Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 addresses biogas, LCFS

By Erin Voegele | September 29, 2021

The implementation of a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and expanded production and use of biogas are among the strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions discussed in the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Sept. 22 released the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021, which details a variety of actions that can help the state meet its 2025 and 2050 GHG reduction goals. The state in 2019 set the goal to achieve a 26 percent reduction in GHG emission by 2025 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050, when compared to a 2005 baseline.

The production and use of biogas features prominently in the 2021 action plan, which notes the state can produce biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) from a variety of sources, including animal manure, food waste, landfill gas, water resources recovery facilities, agricultural residue, energy crops, forest residue and municipal solid waste.

The action plan also discusses the positive economic impacts of increased production and use of RNG. The average annual gross state product (GSP) and disposable personal income (DPI) impacts are expected to be $173.74 million and $163.11 million, respectively, according to the action plan. The RNG industry is also expected to foster employment for the construction of pipeline interconnections, resulting in the annual employment of 29,880 jobs.

Regarding the potential for an LCFS, the action plan indicates that such a program could expand on the ethanol and biodiesel requirements already in place in Pennsylvania and include zero-emissions vehicles.

The action plan estimates that an LCFS could achieve emissions reductions of 683,365 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) in 2025, and 1.58 million MTCO2e by 2040. The action plan projects the overall macroeconomic impacts of an LCFS would be negative, with the average annual GSP and DPI impacts expected to be -$483.60 million and -$135.33 million, respectively. The plan also forecasts that an LCFS would result in an average annual employment impact of -2,514 jobs. Those negative impacts, however, are not true of all fuels and technologies completing under an LCFS program. Increased production and use of renewable fuels and biofuels would be expected to be associated with lower energy costs and increased employment opportunities, if produced locally, according to the action plan.

A full copy of the Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 can be downloaded from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection website