PennFuture fires back at fossil fuel-funded anti-renewables report

Mar 13, 2013, 15:03 ET from Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)

Beacon Hill Institute gets a reality check on clean energy jobs and savings in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Far-right leaning groups are waging a war against state renewable portfolio standards, and Pennsylvania's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) is in the crosshairs. Both the Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are currently using studies from the Koch Brothers-subsidized Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) to help repeal state renewable energy goals in favor of fossil-fuel generation.


PennFuture today released a paper outlining widespread inaccuracies in BHI's analysis of the Pennsylvania AEPS. It found that BHI did not rely on Pennsylvania-based data, empirical evidence or real-life economic impacts due to the AEPS. Instead, BHI fails to understand the AEPS law, handpicks data sources, inconsistently applies that data, and uses a proprietary 'black box' economic model to induce its conclusions.

"BHI greatly exaggerates the cost and undervalues the benefits of the AEPS," said Christina Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center. "For example, they fail to take into account consumer protections in the law and reference cost impacts that are 225 percent to 427 percent greater than the AEPS would even allow. Their report makes us wonder if they even took the time to read the AEPS, or if they just copied and pasted analysis from the other states they examined including Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Oregon."

BHI also fails to point out that the AEPS has been a success for Pennsylvania electric customers and the environment. The AEPS has helped drive the development of 1,200 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy and 166 MW of solar since 2004 with little impact on electric consumers. By 2021, the law is expected to offset 9.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 1.7 million cars off the road.

The AEPS has also driven wind companies to locate their operations in Pennsylvania. Currently, there are eighteen wind component manufacturing facilities in the state and in 2011, the wind industry supported approximately 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in Pennsylvania. Annual property tax payments from wind project owners in Pennsylvania now total $1.4 million a year, and annual land lease payments total nearly $2.3 million. These numbers reveal a significant economic impact from one of the state's nascent industries.

The truth of the matter is the AEPS is working well for Pennsylvania electric customers. The AEPS is helping to diversify the electric supply, hedge against volatile fossil fuel markets, create new jobs, and reduce harmful emissions that pollute our air and lead to health problems. BHI should be applauding this good news rather than finding fault where none exists.

The paper can be reviewed at:

PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization, founded in 1998. PennFuture's activities include litigating cases before regulatory bodies and in local, state, and federal courts; advocating and advancing legislative action on a state and federal level; public education; and assisting citizens in public advocacy.

PennFuture has staff throughout the state, in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre. The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the "state's leading environmental advocacy organization;" the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization "one of the 10 most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling;" and StateImpact Pennsylvania, an online collaboration of NPR stations across the state, called PennFuture "the commonwealth's main environmental advocate."

Contact: Elaine Labalme

SOURCE Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture)