Governor Edward G Rendell said the initiatives were needed to help tackle the economic impact of higher energy costs. He added that the plans would also reduce environmental impacts by cutting energy use as well as promoting more power purchase from renewable resources.

The Commonwealth is to increase its purchases of power from renewable resources from 30% to 50% by mid-2010. Pennsylvania is the largest state purchaser of renewable energy, the Governor’s statement said. Low-impact hydro power is wanted as part of the renewables mix, which also includes solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.

In addition, the Governor has called for a further 10% cut, by 2010, in energy use to build upon the 10% reduction over the last four years in state administrative property.

Last year, the Governor introduced his Energy Independent Strategy, which included US$850M of new investment to attract US$3.5B in funds for alternative and renewable energy projects to reduce the Commonwealth’s dependence on oil.