‘Landmark’ climate law turns up the power on Pa. solar, wind, hydropower energy projects

Today’s story by Laura Legere in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette trumpets “Green energy is bracing for growth.”

Solar, wind, hydropower and energy storage industries are major beneficiaries of the Inflation Reduction Act, which analysts expect will cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 from 2005 levels. Paul Jacob, CEO of Boston-based Rye Development, which has a pipeline of 10 hydropower projects scheduled to be built on existing locks and dams on the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela rivers, said one of the most important aspects of the bill is its far horizon.

Reporter Laura Legere | Landmark’ climate law turns up the power on Pa. solar, wind, hydropower energy projects

From the Rye Development website:

Pennsylvania & West Virginia

Southwestern Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to play a critical role in the clean energy transition – leveraging its historic infrastructure and the harnessing the power of its abundant waterways to lead in the development of low impact, renewable, hydro power. Nearly a decade of Federal and State permitting and development are culminating in the construction of these three projects – breaking ground in early 2023.

Low Impact Hydropower in Pennsylvania

As the U.S. moves toward a fully decarbonized electric grid, there is a growing need to utilize all carbon-free assets available. The decarbonization of the grid will look different, based on geographic and resource advantages. Pennsylvania, one of the largest electric-generating states in the U.S. has a unique opportunity to leverage all the resources at its disposal to lead the country in a truly diversified approach to deep decarbonization.

Currently in the US, there are roughly 90,000 dams. Only about 3% of these structures are used to generate power. Across much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, dams were constructed decades ago for navigation and flood control. These infrastructure assets are in a new moment in their long history – serving as a cost-competitive renewable energy backbone for the future decarbonized grid. Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh region are at the forefront of the new low-impact hydropower movement across the country.

Source: https://pittsburghhydro.com/about.html

Tax credit bonuses in the law reward project developers for paying prevailing wages, operating apprenticeship programs and using domestic materials — all signals that the transition to a clean energy economy will require making more of its components in the U.S. with workers that are paid livable wages. The White House is projecting 610,000 additional Pennsylvania households will install rooftop solar as a result of a tax credit covering 30% of the installation costs that was increased and extended by the law. That’s a massive leap from the fewer than 40,000 homes and businesses that have solar systems in Pennsylvania today.

Reporter Laura Legere | Landmark’ climate law turns up the power on Pa. solar, wind, hydropower energy projects

“Pennsylvania needs to hear that endorsement that solar on brownfields and abandoned mine land is a viable option. If we want to compete on the world stage for solar, we need to analyze where those manufacturing opportunities exist.”

Matt Mahoney, director of government affairs for the Pennsylvania Solar Center

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