Earl Baker: Opportunities on the Horizon for Pennsylvania’s Energy Sector

In a recent op-ed that ran in PennLive, Earl Baker, former member of the Pennsylvania state senate and three time Chester County Commissioner, outlines a few opportunities on the horizon for the Keystone state’s energy sector. Newly elected Governor Josh Shapiro has the chance to shape his state’s energy policy during his first few months in office, and it remains to be seen how hard a line he will take on the sector.

On the campaign trail, Shapiro supported more stringent regulations on a sector already hamstrung by red tape. However, he is undoubtedly aware of all the critical role natural gas plays in Pennsylvania’s economy and the nation’s energy security. With that in mind, he will have to balance both environmentalists and energy producers in the state.

Earl Baker offers two potential opportunities Shapiro should pursue. First, Pennsylvania should pursue a hydrogen hub. The bipartisan infrastructure law (BIL) contained $8 billion in funding to establish six to ten clean hydrogen hubs across the country.

Baker urges Shapiro to make this a top priority, writing, “Gov. Tom Wolf made it a top priority of his to position Pennsylvania for this funding, signing House Bill 1059 into law in November, which provides significant tax credits to an entity that gets approved for a regional hydrogen hub.” In the law, two of those hubs are intended to be in areas with the “greatest natural gas resources,” a resource abundant to Pennsylvania. Utilizing natural gas for a blue hydrogen hub is a great opportunity for the state.

Additionally, Shapiro should consider a liquid natural gas export facility in Southeast Pennsylvania. Baker writes, “as one of the largest producers in the country, Pennsylvania has an obligation to facilitate our nation’s energy security and can also support that of our European allies…Gov. Shapiro should recognize the opportunity the state has to become a global leader in LNG exports”

These two opportunities would benefit Pennsylvania’s economy, utilize its abundant gas reserves, and center the state as a leader in LNG exports. Supporting these projects should be at the top of Governor Shapiro’s priority list.

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