Governor Rendell has been aggressive in developing homegrown energy solutions. His efforts include:
- 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.
- The nation’s first-ever waste-coal-to-diesel plant and creation of a fuel consortium that will purchase nearly all of the cheaper, cleaner, diesel fuel that will be produced at the Schuylkill County facility. The plant, which is being built by Waste Management and Processors Inc. of Gilberton, Schuylkill County, will use waste coal to produce as much as 40 million gallons of clean-burning diesel annually. Construction will create as many as 1,000 jobs. Operating the plant will produce another 600 permanent, high-paying, positions. The company expects to break ground and start construction as early as spring of 2006.
- The Pennsylvania Energy Harvest Grant Program, which 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 $10 million and leveraged another $26.7 million in private funds since its inception in May 2003.
- The Renewable Agricultural Energy Council, which focuses on developing and expanding agricultural energy industries in Pennsylvania. Renewable agricultural energy has the potential to support and grow the agriculture industry by providing as many as 64,000 additional jobs. Renewable agricultural energy can help diversify agricultural activities and stimulate the growth of crops that strengthen the agriculture industry.
- Expansion of the state’s Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant Program, which invests in enhancing the infrastructure necessary to expand the state’s capacity to produce alternative fuels. AFIG also helps residents purchase alternative-fuel vehicles and finances related fuel projects to create new markets that can have measurable impacts on pollution reduction, environmental protection and economic growth.