Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Announces $8.5 Million for Clean Energy Projects

Jan 11, 2006, 00:00 ET from Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today
 announced Pennsylvania is making investments to support clean energy projects
 that will create more than 1,000 permanent and temporary jobs.
     The Governor added that the state's $8.5 million investment in 25 projects
 will leverage more than $144 million in private sector investment.
     The Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority today approved $8.5 million
 in grants and loans for 25 clean energy projects that will leverage another
 $144.3 million in private investment.  The projects will create 228 permanent
 and up to 880 construction jobs in the commonwealth.
     "Pennsylvania is using its resources to build a clean energy future that
 enhances security, generates economic growth and cleans up the environment,"
 Governor Rendell said.  "Development and deployment of alternative energy
 resources is an economic and environmental win.  By investing in companies, we
 are creating opportunities to put our people to work."
     Energy output from the projects, which were approved by PEDA, will
 generate 3.5 million megawatt hours, enough to power about 437,000
 Pennsylvania homes.  Another 526,225 megawatt hours will be conserved.  The
 projects also have the potential to produce 45 million gallons of biofuel.
     The 25 projects will receive financial assistance in the form of grants or
 loans for a variety of clean electricity projects using sources such as wind,
 solar, biomass, waste coal and recycled energy.  The funding also will finance
 comprehensive redevelopment plans and technological innovations using
 Pennsylvania fuels.  The state financing supports millions of dollars in
 funding being invested into the projects by private interests.
     This funding represents the second 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 the state.  In June, PEDA
 awarded $6.5 million to finance 16 clean energy projects that will create as
 many as 450 permanent and construction jobs.  In addition, the research
 projects, if successful, could net as many as 327 full-time jobs.
     The PEDA projects were evaluated on a variety of criteria, including their
 ability to promote Pennsylvania's indigenous energy resources, encourage
 energy diversity and enhance energy security.  The projects were judged on
 their potential to create jobs and stimulate investment in the commonwealth.
 Potential environmental benefits, as well as technical feasibility and
 cost-effectiveness, also were considered.
     "Governor Rendell's leadership is giving Pennsylvania a competitive edge
 by making sure we have an affordable, reliable supply of clean energy to
 attract business and industry," said Environmental Protection Secretary
 Kathleen A. McGinty, who serves as PEDA chairperson.  "As traditional energy
 costs rise, alternative energy projects not only become more competitive, they
 become imperative."
     Earlier this month, Governor Rendell traveled to the nation's capital to
 call upon President Bush to do all he can to address the energy needs of the
 United States.  If the federal government follows the leadership of the
 states, including Pennsylvania's "American Energy Harvest" model, Governor
 Rendell said there would be many significant benefits, including cutting
 dependence on energy imports, creating jobs, boosting the country's energy
 entrepreneurs and companies, reducing the trade deficit and improving domestic
 security.
     "By changing how and where we spend energy dollars, we can create more
 jobs, increase domestic investment and make our nation safer," Governor
 Rendell said in a speech before the National Press Club.  "What we are doing
 in Pennsylvania offers a vivid illustration of how our economy, our quality of
 life and our security can be improved by investing in America's fuels."
     Governor Rendell is putting in place policies and financial tools designed
 to promote advanced energy projects in the state.  Through Pennsylvania EDGE
 --- Energy Deployment for a Growing Economy --- Governor Rendell is providing
 regulatory and financial incentives to shut down older, dirtier, inefficient
 power plants and re-power with advanced coal gasification technology.
     The Governor launched the East Coast's first commercially viable biofuels
 storage and blending system in Middletown, Dauphin County.  The plant will
 replace 3.2 million gallons of foreign oil with domestically produced
 biodiesel and will keep about $6 million worth of energy dollars in the
 commonwealth by reducing the state's need to purchase imported fuels.
     Governor Rendell also made Pennsylvania a frontrunner in addressing the
 country's dependence on foreign oil by supporting the nation's first-ever
 waste-coal-to-diesel plant and creating a fuel consortium that will purchase
 nearly all of the cheaper, cleaner 40 million gallons of diesel fuel that will
 be produced at Waste Management and Processors Inc.'s facility in Schuylkill
 County.
     The Governor also personally led a campaign to land the Spanish
 wind-energy company Gamesa Corp., the second largest wind energy company in
 the world, beating out many other vying states.  With its U.S. headquarters
 and two manufacturing facilities now based in Pennsylvania, Gamesa represents
 a $40 million investment in the state that will create as many as 1,000 jobs
 over five years.  This is one of the state's most important economic
 development announcements in decades, as it marked a significant turnaround
 with Pennsylvania luring high-paying manufacturing jobs from overseas.
     Pennsylvania is home to one of the nation's most progressive alternative
 energy portfolio standards, ensuring that 18 percent of all energy generated
 comes from clean, efficient sources by the year 2020.  Benefits include
 $10 billion in increased output for Pennsylvania, $3 billion in additional
 earnings and between 3,500 and 4,000 new jobs for residents over the next 20
 years.
     The Pennsylvania Energy Harvest Grant Program funds projects that build
 markets for advanced and renewable energy technologies that use biomass, wind,
 solar, small-scale hydroelectric, landfill methane, energy efficiency,
 coal-bed methane and waste coal.  The program has awarded $15.9 million and
 leveraged another $43.7 million in private funds since its inception in May
 2003.
     Governor Rendell's Growing Greener II initiative provides significant
 resources to build on the success of other energy initiatives, including up to
 $10 million annually for PEDA.  The Governor's newly created Renewable
 Agricultural Energy Council focuses on developing and expanding agricultural
 energy industries in Pennsylvania.
     An executive order, "Energy Management and Conservation in the
 Commonwealth," ensures maximum efficiency in energy management and
 conservation in state facilities through the implementation of a centralized
 energy strategy.  The Governor also has proposed a twice-a-year green sales
 tax holiday on the purchase of energy-efficient appliances to help families
 save about 30 percent on their annual utility bill.
     For more information on PEDA, visit DEP's Web site at
 http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: "PEDA."
 
