The Pennsylvania Energy Programs Office (EPO), which serves as the State Energy Office for the Commonwealth, recently published its first comprehensive Clean Energy Program (CEP) Plan. The CEP Plan is a landmark publication that identifies opportunities and strategies for EPO to support the achievement of Pennsylvania’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals. Prior to the release of the Plan, EPO had not published a comprehensive analysis of its programs and short- and long-term clean energy plans. The development of the Plan was funded in part by a formula grant from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) State Energy Program (SEP).
The Plan summarizes the Commonwealth’s energy policies and EPO programs, recommends new actions to take over the next one to three years, and explores various methods for anticipating future energy trends and mitigating disruptions. Critically, the goals and recommendations laid out in the Plan align with EERE’s key goals of decarbonizing the economy, promoting energy equity, and supporting workforce development for the clean energy and energy efficiency sectors.
The CEP Plan will help Pennsylvania achieve of series of recently established climate goals. In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf called for a 26% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2005 levels by 2025, and 80% by 2050. The work of the EPO will be critical to Pennsylvania’s wider efforts to meet these goals, as over 85% of Pennsylvania’s GHG emissions come from the production and use of energy. EPO commissioned the CEP Plan to focus its clean energy and energy efficiency efforts and chart the long path to decarbonization envisioned by the Governor.
The CEP Plan was developed with extensive input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including various offices and agencies in the Pennsylvania government, non-government and advocacy organizations, utilities, and energy technology experts. At its core, the Plan serves as a central hub for information on current EPO energy programs, key Pennsylvania energy laws and climate goals, and the short- and long-term priorities of EPO. This strong foundation of information enables government officials and other leaders, analysts, and technical experts to understand the full landscape of the Commonwealth’s energy plans and programs.
The CEP Plan also recommends short-term program adjustments for EPO to undertake in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, energy workforce, and climate planning (see Figure 1). These recommendations include, among others, working with local governments and farmers to increase solar energy deployment, exploring low carbon transportation options, and building on EPO’s Local Climate Action Program to help local governments reduce GHG emissions and adapt to climate change. Each recommendation includes an expansive set of information and tools for decision-makers to utilize, such as the rationale, relevant stakeholders and partnerships, and evidence for feasibility.
Lastly, the Plan details best practices and principles developed through extensive consultation with the Workgroup that form the long-term vision of the work of the EPO. These best practices focus on topics such as enhancing collaboration with other agencies and organizations, identifying better program impact metrics, and considering equity, access, inclusion, and the needs of and effects on vulnerable populations. The principles laid out in EPO’s Plan align closely with DOE’s commitment to building an equitable clean energy future that brings commerce and good-paying jobs to communities across the country, especially those that are economically disadvantaged.
In summary, the CEP Plan will be instrumental in helping the Pennsylvania Energy Office carry out its mission and in guiding Pennsylvania’s efforts to achieve its climate goals and harness economic opportunity along the way.
The Plan is just one of many SEP-supported projects undertaken in the state in recent years. In the 2019-20 funding period, SEP supported seven diverse energy efficiency programs in the state, such as comprehensive energy assessments for businesses and educational outreach to municipalities to support energy resilience. For more information on these SEP-supported activities, see page 3-9 of the Plan. EERE remains committed to its partnership with the Pennsylvania Energy Programs Office and looks forward to further leveraging the State Energy Program to support Pennsylvania’s bold efforts to provide all Pennsylvanians cleaner, healthier, and more affordable and reliable energy choices.
DOE’s State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. The State Energy Program emphasizes the state’s role as the decision maker and administrator for program activities within the state that are tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.