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Senator Santarsiero

BUCKS COUNTY March 20, 2024 – State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) announced today new legislation to jumpstart a new era of reliable, sustainable energy development in Pennsylvania.  Following Governor Shapiro’s ambitious energy announcement last week, Senator Santarsiero will be introducing legislation for new standards for energy generation, the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard (PRESS). 

“I have long said that it’s a false premise to say we must choose between creating jobs OR saving our planet,” said Senator Santarsiero.  “I am proud to see Gov. Shapiro leading the way and bringing together the interests of consumers, labor and the environment to find a solution that works for all of us.  To that end, I am proud to introduce legislation to create the Pennsylvania Reliable Energy Sustainability Standard, the next generation of alternative energy portfolio standards for the Commonwealth.”

PRESS continues all of the successful elements of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) while making it more inclusive—adding nuclear power, next generation technologies like fusion, and clean forms of natural gas for the first time.  This revitalized energy standard will deliver outsized economic value, improve the reliability of our electricity grid, and position Pennsylvania as a leader in the energy arena for the next twenty years. 

PRESS raises the target for the cleanest and renewable energy projects in Tier I to 35% by 2035; it raises the target for Tier II to 10%; and it creates a new Tier III that includes important alternative sources or of power like co-blended or low emission natural gas and other step-stone resources with a 5% target by 2035. In addition, PRESS ensures the continuity of our existing clean energy nuclear fleet by creating a mechanism for those facilities to receive support in the event they are threatened with closure.

Specifically, the three-tier structure will be comprised as follows: 

Tier I  

  1.  Solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy, including solar DG. 
  1. Wind power. 
  1. Low-impact hydropower. 
  1. Geothermal energy. 
  1. Small Modular Reactors (SMR) 
  1. Fusion technology 
  1. Coal mine fugitive emissions. 
  1. Biologically derived fugitive emissions. 

Tier II (limited to in-state Pennsylvania resources)

  1. Non-solar distributed generation systems (including combined heat and power).  
  1. Demand-side management.  
  1. Large-scale hydropower.  
  1. Natural gas or coal using clean hydrogen (80%) co-fired blend or equivalent carbon intensity reduction technologies.  
  1. Fuel cells.  
  1. Biomass energy.  
  1. 24-hour storage co-located with a Tier I resource.  
  1. Tier I reliable energy sources. 

Tier III  (limited to in-state Pennsylvania resources)

  1. Natural gas or coal using clean hydrogen (20%) co-fired blend or equivalent carbon intensity reduction technologies.  
  1. Waste coal.  
  1. Municipal solid waste.  
  1. Integrated combined coal gasification technology.  
  1. Generation of electricity utilizing by-products of the pulping process and wood manufacturing process, including bark, wood chips, sawdust and lignin in spent pulping liquors.   
  1. Tier I reliable energy portfolio sources located within PA. 

PRESS will unlock a wave of new investment in advanced energy technologies across Pennsylvania.  PRESS will make Pennsylvania competitive by incentivizing new development here in the Commonwealth.  The positive impact is massive, adding over $5.1 billion in direct investment in by 2035.  

Along with companion legislation in the Governor’s energy plan, PRESS will help protect and create nearly 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvania households, and take real action to address carbon pollution. If passed by the General Assembly, these initiatives will save Pennsylvania ratepayers $252 million in the first five years, while generating $5.1 billion in investment in clean, reliable energy sources.

“I look forward to working with Gov. Shapiro and my colleagues in the Senate to enact legislation that saves consumers money on their energy, creates family sustaining jobs and tackles climate change,” Sen. Santarsiero added.