PA could double renewable energy requirement

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Legislation is on the table in Pennsylvania that could nearly double renewable energy generation requirements for state utilities.

The state's existing Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard requires utilities to produce 8 percent renewable energy by 2021. House Bill 100 would mandate 15 percent renewable generation by 2023.

State Representative Greg Vitali introduced the bill in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, noting that increased renewable sources are critical to combatting climate change and helping reduce the severity of future storms.

The Energy Association of Pennsylvania (EAP), which represents the state's electric and natural gas distribution utilities, raised concerns over how the legislation would impact customer costs. While these utilities don't own generating capacity, they do sell power to consumers.

"We're concerned about the cost impact on customers and the affect that has on their ability to pay for other necessary improvements to the grid," said EAP CEO Terry Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, who testified in a January hearing on the bill, also expressed the view that government should not be in the business of mandating where energy comes from. He estimated the bill could cost an additional $2 billion by 2025.

Vitali also introduced legislation to boost solar investment in the state, proposing $25 million per year in funding for the PA Sunshine Solar Program.

For more:
- see the proposed legislation

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