The Lead

Report shows that Pa. needs to boost renewable energy production, lawmakers, advocates say

By: - October 12, 2023 3:50 pm

(Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)

A nationwide report on renewable energy production shows that Pennsylvania lags behind almost every other state.

The report, conducted by Environment American Research and Policy Center since 2013, showed that Pennsylvania has ranked “next-to-last among the 50 states in percentage growth of solar, wind and geothermal power” since the report started.

Only one state, Alaska, ranked worse than Pennsylvania in renewable energy growth. 

Ellie Kerns, a climate and clean energy associate at PennEnvironment, called Pennsylvania’s ranking “abysmal” and added that when it comes to hitting the Commonwealth’s climate mitigation goals at the current rate that renewable energy is being used, “the math doesn’t add up.”

“We need to get to 100% renewable energy by 2050 at the latest, but in the last 10 years, we only brought online enough renewables to power less than 2% of Pennsylvania’s homes and continue to purchase just 3% of our electricity from renewable sources,” Kerns said. 

In 2022, Pennsylvania produced the equivalent of just 3% of the electricity it consumes from solar, wind, and geothermal power, compared with 2.5% in 2013, according to the findings.

Pennsylvania ranked 27th among states for the growth of wind generation between 2013 and 2022 and 30th for solar power generation over the same period. 

Additionally, Pennsylvania ranked 21st among states for wind energy generation in 2022, totaling 3,768 gigawatt-hours, and 26th in solar power generation. 

Despite Pennsylvania’s low ranking, advocates and experts said that Pennsylvania has the potential to be a clean energy leader.

Environmental advocates presented the findings at a press conference in the state Capitol this week, hoping that the report would urge the Legislature to take action on bills to grow the renewable energy sector in Pennsylvania.

A Legislative Solution?

State Rep. Patty Kim (D-Dauphin) said Wednesday that several pieces of stalled legislation, including House Bill 1615, Senate Bill 755 — compassion energy efficiency bills — and Senate Bill 422, which outlines a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, would help the Commonwealth boost its renewable energy production.  

“If the legislature takes action on the bills already in circulation, we would quickly be able to make great strides in getting Pennsylvania to be a leader in the de-escalation of the climate crisis and a leader in developing opportunities in the clean energy economy,” Kim said, adding that “time is running out” to act on climate change. 

“I’m calling on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to realize that time is running out fast,” Kim warned. “Our children’s and grandchildren’s lives depend on us passing smart, commonsense legislation quickly to turn the tide against the onslaught of climate change.”


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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.