A state mandate that requires electric providers to use more renewable and alternative sources in coming years will drive up the cost of electricity for all Pennsylvanians by $16 billion over the next eight years, according to a new study.
Worse, the costs will fall hardest on the state’s lowest income residents, making the alternative fuel requirement similar to a regressive tax.
The state mandates were created by the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act of 2004, which requires utility companies to include increasing amounts of alternative energy in their overall production totals. The law requires that 18 percent of all energy sales in Pennsylvania come from alternative sources by 2021.
It requires that 8 percent come from renewable energy resources – like solar and wind – and another 10 percent come from alternative energy sources, including waste coal and large-scale hydroelectric power.
The problem for consumers is that those types of energy are more expensive to produce than such traditional types as natural gas or coal.