Renewable energy law in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania approved a bill [1] that establishes a $500 million fund to support renewable energy projects. Special Session House Bill 1 authorizes the Commonwealth Financing Authority to borrow $500 million, most of which will be split into six funding sources relating to energy efficiency and renewable energy: $80 million in grants and loans for solar energy projects; $100 million in grants, loans, and rebates for up to 35% of the cost of solar energy projects at residences and small businesses; $165 million in grants and loans for alternative energy projects, excluding solar energy, at businesses and local government facilities; $25 million for wind and geothermal energy projects; $40 million to help start-up businesses involved in energy efficiency technologies; and $25 million in grants and loans to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing homes and small business buildings. An additional $65 million will go toward pollution control technologies and to help low-income families pay their energy bills.

In addition to the $500 million fund, the bill creates a Consumer Energy Program that is funded at $15 million for the next 3 fiscal years, then gradually decreases to $8 million by the 2015–2016 fiscal year, for a total of $100 million. Of that, $92.5 million will support loans, grants, and rebates for up to 25% of the cost of energy efficiency improvements to homes and small businesses, while $5 million will support low-interest loans for energy efficiency improvements to homes. An additional $50 million will be available over the next 8 years to support tax credits for 15% of the cost of alternative energy projects, capped at $1 million per year for each project.

Biofuels[edit]

Governor Edward Rendell also approved two bills on July 10, 2008 that relate to biofuels.[2]

House Bill 1202 [3] could add as much as 1 billion US gallons (3,800,000 m3) of advanced biofuels to the state's fuel supply. It requires all retail diesel fuel sold in the state to contain 2% biodiesel, once the in-state production of biodiesel reaches 40 million US gallons (150,000 m3) per year, increasing incrementally to a 20% biodiesel requirement, once the in-state production of biodiesel reaches 400 million US gallons (1,500,000 m3) per year (but only if vehicle manufacturers approve the use of 20% biodiesel). Likewise, all retail gasoline sold in the state must contain 10% ethanol, once the in-state production of cellulosic ethanol reaches 350 million US gallons (1,300,000 m3) per year. The state already has a biodiesel production capacity of 60 million US gallons (230,000 m3) per year, so the 2% biodiesel requirement could go into effect soon, if production is high enough.

To encourage biodiesel production, Special Session Senate Bill 22 [4] will offer a subsidy of 75 cents per gallon of biodiesel produced, capped at $1.9 million per year for each producer. The bill also expands a hybrid vehicle rebate program to include plug-in hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles.

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