Snyder, House Democratic Policy Committee discuss Powering PA: 21st Century Energy Jobs at Wednesday hearing

HARRISBURG, Feb. 24 -- Pennsylvania’s diverse energy portfolio and creating job opportunities in the sector was the focus of today’s House Democratic Policy Committee hearing hosted by state Rep. Pam Snyder.

“While the energy environment has certainly changed over the last few decades, it’s imperative we learn as much as possible about future challenges - as well as future careers - in the energy sector,” said Snyder. “Today’s hearing was informative and gives our committee the information we need to continue to work with industry and energy officials to provide family-sustaining jobs, while also ensuring a safe and reliable energy supply for all Pennsylvanians.”

Zach Smith of CONSOL Energy highlighted what the company is doing to embrace new technologies and new markets to facilitate a sustainable future for the energy source that would sustain current mining jobs and promote new opportunities in downstream manufacturing.

Jackson Kusiak and Micah Gold-Markel of Solar States shared that Pennsylvania is lagging behind neighboring states and that investment in the diversified energy sector could generate hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs. Gold-Markel highlighted that diversity could improve power resiliency and protect Pennsylvania from facing outages as seen in Texas as a result of recent winter storms.

Joe Morinville of Energy Independent Solutions included compelling testimony on how solar agriculture could help farmers generate revenue and diversify energy generation in the state.

“Diversifying energy portfolios can create big job opportunities across the commonwealth. It would keep these opportunities in Pennsylvania. It’s clear our state is losing out to our neighbors and we have to craft policies that keep these careers in-state,” said Policy Committee Chairman Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie. “This cannot be done at the expense of the health and well-being of our citizens and solutions that create jobs should also keep that at the forefront.”

Jim Welty, vice president of government affairs at the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said this is not an either-or approach to energy generation. He highlighted efforts to collaborate with building trades throughout the state and believes policy changes would be helpful for ongoing development in the manufacturing base.

CS Energy, represented at today’s hearing with testimony from Matt Tripoli, is based in Allentown and was named the number two solar and storage installer in the country by Solar Power World. Tripoli stressed that the state has the resources to diversify the energy mix, encouraged support of legislation that would modestly increase percentages required through the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards that would return 10,000 renewable energy workers to full employment as part of COVID recovery and increase employment opportunities with in-state facility construction.

John Bane, director of government affairs at EQT Corp. highlighted how solar and gas partnerships in Pennsylvania could have statewide benefits.

Video and testimony from today’s hearing can be found at www.pahouse.com/policy.