Pennsylvania Finalizes Clean Vehicles Program and Invests Another $3 Million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants
Governor Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania recently made two announcements about the state’s commitment to alternative fuels: changes to the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program have been approved, making the program more stringent than federal standards; and the state will invest $3 million in Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants, bringing the total for such grants to nearly $32 million. Pennsylvania’s continuing support for, and success with, renewable energy have prompted two major international companies to locate subsidiary headquarters there.
The Clean Vehicles Program locks in model year 2008 as the compliance date for new emission standards for new passenger cars and light-duty trucks in the commonwealth. The program also requires automakers to make their overall fleet cleaner than would be required by the federal government. Sticker prices of the cleaner vehicles are identical to the conventional versions. Rendell said, "The Clean Vehicles Program saves drivers money, increases vehicle choice for consumers, cuts harmful pollution, and makes our commonwealth more competitive economically."
The Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants will supplement more than $40 million in private funds for the production of approximately 64 million gallons of biodiesel annually, as well as for the installation of storage tanks that are needed to distribute and sell the biofuel.
Since its inception in 1992, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded almost $32 million through (Alternative Fuel Incentive Grants) AFIG for hundreds of projects across the state. Two years ago, Rendell signed an expansion of the state's AFIG program into law, enabling the DEP to increase funding for renewable energy projects in the commonwealth.
Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty recently announced the $3 million investment of AFIG funds during an event at Heinz Field in Pittsburg (home of the NFL football team the Pittsburg Steelers), which will provide much of the waste vegetable oil used to produce biodiesel for the city's municipal vehicles. The city received a $303,675 grant to cover the incremental cost of almost 1.2 million gallons of biodiesel and to provide biodiesel storage tanks at city refueling sites.
The grant round also includes $75,000 for Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities' E85 Corridor project, which previously received $283,380 in federal funding from DOE Clean Cities. The project will convert at least 12 additional fueling stations to provide E85 — a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline — along a 200-mile corridor stretching from central Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia suburbs.
The state's commitment to renewable energy has begun to attract big name companies in the industry. Last month, Governor Rendell announced that Germany-based Conergy AG, one of the world's largest solar power integration companies, agreed to locate the North American headquarters of its financial subsidiary, voltwerk, and the East Coast operations of its solar engineering and installation subsidiary, SunTechnics, in Pennsylvania. The Spanish wind energy giant, Gamesa Corp. established its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia last year and has built manufacturing facilities in Bucks and Cambria counties.
For more information on the AFIG announcement, see the December 7 DEP press release. To read more about Conergy locating subsidiary headquarters in Pennsylvania, go to the