Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vitali discusses renewable energy bills

State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today which focused on climate change and renewable energy legislation.

Vitali, who is minority chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, has plans to introduce two pieces of legislation related to renewable energy.

“We were reminded by Superstorm Sandy that climate change can exacerbate storms we’re experiencing,” he said. 

House Bill 100 would increase the amount of electricity that electric distribution companies like PECO must obtain from renewable sources from 8 percent by 2021 to 15 percent by 2023.

House Bill 200 would provide $25 million per year to the PA Sunshine solar program, which provides rebates to homeowners and small businesses that install solar systems. Vitali said the program is currently out of money. If his legislation gets approved, the program would be funded from the Marcellus Shale natural gas drilling impact fee that was enacted last year.

A panel of experts testified during the two-hour hearing that took place at Ludington Library in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion.

“We know the climate change we are experiencing now is caused by human activities, most significantly from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas – much of which is used to provide electric power,” said Christina E. Simeone, director of the PennFuture Energy Center for Enterprise and the Environment. “Pennsylvania is a major emitter of greenhouse gases in the United States and is also a significant producer of fossil fuels, some of which are exported for use in other states and countries.”

Here are more details on the hearing.

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