Pennsylvania has taken significant steps in 2010 to improve its sustainability portfolio including grants to small businesses and municipalities. The Department of Environmental Protection announced earlier this month that 90 small businesses would receive $560,000 in grants for efficient lighting, insulation and other energy-saving investments. Governor Ed Rendell topped these grants with an announced $7.9 million to 21 alternative fuel projects throughout the state. These projects are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 14.5 million pounds while creating 221 jobs.
The largest individual grant was a $900,000 award to PHL Taxi Management LLC, which operates cabs throughout Philadelphia. This recipient will use funds to purchase and operate 50 compressed natural gas (CNG) taxis over the next five years. PHL Taxi Management LLC also has plans for a CNG fueling station that could be accessible to the general public. 451 Tyburn LLC received $837,400 from the state of Pennsylvania to fund CNG shuttle buses and a fueling station in Fairless Hills. The Endless Mountains Transit Authority will use $750,000 in state grants to convert five buses to CNG.
Projects focused on increasing CNG use were among the most popular in this round of state funding. Retail chain Giant Eagle Inc. received $750,000 to install ten EV charging stations and purchase 29 CNG and all-electric vehicles for company use. Venango Leasing is in line for $362,000 in state grants to purchase a CNG fueling station in Barkeyville along with components for CNG conversions. This focus on CNG comes from the availability and affordability of natural gas along with the readiness of CNG projects in Pennsylvania.
CNG projects may have received a lion’s share of funding but biodiesel projects were also awarded funds. The Energy Cooperative Association of Pennsylvania received $631,787 to provide 12 school districts with 1.8 million gallons of biodiesel and 280,000 gallons of B100 for district vehicles. This organization also obtained $425,860 to operate 500 biodiesel vehicles in five cities in southeastern Pennsylvania. West Chester University of Pennsylvania also received $6,000 to power campus safety and maintenance vehicles with B20 fuel. The state of Pennsylvania took a big step toward a dynamic transportation system with a relatively modest investment.