In Depth on the Energy Hub

We're talking about the biggest economic story in Philadelphia. And we want to hear from you.

Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

One of the premises of Citified is that there’s an audience in Philadelphia for deep dives into Big Stuff That Matters. The prospect that Philadelphia could evolve into a major energy hub is as big as it gets.

So Wednesday is energy hub day on Citified. We’ll have three distinct perspectives to share with you. Mark Alan Hughes, director of Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, sets the table with an important question: “What the hell is an energy hub anyway?” We have a Q&A with representatives from environmental and small business organizations who want the city to focus on developing its sustainable energy economy, not natural gas infrastructure. And finally we’ll hear from Phil Rinaldi, CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, who is the principal proponent of a gas-powered energy hub.

We also want to hear from you. The development of a full-blown energy hub has the potential to transform the city and the region in profound and lasting ways, not just economically, but environmentally and culturally as well. It could be a really big deal. If you’ve got thoughts on the hub you’d like to share, please send us an email at We’ll also be be monitoring Twitter for anyone using the #PHLEnergyHub hashtag.

We’ll pick and choose from the best submissions and post them online. Brevity and brilliance will be rewarded! We won’t be quoting more than 100 words or so from anybody, so keep those term papers on the hard drive.

For background, check out Phillymag’s comprehensive look at the energy hub and its potential impact, published this October.

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • What level of risk and environmental damage are you willing to take on in order to grow the economy and create jobs?
  • Does natural-gas powered energy development threaten the city’s image as not just an eds and meds powerhouse, but as a model of sustainable and contemporary urban living?
  • Can Philadelphia, with a sky-high poverty rate and persistent employment problems, afford to pass on an opportunity like this?
  • What should political leaders be doing to ensure that the energy hub notion is well-vetted and that the public has a meaningful chance to weigh in?
  • What can the city and energy companies do to make sure all those high-paying hub jobs don’t just go to white guys in the suburbs?
  • Can Philly be a leader in both sustainable energy development and a natural gas hub? Or is there an opportunity cost to investing in pipelines and gas infrastructure?
  • What would you do with PGW now that the sale has been deepsixed?

Let us know how you’re feeling about an energy hub, and check back in throughout Wednesday for updates.