Energy projects statewide receive COVID restart grants | Wednesday Morning Coffee

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Good Wednesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Associate Editor Cassie Miller here with you for the last installment of Morning Coffee of the year!

Morning Coffee will return after a short hiatus on Jan. 4, 2021 with Editor John Micek back at the helm.

Before I let you go for the remainder of the year, I wanted to share one more item from my inbox.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority had awarded $1.7 million in COVID-19 restart grants to 11 clean energy and energy efficiency programs across the commonwealth.

“We’re pleased to help this outstanding set of clean energy and energy efficiency projects get going again,” DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell said. “In addition to supporting current and new jobs to assist in Pennsylvania’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll help improve air quality in their communities by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy waste and demand on the grid.”

Here’s a breakdown of the 11 programs statewide from the DEP:
Allegheny County

  • City of Pittsburgh: $189,403 for installation of 30 Level 2 chargers at the Second Avenue Parking Lot to power the city’s growing electric vehicle fleet, which currently numbers 26 vehicles. This project is a critical element of the city’s planned fleet conversion, servicing existing electric vehicles and future ones, as 44 other vehicles come up for replacement.
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: $235,000 to continue its Alternative and Net-Positive Energy Project. A 27.7 kW rooftop solar array will be added to the greenhouse to round out the conservatory-wide 234.81 kW solar array. Solar-powered energy-efficiency climate controls will be installed in the public atrium of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes, one of the world’s greenest structures. Energy efficient equipment will be installed in impactful and visible locations throughout public programming spaces.

Allegheny and Washington Counties

  • Town Real Estate Enterprises, LLC: $59,054 to complete energy efficiency projects at two locations. High-efficiency lighting will be installed at the Omega Corporate Center, a 282,000 square foot office space in Robinson Township. Two outdated HVAC units will be replaced at Southpointe Plaza, a 57,454 square foot office space in Canonsburg. Combined, the two projects are expected to reduce electricity use nearly 400,000 kWh annually and reduce carbon dioxide emissions over 400 tons per year

Carbon County

  • Palmerton Area School District: $250,000 for energy efficient windows and doors at Palmerton Area High School. The project aims to lower the school’s energy use more than 6 percent, or an estimated 541 MMBtu, annually, for a savings of more than $94,000 over 20 years. In addition to the dollars saved by district taxpayers, this energy conservation will achieve a 32 ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Dauphin County

  • Phoenix Contact Development and Manufacturing, Inc.: $250,000 to install a 961 kW solar array on the roof of the company’s logistics center in Middletown. The array will provide about 40 percent of the electricity at the site and complement the company’s STEM, internship, and apprentice programs to educate youth, prospective engineers, and technicians about clean renewable energy technology and its benefits.

Erie County

  • City of Erie: $24,375 to install a 50-panel solar array for the Erie Central Fire Station, a 24-hour, 365-days a year emergency operations facility. The array will supply 22,130 kWh of electricity annually, offsetting 27 percent of the station’s energy use and reducing operating costs for the municipality. This project will also be used as an educational asset to promote awareness and use of solar energy in Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania.

Lancaster County

  • Kreider Property Improvements: $60,800 for an 89.6 kW rooftop solar array on the company’s commercial property, generating over 55,000 kWh of electricity per year. The company experienced a 95 percent shutdown of operations for nearly four months due to COVID-19, impacting the ability to complete this project. Completion of the project will reduce operating costs while avoiding over 75 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

McKean County

  • 63 Fraley Street, LLC: $225,000 to complete the Kane Passive House project, renovating a vacant three-story building in Kane Borough into an ultra-energy-efficient showcase. The house will approach net zero energy status through Passive House practices and certified components, properly sized heating and cooling equipment, and a roof-mounted solar panel. The project will use local building materials and labor. In partnership with the borough, the project team will demonstrate Passive House construction in a rural community and educate the public on its economic and environmental benefits
  • Port Allegany School District: $204,763 to install over 6,400 LED lamps/fixtures and cooler/freezer controls. Before and after installation measurements will be taken to confirm the savings achieved from this energy efficiency project. The benefits of the project go beyond energy savings, providing a learning opportunity for students. Mentored by professionals in the clean energy industry, high school students will develop presentations on the project and its outcomes. The students will present to the school district directors, Seneca Highlands Intermediate Unit 9, and other groups.

Northampton County

  • K.C. Mechanical Service, Inc.: $96,000 to install a 112 kW ground-mounted solar project next to the company headquarters in Mt. Bethel. The project will generate over 112,000 kWh of electricity per year, exceeding 100 percent of the company’s annual usage. The project will fulfill a long-term goal of the company to reduce its carbon footprint by avoiding over 100 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Wayne County

  • Highlights Foundation: $116,000 for the Boyds Mill Conference Center Net Positive Project in Honesdale. Net positive energy status will be accomplished through a combination of renewable energy production, energy conservation, and monitoring and control of a micro-grid, including deployment of 102 kw solar panels, mini-split heat pump units, and a cloud-based management system to control energy use dynamically. The project will educate other conference centers and over 1,000 people who visit Boyds Mill each year on the transition to sustainable energy and net positive energy status.
Our Stuff.

From D.C. reporter Laura OlsonCongress passes massive ‘first step’ in pandemic relief with $900B package. 

Ariana Figueroa reports: The top 10 unforgettable moments of a tumultuous year in D.C.

ICYMI: What’s in the $900B emergency relief bill—and what’s out

On our Commentary Page this morning, Harry Campbell writes Salt for snow and ice: Effects on waterways not very nice and Erin Cosgrove discusses RGGI’s ability to create new jobs. 

Elsewhere.

Philly to extend indoor dining ban, but may allow some activities to resume Jan. 4., the Inquirer’s Laura McCrystal reports. 

New from PennLive: What Pa. lawmakers liked and loathed in the $900B coronavirus relief package.

1 Cumberland County restaurant closed over COVID-19 infraction, 13 others warned. the Carlisle Sentinel reports. 

Here’s your Daily photo from yours truly:
Taken at Susquehannock State Park after a storm. Aug. 9, 2020.
Local colleges see larger-than-average enrollment drops this fall, WHYY-FM reports.

From Spotlight PA: Reform of secrecy law for Pa. utilities faces long odds despite agreement that it’s a problem

PoliticsPA reports that Penn Professor Launches Senate Exploratory Committee.

Heavy Rotation.
Sure-to-be earworm, here’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Cannon.”

Have a safe and happy rest of 2020 and we will see you all back here in 2021!

Cassie Miller, Associate Editor

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.