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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 3, 2019 01:24 PM
From: Senator Mike Folmer
To: All Senate members
Subject: "Grid Parity" Legislation
With the recent announcement of the closure of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in my district, I have come to two important conclusions about Pennsylvania’s energy future:
  • Our Commonwealth needs an energy policy that addresses three key issues: (1) is it clean, (2) is it affordable, and (3) is it reliable?
  • Government should not be picking “winners and losers” through public policies that favor some energy producers over others
With this in mind, I plan to introduce legislation to repeal Act 213 of 2004, which established the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards. I also believe we should revisit Act 129 of 2008, which requires electric energy producers to adopt and implement cost-effective energy efficiency and conservation plans that impact the energy marketplace.

“Grid parity” is electricity produced at the same cost to ratepayers regardless of the type of energy supplied. Under current laws, some energy producers are afforded incentives over other energy producers, which I believe has tipped the competitive balance in the energy market. This unfairness is magnified every day state statutes lag behind changing energy technologies.

The current Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards establishes incentives for different types of electric generation: biologically derived methane gas, biomass, coal-mine methane, fuel cell resources, integrated gasification combined cycle coal facilities, geothermal, low- and large-scale hydro, municipal solid waste, solar, thermal, waste coal, wind, and wood pulping and manufacturing byproducts.

Opponents of the so-called “nuclear bailout” to add nuclear energy to the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards said this change would be unfair to ratepayers and other sources of energy generation. Using this same logic, I believe the General Assembly should level the playing field for all energy producers by repealing the incentives established by the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards that benefit some – but not all – types of energy.

Studies have shown tax credits, subsidies, grants, and other incentives to spur economic growth may have the opposite impact: there is a negative relationship between subsidies and economic development. States with more incentives per capita have slower economic advancements.

A sound energy policy would ensure there is a balance among energy providers without taxpayer funding or incentives and without government mandates for certain types of fuels.

I hope you will agree Pennsylvania needs to work to level the playing field for all types of energy by cosponsoring my legislation to bring true “Grid Parity” to our Commonwealth.

Introduced as SB770