     The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public
 education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing
 economic investment to support our communities and businesses.  To find out
 more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly
 newsletter, visit his Web site at: http://www.governor.state.pa.us.
 
     EDITOR'S NOTE: Following is a list by county of the $8.5 million in grants
 and loans awarded through PEDA for 25 clean energy projects.
 
                                   ALLEGHENY
 
     Plextronics Inc. - $250,000 grant and $750,000 loan to advance its
 research into development of the next generation of solar cells based on
 polymer technology.
     PFBC Environmental Energy Technology Inc. - $640,285 in grants and loans
 to design and construct a pressurized fluidized bed combustion test facility.
 The test unit will be able to burn a wide variety of Pennsylvania waste coals.
 Tests will be done to provide the data needed to build commercial-scale units.
     Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County - $361,829 to develop a
 community energy system in association with Mon Power.  The CES proposes to
 convert waste biomass into synthetic gas for use in generating electricity.
 The waste will be converted into syngas using a clean, controlled heat
 process, not an incinerator.
     University of Pittsburgh - $70,847 to apply a newly created process for
 effectively harvesting waste coal from dumpsites and then producing a clean
 product for electricity generation.
     Carnegie Mellon University - $167,115 as partial funding for a biodiesel
 powered system in an Intelligent Workplace at the university.  The project
 will demonstrate efficiencies when married with an energy-efficient building
 using solar, heat recovery and other ancillary projects.
     Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - $150,000 to install and
 operate a solid oxide fuel cell.  Total energy savings are expected to exceed
 60 percent while concurrently reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 57 percent
 on a per-kilowatt basis.
     Breen Energy Solutions - $299,400 to install a slurry gasification and
 re-burn system at Del Monte Foods' coal-fired industrial boiler in Pittsburgh.
 The system will use waste coal fires from CONSOL Energy and reduce nitrogen
 oxide and mercury emissions from the facility.
 
                                     BERKS
 
     PPL Energy Services Holdings LLC - $250,000 to develop a 17.5-megawatt
 biomass-to-energy project in Reading.  The project will produce enough
 electricity to power 17,500 homes and result in the creation of 15 jobs.
 
                                     BUTLER
 
     Slippery Rock University - $27,500 to erect a Synergy S20000 wind turbine
 on land adjacent to the university's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable
 Systems Education and Research.  The turbine is expected to generate 6000
 kilowatt hours annually, about 22 percent of the annual electrical energy use
 at the center.
 
                                     CENTRE
 
     Penn State University - $138,888 for research on high-efficiency
 properties of titanium dioxide nanotubes in photovoltaic solar cells.
 
