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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 20, 2024 10:31 AM
From: Representative Danielle Friel Otten
To: All House members
Subject: Governor’s Energy Plan: Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS)
Twenty years ago, Pennsylvania led the nation by establishing the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS), which successfully promoted new and innovative forms of energy generation in our Commonwealth.  However, Pennsylvania is falling behind other states in the race to diversify its energy sources and create clean, reliable, and affordable energy. The Governor’s energy plan will help to cement Pennsylvania’s place as one of the world’s top energy producers and insulate consumers from rising utility costs as a result of global instability and foreign wars. After two decades, AEPS has reached the end of its planned lifespan and other states have retaken the lead in generating economic growth through development in their power sectors.  In response, I will soon sponsor legislation supported by the administration to introduce the next generation of AEPS: the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS). 

Part of the Governor’s new commonsense energy plan, PRESS continues all of the successful elements of AEPS while making it more inclusive—adding nuclear power and next generation technologies like fusion, as well as incentivizing lower emissions for gas-fired power plants.  This revitalized energy standard will deliver outsized economic value, improve the reliability of our electricity grid, and position Pennsylvania as a leader in the energy arena for the next twenty years.

PRESS accomplishes two objectives simultaneously turbocharging energy build-out in Pennsylvania and creating a more diverse mix of energy resources to protect our grid from extreme weather and other threats in the decades ahead.

PRESS will unlock a wave of new investment in advanced energy technologies across Pennsylvania.  Today, the queue of new proposed energy projects in our regional grid, PJM, shows that aggressive energy standards in our neighboring states are attracting a majority of new energy projects. PRESS will make Pennsylvania competitive by incentivizing new development here in the Commonwealth. The positive impact is massive, adding over $5.1 billion in direct investment in by 2035.

In addition, PRESS targets specific forms of energy development to build a more diverse, reliable grid.  PJM and other nonpartisan experts agree that reliability will be a crucial challenge in coming years.  We cannot rely on just one or two forms of power generation in the face of threats like climate change-fueled extreme weather and cyber-attacks which could affect specific generation sources.  Building a diverse, reliable network of power sources is the best way to keep the lights on in Pennsylvania and across our region.  Reliable base-load power is built into the core of PRESS, with a strong focus on resilient forms of generation, including battery storage, natural gas, and nuclear power.

PRESS raises the target for the cleanest and renewable energy projects in Tier I to 35% by 2035; it raises the target for Tier II to 10%; and it creates a new Tier III that includes important alternative sources or of power like co-blended or low emission natural gas and other step-stone resources, with a 5% target by 2035.  In addition, PRESS ensures the continuity of our existing clean energy nuclear fleet by creating a mechanism for those facilities to receive support in the event they are threatened with closure.

Specifically, the three-tier structure will be comprised as follows:

Tier I 
  1. Solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy, including solar DG.
  2. Wind power.
  3. Low-impact hydropower.
  4. Geothermal energy.
  5. Small Modular Reactors (SMR).
  6. Fusion energy.
  7. Coal mine fugitive emissions.
  8. Biologically derived fugitive emissions.
 Tier II (limited to in-state Pennsylvania resources)

  1. Non-solar distributed generation systems.
  2. Combined heat and power.
  3. Demand-side management.
  4. Large-scale hydropower.
  5. Natural gas or coal using clean hydrogen (80%) co-fired blend or equivalent carbon intensity reduction technologies.
  6. Fuel cells.
  7. Biomass energy.
  8. 24-hour storage co-located with a Tier I resource.
  9. Tier I reliable energy sources (resources powering public schools receive double credits)
 Tier III (limited to in-state Pennsylvania resources)

  1. Natural gas or coal using clean hydrogen (20%) co-fired blend or equivalent carbon intensity reduction technologies.
  2. Waste coal.
  3. Municipal solid waste.
  4. Integrated combined coal gasification technology.
  5. Generation of electricity utilizing by-products of the pulping process and wood manufacturing process, including bark, wood chips, sawdust and lignin in spent pulping liquors. 
  6. Tier I reliable energy sources.
PRESS will jumpstart a new era of reliable, sustainable energy development in Pennsylvania.  We have the opportunity to again lead the nation in building a diverse array of advanced energy resources that will provide clean power for our Commonwealth in the decades to come.

Along with companion legislation in the Governor’s energy plan, PRESS will help protect and create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and take real action to address carbon pollution. If passed by the General Assembly, these initiatives will save Pennsylvania ratepayers $252 million in the first five years, while generating $5.1 billion in investment in clean, reliable energy sources.

As the Governor has made abundantly clear, we can’t sit around and do nothing while other states pass us by in the race to diversify our energy sources and create clean, reliable, and affordable energy.  I hope that you will join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2277