HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania is investing $6.4 million in 16 clean energy projects that will create 316 permanent and up to 280 construction jobs in the commonwealth, as well as to leverage more than $38 million in private funds. BioEnergy International LLC was awarded $1 million for the construction of rail facilities for a $180 million ethanol plant in Clearfield County.
“Pennsylvania is making strategic investments to stimulate the growth of clean energy technologies that can power our future without leaving us in the grip of foreign governments or choking on harmful emissions,” Gov. Rendell said. “By partnering with Pennsylvania companies that are advancing solar power, biofuels and other forms of renewable energy, as well as building clean fossil technologies, we are creating opportunities to put Pennsylvanians to work now and for years to come.”
Energy output from the projects, which were approved by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, will generate an estimated 15,710-megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power about 1,600 Pennsylvania homes, and produce the equivalent of enough natural gas to supply almost 2,500 homes for a year. Another 208,000 million British thermal units (Btu) will be conserved. The projects also have the potential to produce 115-million gallons of biofuel.
The 16 projects will receive grants for a variety of clean fuels and green power projects using sources such as solar, fuel cells, biofuels, landfill gas, wind and biomass. The funding also will boost Pennsylvania businesses by putting alternative energy technologies to work for them, bolster public infrastructure and support additional income streams for Pennsylvania farmers.
PEDA financing supports millions of dollars in funding private interests are investing in the projects. This funding represents the third round of awards by PEDA, which Governor Rendell revitalized after years of inactivity as part of his strategy to build a clean, indigenous, diversified energy industry in Pennsylvania.
PEDA has awarded $21 million in grants and loans for 57 clean energy projects that will leverage another $240 million in private investment since 2005. The projects will create 975 permanent and construction jobs.
The 16 PEDA projects were evaluated on a variety of criteria, including their ability to promote Pennsylvania’s indigenous energy resources, encourage energy diversity, enhance energy security and improve the environment. The projects were judged on their potential to create jobs and stimulate investment in the state. Technical feasibility and cost-effectiveness also were considered.
This third round of PEDA financing priorities included solar, distributed energy generation for critical public infrastructure and clean, alternative fuels for transportation and other technologies.
Five of the projects include solar power, with a total public-private investment of almost $3.8 million. Two of the projects will spread solar power generation to sites across the commonwealth, raising the awareness of renewable energy and demonstrating the viability of power aggregated from multiple, small-scale sites.
“Governor Rendell’s leadership is giving Pennsylvania a competitive edge in the manufacturing of cutting-edge, clean-energy technologies,” said Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty, who serves as PEDA chairwoman. “These new industries are investing in Pennsylvania and creating jobs here, not overseas. The advancements we are supporting will ensure our existing industries have reliable sources of clean, affordable energy so they can compete in today’s global markets.”
Governor Rendell has pursued a broad array of policies and financial tools in place to promote advanced energy projects in the commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, one of the most progressive in the nation, ensures that 18 percent of all retail energy generated by 2020 comes from clean, efficient and advanced resources.
The law promises to substantially build on the state’s leadership in wind production east of the Mississippi, with wind sources providing enough clean energy to power some 70,000 homes. Because of that leadership, Governor Rendell was able to lead a campaign to land the Spanish wind-energy company Gamesa Corp., the second largest wind energy company in the world. With its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia and manufacturing facilities in Bucks and Cambria counties, Gamesa represents an $84 million investment in the state that will create as many as 1,000 jobs.
The state’s clean energy law also far surpasses other states in ensuring wide distribution and use of zero-pollution solar power. By 2021, when the solar share is in full effect, utilities will be required to purchase 700 megawatts of solar-produced electricity — the second largest solar requirement in the nation.
The commonwealth is leading in other areas of advanced energy development, creating jobs and cleaning up the environment while putting indigenous resources to work.
The Governor recently redoubled the commonwealth’s “green” electricity commitment to 20 percent, making Pennsylvania the largest state purchaser of green electricity in the nation. Pennsylvania also is second only to California in the number of buildings certified by the U.S. Green Building Council under the internationally recognized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
Governor Rendell’s “PennSecurity Fuels Initiative” will produce and use 900-million gallons annually of clean, domestic fuel — an amount equivalent to what the state is expected to import from the Persian Gulf 10 years from now. The Governor is investing $30 million over the next five years to build re-fueling and production infrastructure to support wide distribution of the alternative fuels.
Pennsylvania very well could be the nation’s leading producer of biodiesel within the year, going from practically nowhere a year ago to a projected 40-million gallons of annual production. The state also contains enough plant matter to produce in excess of 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.
The nation’s first coal gasification-liquefaction plant is set to be built in northeastern Pennsylvania. The facility will use waste coal to produce 40-million gallons of clean-burning diesel fuel each year. What the Governor is doing to support the project is unprecedented, creating a fuel consortium with private industry to purchase nearly all of the offtake well below current market values.
Instead of spending overseas, Governor Rendell is investing at home and putting Pennsylvanians to work. The Pennsylvania Energy Harvest Grant Program has awarded $15.9 million and leveraged another $43.7 million in private funds since its inception in May 2003 for projects using sources such as wind, solar, biomass, waste coal and recycled energy.