Energy generation is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the Mid-Atlantic region. Coal-burning power plants provide over 50% of the electricity generated in the region and are responsible for millions of tons of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter released into the air. These emissions have devastating environmental and public health impacts. Clean Air Council promotes energy generation alternatives that are lower in emissions. First, the Council advocates for energy conservation believing that the cleanest kWh of electricity is the one that is not used. Second, the Council supports renewable sources of electricity that are emissions-free such as wind and solar. The Council accomplishes its energy work through public education, outreach to businesses, and by partnering with government agencies and lawmakers to provide incentives to conserve energy or to switch to renewable energy. With the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Council currently coordinates the Pennsylvania Wind Working Group, which works with a variety of government and business stakeholders to promote the Commonwealth's wind industry. Additionally, the Council actively promotes technologies, such as smart metering, that allow consumers to reduce their electricity usage.
Clean Air Council's energy work began in 1971 when it formed an Energy Action Committee to review proposed legislation concerning the siting of power plants. The Council was a litigant in and party to the eventual Global Settlements in the landmark Utility Restructuring Cases before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in 1998 and as a litigant in the PECO-UNICOM merger case in 2000. Council negotiators achieved a settlement, which, among other improvements, delivered significant funds to Community Energy Inc., a successful renewable energy firm. Today, the Council continues to advocate for fair treatment of environmental and efficiency programs by intervening in cases before Pennsylvania's Public Utilities Commission and Delaware's Public Service Commission. The Council led a pilot program in 1999 that allowed the first wind farm to be developed in Pennsylvania. As a result, the Council became a leading regional wind energy advocate. In 2001, the Council created the Pennsylvania Wind Campaign,a broad-based initiative, which over the years included a wind-purchase campaign for colleges and universities and a Pennsylvania Clean Energy Communities promotion with Smart Power. The Council, more recently, led a grassroots outreach in favor of establishing an offshore wind farm in Delaware.
- Promote energy conservation and efficiency measures
- Facilitate comprehensive energy audits in each of the Mid-Atlantic states
- Promote clean renewable energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, and other new non-polluting technologies
- Promote distributed energy as the preferred means of transmitting electricity to the consumer
- Develop a clean energy educational program that can be incorporated into school curriculums throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region