Energy Future PA, a statewide energy initiative was launched Monday in advance of the first Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh, which starts Wednesday.
Eugene DePasquale, former state Auditor General, said Energy Future PA is a non-partisan coalition focused on creating new investments for innovative technologies that will meet the federal deadline of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
During a video conference, DePasquale and former state Rep. Margerite Quinn, R-Bucks County, were joined by other initiative members to introduce Energy Future PA, which they said would put people first, power the state’s economy and strengthen communities.
Its goal, they said, is to educated state policymakers and political candidates on the benefits of pursuing a broad portfolio of zero-carbon energy technologies and advocate for the advancement of these solutions in Pennsylvania by organizing key stakeholders across the commonwealth.
“The time is now for Pennsylvania to secure its rightful place as the nation’s energy leader,” said DePasquale, co-chair of Energy Future PA. “That’s our goal with Energy Future PA – to build and invest in an all-of-the-above energy strategy that places people first, powers our economy and strengthens our communities.”
DePasquale said Pennsylvania must invest in wind and solar power, continue to invest in nuclear power, leverage existing natural gas resources and begin carbon capture and storage.
Quinn, co-chair of Energy Future PA, said investing in carbon capture and storage will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost the natural gas industry which is already strong in Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania has always been a leader when it comes to energy innovation and our unique endowment of natural energy resources,” Quinn said. “We can continue to lead our energy future by investing in energy innovations that strengthen our economy, retool our industrial base and create jobs across the commonwealth.”
Recent passage of the federal Inflation Reduction Act will invest $369 billion in funding for clean energy technologies and help the United States meet its carbon emissions reduction targets. Energy Future PA will highlight Pennsylvania’s strong competitive position for that funding.
“Energy Future PA offers a pragmatic approach to the goal of transitioning to a decarbonized economy – investing in new energy technologies to complement the commonwealth’s existing energy resources of natural gas, renewable energy sources and traditional nuclear,” said Lee R. Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University, a member of the coalition.
The following are some of the innovative technologies championed by Energy Future PA:
Carbon Capture and Storage: Carbon capture and storage technologies present a promising solution to help industries safely and permanently capture and dispose of their carbon dioxide emissions. By pairing this technology with Pennsylvania’s existing and new power and industrial operations, Pennsylvania can protect jobs and boost the economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Zero-Carbon Fuels: Emerging zero-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, can help power both the industrial and transportation sectors. Hydrogen also can be used as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels for a wide variety of transportation and industrial uses. And, when combined with carbon capture and storage technologies, natural gas can also be used to produce hydrogen with very low net emissions.
Advanced Nuclear Technologies: Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s leaders in nuclear energy production, with four active nuclear plants collectively generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 7.6 million homes and providing jobs for more than 4,500 Pennsylvania workers. New advancements in nuclear technology – such as lower-cost and inherently safe, small modular reactors and non-water reactors – have the potential to move Pennsylvania to the forefront of a decarbonized energy future.
“Emerging zero-carbon fuels can provide a new, clean power source for both the industrial and transportation sectors,” said Osama Al-Qasem, senior marketing and public relations manager at PDC Machines, a member of the coalition and a Warminster-based hydrogen compressor manufacturer and packager of hydrogen refueling stations. “Hydrogen, in particular, could play an essential role in a stronger, more competitive energy future for Pennsylvania, helping preserve our manufacturing and industrial jobs while protecting our communities for future generations.”
Jobs and economic development are the heart of the Energy Future PA campaign. When combined with renewable energy sources and Pennsylvania’s natural energy resources, these new innovative technologies have the potential to move the Keystone State to the front of the energy pack.
Al-Qasem said that the growth of hydrogen fuel in the transportation and industrial sectors has enabled PDC to grow rapidly from 80 employees to over 300 in just a few short years. The company now has four locations in the United States – including a new 158,000-square-foot production facility in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County.
“Whether it’s carbon capture technology or nuclear or hydrogen, the one common thread is that they will all help to support and expand family-sustaining jobs for Pennsylvania workers,” said Rob Bair, president, Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, a member of the coalition. “Pennsylvania’s energy future is brighter than ever, thanks to the commonwealth’s highly competitive workforce.”