Report: Pa. keeps place as top electricity exporter, sends record amount of power in 2020 | StateImpact Pennsylvania Skip Navigation

Report: Pa. keeps place as top electricity exporter, sends record amount of power in 2020

  • Rachel McDevitt

Pennsylvania exported a record amount of electricity last year.

A new report from the state’s Independent Fiscal Office shows Pennsylvania sent more than 79 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to other states in 2020.

Analyst Jesse Busman said the previous high was 70.5 million MWh in 2019.

For context, the average household in the United States uses about 11 MWh of power each year, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The IFO analysis says the share of electricity generated from natural gas power plants in Pennsylvania grew from less than a third in 2016 to more than half of the state’s total generated electricity last year.

The growth in gas generation has helped the state maintain its rank as the country’s top energy exporter. EIA data shows Pennsylvania sent an annual average of 58 million MWh outside the state from 2013 to 2017.

The IFO report says the low price of gas has also contributed to a 4.6% decrease in residential electric prices in the last five years.

Pennsylvania’s electric generation has held steady over the last decade, while carbon dioxide emissions from power plants have fallen by 37%, according to the report.

Democratic Governor Tom Wolf is hoping to further cut emissions by pushing the state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program in which power plants must pay for each ton of carbon dioxide they emit.

Republicans in the legislature are opposed, in part because they say the move will jeopardize the commonwealth’s energy economy.

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