ULI Philadelphia Blog

Recap: Greater Philadelphia’s Evolving Energy Future

On Tuesday September 22nd some of the region’s biggest policy makers came to The Union League for a discussion on Greater Philadelphia’s evolving energy future. Keynote speaker, Professor Mark Alan Hughes, Ph.D of PennDesign led off by giving a glimpse of the energy landscape as whole. This included his “three simple propositions” which offered big picture planning advice for companies, politicians, and community members.

The subsequent panelists all discussed how current energy policies have impacted their fields; each bringing a unique perspective and offering up advice for how to move forward:

  • John R. Hanger, Secretary of Policy for Governor Wolf, focused on how the new administration will offer up solutions to issues ranging from the clean power plan to public education subsidizes. He also discussed how his committee, the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce, aims to make sustainable choices for the areas energy future.
  • Joseph McGinn, Senior Manager of Public Affairs at Sunoco Energy, proclaimed that Pennsylvania is indeed “an energy state” but that the region needs to learn from past mistakes when creating new policy. As a member of the Pennsylvania Pipeline Infrastructure Taskforce, McGinn spoke on the importance of open conversation and mutual trust between the Greater Philadelphia community and policy makers.
  • Bob Riga, General Manager of Spectra Energy, focused on the vast opportunities that Pennsylvanians and their policy makers are currently experiencing. From pipeline manufacturing to job creation, Bob made it clear that this is an exciting time to be in Pennsylvania. However he also emphasized that in order to best benefit the community, they need to be discussed thoroughly and respectfully between stakeholders.
  • Jeff Taebel, FAICP, Director of Community and Environmental Planning at Houston-Galveston Area Council provided key “outsider” insight on how best to move forward. He emphasized the need for policy makers, politicians, and energy companies to take time to visit the potentially impacted communities and have an open dialogue about what they would want to see in their neighborhoods.

Each speaker brought their own area of expertise to the table, which sparked a meaningful debate about the region’s future as well as brought out insightful questions and comments from audience members. For more details on this event check out ULI Philadelphia on Twitter.

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