The partnership is a major step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering electricity costs for county operations.
(Philadelphia, PA) – Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties have partnered to take a wholesale market approach to purchasing electricity for county operations. Over the past week, each county’s Board of Commissioners voted to form the Southeast Pennsylvania Energy Board. They will work together with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to access low and stable energy prices, access renewable energy in the future, and use resources more efficiently.
The Sustainable Energy Partnership of Southeast Pennsylvania is composed of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties. They have been working together with DVRPC since September 2020 to explore pathways to purchase renewable energy to power county operations. DVRPC will serve as coordinator of the Energy Board.
“The Sustainable Energy Partnership of Southeast PA is possible because of the leadership and commitment from the four counties towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, realizing their renewable energy targets, and addressing the climate crisis,” said DVRPC Executive Director Ariella Maron. “This partnership is evident of the strength of regional partnerships to tackle large challenges, while creating operational efficiency.”
A dedicated wholesale account is a unique electricity procurement mechanism currently utilized by other large local governments. It will allow the counties to access low, transparent, and stable electricity prices. It will also help the counties meet renewable energy targets through access to large-scale renewables (< 10MWs), and add additional parties, such as municipalities, authorities, and schools, in the future.
The Partnership will receive ongoing energy market intelligence, guidance, and direction from a consultant, Enel X, who also works as the advisor to wholesale accounts led by the City of Philadelphia, among others. The Partnership will contract with a supplier to build a portfolio of electricity procurements over time, purchased according to the Partnership-approved cost-management strategy that outlines objectives for electricity and renewable energy.
The Partnership’s Energy Board will meet quarterly with Enel X to evaluate market conditions, approve future procurements, and develop strategies for renewable energy procurement and onboarding new members. The first meeting of the board will be convened in November 2023.
Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline approved the memorandum of understanding to create and participate in this effort at their October 12, 2023 meeting.
In a joint statement, the Commissioners said, “The Sustainable Energy Partnership of Southeast PA is an important initiative that will make a difference in how Chester County buys energy and will help us achieve both our Climate Action Plan goals and the goals outlined in the County’s Comprehensive Plan, Landscapes3. This joint venture with our neighboring counties will give us flexibility in purchasing electricity, will allow purchasing from local renewable energy projects, and is expected to reduce the cost of electricity procurement. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, Bucks County Commissioners Bob Harvie, Diane Ellis-Marseglia, and Gene DiGirolamo unanimously approved authorization of a memorandum of understanding allowing Bucks to join Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery counties in creating the Sustainable Energy Partnership of Southeast Pennsylvania.
“Since taking office, this administration has made a steadfast commitment to sustainability. From making it a focal point of our Transition Report to signing onto the Sierra Club’s Ready For 100 campaign to hiring Bucks County’s first Sustainability Officer, we have been all in on responsible energy solutions,” said Commissioner Chair Bob Harvie. “Joining this Sustainable Energy Partnership represents the culmination of over three years of work and is one of the initiatives I am most proud of in my term as Commissioner. I would like to thank my fellow Commissioners Marseglia and DiGirolamo for their votes on and acceptance of this critical plan that will have a lasting positive impact on the environment and the County’s bottom line.”
Delaware County Council members Dr. Monica Taylor, Elaine Paul Schaefer, Kevin Madden, Christine Reuther, and Richard Womack, Jr. approved the memorandum of understanding to create and participate in this effort at their October 18, 2023 meeting.
"This partnership is an example of neighboring counties working together to ensure a more sustainable future for our entire region," said Delaware County Council Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer. "This initiative aligns with the County's sustainability goals identified in our Sustainability Plan–which focuses on six areas, including climate resiliency and energy efficiencies."
Montgomery County Commissioners Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr., Jamila H. Winder, and Joe Gale approved the memorandum of understanding to form the Southeast Pennsylvania Energy Board at their October 19, 2023 meeting.
“This initiative gives Montgomery County the ability to make sustainable and cost-effective choices in our energy purchasing,” said Commissioner Chair Kenneth E. Lawrence Jr. “By collaborating with our neighboring counties, our collective leadership has put our money where our mouth is, taking specific action toward addressing climate change. In leveraging our regional purchasing power, the Sustainable Energy Partnership moves the county forward, both in sustainability and financial responsibility."
DVRPC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for a diverse nine-county region in two states: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; and Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Mercer in New Jersey.
DVRPC’s vision for the Greater Philadelphia Region is a prosperous, innovative, equitable, resilient, and sustainable region that increases mobility choices by investing in a safe and modern transportation system; that protects and preserves our natural resources while creating healthy communities; and that fosters greater opportunities for all.
DVRPC’s mission is to achieve this vision by convening the widest array of partners to inform and facilitate data-driven decision-making. We are engaged across the region, and strive to be leaders and innovators, exploring new ideas and creating best practices.
Elise Turner, DVRPC
(215) 435-0379, firstname.lastname@example.org
James O’Malley, Bucks County
(215) 348-6414, email@example.com
Rebecca Brain, Chester County
(610) 344-6279, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrienne Marofsky, Delaware County
(610) 891-4943, email@example.com
Megan Alt, Montgomery County
(610) 278-3061, firstname.lastname@example.org