Updating Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Will Protect State’s Valued Nuclear Fleet
HARRISBURG, PA – Leaders of Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania today welcomed the formal introduction of bipartisan legislation – known as the Keep Powering Pennsylvania Act – in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would reform an existing state law to recognize the contributions the state’s nuclear industry makes throughout the Commonwealth. At a news conference today at Ironworkers Local 404, State Representative Tom Mehaffie detailed legislation that would properly value the environmental attributes of nuclear energy by updating Pennsylvania’s landmark 2004 legislation, called the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS). AEPS was designed to foster economic development and encourage reliance on more diverse and environmentally friendly sources of energy, yet excludes the one source of energy – nuclear power – that provides 93 percent of the Commonwealth’s zero-carbon electricity.
According to economists at The Brattle Group, failure to address this energy imbalance will cost Pennsylvanians an estimated $4.6 billion annually. This includes:
- $788 million in increased electricity costs;
- $2 billion in lost state GDP;
- $1.6 billion in carbon emissions-related costs; and
- $260 million in costs associated with harmful emissions.
“If you care about keeping electricity prices affordable, care about keeping good-paying jobs in Pennsylvania, and care about keeping harmful greenhouse gases out of our environment, then this is legislation you can feel good about,” said Bill McGee, Co-Chair of Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania and the business manager of Local 23 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers. “Our thousands of members across Pennsylvania are excited to see this legislation introduced, because it gets us one step closer to protecting our state’s valued nuclear fleet. Nuclear power is our state’s largest source of clean energy. It helps keep our energy costs low, all while keeping 16,000 jobs right here in Pennsylvania.”
The AEPS approach was first detailed in a bipartisan report from Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Energy Caucus released in November 2018. That report states, “Allowing any nuclear plant in the Commonwealth to close would have significant consequences for fuel diversity, resiliency, the environment, customers, and the state’s economy.” The impacts would be felt in both urban and rural parts of Pennsylvania.
“More than 600,000 rural Pennsylvanians living in 42 counties count on the reliability and affordability of electricity that comes largely from nuclear power,” said Frank Betley, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association. “It’s clear that nuclear power plays a vital role in Pennsylvania, especially in our rural communities that have long been invested in this carbon-free resource. Electric cooperatives are pleased the General Assembly is taking a forward-leaning approach in recognizing nuclear power’s positive contributions to the Commonwealth. We look forward to working on this bipartisan effort to secure the future of nuclear power in Pennsylvania.”
About Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s nuclear energy industry provides millions of families and businesses with safe, reliable and carbon-free electricity. Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania is a statewide coalition that works to educate all Pennsylvanians about the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy and the industry’s positive impact on local communities throughout the Keystone State. Learn more at NuclearPowersPennsylvania.com. Follow us on Twitter @NuclearPowersPA.