Gov. Tom Wolf, D-Pa., proposed big investments in clean energy, such as wind and solar, in his 2015-2016 state budget proposal.
Wolf's budget proposal – which allocates $225 million for energy investment, including $20 million for wind energy – protects shale development in the state while also promoting renewable energy.
Wolf's proposal includes $50 million to re-launch the PA Sunshine Solar program that provides rebates on qualifying solar projects. Another $50 million will provide grants for projects to improve energy efficiency at small businesses, local government units, schools and nonprofits, with larger grants awarded for collaborative projects.
The energy investment also includes the following:
- $30 million for a combined heat and power competitive grant program;
- $30 million to the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority for clean energy market development;
- $20 million for clean energy and energy-efficiency projects in the agriculture sector;
- $25 million for a ‘last mile’ natural gas distribution line fund to provide access to natural gas for the state's manufacturing sector; and
- $20 million for a wind energy generation program.
The governor's spending proposal also restores more than $7.8 million to the Department of Environmental Protection's $147 million general fund budget to protect water and air quality, address abandoned mine reclamation, and improve enforcement of Pennsylvania's environmental laws.
The budget proposal provides for the agency's safe and responsible development of Pennsylvania's shale gas resources. According to Wolf, a new severance tax will be preserved to assist local communities and governments manage the impact of natural gas extraction. His proposal invests $10 million for additional inspection and oversight of oil and gas operations.