alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure" were among the projects the RGGI funds would be applied to.
Governor Wolf's executive order follows the implementation of aggressive clean energy targets announced last year, including a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025. Pennsylvania also became the 24th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance -- a group formed in 2017 after President Donald Trump withdrew the nation from the Paris Agreement.
Critics of RGGI argue it will cripple Pennsylvania's economy, force fossil fuel plants into early retirement and drive up electricity prices. Critics note that Pennsylvania is the nation's number two natural gas producer and the region's top power exporter -- making it very different, economically, from the other RGGI participants.
(Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, The Center Square, 26 Feb., 2020) Contact: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, www.dep.pa.gov; C RGGI, www.rggi.org
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The DEP claims the well has been leaking methane for the past 9 years -- since 2011. Range Resources disagrees with order and contends the methane contamination is from natural ground sources. The DEP contends the well's cement casing is defective, despite attempts in 2015 and 2016 to repair it, and has given Range Resources two months to submit a plan to reduce the methane gas migration and, after the department approves the plan, four months to submit a plan to successfully plug the well and a bore hole next to it. Range has 30 days to appeal the order to the Environmental Hearing Board, and probably will.
Editor's note: While carbon dioxide is typically painted as the bad boy of greenhouse gases, methane is reported to be roughly 30 times more potent as a heat-trapping gas. As temperatures rise, the relative increase of methane emissions will outpace that of carbon dioxide from these sources. (Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, TrbLive, Ap, 13 Jan., 2020)Contact: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, www.dep.pa.gov; Range Resources, www.rangeresources.com
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The petitioners argue Pennsylvania regulators have the legal authority and constitutional duty to address climate change and ask them to create an economy-wide cap-and-trade program, using California as a model. The move triggers a legal process to which the state is required respond.
Petitioners claim the state's Air Pollution Control Act allows for such an action, and the state's Environmental Rights Amendment requires it. The petition is now being reviewed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and will then go before the state's Environmental Quality Board, which can decide whether to move forward with it or not.
A report published by RGGI last year said participating states were able to cut power sector carbon pollution over 45 percent since 2005, while the region’s economy grew. The Investment of RGGI Proceeds in 2017 report is HERE. (Source: RGGI, Energy News, Dec., 2018) Contact: RGGI, www.rggi.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, RGGI,