The Locust Ridge Wind Farm in Pennsylvania is an excellent example of how a relatively small land area can produce large amounts of energy. Using a modest number of wind turbines, enough energy can be produced annually at Locust Ridge to power 30,000 homes. With the first farm started in 2006 and the second added in 2008, Locust Ridge is a booming energy producer near the center of Pennsylvania.
Building the Locust Ridge Wind Farm in Pennsylvania
In 2006, the economy of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania was suffering from a decline in the use of coal as an energy source and needed a new source of energy. The solution to this problem turned out to be capitalizing on new energy policies and tax advantages from the Pennsylvania state government in order to build and operate Locust Ridge by erecting 13 wind turbines, a modern type of wind power mill.
Landowners Joe and Angel Green decided to invest their time and finances to develop a wind farm on their typically windy property. The Greens joined with Iberdrola, Spain's second-largest power company and the world's largest developer of wind energy, and Community Energy Inc. to develop Iberdrola's first wind farm in the United States. Gamese USA was contracted to construct 13 of their 400 foot, Model G87 turbines on the Green's Locust Ridge property. PPL Corp. signed a 20-year commitment to purchase the wind farm's electricity.
In 2008, Locust Ridge II was added on to the original wind farm by constructing 51 more wind turbines. All together, the two sites create enough electricity to power 30,000 homes.
Production of the Wind Farm
|Location||Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, PA|
|Farm Size|| |
13 G87 /51 Gamesa 2MW Turbines
|Annual Production||128 megawatt-hours|
|Homes Powered||30,000 homes annually|
|Carbon Dioxide Offset||85 million pounds|
|Land Lease Owner||Iberdrola USA|
|Wind Farm Developer||Community Energy, Inc.|
|Turbine Producer||Gamese USA|
|Power Purchaser||PPL Corporation|
The key benefit of a wind farm is the production of energy from wind, a plentiful, renewable and relatively cheap energy source. Locust Ridge I and II produce affordable energy without harming the environment and without the fear of the resource being depleted.
Wind energy is extremely efficient. The 64 wind turbines at Locust Ridge Wind Farm in Pennsylvania:
- Produce 128 megawatt-hours annually, enough energy to power 30,000 homes
- Offset 85 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually, equal to removing about 8,000 vehicles from the roads
The benefits of wind power reach a wide variety of individuals within the communities surrounding Locust Ridge:
- Land owners lease their property to the wind farm operators for a fee. The land owners can usually continue to use the land to earn farming, dairy or cattle income, or simply as a recreational getaway.
- Towns and communities receive tax income from the wind farm operator. Those taxes provide budget support to local government and school activities.
- The initial set-up of the wind turbines creates temporary construction jobs. Wind farms have created more than 5,000 jobs in Pennsylvania; further growth will result in additional jobs.
- States benefit from increased energy production, the creation of new jobs and corporate taxes. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a leader in wind energy production, with 179 megawatts of capacity. There are future plans to add an additional 214 megawatts to Pennsylvania's wind farm capacity.
Affordable and Sustainable Energy
Locust Ridge illustrates several of the benefits of renewable energy since it is not only cheap, but also sustainable. As long as the amount of wind in the region does not significantly decline, the farm in central Pennsylvania can continue to produce affordable energy for decades to come with no negative impact on the region .