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November 11, 2021

Pennsylvania lagging behind N.J. in green energy growth, report shows

PennEnvironment released their 'Renewables on the Rise' report, showing rapid increases in renewable energy

While climate change is a hot button issue across the globe, it is particularly important within the United States.

The country is still working towards catching up with the rest of the world on climate policy and initiatives to aid in the fight for carbon neutrality, invest in green energy, and raise awareness about what can sometimes look like a grim future.

Between the climate policies proposed through President Biden's Build Back Better plan, to discussions on the state of climate change and carbon emissions at this year's COP26 summit, leaders are actively increasing awareness of problems that can result from a lack of action on climate issues.

PennEnvironment recently released a report exploring the rapid growth of renewable, green energy technologies around the country over the last decade. 

"Renewables on the Rise," released Tuesday, ranks New Jersey ninth in the nation for solar energy growth from 2011 to 2020. The Garden State also ranks 6th in the country for electric vehicle sales, with nearly 50,000 electric or plug-in hybrid cars sold through the end of 2020. 

The report notes that every segment of the country has seen rapid increases in renewable energy growth over the past 10 years, through a combination of green energy policies and increased awareness of the impacts climate change can have on both current and future generations of Americans.

Though New Jersey is consistently ranked high throughout the report, Pennsylvania appears to be lagging behind, with less overall growth in solar and wind energies.

Pennsylvania has seen some significant increases alongside the rest of the country, including selling over 30,000 electric cars through the end of 2020. Important increases in solar and wind energy have been made as well, but the state still lags behind the national, 23-fold increase over the last decade. 

The 50-page report looked at six different advanced energy technologies to showcase growth across every part of the country. These include solar and wind energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, battery storage, and heat pumps.

In each of these sectors, rapid development across the country has shown the potential for increased growth of energy sources over the next few decades.

New Jersey's Clean Energy Program has implemented several programs aimed at supporting renewable energy growth. A 2018 pilot program implemented by Governor Murphy allows for households to opt into solar energy systems and receive a credit on their utility bill. 

The Garden State has large-scale goals, too. The state aims to build enough offshore wind energy to power 1.5 million homes by 2035. Though largely supported by Jersey residents, NJ Spotlight News reported that critics are concerned about the potential cost burden. 

Pennsylvania's Solar Future Plan was established in 2018, aiming to transition to 10% in-state solar energy usage by 2030. And while the state's Department of Environmental Protection notes that Pennsylvania does not currently have financial-based incentives for residents converting to solar energy, the Philadelphia Energy Authority provides financial assistance for low to moderate income households looking to implement solar energy. 

PennEnvironment's report includes some guidelines for federal, local, and state governments who want to continue to increase renewable energy growth, including implementing tax credits or incentives for residents who switch to renewable energy, and supporting the implementation of green energy sources into power grids.