Busting Myths: Pennsylvania CAN replace fossil fuels with renewables

NEWS RELEASE: Delaware Riverkeeper Network

Delaware Riverkeeper Network published in October “Envisioning Pennsylvania’s Energy Future; Powering the Commonwealth’s Energy Needs with 100% Renewables by 2050”,  a groundbreaking report authored by Synapse Energy Economics and EQ Research.  The report lays out a road map for how the state can totally replace fossil fuels with renewable energy by 2050 without permitting any new fossil fuel power plants starting today, cutting emissions by more than half by 2035 and to zero by 2050.

Delaware Riverkeeper Network asked Synapse to prepare a Fact Sheet to respond to some issues that the report prompted regarding the ability of the electric grid system to integrate the large amount of renewable energy needed to electrify the many fossil fuel consuming uses currently in place.  The PJM electric grid is fully capable now of accommodating the proposed variable renewable energy such as solar and wind without any changes.

As renewables increase and existing aging fossil fuel generation ends in Pennsylvania, increased flexibility and integration systems can be developed in the PJM as is being done in other large regional systems like California, Texas, and the Midwest.  Energy efficiency and conservation further support the transition and do so economically and justly.  In fact, energy efficiency delivers power at $40 per MWh, less than coal and almost half the cost of procuring power from natural gas.  Additionally, the claim that natural gas is needed as a bridge fuel to smooth the transition is exposed as a myth that has dangerous climate change implications because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas whose expansion will add to the warming of the atmosphere, worsening climate change.

As the Fact Sheet points out, “Serious, imminent, and irreversible damages to natural ecosystems, infrastructure, agricultural production, and human health make dramatic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions a key priority for communities around the world.”  Pennsylvania can be a leader in the switch from fossil fuels to clean, renewable and sustainable energy sources and through energy efficiency, solar and wind energy development, the Commonwealth can advance the solution instead of contributing to the problem.

As far as the myth that the state cannot afford to replace fossil fuels with renewables or that some communities or sectors would unfairly bear the cost, the “Envisioning” report shows that Pennsylvania going 100% renewable by 2050 would result in energy savings of $134 billion from 2015 to 2050 and $9 billion in electric bill and fuel cost savings in 2050 alone. And from this investment, the report authors conclude PA could see a net increase of nearly 500,000 jobs over the same period.

The Fact Sheet can be downloaded here: FACT SHEET

The “Envisioning” 100% Pennsylvania Renewable Report can be downloaded here: REPORT

About Editor, Raging Chicken Press 410 Articles
Kevin Mahoney is the Founder and Editor Zero of Raging Chicken Press. When he's not rabble-rousing on Raging Chicken, he's teaching rhetoric and writing at Kutztown University.