Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF), formerly known as PP&L Sustainable Energy Fund of Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, is a charitable, educational, and scientific 501(C)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA. Its mission is to develop and invest in economically viable energy related businesses, projects, and educational initiatives that create innovative, market-based technologies and solutions to enable environmentally sound and sustainable energy use.
The Chairman of the Board Andrew Stein is serving his first term. The current President is Jennifer Hopkins.
SEF was one of five funds created in 1999 as the result of electric utility deregulation and subsequent settlement agreements in Pennsylvania. The other funds were the West Penn Sustainable Energy Fund, Metropolitan Edison Company Sustianable Energy Fund, Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, and Sustainable Development Fund. SEF was create during the PP&L (Pennsylvania Power & Light) settlement.
The PP&L settlement involved three separate groups which were referred to as the "Environmentalists". During breakout sessions, the PUC Chairman (John Quain) lumped these groups into a negotiating bundle called the "Environmentalists".
Group 1 - Environmental Parties: The Clean Air Council, the Sierra Club, the Saucon Valley Association for a Viable Environment, Lehigh Greens, Lehigh Pocono Committee of Concern, Pennsylvania Organization of Watershed and Rivers, Pennsylvania Public Interest Group, PP&L Ratepayers Association, and the Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean and Affordable Energy.
Group 2 - Commission on Economic Opportunity.
Group 3 - Eric Joseph Epstein.
After the settlement, Mr. Clark, as lead attorney of record for the "Environmental Parties", presented the outline for the Fund's creation in meeting convened at Luncent Technologies HQ in Allentown.
As a result of the settlement, SEF was funded at the rate of 0.01 cents per kWh from January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2004 from PP&L's distribution rate revenues. While the parties to the 1998 settlement agreement were able to reach agreement regarding SEF funding in 2004 that consensus no longer existed. (PPL St. 7-R at 34). The parties who wanted to increase the monies committed to SEF (PennFuture) and/or change its program (OSBA and CEO) and the proposals of parties who object to SEF funding and sought its elimination (OTS, PPLICA and USDOD). (PUC, R.D. at 79-80). At least two parties proposed terminating all funding for SEF on various grounds, including: (1) that it is unrelated to distribution service (PPLICA St.1-R, at 9-13); (2) that it is unrelated to distribution service, and a hidden tax (OTS St. 5 at 5); and (3) that is does not conform to certain federal criteria relating to life-cycle cost-effective conservation measures or is insufficiently funded (USDOD St. 2 at 7). OSBA has proposed turning over SEF management and funds to the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA). (OSBA St. 2 at 8).
In 2004 as a result of the lack of consensus originally achieved at PPL's restructuring settlement, the strong balance sheet of the SEF and the Legislature's creation of a permanent funding source the PUC issued a ruling that it was now the appropriate time to begin eliminating the use of distribution revenues to support SEF. SEF was funded at 0.01 cents per kWh and 0.005 cents per kWh in 2005 and 2006 respectively. (PUC, 2005). SEF, led by its Board of Directors, continues to execute its original mission without additional ratepayer funding.
Solar Scholarssm is a first in the nation education initiative that cultivates an understanding and passion for sustainable energy technologies in college professors and students. Created in 2005, Solar Scholars has provided training and equipment necessary to integrate renewable energy education into the curriculum at 35 institutions of higher learning primarily in Pennsylvania.