The Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs initiative aims to expand the use of clean hydrogen in the industrial sector as part the Biden Administration's commitment to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The initiative includes $8 billion for at least four Hubs and requires at least two of the hubs be located in regions of country the with the greatest natural gas resources -- like Pennsylvania. The DOE anticipates that applications for funding will open later this summer.
In addition, the governor and 24 industry, organized labor, and non-profit stakeholders signed onto a declaration signaling their commitment to take the steps necessary to create a regional ecosystem to achieve decarbonization, to transition to clean hydrogen, and to ensure the commonwealth is competitive in attracting investment and creating jobs in all parts of its economy.
In his 2022-23 budget, Gov. Wolf supported a strategic plan for industrial sector decarbonization through carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and advanced clean hydrogen technologies. (Source: office of Gov. Tom Wolf, 16 May, 2022) Contact: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, 717-787-2500, www.governor.pa.gov
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Under RGGI, participating states establish a regional cap on CO2 emissions, with the cap adjusted downward over time to reduce emissions further. Large fossil-fuel emitters essentially buy allowances for carbon they emit through an auction.
Pennsylvania currently has the fifth-highest emitting energy sector in the nation. Under RGGI, the state's CO2 emissions would be reduced by 31 pct compared to 2019 levels. The final form regulation will cap emissions at 78 million tons in 2022 and would be gradually lowered to 58 million tons in 2030.
RGGI began with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, and more recently added New Jersey and Virginia. (Source: Office of the Governor, Enquirer, 16 Dec., 2021)
Contact: RGGI, www.rggi.org; Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, 717-787-2500,www.governor.pa.gov
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Governor Tom Wolf (D) signed an executive order starting the RGGI process in October 2019, as part of his overall climate goals of reducing state greenhouse gas emissions 26 pct by 2025 and 80 pct by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. The Pennsylvania DEP estimates RGGI participation will prevent between 97-227 million tons of carbon emissions between 2022 and 2030, depending on factors such as energy demand. Pennsylvania is among the country's top five carbon emitting states.
Under RGGI, power plants with a generation capacity of at least 25 MW and that send 10 pct or more of their power to the grid must purchase allowances for each ton of CO2 they emit. RGGI began with Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, and more recently added New Jersey and Virginia.
(Source: Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board, Allegheny Front, 14 July, 2021) Contact: RGGI, www.rggi.org
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The SCALE act calls for the build-out of the infrastructure necessary to transport CO2 from where it is captured to where it can be utilized in manufacturing or safely and securely sequestered underground. "We urge Congress to prioritize the inclusion of this critical legislation in any broader infrastructure package, given its essential role in helping to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide," the jointly signed governors' letter to congress read.
(Source: Wyoming News, 20 Mar., 2021) Contact: Office of Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, www.governor.wyo.gov/contact
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Both RGGI and a carbon tax are central to the governor's strategy to fight climate change. If Wolf's plan is successful, Pennsylvania would become the first major fossil fuel state to adopt a carbon pricing policy.
Proponents claim the RGGI cap-and-trade program would inject new life into Pennsylvania's economy by prioritizing energy efficiency and cleaner energies. (Source: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, CBS Pittsburgh, AP, 9 July, 2020) Contact: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, 717-787-2500, www.facebook.com › governorwolf, www.governor.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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A key contributor to the initial 3 pct reduction is investments through the state's Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA) program, which allows public entities to fund energy efficiency projects with the savings from reduced energy costs. The GESA program expanded to 13 projects investing over $124 million in energy efficiency upgrades, saving $6.8 million each year.
Action is also being taken to meet the executive order’s high-performance design criteria into its facility design and construction practices. To date, 11 state-owned buildings, along with one build-to-suit leased building, are being designed or in construction to meet or exceed the high-performance building standards.
(Source: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, PR, 8 Jan., 2020)Contact: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, 717-787-2500, www.facebook.com › governorwolf, www.governor.pa.gov
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The executive order also establishes the GreenGov Council to serve as a central coordinating body to encourage and coordinate the incorporation of carbon emissions relate environmentally sustainable practices into the commonwealth government's policy, planning, operations, procurement, and regulatory functions, and strive for continuous improvement in efficiency and performance. (Source: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, PR, 8 Jan., 2020) Contact: Office of Penna. Gov. Tom Wolf, 717-787-2500, www.facebook.com › governorwolf, www.governor.pa.gov
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The move is in keeping with the Governor's goal of reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 pct by 2025. The state Department of Environmental Protection will be tasked with drafting the proposed regulation.
The RGGI state include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Four of those states are led by Republican governors.
Pennsylvania reportedly emits nearly as much carbon as the nine RGGI states combined. (Source: Pennsylvania Capital Star, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: RGGI, www.rggi.org
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