Pennsylvania’s Act 13 of 2012 created a three-year Natural Gas Energy Development Program that will allocate $20 million in grant funds to purchase or convert vehicles to natural gas. The goal of Act 13 is “to help the state’s ongoing effort to move towards energy independence.” Last week, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection issued the first $6.7 million of the competitive grant funds to 18 organizations across the state. The grant money comes from Pennsylvania’s drilling impact fee, which has raised $200 million from the gas industry flourishing in the Marcellus Shale. The grants are capped at 50 percent of the incremental purchase and retrofit costs, limited to $25,000 per eligible vehicle, and cannot be used to pay for project development costs, fueling stations or other fueling infrastructure.
How big of an impact will Pennsylvania’s Natural Gas Energy Development Program have on the state’s effort to move toward energy independence? Should a program like this be replicated in other states and/or at the federal level?