Renewable Energy Vital to Pennsylvania’s Economic Growth

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell signed legislation that he said will position the state to be a leader in renewable energy and new economic development.

The Governor ceremoniously signed House Bill 1203 while visiting an Erie County middle school that is adding a 30 kilowatt photovoltaic system as part of its renovation. The solar panels were funded with a $250,000 grant through the state’s Energy Harvest program.

“When we invest in Pennsylvania, we get results,” said Governor Rendell during a news conference at the J.S. Wilson Middle School in Erie. “We’ve said that from day one, and now, four-and-a-half years later, Pennsylvania has a record number of jobs and our economy continues to grow.

“We passed the historic Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act in 2004 to put Pennsylvania on the path to the greater use of clean, renewable and alternative energy sources. Once we made that commitment, we saw growth in those industries — solar, wind, biomass and methane — totaling $1 billion in new private investment and the creation of approximately 2,500 jobs.

The Governor officially signed H.B. 1203 on July 17 to create Act 35 of 2007. The law amends the commonwealth’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act to include the broader use of solar technology in retail electricity sales. The Governor said this provision will help grow Pennsylvania’s solar industry.
Since Governor Rendell took office, Conergy and the second largest wind turbine manufacturer, Gamesa, have chosen Pennsylvania as the base for their North American headquarters. Gamesa has also established manufacturing facilities in Cambria and Bucks counties. The commitments by the two companies will result in more than 1,000 new jobs and more than $200 million in new investments in Pennsylvania.

This year, SunTechnics, a subsidiary of Conergy, merged with Pennsylvania-based Mesa Environmental Sciences Inc. In addition, start-up solar material manufacturer AE Polysilicon and Axion Power International Inc., a developer of advanced batteries and energy storage devices, announced plans to locate in the state. Combined, these projects account for more than $100 million in new investment in the state and the potential for hundreds of new jobs.
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