For Immediate Release
March 11, 2019
HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding House Bill 11 – legislation that would alter Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act to require electric utilities purchase 50 percent of customer demand from nuclear energy, in addition to the existing 18 percent mandate for other types of energy resources:
“This legislation – which would result in Pennsylvania immediately having the most coercive energy mandate law in the country – stands in stark contrast with our organization’s energy policy, which provides for supporting competitive markets and opposing government actions that force, subsidize or mandate energy choices. This policy was established by the PA Chamber’s board of directors, whose membership ranges across various commercial and industrial sectors. Not only would this legislation impose greater costs on Pennsylvania residents and businesses, it would also stifle private sector innovation in the energy sector and threaten the Commonwealth’s role as leader in energy production and manufacturing. Our organization opposed the original Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act out of concerns it would harm ratepayers and distort the market – which it very clearly has. As such, we must voice our opposition to this new proposal.
“By walling off nearly 70 percent of the market, Pennsylvania is in jeopardy of losing its position as the largest net exporter of power in the country. It is quite possible that the Commonwealth would end up importing power from other states with higher emissions footprints, in essence negating any environmental benefits associated with preserving one at-risk nuclear facility. Imposing further mandates on utilities and ratepayers are sure to increase costs – with some estimating that families and businesses would be forced to pay more than $1 billion a year in higher energy costs. In particular, it is estimated that Pennsylvania manufacturers in a variety of industries will see higher energy costs up to several hundred thousand dollars per year. The business climate in Pennsylvania is already challenging enough; the legislature should seriously consider whether it wants to layer another substantial cost to this sector and hamper our state’s ability to retain existing and attract new investment.
“Additionally, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently directed PJM to adjust its electricity auction rules out of concern for the impact of state policies distorting the market. The General Assembly must be aware of the possibility that FERC will soon direct the grid operator to deduct the value of these state subsidies out of market payments, leaving the state in an even worse position – significantly higher energy costs with no tangible benefit. To be clear, we continue to support PJM’s proposed amendments to its energy market reserve pricing rules, which address some of the challenges identified by generators over the past several years.
“Pennsylvania’s competitive energy market has helped to lower energy costs, while at the same time reducing emissions throughout the Commonwealth. Rather than imposing additional mandates that will stifle innovation in the energy space, we are urging lawmakers to support thoughtful, durable and rational energy policy that focuses on a nationwide approach that relies on competitive markets and private sector innovation to help ensure the country’s energy security while at the same time reducing carbon and other pollutant emissions.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.