PA Governor Announces $7.9M in Grants to Promote Biofuels and Alternative-Fuel Vehicles

Pennsylvania’s Gov. Edward G. Rendell said his state is aiming to cut its oil consumption by more than a half-million gallons as it invests in 21 alternative fuel projects that will create 221 jobs and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 14.5 million pounds. 

The governor said the $7.9 million he announced through the Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant Program will spur innovation in Pennsylvania's advanced energy economy, while also making it easier for consumers and businesses to use home-grown biofuels and rapidly expanding technologies such as hybrid and electric plug-in vehicles, as well as those powered by natural gas.

Rendell explained that this latest round of investments—which are being matched by an additional $22.1 million in private funds for a total of $30 million—further strengthens Pennsylvania's reputation as a leading state for clean energy innovation and use.

"Two weeks ago, the Natural Resources Defense Council named Pennsylvania as the seventh-least-vulnerable state in the nation to oil price spikes because of our work to build a green economy here," the governor said. "In doing so, it noted, 'America's addiction to oil continues to threaten not only our national security and global environmental health, but also our economic viability.'

“That's a very accurate assessment, and it's what we've been saying for the past eight years, which is why we've worked so hard to create a green energy economy here. That work has paid off, and today we have thousands of companies who are employing tens of thousands of workers in ‘green collar’ jobs. These projects will build upon that work and will transform the way we power our vehicles."

In making the announcement, the governor was joined by representatives of three alternative fuel incentive grant recipients that, he said, represent the innovative work the state's investment is supporting. Some of the grant recipients include:

  • Chester County-based Momentum Dynamics will receive a grant of nearly $587,000 to develop a technology in Berks County that will recharge electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles wirelessly. The project is expected to create 18 jobs and cut CO2 emissions by 297,000 pounds annually.
  • International Battery Inc., based in the Lehigh Valley, will use a $235,000 grant to demonstrate the long-term performance and manufacturing viability of an advanced lithium battery pack suitable for hybrid electric and electric buses and commercial trucks. The company's green manufacturing process, which is solvent-free and free of volatile organic compounds, will create two jobs.
  • The city of Philadelphia's Mayor's Office of Sustainability will receive $140,000 for its $500,000 project that will add 10 charging stations, 18 electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids to existing, successful local car-sharing operations, exposing more people to the benefits of these technologies. The project is expected to create 12 jobs and cut CO2 emissions by 61,000 pounds per year.

"These are exciting projects because they pave the way for consumers to adopt new environmentally friendly and money-saving technologies," Rendell said. "As more auto manufacturers introduce electric vehicles, these should be viewed as legitimate technologies."

The governor added that GE announced recently that it intends to buy 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015, essentially replacing most of its 30,000 conventional-fuel vehicle fleet. The company expects switching to EVs will save it $500 million in just the next three years.

The Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program helps create new markets for biofuels and encourage innovation in developing and manufacturing other advanced fuel transportation solutions in Pennsylvania to reduce the state's dependence on foreign oil.

The commonwealth has invested about $39 million in 114 projects through the program since 2004. These investments have leveraged an additional $216 million in investments from other sources.