                                    CHESTER
 
     Franklin Fuel Cells Inc. - $408,737 for an applied research project for
 ongoing development of solid oxide fuel cell technology.  Within 12 months,
 Franklin Fuel Cells expects to have a core direct oxidation solid oxide fuel
 cell technology that has been proven to be technically feasible, economically
 viable and ready for incorporation into pre-commercial products.
     Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services - $415,000 for support in
 installing one of the largest photovoltaic systems in the state.  The
 100-kilowatt system will generate approximately 125,000 kilowatt hours
 annually.
 
                                    CLARION
 
 
     Allegheny-Clarion Valley Development Corp. - $340,160 for a
 30-million-gallon-per-year biodiesel plant in Paint Township, Clarion County.
 The company will hire 30 to 35 employees with salaries ranging from $28,000 to
 $120,000 per year with full benefits.  Soybean oil will be used as the
 feedstock for the biodiesel.
 
                                    DAUPHIN
 
     The Harrisburg Authority - $360,295 to conduct feasibility studies on a
 proposed 30-megawatt wind energy project on authority-owned land in the DeHart
 Dam watershed.
 
                                   LANCASTER
 
     Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future - $348,000 to install 51.7 kilowatt
 PowerLight Sharp photovoltaic modules on the roof of the beverage building at
 Turkey Hill Dairy in Conestoga.
 
                                    LAWRENCE
 
     The Lawrence County Economic Development Corp. - $287,133 to help the
 company Star Class upgrade and expand their manufacturing plant in New Castle
 so they can increase production of the auxiliary power units for idling
 trucks.
 
                                     LEHIGH
 
     AFC First Financial Corp. - $500,000 to serve as a portion of a loan loss
 reserve fund to offset its risk of offering unsecured loans for the Keystone
 Home Energy Loan Program.  AFC First Financial will offer this program to
 contractors and retailers who deal in energy efficient equipment as well as
 home improvements for residential customers, with financing below-market
 interest rates.
 
                                     McKEAN
 
     American Refining Group - $284,328 to install a steam turbine generator to
 produce electricity.  An arrangement is being made to sell energy back to the
 local utility company.
 
                                  PHILADELPHIA
 
     Solar Strategies Development Corp. - $130,457 to introduce zero-energy
 homes into the housing market in Philadelphia, while simultaneously
 redeveloping an older, neglected neighborhood and providing the homeowners
 with one of the most energy efficient, comfortable, affordable, sustainable
 housing options in the state.  The project is proposed for the Juniata Park
 section of Philadelphia.
 
                                    SOMERSET
 
     The Cambria Somerset Authority - $269,000 for final design and
 installation modifications needed to install an 850-kilowatt
 micro-hydroelectric plant at the authority's Quemahoning reservoir.  The
 resulting project is expected to generate approximately 4,467 megawatt hours
 of electricity per year.
     Casselman Windpower LLC - $500,000 for the proposed Casselman Windpower
 Project, a 34.5-megawatt wind development project.  The project is located in
 rural Somerset County, with about one-third of the turbines proposed for
 reclaimed surface mining areas.  The nature of soils at previously mined areas
 require higher than normal construction costs, and these areas are at lower
 elevations than other proposed turbine sites, making them less productive.
 
                                  WESTMORELAND
 
     Solar Power Industries Inc. - $500,000 for expansion of silicon production
 for solar cells used in photovoltaic systems and applications, leading to the
 creation of 52 permanent jobs.
     Elliott Co. - $458,026 to accelerate the commercialization of its
 high-efficiency large-scale permanent magnet drive motor.  This motor is a
 substitute for large, lower-efficiency combustion turbines for mechanical
 drive applications.
 
                                    MULTIPLE
 
     PowerWeb Inc. - $400,000 to install a demand-management system and
 Web-based trading platform known as the PALM Procurement Platform.  This is an
 interactive trading system designed to interface energy consumers with the
 supplier to monitor commodity-based contracts for load management.
     Southwest Windpower - $193,000 to partner with DEP, SunLion Solar and
 local communities and libraries to install 15 of their recently developed
 1.8 kilowatt wind turbines to provide power to public buildings.  Fifteen of
 these turbines would generate approximately 75,600 kilowatt hours per year.
 
     CONTACT:  Kate Philips of the Pennsylvania Office of the Governor,
 +1-717-783-1116 or Kurt Knaus, DEP, +1-717-787-1323.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor