Pennsylvania joins US Climate Alliance

01 May 2019

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has joined the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Exelon, which owns the Limerick, Peach Bottom and Three Mile Island nuclear power plants in the state, welcomed the move.

Governor Tom Wolf (Image: Governor Wolf’s Office)

Pennsylvania is home to nine nuclear reactors at five power plants - Beaver Valley, Limerick, Peach Bottom, Susquehanna and Three Mile Island - which together produce nearly 40% of the state's total electricity generation and just over 93% of its zero-emissions energy. FirstEnergy owns Beaver Valley and Talen Energy owns Susquehanna.

Led by state governments, the alliance facilitates state cooperation to accelerate the deployment of climate solutions to help each state achieve its climate goals. In January, Wolf signed an executive order to set Pennsylvania's first state-wide climate goals, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by 2025 and 80% by 2050, compared with 2005 levels.

Wolf was joined for the announcement of Pennsylvania's membership on 29 April by Representative Steve McCarter, Senator Steve Santarsiero, Senator Jay Costa, Representative Frank Dermody, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn, and members of the Climate.

"We've seen lately even more evidence that there is a need for leadership on climate change," Wolf said. "For that reason, Pennsylvania will join the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 24 governors, representing over half of the US population to work to implement policies that uphold the commitments our nation made in the Paris Agreement. With the federal government turning its back on science and the environment, I am proud to join with states that are leading the way towards new climate solutions, and taking concrete actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. States like Pennsylvania must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our communities, economies, infrastructures, and environments from the risks of a warming climate."

Rep. McCarter said the Pennsylvania Climate Caucus "stands ready to help in any way to advance policy and legislation to meet what is surely humanity’s greatest challenge here in Pennsylvania and across the globe".

Exelon, which owns more than 19,000 megawatts of nuclear power capacity across the USA, said: "As the nation's largest producer of emissions-free energy, Exelon commends Governor Wolf's decision to join the US Climate Alliance and set ambitious carbon reduction goals for the Commonwealth. We agree that any plan to address climate change must include the preservation of Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants, which keep electricity costs stable for consumers and provide 93% of the state’s zero-carbon electricity. In fact, Three Mile Island Unit 1 alone produces more zero-carbon energy than all renewables in Pennsylvania."

Earlier this month, Exelon Generation announced it had filed its detailed plan for decommissioning unit 1 at Three Mile Island, which is scheduled for closure at the end of September. FirstEnergy has also announced plans to prematurely retire the two-unit Beaver Valley plant, in 2021.

Legislation updating the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act to recognise nuclear energy for its significant contribution to the state's zero-carbon energy production was introduced in the state's legislature in March.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News