SACRAMENTO, Calif., LANSING, Mich., HARRISBURG, Pa., and ALBANY, N.Y. - Four states have awarded nearly $61 million over the past month and a half to support clean energy projects. The states include California, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York, and the funds are supporting a wide range of energy technologies. On the West Coast, for instance, the California Energy Commission (CEC) loaned $2.2 million to the city of San Diego to make energy efficiency improvements to a variety of municipal buildings and to install five 30-kilowatt solar power systems. The CEC also awarded 10 research grants for nearly $950,000 to advance wind turbines, solar cells, landfill gas systems, building cooling devices, and energy storage systems.

Michigan is known for auto manufacturing, so it is no surprise that when its 21st Century Jobs Fund awarded more than $25 million to clean energy technologies, many of the projects were related to vehicles. The fund is helping to develop technologies for biodiesel production, fuel cells, lithium batteries, ethanol-fueled engines, advanced materials for vehicles, and advanced manufacturing technologies. In addition, about $3 million of the funds will go toward a statewide support network for alternative energy technologies.

Although Pennsylvania is a major steel producer, it has awarded nearly $11.8 million to a variety of clean energy projects, including the award of about $276,000 to 51 small businesses to upgrade their energy efficiency, install solar power systems, or install heat or power units in long-haul trucks. In addition, two state programs awarded a total of $11.5 million to 43 projects involving industrial energy efficiency, energy efficient homes, geothermal heat pumps, solar energy, fuel cells, wind power, biofuels, biomass energy, and even a high-efficiency locomotive.

Perhaps the most unique effort is a $21 million demonstration project in western New York to convert hydropower into hydrogen. The project will draw 700 kilowatts of power from the Niagara Power Project, using electrolyzers to break down water into its elemental components, hydrogen and oxygen. When completed in 2007, the project will feature two hydrogen generating stations producing up to 120 kilograms per day of hydrogen. The facility will also include hydrogen storage and fueling facilities. The project is based on an engineering feasibility study performed by the New York Power Authority and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Publication date: 10/23/2006