Governor Tom Wolf’s administration announced Tuesday it would begin accepting grant applications to fund up to $24 million in projects to make natural gas available to Pennsylvania schools, manufacturers, hospitals, and other businesses.
The Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) grants will help construct the last few miles of natural gas distribution lines needed to connect supply with demand.
“Since day one Governor Wolf has advocated for the creation of this program,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin in a statement. “Today we’re finally able to celebrate its opening.”
The PIPE program is funded by shifting $12 million annually for the next two years from the state’s Alternative Energy Investment Act, which provided grants for clean energy projects. The Wolf administration says it has been underutilized. Wolf had previously sought to fund last-mile pipeline projects with a severance tax on drillers, but after that proposal failed in the legislature, he agreed to this funding mechanism.
The grants provide up to $1 million for expenses including construction, land acquisition, rights of way, and easements; land clearing and preparation; and engineering, design, and inspection costs. Applicants must provide matching funds equal to at least 50 percent of the total project cost. The first PIPE projects are expected to be awarded early next year.