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What does the Clean Power Plan mean for Pennsylvania? Understanding the Federal

February 23, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

NEWS UPDATE: As you’ve surely heard, on Weds, Feb 9, the Supreme Court made the unprecedented decision to put the Clean Power Plan on hold while a group of states continued to fight it out in lower courts. The surprise decision raised obvious concerns that the same conservative-leaning Supreme Court would ultimately take the case and strike down the Clean Power Plan.  It also raises into question the U.S.’s ability to keep its recent Paris climate action commitments and the domino effect that may have on the international deal altogether. Then, four days later, the most-conservative judge on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, died suddenly. What DOES all this mean for the Clean Power Plan, global climate action and Pennsylvania? Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has affirmed that it will continue work on the state’s CPP, with a draft plan ready for public comment in May. Hope you will join us in TEKPark on Tuesday, Feb 23 for what promises to be a VERY interesting talk!

What does the Clean Power Plan mean for Pennsylvania? Understanding the Federal Clean Power Plan and PA’s Act 129

Rob Altenburg, Director, Energy Center at Penn Future

In August 2015, the president announced America’s Clean Power Plan, calling it the “single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.” And, within 12 hours from when the regulations were published in the Federal Register, it became the most “heavily litigated environmental regulation ever,” as twenty-nine states, along with many  utility companies and energy industry groups, work to block the policy, .

Wow. What is the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and why are so many acting so threatened? The CPP limits carbon dioxide emissions from electricity-generating power plants. These plants account for nearly 40% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. The CPP will reduce these emissions by 32% in 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It does this by setting different targets for each state and then letting state present a plan for meeting its target.

Pennsylvania is not one of the states challenging the CP. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working to formulate a state-level plan, choosing and defining a portfolio of strategies to meet the CPP goal for our state.

PA DEP Secretary Quigley, says “Cutting pollution from power plants, utilizing natural gas, supporting nuclear power plants, increasing the amount of renewable energy in Pennsylvania, and improving energy efficiency statewide all can fight climate change and be an economic driver. When our businesses upgrade power plants, install solar panels or improve energy efficiency, that’s a win for the environment and a win for Pennsylvania’s economy.”

Exactly what will—or can–this plan mean for energy efficiency and renewable energy in Pennsylvania? What does it mean for other energy sources—coal, nuclear, natural gas? When will we see PA’s plan? What is the timeline for rollout?

A recognized expert in climate change policy, Rob Altenburg, Director of the Energy Center at Penn Future will be speaking at our Feb 23 meeting to help us gain an accurate understanding of the CPP and what it means for Pennsylvania. Before joining Penn Future, Rob worked for the PA DEP as Air Quality Program Specialist and Executive Policy Specialist. In 2014, he was a contributing author to Evolution of U.S. Climate Policy, Global Climate Change and U.S. Law.

And, while we have him, we’ve also asked Rob to give us a review and update of PA’s 2008 Act 129, which requires that utility companies help consumers reduce their electricity consumption. This explains the rebates for appliances, lighting and windows; energy audits, and refrigerator recycling! What has been accomplished by this program so far? What are current goals?  What does this Act mean for consumers and small businesses?

The meeting is Tuesday, February 23 at 7:00 at TEKPark (9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031, between Kutztown and Allentown). Meetings are free and open to the public. After the meeting, please plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

For questions, contact Vera Cole, [masked].

Need a gift…but don’t want to buy stuff?

If you’d like to make a donation to MAREA or buy someone a membership as a gift, let us know and we’ll handle the acknowledgement thoughtfully, by email or paper mail, with your input. Drop us a note at [masked]. And remember, all new memberships get a free copy of the DVD, “Saving Sunshine”!

Free DVD with MAREA membership  While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of “Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. You can join at the meeting or anytime online. Thanks for your help. 


February 23, 2016
7:00 pm
Event Category:


TEK Park
9999 Hamilton Blvd.
Breinigsville, PA 18031 us


Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (eastern PA)