Pennsylvania House Bill Seeks to Increase the Use of Alternative Energy
On April 23, 2010, State Representative Eugene DePasquale introduced House Bill 2405 ("H.B. 2405"), which would significantly increase the supply of alternative energy in Pennsylvania. H.B. 2405 would amend Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act to increase the percentage of electricity that Pennsylvania utilities must supply from "Tier 1" sources from 8 percent to 15 percent by 2024. Tier 1 sources include solar, wind, biologically derived methane, and biomass. H.B. 2405 would also increase the percentage of electricity that must be derived from solar power from 0.5 percent to 3 percent by 2024 (commonly referred to as the "solar share" or "solar carve-out").
H.B. 2405 is substantially similar to House Bill 80 ("H.B. 80"), which was introduced by State Representative Greg Vitali in March 2009. H.B. 80 would have set the Tier 1 requirement at 20 percent while the solar carve-out was an identical 3 percent. Because of these similarities, H.B. 2405 will likely face the same strong opposition as H.B. 80. Opponents of H.B. 80, including several business and industry groups, argued that the government should not create markets for only certain types of energy, particularly higher cost energy sources such as solar. On the other hand, bill proponents argued that the increased portfolio standards send a strong market signal to investors in alternative energy resources in Pennsylvania, while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing dependence on foreign energy sources.