Governor Corbett today unveiled his state energy plan. Speaking at the Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Earth Science Center in Lycoming County, he promoted the state’s vast energy reserves as a significant economic driver.
“Energy equals jobs in our gas and coal fields,” he said. “But it also equals jobs in our nuclear reactors and our growing renewable energy sectors.”
The 73-page plan is meant to be a guide for business decision makers to lay out the advantages of doing business in the Commonwealth. It outlines Pennsylvania’s historical role in energy production– from the site of the first commercial oil well in the U.S., to the state’s coal industry, and the recent surge in natural gas production from the Marcellus Shale.
The plan also repeats job claims which have been questioned by outside economists.
“Over 240,00 Pennsylvanians work in core and ancillary jobs associated with the oil and gas industry,” the authors write.
As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported, the state Department of Labor and Industry counts 30 related (or ancillary) industries in its Marcellus job numbers— capturing workers with no ties to oil and gas.
Corbett’s plan also weighs in on emerging efforts to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to foreign markets, “Pennsylvania’s ports are well situated to explore and capitalize on these opportunities,” the authors write.
Although natural gas has been slow to catch on as a transportation fuel, the energy plan promotes compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles as a way to lower harmful emissions. The plan makes no reference to climate change, other than to list the state’s 2008 Climate Change Act a “notable statute” driving energy and environmental policy.
The plan also assesses the role of renewable energy in Pennsylvania’s economy– touting the growth of wind and solar industries, along with the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, which requires electric companies to buy eight percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.