Activists make roadmap to more solar, showing PECO how to take the lead on climate change
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Yesterday, leaders from the Power Local Green Jobs (PLGJ) Campaign sent PECO a roadmap the company could take to transition away from electricity generated by fossil fuels. Since 2015, the PLGJ campaign has demanded that PECO create a plan to source 20% of its electricity from local solar projects in a way that prioritizes community-owned solar and the creation of thousands of new jobs. In response to PECO’s inaction, PLGJ members released a plan of their own, naming that PECO’s inadequate investment in renewable energy sources and local job creation has stalled any real action on climate change.
The PLGJ roadmap comes after PECO submitted its Default Service Program (DSP) to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission last week. PLGJ members argued that instead of using the DSP deadline as an opportunity to create a real plan for local solar investment, PECO chose to prioritize business as usual over the wellbeing of its customers.
The PLGJ roadmap maps out a path PECO could take to source 20% of its electricity from local solar projects by 2025 while prioritizing areas of high need, local workers, and justice. Noting the $1.25 million a day PECO takes from the region in profits, the PLGJ campaign asserts that PECO has the resources to drive local solar growth, meet community-driven energy plans, train workers from high unemployment communities with a pipeline for well-paying green jobs, and lower rates for all ratepayers.
“We offer our gratitude for the life-saving work and personal sacrifices of PECO’s frontline employees who are making sure that electricity stays safe and reliable through this pandemic. Unfortunately, when it comes to long term solutions, PECO executives continue to give excuses instead of a bold vision for climate justice and jobs in our region," said Lina Blount, Board Co-Chair of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT). "So as community members who are dedicated to justice, we decided to show PECO what a roadmap towards 20% local solar could look like for the Philadelphia region. PECO must catch up to the people's vision and protect the common good. Any negligible moves PECO has made toward local solar has been in response to the pressure of our campaign. We’re committed to keeping the pressure on PECO for the sake of our region."
“The communities who have been hit the hardest by fossil fuel extraction and the climate emergency are also the most vulnerable - low-income, black and brown, underemployed people,” said Tab Skervin, EQAT Campaign Director. “As the corporation responsible for local electricity and which profits hundreds of millions of dollars from our region, PECO must hold itself responsible for the wellbeing of its customers. Our communities deserve to see PECO make real investments in community resiliency - community resources staying in our neighborhoods and well-paying livable wage jobs so people can take care of themselves and their families. PECO leading a justice-centered solar transition in its territory is one of many steps to get us there.”
Power Local Green Jobs is a faith-based economic justice campaign led by Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) and Philadelphians Organized to Witness Empower and Rebuild (POWER). Begun in 2015, the campaign uses nonviolent direct action to pressure PECO, the largest utility in PA, to spur job growth through solar expansion in areas with high unemployment. Learn more at www.eqat.org and www.powerinterfaith.org.