Time to Take Advantage of this “Small Window of Opportunity” in Pa.

With Pennsylvania on the cusp to be a key energy market in the U.S., a recent op-ed in Penn Live by Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and Dennis Martire, vice-president and manager of the Mid-Atlantic Division of Laborer’s International Union of North America, stressed that “it’s time to get creative on energy.”

The shale revolution in Pennsylvania has impacted energy connectivity and economic growth across Pennsylvania. As demand increases for the energy to run local businesses, vehicles and homes, so too does the demand for adequate capacity of the energy industry to provide reliable and affordable generation power. However, this capacity is underscored by pipeline connectivity and cannot run at full potential without cohesive development plans to expand this infrastructure and bring energy generation resources to respective end users.

Barr and Martire assert that there are currently “thousands of skilled trade union jobs that are necessary to build other critical infrastructure projects, including Penn East, Atlantic Sunrise, Mariner East 2 and the Atlantic Coast pipelines. All of these projects are designed to establish Pennsylvania as a key energy market in the country, and position the Commonwealth for a manufacturing renaissance.”

However, the fickle regulatory and tax climate in Pennsylvania hinders such projects from reaching their full potential – to the detriment of project success and of Pennsylvanian energy connectivity. According to the op-ed, the hindrances have effectively made Pennsylvania lose “its competitive advantage as some companies have diverted their capital investments to other states.”

This trend was spelled out by a recent IHS Markit study that explained, “Pennsylvania is using a limited portion of the available Marcellus and Utica Shale natural gas and NGL in-state. As such, it must begin taking immediate steps to support a long-term strategy that will maximize in-state-economic development – as other U.S. states and regions are also competing for the resource.”

Amidst competing deliberations, Barr and Martire make clear that “there is a small window of opportunity to get the energy equation right for Pennsylvania before additional opportunities are lost to competing states. While we can celebrate the Commonwealth landing the Shell petrochemical facility in western Pennsylvania, we lost Braskem America’s $500 million investment to Texas.”

This “small window” portends real change for Pennsylvanian competitiveness and energy connectivity – and there could not be a better time to capitalize on these opportunities.