Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced that Pennsylvania's first ethanol production facility will locate in Clearfield County and build on the state's commitment to helping consumers move away from high-cost fossil fuels to homegrown energy solutions.

"Today, Pennsylvania takes another gigantic step forward on the renewable energy front in a move that will lessen our dependence on foreign energy sources," said Governor Rendell. "With gas prices at or above $3 a gallon, Pennsylvania is sending approximately $30 billion overseas. It's time to take that money and invest it at home by supporting new technologies that will grow our economy and open the door to new opportunities.

"The plant that we're announcing today will help do just that. By producing approximately 108 million gallons of denatured, fuel-grade ethanol per year, we will not only break the grip of foreign oil cartels, we will create new markets for our corn growers and help foster a cleaner environment."

Governor Rendell was joined today by top executives from BioEnergy International, LLC and Lukoil Americas, two important partners in the project. BioEnergy will build and operate the facility and Lukoil will serve as the exclusive distributor of the finished product.

The Governor presented BioEnergy with $17.4 million in state investments to support the $250 million project. The package includes a $400,000 grant through the Opportunity Grant Program, $500,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits ($300,000 for the ethanol plant and $200,000 for the pilot plant), loan and grants of up to $2.5 million ($1.25 million loan and $1.25 million grant) for the ethanol plant through the Infrastructure Development Program and $14 million ($11 million for the ethanol plant and $3 million for the pilot plant) through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

The majority of these funds, $180 million, will support the building of a 108-million-gallon corn-based ethanol production plant, with the remaining $70 million going towards the development of a pilot-scale cellulose demonstration plant. Plans call for at least 110 new jobs within the next five years, plus approximately 300 temporary construction jobs.

The plant will employ conventional corn-based technology and will be among the largest east of the Mississippi River, and one of the nation's top 10, based on output. The smaller pilot-cellulose plant will use BioEnergy's groundbreaking technology to produce fuels using locally available organic wastes, such as wood and agricultural residue.

"The growth potential for cellulosic ethanol is substantial," Governor Rendell added. "The commonwealth contains enough plant matter to produce in excess of 500 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. In addition, Pennsylvania very well could be the nation's leading producer of soy biodiesel within the year, going from practically zero last year to a projected 40 million gallons of annual production as more than 20 proposed biodiesel projects are in various stages of development throughout the state."

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor