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Introductory Survey on Renewable Energy in West Chester

At the January, 19, 2021 Introduction to the West Chester Area Clean Energy Future public meeting 5 questions were shared with the attendees. Here is a review of the questions, how the 40+ participants responded, and the background info behind the “right” answers.

1. What is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Pennsylvania? 74% said “Burning of Fossil Fuels”. 20% said “Agricultural Processes” and 6% said “Fugitive Methane Leaks”. Nobody picked “Wastewater Treatment Plants”.

According to the PA DEP 2020 GHG Inventory Report, 91% comes from burning fossil fuels to heat our homes, generate electricity and to power our cars. Just 3% comes from the agriculture sector.

By the way, globally, according to Our World In Data, 73% of GHG emissions comes from burning fossil fuels for energy. 18% from Agriculture.

2. The American Lung Association has given Chester County a grade of F for Ozone (aka smog) pollution. What is the biggest source of ozone in our area?

The biggest source of ozone in Chester County is tailpipe emissions. And three quarters of the participants picked Tailpipe Emissions as their answer. Although things are getting better, as this chart from The State Of The Air Report from the American Lung Association indicates?

3. Clean renewable energy (wind, solar, water) can have environmental benefits, economic benefits as well as energy security benefits. How many Pennsylvania jobs are in the clean energy sector (end of 2019)? (FYI – there are 46,000 fossil fuel related jobs)

This question fooled most of the participants. The choices were 10,000, 50,000 and 93,900. Most people chose 10,000 or 50,000. Only 19% chose the correct answer - 93,900 jobs in the clean energy jobs sector. Twice as many as in the fossil fuel sector, according to the PA 2020 Clean Jobs Report by KEEA.

The report states: “In 2019, clean energy jobs in Pennsylvania increased for the seventh straight year since E2 began releasing annual clean energy jobs reports in the state, growing to nearly 94,000 workers statewide before the effects of the coronavirus outbreak impacted the nation’s economy. A regional and national leader in clean energy jobs, Pennsylvania ranked just outside the top ten (11th) for total clean energy jobs among all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the third year in a row. … Growth in recent years has been driven primarily by energy efficiency, solar energy, and grid modernization—high growth areas for the future that will be important as the state’s economy faces its toughest test as the nation reels and rebuilds after the impact of COVID-19 economic shutdowns.”

4. In the West Chester area, our largest source of energy (all uses) is gasoline at 36%. What do you think is the second largest source (at 31%)?

The most popular answer to this question was Heating Oil and then Fracked Gas. The correct answer is Fracked Gas, which we used to heat our homes and hot water, and generate a good portion of the electricity that PECO delivers. See this chart prepared by Cadmus for the West Chester Area at the Clean Energy Future Profiles Page.

5. Do you plan to take significant steps to REDUCE your energy consumption, ELECTRIFY your car or home appliances or TRANSITION to clean renewable energy sources in 2021?

A little more than half of the participants answered YES to this question. While we will accept “I’d like to learn more” as a passing answer, YES is the best answer. Hope everyone will stay connected to the West Chester Area Clean Energy Future for more information on how to make informed choices about the energy we purchase.

Look for the Residential Module to go live this spring.

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