Saturday, November 05, 2005

PA Governor Rendell Building Clean Energy Future for Pennsylvania

Bear Creek Wind Farm Will Power More Than 9,000 Homes, Enhancing
Pennsylvania's National Leadership in Development, Deployment of Alternative

BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell is
making investments and putting policies in place to help Pennsylvania build a
clean energy future and keep the state in the forefront of alternative energy
"Pennsylvania is leading the way with cutting-edge projects to develop
home-grown energy resources and solutions, encourage conservation and build a
diversified energy base that creates jobs and improves our environment,"
Governor Rendell said during a tour today of the Bear Creek Wind Farm.
"Working with private industry and making strategic investments,
Pennsylvania continues to build its own energy from wind power to waste-coal-
to-diesel to biofuels," the Governor added. "We cannot afford to wait for the
federal government to establish a policy that supports our businesses and
reduces our dependence on foreign oil. We are acting now.
Pennsylvania leads states east of the Mississippi in the deployment of
wind energy, producing nearly 135 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power
more than 50,000 homes -- with as many as 65 megawatts scheduled to come on
line within the next year.
Among the wind energy projects in development is the Bear Creek Wind Farm,
located just south of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County.
"When I came to Harrisburg three years ago, I said we were going to do
things differently," Governor Rendell said. "Today is another example of how
we're going to lead, not follow. I am determined to start bringing our
independence back as a country. We are working to keep our energy dollars
here and put our own citizens to work by supporting innovative ideas.
Development and deployment of wind resources is an economic and environmental
win for our commonwealth."
Wind power is among the cleanest and fastest-growing sources of energy. In
Pennsylvania, its potential is significant. There are more than 5,000
megawatts of untapped power in the commonwealth, with the potential to
generate 45 billion kilowatt-hours annually, enough to power more than 5
million homes.
The Bear Creek Wind Farm, which is being developed by Community Energy
Inc., features 12 wind turbines that will provide more than 70 million
kilowatt hours of clean, renewable and domestically produced electricity for
more than 9,000 homes each year. All of the towers, currently under
construction, should be in place by early next year."
Governor Rendell provided $692,000 to the wind farm through the Department
of Environmental Protection's Clean Air Fund. Bear Creek also received a $1
million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority,
which the Governor recently revitalized as part of his strategy to build a
clean, indigenous, diversified energy industry in the state.
Bear Creek's 12 turbines -- the largest turbines in use in the United
States -- are being supplied by Gamesa Corp. of Spain, the world's second-
largest wind-energy manufacturer, which set up shop in Pennsylvania in
September 2004. Governor Rendell personally led the campaign to land Gamesa,
beating out many other vying states. With its U.S. headquarters and two
manufacturing facilities based here, Gamesa represents a $40 million
investment in the state that will create as many as 1,000 jobs over five
The Bear Creek Wind Farm is among a number of projects that Governor
Rendell has supported and advanced to build Pennsylvania's clean energy
future. The Governor's successful and visionary leadership in building a clean
energy future was recognized recently by former President William J. Clinton
in the Inaugural Clinton Global Initiative, an international summit.
In late October, Governor Rendell launched 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
Pennsylvanians now spend some $30 billion per year on imported energy
fuels. However, using and developing homegrown energy sources and supplies has
a multiplier effect in local and regional economies that can yield significant
economic benefits.
Governor Rendell has made Pennsylvania a frontrunner in addressing the
country's dependence on foreign oil by supporting the nation's first-ever
waste-coal-to-diesel plant and creating 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.
Nationally syndicated business and financial columnist Lou Dobbs praised
Governor Rendell recently on his CNN news program for his national leadership
on energy initiatives. Barron's, one of the nation's premier financial weekly
magazines, and Bloomberg News, also highlighted the Governor's leadership in
creating the buyers' consortium.
Pennsylvania is now home to one of the nation's most progressive
alternative energy portfolio standards, ensuring that 18 percent of all energy
generated comes from clean, efficient sources by the year 2020. Pennsylvania
is one of two states with a portfolio standard that includes energy
efficiency, and the commonwealth's portfolio standard far surpasses any other
state requirement for solar energy, guaranteeing a market share for solar that
is some 300-percent greater than anywhere else in the country. Benefits
include $10 billion in increased output for Pennsylvania, $3 billion in
additional earnings and between 3,500 and 4,000 news jobs for residents over
the next 20 years.
Earlier this week, Governor Rendell announced Pennsylvania is taking
aggressive steps to clean up its rivers and streams, improve parks, revitalize
abandoned industrial sites and protect open space and preserve farmland with
an investment of $65 million in environmental projects that will help scores
of Pennsylvania communities.
The Governor also said all 67 counties will now be able to apply for $90
million, allocated on a county-by-county basis, for eligible environmental
Governor Rendell's Growing Greener II initiative provides significant
resources to build on the success of other energy initiatives, including up to
$10 million annually for PEDA, which has up to $1 billion available to provide
financing to help build clean power and fuel plants. In June, PEDA awarded its
first $6.5 million to finance 16 clean energy projects that will create as
many as 450 permanent and construction jobs, including 327 full-time jobs.
The Pennsylvania Energy Harvest Grant Program 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.
Governor Rendell also signed an executive order, "Energy Management and
Conservation in the Commonwealth," ensuring maximum efficiency in energy
management and conservation in state facilities through the implementation of
a centralized energy strategy. This measure will decrease energy consumption
and energy costs and promote a cleaner environment.
The Governor enacted an 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.
More recently, Governor Rendell announced a plan to replace some 25
percent of the state's vehicle fleet with hybrids by 2011.
For more information on these energy initiatives, visit the state's Web
site at, Keyword: "DEP Alternative Energy."
The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public
education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing
economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out
more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly
newsletter, visit his Web site at:

CONTACT: Kate Philips
Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

Kurt Knaus, DEP

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
Web Site: