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Pennsylvania DEP Releases 2021 Climate Action Plan - Cutting All Fossil Fuel Generation by 2050 9/24/2021

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has released its updated 2021 Climate Action Plan, which is an update from the prior guide issued in 2018.

The plan first outlined some trends in Pennsylvania over the last few decades. Since 2005, they cited that emissions from electricity generation are down 38%, rescomm fuel emissions are down 20% and transport emissions dropped 11%.    There was an increase in emissions from mining, oil and gas operations (+13%.)

The DEP's mandated goal moving forward is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 26% by 2025 and 80% by 2050, as compared to 2005 levels.

Fuel Supply

The DEP has proposed three main strategies for addressing fuel supply emissions, which include ramping up renewable natural gas and biogas production, increasing the use of distributed combined heat and power, and reducing methane emissions across upstream systems.  Most of the gains would come from the RNG/Biogas production, while methane emissions account for significant gains as well. 

The DEP cited that under this plan, RSG replaces 197,326 BBtu of natural gas by 2050.  On the upstream side, methane emissions would be reduced via the "installation of vapor recovery units, routing blowdown gas to flare, replacement of reciprocating rod-packing systems, and implementing leak detection and repair programs."

Power Grid

With regards to the Pennsylvania power grid, they have proposed two main strategies, (1) maintain nuclear generation at current levels and (2) create a "carbon emissions-free grid."  The PA nuclear fleet includes keeping all state plants in operation through at least 2050 and assumes that Pennsylvania would intervene if needed to subsidize the plants and keep them online, mirroring what was done in New Jersey and Illinois.

To create a "carbon emissions-free" grid, the DEP laid out a detailed plan as well.  They recommend adding nuclear and fossil fuel energy with carbon capture to the "Tier 1" energy sources,

However, through 2050 the energy mix shift to 58% renewables, 40% nuclear and virtually zero natural gas or coal generation.  The main source of replacement generation would come from solar.  Also, Pennsylvania would remain a net energy exporter, sending 4,000 Gwh out in 2050, which is a significant drop from their 2020 exports of 72,000 Gwh.

To backfill intermittent renewable generation and retiring fossil fuels, they plan to install 47 GW of four-hour battery storage by 2050. 

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Warns of Damage from Potential Tariffs on Solar Development 9/23/2021

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) published a letter addressing the impacts of proposed tariffs on solar development within the United States.  Specifically, a group of petitioners has recently called on the Department of Commerce to levy a 50-250% duty on imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) panels and cells from Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand.  The targeted nations account for 80% of all panel imports into the United States.

The SEIA cited that the duties would destroy 18 GW of potential solar development through 2023.  The groups CEO cited that:
"The anonymous petitioners are asking the Department of Commerce to not only misinterpret U.S. law, but also overturn a decade of department decisions in solar trade cases, all to benefit a few anonymous petitioners at the expense of the entire U.S. solar economy. We urge Commerce to use its discretion and dismiss these frivolous petitions.”

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