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Advocates Call for Clean Energy, Green Jobs

Organizers plan to expand the Green Jobs Campaign to five counties. (Kaytee Ray-Riek/EQUAT)
Organizers plan to expand the Green Jobs Campaign to five counties. (Kaytee Ray-Riek/EQUAT)
May 12, 2016

PHILADELPHIA - Religious leaders, youths and seniors rallied outside PECO headquarters in Philadelphia on Tuesday, singing gospel and labor songs. They called on the utility to create green jobs in low-income neighborhoods by committing to getting 20 percent of its electricity from rooftop solar by 2025.

Greg Holt, communications assistant with the Earth Quaker Action Team, said if the utility committed to getting twenty percent of its electricity from rooftop solar panels by 2025, it would do more than provide clean energy in neighborhoods such as North Philadelphia where unemployment is high.

"It could generate up to 10,000 jobs or more, and that's just in construction and installation," he said. "That doesn't count special services, maintenance and operations."

The Power Local Green Jobs Campaign was begun last year and PECO recently announced plans for a stakeholder collaborative to advance local solar.

According to Holt, Pennsylvania is lagging behind other states in its moves toward renewable energy.

"There's much more ambitious targets in Maryland, New Jersey and New York," he added. "New York is trying to reach 50 percent renewable by 2030, so Pennsylvania really needs to step up, and we need PECO to step up in our region."

Tuesday's action was part of BreakFree, a global campaign of mass actions targeting fossil-fuel projects and promoting renewable energy sources.

Holt believes investing in local solar would be a win-win for both the utility and the community.

"Solar is a very reliable, very stable investment," he said. "It has no fluctuations like other energy markets, and also provides the most jobs and provides stable, cheap energy."

Advocates plan to expand their green-jobs campaign across the five counties of PECO's service area in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA