ICYMI: New Op-Ed from Leading Energy Provider Highlights “Why Gov. Shapiro’s Energy Plan Puts Pennsylvania on the ‘Renewable’ Map”

“Last week, Gov. Josh Shapiro launched an energy plan bringing to bear novel legislation that, if enacted, empowers the energy industry to make rapid investments in clean energy infrastructure.”

Harrisburg, PA – Last week in PennLiveEast Region President of Cordia Mark Schneider praised Governor Josh Shapiro’s new energy plan that would create 15,000 energy jobs, lower utility bills for Pennsylvanians, and take action to address carbon pollution.

After unveiling his plan, Governor Shapiro visited Cordia Energy’s Harrisburg location and joined Mark Schneider and other industry leaders to highlight how his plan will create clean, reliable, and affordable energy to build on the Commonwealth’s legacy as a national energy leader, protect and create energy jobs, address climate change, and lower prices for Pennsylvanians.

Since the announcement, industry, labor, government, and environmental leaders have praised the Governor’s commitment to building on Pennsylvania’s long legacy of energy leadership by protecting and creating energy jobs and lowering electricity costs for consumers.

Read Mark Schneider’s new op-ed about the Governor’s energy plan in PennLive here and below:

PennLive [OPINION]: Why Gov. Shapiro’s energy plan puts Pennsylvania on the “renewable” map

By Mark Schneider, 3/22/24

No longer is it quixotic to say that the state where the world’s first oil well was drilled can be a global leader in sustainability. Last week, Gov. Josh Shapiro launched an energy plan bringing to bear novel legislation that, if enacted, empowers the energy industry to make rapid investments in clean energy infrastructure. Communities and legislators must rally behind this plan that galvanizes historic Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds. These federal dollars will go to the states that are organized and deliberate.

Let Pennsylvania be that state; let us win.

As the largest district energy provider in Pennsylvania, operating the complex system that heats 120 Harrisburg buildings, including the Capitol Building, Cordia is ramping up operations in advance of IRA-related sustainability investments. When the governor visited our Energy Center Harrisburg, which has been in existence for 134 years, he pointed out that it was once fueled by coal, then oil, then natural gas – but those transitions took decades. The next clean energy transition catapulted by technology innovations and unprecedented federal investments will, in comparison, occur at lightning speed. But not all states will be ready to get on this high-speed-train.

Cordia operates in 11 states and we’ve created an internal working group to analyze how best to prioritize and deploy IRA funds. State governments that champion renewable energy investments policies that cut consumer costs and increase grid reliability matches Cordia’s strategic approach. In addition, states that streamline access and deployment of IRA funds will naturally drive our infrastructure investment pipeline.

Gov. Shapiro’s Pennsylvania Climate Emissions Reduction Act (PACER) puts the commonwealth at a distinct competitive advantage by streamlining our ability to access clean energy funding for renewable projects, like geothermal deployment. If passed, the investment will be staggering: $5.1 billion to replace old modernized infrastructure and spur new sustainability technology all while saving ratepayers $252 million in the first five years.

Already, Cordia is meeting this challenge by embarking on a geothermal feasibility study that will tell us if we can transition Harrisburg’s system from natural gas to geothermal energy as the power source to heat our steam systems. A similar upgrade in a district energy system at Princeton University made a huge dent in their carbon neutrality goals. If the feasibility study goes how we hope — Harrisburg buildings could become among the greenest in the nation. But our ability to hit “go” on this project – and create hundreds of good-paying jobs in the process – is largely reliant on the enactment of the PACER act, enabling our access to upgrade and optimize massive steam distribution systems.

The truth is that companies like Cordia always make capital reinvestments including in renewable assets, but high price tags means that these upgrades happen over long time horizons, protecting ratepayers. That’s why the governor’s initiative to “cap and invest” is like rocket fuel for clean energy investments: the speed in which these investments can happen is unprecedented because the ability to access federal funding is here.

The result will be billions of infrastructure investments in Pennsylvania — this means more jobs, and more reliable, clean, low-cost heating and cooling for our customers. For Pennsylvanians to have true control over their energy future, public-private partnerships that cut the red tape, providing pathways to get federal funding into our communities are crucial. Cordia is proud to do its part to deliver on Governor Shapiro’s goals of protecting and creating energy jobs, lowering energy costs for Pennsylvanians, and ensuring Pennsylvania’s energy independence for the long term.

Mark Schneider is East Region President of Cordia.

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