Pennsylvania Wind Farm Starts Spinning Power
Governor Edward Rendell flipped the switch that started the turbines of Pennsylvania’s newest wind farm.
“This is an exciting day for Pennsylvania,” said the governor, standing atop Locust Ridge in Schuylkill County. “This project shows the kind of growth we can achieve by committing ourselves to clean and renewable energy, and by making the strategic investments necessary to attract leading companies that create quality jobs for our men and women.”
The Locust Ridge Wind Farm will produce 68,328 megawatt hours annually – enough emissions-free electricity to power about 6,500 typical Pennsylvania homes each year.
The wind farm is owned by the Spanish company Iberdrola, the largest owner and operator of renewable energy facilities in the world, and was developed by its affiliate, Community Energy Inc. The Spanish company Gamesa constructed the 13 turbines at the wind farm.
Iberdrola Chairman Ignacio Galan told the Global Energy Leaders Summit today in London that the company “envisages the United States as one of the most important growth opportunities.”
Governor Rendell takes credit for the policies that attracted these companies to his state.
“Pennsylvania has established itself as a top destination for alternative energy companies and development projects,” said the governor.
“Some of the world’s leading companies in the field, like Iberdrola and Gamesa, the two companies involved here today, have chosen to set-up shop in Pennsylvania. They realize that they can compete and succeed here because of our commitment to growing this industry and our competitive business environment.”
Pennsylvania already has with 179 megawatts, MW, of wind generating capacity, including Locust Ridge. Within the next 12 months, the commonwealth expects new wind farm projects will add another 214 MW of capacity.
“It is exciting that Pennsylvania is leading the drive towards energy independence and building solutions to climate change, like wind energy, which also grow the economy and protect electricity customers from potentially volatile fossil fuel prices,” said Brent Alderfer, executive vice president, Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA.
Iberdrola has 60 employees at its new corporate offices in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Its Community Energy affiliate, founded in Wayne, in 1999, has more than 2,000 MW of wind power capacity at projects that are already operating or are in development.
Gamesa has invested $108 million in Pennsylvania and has created more than 800 jobs here. The company operates two manufacturing plants in the state. Its North American headquarters is located in Philadelphia.
The opening of the Locust Ridge Wind Farm comes at an ideal time for the governor as he attempts to persuade state legislators to support his Energy Independence Strategy, which is now pending before the General Assembly.
The strategy builds on the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard Pennsylvania enacted in November 2004 during the Rendell administration.
The standard requires that 18 percent of energy sold in Pennsylvania come from renewable and alternative sources by 2021. It is expected to result in 3,000 to 4,000 MW of wind power for sale in Pennsylvania.