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Since the first light bulb, Pennsylvania has chosen affordable electricity.  First with a mix of coal and nuclear energy, and now with plentiful natural gas, Pennsylvania has generated its electricity with reliable, inexpensive fuels.  We all benefit.  At home, refrigerators, washers and air conditioners make life healthy and comfortable.  At work, affordable electricity allows Pennsylvania businesses to compete with Chinese businesses powered by China’s massive consumption of coal.


But Governor Shapiro has proposed new tax and subsidy plans that would change all that.  Governor Shapiro’s PACER plan would impose a carbon tax on electricity generation.  And his PRESS plan would be a massive expansion of Pennsylvania ratepayer paid subsidies for out-of-state wind and solar developers.


Presently, nearly 60% of Pennsylvania’s electricity is generated from reliable, affordable, clean burning natural gas.  The transition from coal to natural gas has dramatically reduced emissions.  But under Governor Shapiro’s proposed legislation, Pennsylvania ratepayers would have to buy a much higher percentage of their power from wind and solar providers.


Readers of this blog know that injecting wind and solar power into the grid means injecting unreliability.  When the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, the grid must still have enough natural gas or coal powered facilities to compensate for the wind and solar that suddenly goes missing.  That duplication is wasteful and expensive.  Germany and California have already ventured down this road, and citizens there pay up to 3 times what Pennsylvanians pay for electricity.


Calculations by the Jobs Alliance show that over five years PACER will cost ratepayers $2.66 billion and PRESS will cost an additional $950 million.  These amounts would be IN ADDITION TO subsidies Pennsylvanians ALREADY PAY!  According to the Jobs Alliance, the Pennsylvania PUC’s latest Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Report shows that Pennsylvania ratepayers subsidized Tier 1 wind and solar resources by $191 million in 2021-22, and 81% of those subsidies (totaling $154 million in one year), went to out-of-state wind and solar developers.


Pennsylvania’s natural gas and coal resources mean that, currently, Pennsylvania is an exporter of affordable electricity.  Governor Shapiro wants to use the power of his office in general, and a carbon tax in particular, to steer our state away from affordable electricity.  If he succeeds we will all feel the pain.

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