A new study shows that Pennsylvania could experience a financial windfall over the next 17 years as a result of increased clean energy development. The study, conducted by Black & Veatch, shows that the expanded advanced energy portfolio standard (AEPS) could create over 125,000 new job years of construction and ongoing operation jobs between now and 2026.
Black & Veatch studied the potential impacts of increasing the renewable portion of Pennsylvania's AEPS from the current target of 8% to 15% by 2026. The 15% standard includes a 3% requirement for solar energy.
Black & Veatch also studied the impact of an additional 3% requirement for energy from existing coal plants retrofitted with carbon capture and sequestration technology. This energy is not counted as part of the 15% renewable standard, but as a second tier of advanced energy technologies.
‘Pennsylvania has good resources for wind, biomass and solar, and there are numerous coal plants that are good candidates for carbon capture and sequestration,’ says Ryan Pletka, project manager for Black & Veatch.
According to the study, direct impacts of the AEPS on consumer electricity prices would be small. The potential increase would only result in an additional electricity cost of less than 1% for customers across the state – equating to a difference of about $0.50 per month for the average residential customer.
However, Black & Veatch researchers also note that the increased supply of electricity generated by alternative energy sources like wind and solar power that use no fuel, would likely place downward pressure on overall electricity prices, which is likely to result in savings for customers.
The study was commissioned by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies in partnership with the Heinz Endowments and the William Penn Foundation.