David Hess, PA Environment Digest Blog, March 17, 2021.
Senators Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Art Haywood (D-Montgomery) recently announced plans to introduce legislation to increase the solar share under the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards from 0.5 to 5.5 percent by 2026. The 0.5 percent solar share is due to remain at that level after May 2021, unless increased.
“Given our current economic crisis due to COVID-19, in the near future, we plan to introduce legislation that would take advantage of a large economic development opportunity to attract millions of dollars of private investment; grow tens of thousands of jobs; create tax revenue for communities; diversify our energy mix; and present a solution that may save some of our farms without the use of state revenues – through the commonsense expansion of renewable energy.
“Unfortunately, in 2019 alone, Pennsylvania lost more than 5,000 farms. We believe renewable energy development presents a unique opportunity for farmers to receive annual payments for leasing a portion of their land to renewable energy development for 20 years or more; while providing reliable income by planting pollinator-friendly crops that enhance productivity of the adjacent farmlands.
“AEC [Alternative Energy Credit] trading is a market-based program that drives investment into renewables based on supply and demand – as the goal rises, the industry brings investment to build and meet that goal.