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Key 2024 Energy Trends Presented atSmart Energy Initiative’s 12th Annual Energy Briefing

The head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection joined key players in the region’s energy industry at the Smart Energy Initiative (SEI) of Southeastern PA’s 12th Annual Energy Briefing, a program of the Chester County Economic Development Council.

Thursday’s briefing provided business and community leaders with valuable insights regarding 2024 energy markets, policies and opportunities in Pennsylvania and at the national level. Among them:

  • How companies may finance their energy projects using funds and tax credits made available through the Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
  • True impacts of alternative energy on energy bills and how companies can use that knowledge to make strategic decisions.
  • Impacts of commercial-scale deployment of low-cost, clean hydrogen with the U.S. Department of Energy’s recently announced $7-billion launch of seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs), which may include the local MACH2 Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub project.

“Understanding energy trends and how to navigate new initiatives and incentives is critical for energy consultants, facilities managers, architects, engineers, developers and municipality managers,” said Jim Lauckner, Smart Energy Initiative Project Consultant, “but it’s also valuable for companies in other industries that may benefit from these programs.”

“The energy industry affects all facets of our life, and we are committed to supporting and strengthening it to help foster economic growth while preserving the quality of life in Chester County,” said CCEDC President and COO Michael Grigalonis.

Jessica Shirley, Interim Acting Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (which includes the State Energy Office) gave the keynote presentation on the extensive work the agency does to address legacy pollution and the future impacts of climate change in Pennsylvania, as well as on DEP’s efforts to identify and leverage federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act to advance transformative projects across the Commonwealth. Her key points included:

  • DEP’s aggressive work to plug leaking oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania using state and federal funds.
  • IIJA funding to accelerate the reclamation of Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine land.
  • Working with PENNVEST to improve water quality through investments in infrastructure.
  • Enhancements by DEP’s Bureau of Waste Management to post-consumer materials management programs.

David Ferro, CEO, Optics Consulting, LLC, educated the audience on “Your Utility Bill and Solutions,” detailing how alternative energy projects can affect a company’s bottom line, allowing for improved decision making. Takeaways from his presentation included:

  • Transitional solutions to achieving sustainability.
  • How energy efficiency and load management impact utility/energy invoices.
  • Anchor projects vs. onsite generation.

Attendees of the 12th Annual Energy Briefing included SEI’s network of energy professionals spanning 13 counties (Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, Delaware, Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin, York and, Cumberland), who gather regularly to promote the growth of the smart energy industry in the region. The briefing was sponsored by PECO and Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning.