The governor of Pennsylvania, Edward Rendell, has announced an international agreement between the US state and Germany's leading industrial state to attract more foreign investment in the commonwealth's energy sector.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia calls for exchanging ideas and information on alternative energy issues and mutually enhancing economic opportunities between the governments.

The relationship between commonwealth government agencies and North Rhine- Westphalia began earlier this year when North Rhine-Westphalia officials sought out international trade representatives with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

German Consul General Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth subsequently met with Governor Rendell and made a strong argument for a partnership based on alternative energy technologies. Other meetings followed, including a visit by German officials to Philadelphia, where they were provided with a showcase of Pennsylvania companies working on hydrogen fuel technologies. Governor Rendell’s energy initiatives were also presented at the WindEnergy 2006 conference in Hamburg, Germany.

An array of methods of promoting advanced energy projects in the commonwealth have been explored. For example, Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard ensures that 18% of all retail energy generated by 2020 comes from clean, efficient and advanced resources.

In addition, because of the state’s leadership in wind production, it was able to secure an investment of $84 million from Spanish wind energy company Gamesa.

The governor also recently redoubled the commonwealth’s green electricity commitment to 20%, making Pennsylvania the largest state purchaser of green electricity in the US.

Governor Rendell has made Pennsylvania an internationally recognized leader in alternative energy development and deployment, and his energy initiatives are providing economic opportunities for Pennsylvania on a global level, said Pennsylvania environmental protection secretary Kathleen McGinty. This MOU gives us an important opportunity to attract still more foreign manufacturers and investors looking to set up business in our state.