Honing in on Pennsylvania Renewables

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued a tentative order to further define the role of the statewide Sustainable Energy Board to oversee four sustainable energy development funds and to build on Pennsylvania’s success with funding Renewable Energy projects, such as wind farms and solar projects.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – April 14, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “Today’s action further defines the role of the Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Board and represents another step forward in establishing Pennsylvania as a national leader in the development of renewable and clean energy technologies,” said PUC Chairman Glen R. Thomas. “The four Sustainable Energy Funds and their leadership have done many great things for Pennsylvania to date – such as establishing Pennsylvania as the east coast leader for wind energy. The best days for renewable and sustainable energy in Pennsylvania lie ahead.” The order is tentative until the Commission receives and considers comments on the proposals. It would charge the statewide Sustainable Energy Board with enhancing communications among the four funds and state agencies and with establishing voluntary uniform business practices to aid fund administrators in sharing ideas and partnering for larger, joint Renewable Energy projects. The tentative order, approved 5-0, asks interested parties to comment on these proposals. Additionally, if the tentative order is approved, the Sustainable Energy Board would have one year to establish the business practices, which would serve as a uniform guide by standardizing the processes for applying for a grant and for seeking an appeal when a grant is denied. It also would include a recommended code of conduct for the funds to follow. The board would be required to conduct an annual meeting each May to update Commonwealth agencies and other interested groups on the status of the four funds and prepare an annual report by April 30 of each year. Formed in 1999, the Statewide Board includes representatives from the Commission; the Department of Environmental Protection; the Department of Community and Economic Development; the Office of Consumer Advocate; the Pennsylvania Environmental Council; and each regional board. The four regional funds include the PECO Energy Sustainable Development Fund, the PPL Sustainable Energy Fund of Central Eastern PA, the Met- Ed/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund and the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund. The funds were created as a result of the electric companies’ restructuring plans. The PUC oversees the implementation of programs for electric customers related to sustainable or Renewable Energy. Through the various restructuring settlements from electric competition, funds have been set aside specifically to promote the development of sustainable and Renewable Energy programs and clean-air technologies — on both a regional and statewide basis. To date, the funds have provided approximately US$22.3 million in loans and US$1.8 million in grants for more than 100 projects.
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