Projects in Bucks, Lancaster and York Counties Illustrate Economic, Environmental Benefits of Money-Saving Green Technologies, Success of Federal Recovery Act
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Officials with the Department of Environmental Protection were on hand today at celebrations marking three different clean energy projects -- including the largest rooftop solar array in North America -- to deliver the message that renewable energy sources and technologies that are more efficient represent the economic future of Pennsylvania and America.
DEP Secretary John Hanger this morning visited Frey Farm Landfill in Conestoga, Lancaster County, to cut the ribbon on a new, 3.2-megawatt wind power project by the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority.
Later in the day, the secretary was on hand as local officials and citizens from Yardley, Bucks County, marked the completion of a broad, energy efficient lighting system upgrade that will save Lower Makefield Township taxpayers $50,000 annually.
Both projects benefited from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding because each met the bill's objective of creating jobs and helping consumers and businesses save money by using green energy solutions.
Separately, in East Manchester Township, York County, Deputy Secretary for Energy and Technology Deployment Andrew Place watched today as GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare began installing solar panels on its northeast regional distribution center. Once completed, the 3-megawatt array will represent the largest rooftop system in North America, allowing the company to generate approximately 90 percent of its electricity needs.
"Today is a monumental day in Pennsylvania's ongoing transformation to a clean, green future, and it's also a great day for our economy because it represents what we can accomplish in terms of creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil and other polluting fossil-fuels," said Hanger. "Pennsylvania has more than 350,000 people working in 'green' jobs and hundreds -- if not thousands -- of companies in this industry today as a result of our investments and policies that are leveling the playing field for renewables. Those investments are paying dividends today and will continue to do so for decades to come."
Since 2003, Pennsylvania has invested more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects that have made it among the leading states for this industry. Pennsylvania has been recognized as one of the fastest growing states for wind energy and is expected to be among the top five for solar energy by the end of the year.
"The future of our state -- and our nation -- is in clean energy," said Hanger. "The projects we visited today are proof of that. More families and businesses are realizing that clean energy is not only better for the environment and our health because these technologies don't emit harmful pollutants, it's better for our pocket books and bottom lines. By conserving energy, you reduce your monthly utility bill; by installing a generation source of renewable energy, you're ensuring that you'll pay a constant price for the energy that system generates for the next 20-30 years: nothing."
Hanger said the $8.7 million Frey Farm landfill project, which will provide 25 percent of the power to the neighboring Turkey Hill Dairy, created 26 construction jobs and will produce enough clean energy to offset the pollution that would have been created by burning 12,000 barrels of oil to generate the same amount of electricity. The commonwealth invested $1.5 million in the project through the Recovery Act-funded state energy program.
In Lower Makefield Township, the secretary witnessed how a $250,000 Conservation Works! grant -- funded by the Recovery Act -- helped replace 23 incandescent traffic lights and all of the free-standing parking lot light poles with new high-efficiency light emitting diode models. The changeover to LED is expected to reduce the lighting costs for traffic lights and parking lot lighting by 91 percent and 70 percent, respectively.
Finally, the GlaxoSmithKline project involves 100 workers adding about 11,000 solar panels over an area the size of approximately seven football fields. The solar panels will generate enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of the nearly 500,000-square-foot building, which is equivalent to the amount of power 400 average-sized homes use in a year. The project benefited from a $1 million solar energy program grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority. The program was made possible by the state's $650 million Alternative Energy Investment Fund, which Governor Edward G. Rendell signed into law in 2008.
For more information on Pennsylvania's clean energy development program and work to help consumers and businesses conserve energy, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.
Media contact: Michael Smith, 717-787-1323
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection