A $60,000 grant has been awarded to the SEDA-COG Natural Gas Cooperative, Inc. to develop a business plan to support funding and development of natural gas delivery infrastructure in Centre, Clinton, and Mifflin counties.
The U.S. Appalachian Regional Commission grant will be matched by $45,000 through SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) and $15,000 total from the three counties.
The plan will serve as a roadmap for first steps for the cooperative’s operations on through project implementation, especially to support procurement of grant and loan funds, so that natural gas can be more easily and cost-effectively delivered to under- and unserved industries, businesses, and residents in the three-county cooperative area.
Clinton County Commissioner Pete Smeltz, who also serves as president of the cooperative, underscored the need for this funding.
“The gas cooperative is quite pleased to have received this grant from the ARC,” Smeltz said. “Our plans and objective of finding ways to close the gap in our region between the gas supply and those who need this reliable clean energy source are enhanced by this funding. The funding is another step closer to the completion of a business plan that will guide us forward. ARC has made a good decision to invest in valuable infrastructure.”
One of the key objectives of the cooperative is to boost the area’s economy through job creation and retention by drawing more industry to the area with this low-cost energy alternative.
Pennsylvania sits on a large reservoir of natural gas, but it’s often too expensive for natural gas distribution companies to extend service to certain areas. The cooperative aims to act as a bridge between local natural gas companies and the business and residential communities by obtaining funding to support implementation of new gas distribution lines and other infrastructure to provide service where needed.
Targeted investment areas for new natural gas distribution service in the three counties were identified and prioritized in SEDA-COG’s Regional Gas Utilization Initiative (RGUI) study (http://ow.ly/sKV5302Tsp7). The cooperative’s Board of Directors will further examine and prioritize these areas to implement infrastructure projects.
The cooperative conducted its first Board of Directors meeting on July 22 in Centre County. The initial 10-person board includes three directors from each county, plus one member from SEDA-COG. SEDA-COG is the primary administrative support agency for the cooperative.