Rendell Announces Investment to Help Small Businesses Conserve Energy, Reduce Waste

HARRISBURG – As energy costs continue to increase, small businesses in Pennsylvania are eager to implement conservation and efficiency measures that cut costs, Gov. Edward G. Rendell said as he announced the latest round of state investments.

The governor said 29 small businesses across the state will receive more than $186,000 in Small Business Advantage Grants to incorporate innovative technologies that improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution, and cut costs.

“Energy costs are one of the leading concerns for businesses today and, as the national economy begins to slow, those companies that can conserve power and improve energy efficiency will be better able to weather this economic downturn,” said Rendell. “These grants have helped encourage investments by our small businesses that are keeping them competitive in the market, promoting environmental stewardship, and bolstering their bottom line.”

The governor said that helping small businesses overcome the financial impacts of spiking power costs is critical to the state’s economy, as Pennsylvania’s more than 264,000 small businesses employ nearly 2 million people.

“It’s easy to focus on short-term measures that improve profitability, and the investments these companies are making in energy efficiency can show a return on investment in short order,” said the governor.

The grant program provides a 50-percent match of up to $7,500 for equipment or processes that reduce energy consumption, promote pollution prevention, and increase profitability. Examples include high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, motion sensors that shut off lights when rooms are empty, and auxiliary power units that allow long-haul truckers to turn off their engines during layovers without sacrificing heat and electricity.

The program is open to small business owners whose business or facility is located in Pennsylvania. An eligible applicant must be a for-profit business enterprise that is a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, sole proprietorship or other legal entity with no more than 100 employees and is a separate legal business entity at the time the application is submitted. Applicants may be manufacturers or service providers.

Since Rendell launched the Small Business Advantage Grants program in July 2004, nearly $3.6 million has been awarded to more than 625 businesses across the state.

The grants announced today will leverage more than $2.9 million in private investments by small businesses.

“Innovative technologies are making it easier for businesses to conserve resources and improve profitability,” said Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty. “These grants put the latest clean technologies within financial reach for Pennsylvania’s small businesses. Working together, we can keep our environment clean and grow our economy, too.”

Energy conservation and efficiency are key components of Rendell’s Energy Independence Strategy, which is being considered by the legislature. The plan will allow businesses and families to save up to $1 billion per year from their power bills over the next decade by equipping consumers with the tools and information they need to make better informed decisions about their energy consumption.

The Energy Independence Strategy also provides critical investments in the rapidly growing alternative and renewable energy industries, helping Pennsylvania compete with other states and nations vying for similar economic development projects. Given the state’s limited resources, the commonwealth is only able to support about 10 percent of the economic development investment requests it receives each year, which means Pennsylvania is missing out on thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development.

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