Fifteen years ago, Pennsylvania adopted its alternative energy portfolio standard (AEPS), setting modest goals for investor-owned utilities and retail suppliers to include renewable power sources in their power supply mix. The goals are so modest—just 18% renewables by 2020 to 2021 (compared, for example, to neighboring Maryland’s goal of 25% by 2020 and New Jersey’s goal of 50% by 2030)—that it seems Pennsylvania utilities may have little trouble meeting the AEPS standard.

But in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, consumer demand for renewable power—along with a recent uptick in crude oil prices, abundant natural gas and changing energy market dynamics—is driving a profound change in the nation’s electricity mix, with April marking the first time that the country derived more of its electric power from renewables than coal.

For now, hydropower and wind account for most of the nation’s renewables, with utility-scale solar in a distant third place. Biomass-derived electricity lags behind solar, but certain regulatory and marketplace changes may make it a bigger player in the future.

Read more from my article “Is Biomass-Derived Electricity Coming Soon to a Town Near You?,” 42 Pa. L. Weekly 21 (May 21, 2019) by clicking here.