The Keystone State said today it will award $5.4 million in grants for clean tech through its Energy Harvest program. Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell has been aggressively pursuing clean tech since the start of the year; just last month, the state handed out $21.1 million to alternative energy projects.
Seeking to make Pennsylvania a cleantech hub in the growing green economy, the government grants, subsidies and tax breaks have attracted several cleantech startups and leveraged private equity. However, the Energy Harvest program, which has invested a total of $26 million in clean tech, is far from the $850 million Rendell had announced he hopes to spend on developing the state’s cleantech industry.
Rendell pointed out that Pennsylvania still has 27 billion tons of coal in the ground and spoke of using old mines for potential carbon sequestration. As the prospect of “clean coal” gets ignored by the federal government, coal-producing states like Pennsylvania will have to develop new industries.
The grants unveiled today will be used to generate 18.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy, all part of the governor’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, which aims to ensure that 18 percent of the state’s energy come from clean sources by 2021. Competing with several other states courting green business, especially California, which Rendell notes has put up $3 billion for solar development alone, Pennsylvania seeks to create wealth through green-collar jobs as the industry grows.