On Wednesday the Housed passed a bill to reestablish the State Energy Office, terminated in 1995. HB 287 would resurrect the office to preform vague duties like:
- Promote development of the state’s natural and renewable energy resources.
- Be in charge of energy policy development and implementation and heating assistance.
- Monitor energy prices and supplies and develop responses to emergencies.
- Encourage the development of a strategic heating oil and diesel fuel reserve in the mid-Atlantic region to counter price spikes and fuel shortages.
Since 1996, the year after the office was terminated, wholesale electricity prices have dropped 23% when controlling for the increased cost of natural resources. Looks like the energy supply and prices are doing just fine without the SEO. If the government wants to promote the state’s renewable energy resources they should refrain from placing more standards and regulations on energy companies . . . which leads me to my next point.
HB 80, recommitted to appropriations this week, extends the 2004 Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards and requires the capture and sequestration of carbon, and ultimately a carbon sequestration network in Pennsylvania. The bill increases the amount of expensive solar energy electricity companies must utilize from 8% to 20%. Currently the commonwealth derives less than 1% of its energy from solar power. This isn’t just a question of cost, it’s an issue of reliability.
Just what we need when the federal government is very close to passing energy regulations that could void AEPS.
Frankly, I don’t understand how legislators can claim to be so concerned about the rising cost of electricity and the expiration of rate caps, while simultaneously supporting further regulations to increase the price of electricity.