Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell is expected to sign a $650 million bill to boost the production and use of renewable energy Wednesday afternoon.
The bill would provide tax incentives to companies building solar, wind and other alternative-energy projects in Pennsylvania. It also would offer rebates and loans to residents and businesses for adopting conservation measures. And using solar equipment made in the state would qualify residents and businesses for additional subsidies.
Pennsylvania is joining a number of other states that have committed money to increase renewable-energy production and consumption.
Just last week, for instance, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill to provide $10 million for no-interest loans and other programs to local communities for renewable-energy projects. The new law also requires Massachusetts' utilities to enter into long-term contracts with renewable-energy producers and meet power-purchase quotas (see Massachusetts Passes Sweeping Energy Bill).
The Pennsylvania bill includes $180 million in grants, rebates and other incentives for consumers to install solar-power systems and for companies to produce them.
It also commits $40 million to wind- and geothermal-power projects, and provides $150 million over a seven-year period for loans, grants and rebates to help consumers and small businesses weatherize homes, buy energy-efficient appliances and use other energy-efficiency technologies.
Additional money will be used for pollution control, emergency power and research.
The state Legislature, which passed the bill July 4, also passed a bill that would commit $5.3 million per year through 2011 to increase the production of cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel.
The biofuel bill requires gasoline to be 10 percent Pennsylvania-produced cellulosic ethanol once production reaches 350 million gallons annually statewide. Gov. Edward G. Rendell also has said he would sign this bill.