EQAT forces PECO to take first step towards solar jobs
Eight months ago Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) launched a campaign demanding PECO invest in local solar jobs. A dozen nonviolent actions later and PECO took its first steps today, announcing the creation of a Solar Stakeholder Collaborative.
EQAT’s campaign demand is simple: buy solar from North Philly. If it did, PECO would bring needed jobs to that economically abandoned area. Solar provides both clean energy and is one of the best jobs producers of energy investments.
In its Earth Day press release, PECO explained that the collaborative would start in the summer to “work together to advance local solar energy with invited participation from customer advocates, public officials, competitive electric suppliers, solar supporters, and other interested partners.” EQAT is one of the invited stakeholders.
PECO is far behind the curve, purchasing merely 0.25 percent of its energy portfolio from solar sources. PECO noted it lags behind its sister company, Constellation, in solar installation. PECO currently only purchases 12.5 MW per year (most of which is not local), compared to the 200 MW capacity installed by Constellation.
“The company could have announced this 8 months ago when we first met with executives,” said Ingrid Lakey, a volunteer activist with the Quaker-based direct action group. “The fact it’s doing this just 10 days before our May 2nd deadline shows that PECO is reacting to us. Our strategy is winning: direct action and community pressure can help us rebuild our community, bring jobs to our neighborhoods, and fight climate change.”
EQAT has said it will celebrate this first step, and continue pressuring the company.
“Nobody in North Philly is getting hired as a result of this decision today,” said Eileen Flanagan, volunteer board member of EQAT. “PECO’s announcement only matters when hundreds of Philly workers are getting good incomes installing climate-saving solar panels.”
Earth Quaker Action Team includes Quakers and people of diverse beliefs using nonviolent direct action to build a just and sustainable economy. EQAT (pronounced “equate”) won its first campaign in 2015, forcing PNC Bank to halt millions of dollars of financing to companies engaged in mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Following that success, EQAT’s new campaign is pressuring local utility PECO to Power Local Green Jobs through solar expansion, particularly in North Philadelphia. www.eqat.org