Officials Discuss Renewable Energy Projects Across Pennsylvania

According to Pennsylvania State Representative Chris Rabb, it is feasible for the United States to achieve a complete transition to renewable energy by 2050, a goal set by President Joe Biden. In a web panel organized by PennEnvironment, a handful of speakers discussed clean energy projects across all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, including big wind farms that are generating enough electricity to power thousands of homes, as well as small rooftop installations on local businesses that help communities transition to renewable energy.

Ellie Kerns, the Climate Field Organizer at PennEnvironment, said during the panel, “From Erie county to Philadelphia county and from Wayne county to Greene county exciting renewable energy projects are on the rise.”

PennEnvironment has designed an interactive map highlighting clean energy projects that can be found across all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. Some of these projects include Pennsylvania’s largest wind farm, the Alleghany Ridge Wind Farm, which is located in Cambria County and produces enough electricity to power more than 20,000 US homes.

During the panel, speakers shared stories behind clean energy projects and why they believe clean energy is important. Jared Pashko, a Solar Energy Consultant at Solar States, talked about one of the company’s great projects, a solar array over 700 kilowatts at the Yards Brewery on Spring Garden Avenue in Philadelphia. Pashko said that his company’s goal is to make solar energy accessible to everyone and that solar energy should be distributed as intended.

Dan Pietropola, Vice President of Business Development at the McClure Company, also spoke about two projects his company worked on with different Pennsylvania school districts. One of these projects, the Steelton-Highspire solar project, is expected to save the school more than three million dollars over twenty years. Pietropola said that his company tries to help maximize tax benefits for investing in solar and allows school districts and other clients to benefit from the utility savings.

Although each of the speakers spoke on projects with different purposes, they all agreed on the importance of transforming not only Pennsylvania but the entire US to solely renewable energy-based. Representative Chris Rabb said, “So much of what we have to do is not come up with new stuff, but to invest in the things that already exist, and we also have to increase our literacy about how and why we need to move to a 100% renewable future because it’s not science fiction. We have all of the technology we need right now to get there, all of it.”

Representative Rabb further added that with all of the technological innovation, the US can actually achieve 100% renewable energy before 2050 in a deeply equitable way. However, some critics argue that President Biden’s timeline for the US to stop using fossil fuels is unrealistic and could lead to increased reliance on other countries.

Despite these criticisms, Pennsylvania is making strides towards renewable energy. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a plan to transition to 50% renewable energy by 2030. The state already has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in place, which requires that 18% of electricity sold in Pennsylvania come from renewable sources by 2021.

As more clean energy projects are being developed and implemented, Pennsylvania is well on its way to achieving its renewable energy goals. By transitioning to renewable energy, not only will the state be able to reduce its carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change, but it will also create jobs and save money for its residents and businesses.

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