Pennsylvania Opens Second Round of RE Funding

Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced US$5 million will be available in the second year of Pennsylvania’s Energy Harvest grant program to make the state a national leader in building and deploying advanced energy technology with measurable impacts on pollution reduction, environmental protection and economic growth.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – May 4, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “The first year of the Pennsylvania Energy Harvest grant program was a tremendous success, demonstrating clearly that a clean environment and robust economy go hand in hand,” Secretary McGinty said during the Wenger Feeds Environmental Summit in Mount Joy, Lancaster County, where agribusiness leaders from across the Commonwealth met to discuss advanced energy development, pollution control and waste reduction in the farm and food- processing industries. Celebrating its 60th year as a major animal feed supplier, the Rheems- based Wenger is in the final stages of certification for ISO 14001 (Environment), ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 18001 (Health and Safety). Once certification is complete, the company will be the first feed mill in the country to obtain all three of these international standards that note exceptional operations. With some 400 employees, Wenger Feeds also is a four-time winner of one of the “Best Places to Work in PA” award and a 1999 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for decreasing phosphorous in its feed by 30 percent and reducing phosphorous in the manure of animals fed by 20 percent. “This family-owned and operated company is a leader in environmentally responsible agricultural practices,” Secretary McGinty said. “Its innovative and evolving approaches to promoting environmental stewardship can serve as a model for other Pennsylvania farms.” At the summit, Secretary McGinty said the Pennsylvania Energy Harvest grant program can add another promising dimension to farming and agricultural communities. Biodigesters can turn potential pollution into a clean energy source. The output from Pennsylvania’s hogs and dairy cows, for example, can produce 631,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough to power 86,000 homes or reduce the need for 384,459 barrels of oil, which would fill up more than 500,000 average-sized cars with gasoline-roughly the number of passenger cars registered in Philadelphia. Aside from biodigesters, wind energy also can provide a steady income through leases and royalty payments. Although leasing arrangements vary widely, a reasonable estimate for income to a farmer or landowner from a single utility-scale turbine is about $3,000 a year. On a smaller scale, a 10- kilowatt wind turbine, the type typically found on farms, saves about $1,080 in energy costs each year. Farmers can still grow crops or raise cattle next to the tower. “Pennsylvania Energy Harvest is rooted in the idea that environmental problems are economic opportunities in disguise,” Secretary McGinty said. “Pennsylvania will continue to invest in state-of-the-art technology that enhances the state’s reputation as an energy leader.” An additional 43,000 acres of farmland representing 375 farms will be preserved over the next four years under Governor Rendell’s proposed 2004-05 budget through the Agriculture Conservation Easement Purchase Program. Farmers can use revenue generated through the transfer to reduce debt, improve current facilities and equipment and continue to maintain and expand on-farm employment levels. There are currently 1,700 qualified applicants on the waiting list for the Farmland Preservation Program, with their farms totaling about 200,000 acres. Governor Rendell’s budget also would expand the Pennsylvania Energy Harvest grant program by $80 million over four years to provide the financial tools to encourage clean and renewable energy projects from advanced energy sources. With just $5 million in its implementation last year, Pennsylvania Energy Harvest received 139 applications with requests for $45 million in funding that would generate $96 million in private investment. To further that effort, the Governor recently revitalized the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority to provide financing to a wide range of energy research, development and demonstration projects to develop, promote and more efficiently use alternative energy resources indigenous to the state. In addition, the Governor has proposed an Advanced Energy Portfolio Standard to ensure that in 10 years, 10 percent of the energy generated in the Commonwealth comes from clean, efficient sources. This second round of $5 million for Pennsylvania Energy Harvest will fund projects that promote awareness and build markets for cleaner or renewable energy technologies. Proposals should manage the state’s indigenous energy resources in a way that improves the environment, supports economic development and enhances quality of life. Eligible proposals for this grant program include: renewable energy deployment, biomass energy projects, waste coal reclamation for energy, innovative energy efficiency technologies or clean distributed-generation infrastructure improvements. DEP is particularly interested in supporting proposals that are market-driven, spur investment, create jobs and produce economic development within Pennsylvania. Applications for the program are available electronically on the DEP’s web site at the link below, under Keyword: “DEP Energy Harvest.” Applications also can be obtained by contacting DEP’s Office of Energy and Technology Development, 15th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., P.O. Box 8772, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8772, or by calling the office at 717-783- 8411. Applications must be postmarked or received by 4 p.m., July 23. Faxes will not be accepted

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