Report: Pa. ranks 18th nationwide for its energy efficiency efforts | Wednesday Morning Coffee

October 2, 2019 7:05 am

Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

So here’s a reason to be cheerful as we roll into Hump Day. Thanks to some good, old-fashioned sticktoitedness by state officials and other efforts, Pennsylvania ranks 18th in the nation for its energy efficiency, the same as last year, according to a new scorecard released Tuesday.

The rankings list by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy took into account such factors as the effort put in by electricity and natural gas utilities; such state-led initiatives as grants for homeowners and businesses and overall efforts to reduce energy consumption, as well as whether states adopt the kind of strict tailpipe emissions standards that the Trump administration is trying its darndest to get rid of.

As you can see from the map above, the Keystone State finished ahead of  Delaware (21), Ohio  (33) and West Virginia (48), but trailed New York (5) by a good bit. And the commonwealth just edged out New Jersey (17).

“Pennsylvania has an energy efficiency resource standard in place, and saw utility electric savings increase somewhat in 2018, rising above the national median,” the Pennsylvania-specific report card reads. To deliver more energy savings to businesses and residents, Pennsylvania could remove the cost cap for efficiency measures and set more aggressive savings targets.

“In June 2018, the state legislature passed a bill allowing public utilities to petition the public utilities commission to consider alternative rate-making mechanisms, potentially paving the way for decoupling of utility sales and revenues,” it continued. “Following significant updates to strengthen state building energy codes in 2018, Pennsylvania continued to show commitment to efficiency with the signing of an executive order establishing the first statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution. The order also set targets for state agencies to reduce energy consumption and transition to electric vehicles.”

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And at a time, as noted above, that the Trump White House is “rolling back environmental protections, A rising number of states are showing … leadership on clean energy by adopting ambitious goals and energy-saving rules for buildings, appliances, and vehicles,” the council said in a statement.

Overall, the national scorecard “reveals increasing state commitment to energy efficiency, the least-expensive clean energy resource, even where it had traditionally been overlooked. Research has shown that energy efficiency can slash U.S. energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 — getting us halfway to the U.S. climate goals,” the council said in its statement.

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Our Stuff.
Our #PaForward project rolls on this morning: Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes chatted with veteran journalist Jim MacMillan, of the Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting, who’s researching whether taking a different approach to covering gun violence could save lives.

Pitt’s graduate student union won’t be affected by a proposed federal rule which would prevent graduate students from organizing, Stephen Caruso reports.

From our partners at The Philadelphia Tribune, a pair of stories for your Wednesday morning. In the first, reporter Ayana Jones previews the opportunities offered by next week’s annual Minority Enterprise Development Week celebrations. And Michael D’Onofrio has what you need to know about the Black-owned firm that’s been tapped to help redevelop an iconic stretch of the Avenue of the Arts.

On our Commentary Page, our #PAForward coverage continues with an op-Ed from Action TANK, a Philadelphia-based veterans advocacy group working to end the tragedy of veteran suicide. One good way to do that, they argue, would be for Pennsylvania to pass a Red Flag law.

And a Penn State University scholar explains why Ukraine’s new president may come to rue his now-infamous telephone conversation with President Donald Trump.

Philadelphia City Council
 wants the city’s school district to release ‘hidden’ attendance data, the Inquirer reports.
Lawmakers in the state House are prepping legislation that would allow college athletes to profit from their own names and likenesses, the Post-Gazette reports.
The state’s lowest-performing cyber-charter school will be shut down by the end of the yearPennLive reports.
As he gets ready for re-election next month, Easton Mayor Sal Panto has rolled out a budget proposal that ‘holds the line on local taxes.’ the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Philadelphia Instagram of the Day:

Officials in Philadelphia are teaming up to help people on probation and parole to register to vote in next month’s general election, WHYY-FM reports.
WITF-FM previews the Marsy’s Law question on next month’s general election ballot.
The Roundtop Mountain Resort in York County has been sold as a part of the settlement with Purdue Pharma, the PA Post reports.
With rural grocery stores in decline, state lawmakers nationwide are pondering how to act, reports.
Confirming what had long been suspected, state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, is running for state auditor general, PoliticsPA reports.
President Donald Trump dangerously warned of ‘civil war’ in case of impeachment. Even worse, some of the base is actually listening to himTalking Points Memo has the story.

What Goes On.
9 a.m., Capitol Media Center: Reps. Jordan Harris 
and David Delloso, along with the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center, talk about selling legalized cannabis in state stores. Try to imagine those pairing conversations.
2 p.m., Main Rotunda: Healthcare workers talk about the plight of kids in the Berks County Detention Center.
3 p.m., Main Rotunda: Update on the fight to change Pennsylvania’s statute of limitation laws.

Gov. Tom Wolf
 and LG John Fetterman hold a joint 1:30 p.m. newser in the Reception Room on updates to the state’s pardons process for cannabis convictions.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
5:30 p.m.: 
Reception for Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill
6 p.m.,: 
Reception for Rep. Natalie Mihalek
Ride the circuit, and give at the max at both events, and you’re out a mere $2,600 today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Laurie Mason Schroeder of the Morning Call, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day.

Heavy Rotation. 
From Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ new ‘This is the Place’ EP, it’s ‘Evil Flower.’

Wednesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
Here are 10 storylines to watch as the new NHL season gets underway tonight. Now, if the temperatures would actually cool, it would start feeling like hockey season.

And now you’re up to date. 

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.