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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Report examines private-equity power plants, growing risks for communities

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Friday, December 29, 2023   

Pennsylvania communities could be hit hard by rising financial uncertainty in the country's biggest electricity market, according to three new reports.

PJM Interconnection includes Pennsylvania and a dozen other states.

According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, private equity and private capital-owned power plants in the PJM face financial struggles that have recently resulted in shutdowns.

This Report's Author and Institute Energy Analyst Dennis Wamsted said it reveals that private-equity generators have the ability to close a plant on short notice, leaving communities that are not prepared to deal with the economic fallout from job and tax loss.

"Now is the time for local politicians, county politician, state politicians to be planning for this transition," said Wamsted. "There are opportunities out there. There is a great deal of federal money now available for transition activities, both for workforce transition and for rebuilding existing facilities."

Wamsted offered an example of a coal-fired power plant in Homer City, Pennsylvania, which recently closed because of ongoing financial trouble.

He said the Conemaugh and Keystone plants - which are close to Homer City - are facing a serious five-year deadline for some environmental compliance issues for pollution.

Wamsted said it's important for the state to acknowledge and figure out once plants close what's the best way to go about reusing and replacing those facilities.

He added that decisions have to be made at the local level with community input and collaborating with help from the plant owners.

"We as a locality can propose to the Department of Energy that we reused this as a solar facility and put in a battery storage unit," said Wamsted. "And it may not end up with exactly the same number of jobs, but may end up with different skilled jobs."

Wamsted's noted that together, the three reports sound the alarm on escalating risks for fossil-fuel plant owners, investors and the latest on communities.

He acknowledged that Pennsylvania's faces transitional challenges but highlighted that available funding through the Inflation Reduction Act and support is contingent on proactive planning.



Disclosure: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Energy Policy, Environment, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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