Today, legislation was introduced in Philadelphia City Council that would enable the City to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement with a renewable energy developer to buy solar power. If approved, a 70-Megawatt solar facility – the largest in Pennsylvania by sevenfold – will be built in Adams County providing 22 percent of the City government’s electricity. Through the contract, the City will purchase electricity for 20 years at a fixed rate that is competitive with conventional electricity prices.
The project is key to meeting the commitment to have 100 percent of the City’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030, as set in the Municipal Energy Master Plan: “Philadelphia wants to lead by example in procuring renewable energy, which will reduce regional carbon emissions to help meet our climate goals and create regional job growth in the renewable energy sector,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We thank Councilwoman Reynolds Brown, the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and Community Energy, Inc. for their partnership in creating this win-win deal for Philadelphians.”
So, what does this mean for Philadelphia?
The proposed ordinance authorizes the City to enter into a long-term agreement with the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) for the purchase of electricity. PEA will in turn enter into the 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Adams Solar LLC, a special purpose entity owned by developer Community Energy, Inc. By purchasing 22 percent of the City’s electricity supply at a low fixed price, the City is hedging against future price spikes, which is likely to save the City money in the long run.
“The City of Philadelphia has set a goal for all City buildings to be powered through renewable electricity by 2030. In order to achieve this goal, we must analyze the need, investigate the options, make a strategic plan, and then implement it. This Power Purchase Agreement is part of that plan and the result of a thorough procurement process evaluated by the Office of Sustainability and Philadelphia Energy Authority,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “Moving forward in a tangible matter with this goal symbolizes how we grow towards a greener and more sustainable Philadelphia.”
The project includes an Economic Opportunity Plan (EOP) that will use Best and Good Faith efforts to incorporate minority, women, and disabled-person owned businesses in the Adams Solar LLC project. Job fairs for sub-contractors and workforce will be held in both Philadelphia and Adams County.
As feasible, Community Energy’s efforts will be connected to existing solar training opportunities and specifically the recent efforts by the Philadelphia Energy Authority. “This project is among the largest of its kind, and demonstrates Philadelphia’s leadership on climate action,” said Emily Schapira, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority. “This will be a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with our high school solar training program, to help make sure our students are prepared to take on jobs in the new clean energy economy.”
The bill was introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, the Chair of City Council’s Committee on the Environment.