Pa. Provides Grants for Clean Energy, Biofuels

New investments in innovative clean energy and biofuels projects recently announced by Gov. Edward G. Rendell will accelerate Pennsylvania's drive toward energy independence, expand markets for emerging technologies, and ultimately make them more affordable for families and businesses, according to a press release.

The governor said the state's support for 49 projects will leverage nearly four times as much in private investment, create jobs, clean the environment, and save consumers tens of millions of dollars a year in energy costs. He added that making these kinds of investments is critical to helping Pennsylvania weather a challenging national economic downturn. "These are difficult times for businesses to raise the capital needed to develop new products and processes, even for the renewable energy and biofuels industries that had been among the fastest growing globally just a few months ago," said Rendell. "And even though energy prices have subsided recently, we've seen how volatile these markets can be and how high energy prices can hurt an economy."We want to be sure Pennsylvania is doing everything it can to encourage energy conservation and efficiency, as well as the increased use of alternatives and renewables. Making this kind of investment today is even more crucial now if we're to continue developing clean energy resources and growing the Keystone State's green energy manufacturing industry. That way, we're positioned to capitalize on increased demand once the economy improves."

The grants, which include $7.2 million through the Energy Harvest program and $6.5 million through the Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program, will support projects in at least 25 counties and will leverage more than $53.1 million in private investments. The projects also are expected to create at least 77 jobs.

Combined, the projects will reduce consumers' energy costs by nearly $46 million each year by saving:

• 25.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity or generating it from clean technologies, which is enough to power more than 2,500 homes in Pennsylvania;

• 250.1 million gallons of diesel or No. 2 heating oil; and

• 37,564 million British thermal units of natural gas.

The projects will also improve air quality by eliminating 239 tons of sulfur dioxide and 24,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5 million tons.

"Developing homegrown sources of clean energy is essential to providing clean air so our most vulnerable citizens can breathe easier, to reducing the impacts of climate change, and to providing a competitive business environment that attracts entrepreneurs and jobs to our state," said Environmental Protection acting Secretary John Hanger.

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