The Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) proposed requirements for regulating CO2 emissions, known as the “Clean Power Plan,” will present challenges businesses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  If Pennsylvania does not meet the standards of EPA’s new plan, or if it violates those standards, it will be difficult for on-going businesses to expand or modify their plants, or for a companies to build and get permits for new energy plants in Pennsylvania, under the state’s permitting requirements.  It will be easier for such companies to obtain permits if Pennsylvania is able to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) issued a recent press release in June of 2015, which summarized why Pennsylvania is in a good position to the meet the EPA’s requirements for CO2 emissions. Pennsylvania’s initiatives and strategies for developing and improving new renewable energy sources aid in compliance. The state’s development of natural gas, its transition away from coal plants and other sustainable energy efforts are leading Pennsylvania’s positive energy efforts.

BNEF found that Pennsylvania’s coal share of electricity declined 13 % from 2008 to 2012. Another 18% of coal plant energy reduction is forecast for 2014 through 2020. Natural gas is now the Commonwealth’s new fuel of choice and accounts for 83% of energy capacity additions between 2000 and 2013. Hydro energy and onshore wind energy are also improving Pennsylvania’s energy outlook.

Pennsylvania’s New Energy Initiatives

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires Pennsylvania to reduce its ‘adjusted’ emission rate (AER) by 31% by the year 2030. Pennsylvania is well on its way towards that target. Some of the policy initiatives Pennsylvania is using with success are:

  • Pennsylvania imports more waste than any other state in the country. The state converts this waste to energy which is helping Pennsylvania meets its EPA requirements and also create new jobs in the state’s energy sector.
  • Pennsylvania is requiring that eight percent of retail sales come from Tier 1 renewable sources, an alternative energy portfolio standard (AEPS), by 2012. This amount is double the current AEPS standard.
  • The state’s energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), passed in 2008, is creating benefit to cost ratios of better than two to one and energy savings which are already 62% of the energy savings needed to meet Pennsylvania’s 2016 EERS target.

Lisa Jacobson, the President of BCSE notes that Pennsylvania is helping lead the nation on natural gas, wind, hydro and other renewable sources.

Philadelphia Environmental Lawyers Understand the Full Range of Pennsylvania Energy Initiatives.

Additional Pennsylvania energy strategies include:

  • Pennsylvania’s large natural gas reserves and the energy development of these reserves are contributing to more than just better environmental improvements. The natural gas development is also causing natural gas prices to drop, saving the state a lot of money and helping the economies of the Northeast and the nation.
  • Between 2008 and 2013, the Keystone State has built 1.5 gigawatts of utility-scale renewable capacity. In 2013, renewable energy contributed four percent of the state’s energy. The sources of this renewable energy include wind, biomass, biogas, waste-to-energy, hydro and solar.
  • Pennsylvania was rated 20th in the nation for its overall energy efficiency efforts according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
  • Pennsylvania is exploring additional ways to improve and meet the EPA emission reduction targets.

Philadelphia Environmental Lawyers at Michelman and Bricker Understand Energy Law and Clean Air Act Compliance and Stay Informed of Recent Changes in the Rules and Regulations.

Philadelphia environmental compliance lawyers at Michelman & Bricker, P.C. work with many clients to help them obtain air quality permits within state and federal regulatory limits and assist our clients in addressing enforcement actions and civil penalties against them for failure to comply with such standards.  For example, we previously obtained a Clean Air Act New Source Review plan approval for emissions from installation of a new press at a rotogravure printing facility; resolved civil penalties for construction of the new source prior to the issuance of the permit; and obtained an administrative permit amendment for a plan approval for emission from a parts washing unit, as part of a Title V permit.  We also work with environmental consultants to help clients meet their production goals while making sure that they comply with all applicable state and federal rules and regulations.  

Any business that needs to understand energy law or air pollution and air quality compliance issues should call 215-557-9940 or complete our online contact form. Michelman & Bricker, P.C. has the experience and professional resources to give energy and air quality advice. We advocate for our clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, and across the East Coast.