On March 14, 2024, at a press conference in Scranton PA, Governor Josh Shapiro finally announced his long awaited energy strategy.  In anticipation of the PA Supreme Courts’ expected rejection of the Governor’s appeal of a unanimous Commonwealth Court decision that vitiated the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) that was a product of the prior administration, it was expected that he would introduce a proposal to increase the renewable energy standard. It was not clear, however, whether anything would be done to replace RGGI.

The Governor’s plan addresses both, raising the required targets for renewable energy, and including “clean” gas and nuclear power as renewable resources, while at the same time proposing a “Pennsylvania only” carbon emissions cap program that was immediately attacked by Republican leaders as bad for Pennsylvania’s powerful fossil fuel industry. The carbon cap program, dubbed “PACER” would impose a cap on carbon emissions and would require large emitters to purchase credits to offset their emissions.  The proceeds from these credit sales would be used, in part, to fund clean energy projects, but also up to 70% would be targeted to reduce energy bills for Pennsylvania ratepayers.

The new clean energy standard proposes significant increases in the amounts of renewable energy credits that must be purchased by sellers of electricity in Pennsylvania and extends the schedule of future increases in the percentages, thus ensuring that more renewable energy projects would be needed. Those required percentages had recently maxed-out. The legislation is not expected to be introduced until after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rules on RGGI.