If you follow the Pennsylvania Turnpike starting near Pittsburgh and head east toward Philadelphia, you can see nearly every major form of energy from your car: coal, wind, nuclear, solar, and oil. These sites tell a vivid tale about energy in Pennsylvania: its past, its present…and a future that might be shaped by new federal rules on climate change. StateImpact Pennsylvania examines each of these energy sectors.
Let’s take a 300 mile trip together along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Going west to east, you’ll see sights like coal piles, windmills, cooling towers, solar panels, and refineries. These tell a vivid tale about energy in Pennsylvania: its past, its present… and a future that might be shaped by new federal rules on climate change. StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Marie Cusick begins our Turnpike trip with a look at… coal.
Until recently, the wind industry had been growing in Pennsylvania. As the federal government pushes new rules to cut carbon emissions, carbon-free wind offers an alternative source of energy. In the second of five parts, StateImpact Pennsylvania’s Katie Colaneri looks at a relatively new industry that… until recently… has been growing in Pennsylvania: wind.
In the third installment of the five-part series, Marie Cusick visits Three Mile Island in central Pennsylvania- the plant has a conspicuous place near the Turnpike and in the history of the world's nuclear power industry.
A few years ago, solar power seemed like a good investment in Pennsylvania. But the market has changed. State energy credits have dropped dramatically in price, and a solar grant program dried up. Still, the industry is growing. In the fourth installment, we tour a solar farm in Berks County.
Most of the raw crude that comes to Philadelphia arrives by train from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota. In the final installation of the five-part series, Katie Colaneri takes us to one of the country’s oldest oil refineries in Philadelphia that has gotten new life from the shale boom.
Public enemy number one in climate-warming greenhouse gases is usually thought to be carbon dioxide. Another significant climate-changing gas is methane, the kind that comes from shale drilling. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says the U.S. can cut methane emissions in half in just a few years.
Burning coal is the biggest source of CO2 on the planet. But coal is also a huge source of electric power, and it’s big business in Pennsylvania, supported by Governor Corbett. With global warming becoming an ever bigger problem—is there be a way for the coal industry to go on a low-carbon diet?
The coal industry and conservative politicians say new carbon rules will kill King Coal, and they warn that without it, extreme weather events, like last year’s polar vortex, could leave people in the cold and dark. How well does the polar vortex argument hold up?