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What is Renewable Energy?

Clean energy resources are critical to improving air quality in Pennsylvania, protecting the health of residents, helping to reduce Pennsylvania’s carbon footprint, and addressing climate change, the most critical environmental threat confronting the world. Renewable, clean energy resources support good-paying jobs and present ever-growing economic development opportunities. Renewable energy provides many benefits:

A light bulb, wind turbines, solar panels, and a woman outside breathing

  • Environmental – Lower air pollution including fewer oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, particulate matter, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and less impact on wildlife and natural lands from mining and transportation of fossil fuels.
  • Economic – Provides a strong boost to our economy in the form of new jobs for manufacturing, installation, and operations
  • Energy security and independence – Improves the resiliency of communities during energy emergencies.
  • Health - Reduced emissions decrease ozone production and lowers particulate matter, both triggers for asthma and other respiratory and cardiovascular concerns. Less transportation of fuels reduces both emissions and eliminates risk of drinking water supply contamination from spills.

Renewable energy is generated from resources that are not depletable, but naturally replenished, such as solar, wind, geothermal/geoexchange, biomass (i.e. wood waste), and water (hydroelectric). These resources can provide energy for air and water heating and cooling, electricity and transportation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2020, 4% of Pennsylvania’s electricity was generated from renewable energy sources. Part of the Governor's GreenGov initiative, Pennsylvania PULSE (Project to Utilize Light and Solar Energy) will go into operation on January 1, 2023 and result in fifty percent of the electricity for Commonwealth-owned buildings being generated by seven new solar energy arrays, totaling 191-megawatts to be built around the state. The project is the largest solar commitment by any government in the U.S. announced to date.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission together with DEP’s Energy Program’s Office oversees a monetary credit program called the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS). More information can be found at this website on how to register your solar installations. See the latest AEPS report here.

Are you interested in shopping for renewable electricity? The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission offers the PAPowerSwitch program. Depending where you live, you may be able to save money by switching your electric supplier, the company that generates your electricity. Also, you have the option to switch to a green/renewable energy supplier.

If you are looking for funding information for renewables, this database is a comprehensive source especially for federal programs.


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