Interest in wind energy on rise, experts say
Electricity generated by wind farms powered more than 350,000 Pennsylvania homes last year, and that number is expected to grow.
“There's demand,” said Titus North, executive director of Squirrel Hill-based Citizen Power.
Citizen Power teamed with TriEagle Energy in August 2011 to offer renewable wind electricity service to residential customers. By the end of last year, its territory covered nearly all of Pennsylvania, North said.“We're seeing basically two sources of demand,” he said. “There's a lot of people concerned about the environment, and then there's a lot of people signed up to save money.”
A typical family of four using 1,000 kilowatts of electricity would save about $30 a month by switching, North said. Subscribing to wind power is no more complicated than switching energy suppliers. Consumers don't need to buy wind turbines for yards and crews don't come to their homes to rewire electric lines. The electric company serving the area maintains responsibility for power outages.
Electricity generated by renewable energy comes through the electric grid, the network of transmission and distribution lines linking consumers to power plants. The difference is that electricity produced by wind turbines goes into the grid on behalf of homes that use renewable energy.North said savings kick in because TriEagle Energy purchases energy through the wholesale market ahead of time. When a household signs a two-year contract, TriEagle Energy pays for all of the electricity that home is expected to use, locking in the price.
Twenty-two Pennsylvania wind farms have at least 404 utility-scale turbines, according the state Department of Environmental Protection. Those turbines have the capacity to produce at least 1 megawatt, or 1 million watts, and feed power directly into the grid through a substation.
“I feel good about the electricity I'm using, and I'm saving money,” said Brady Hunsaker, 38, of Park Place. He switched to the service about a year ago. “It's a completely renewable energy resource.”
The smallest wind farm is Turkey Hill Dairy/Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority in Lancaster County, with two turbines that produce 3.2 megawatts, enough to power about 840 homes. The largest is the newest: Mehoopany Wind Farm in Wyoming County, expected to generate 144 megawatts, or enough to power about 38,000 homes.
Pennsylvania's wind farms have the potential to generate more than 3.5 million megawatt-hours per year, enough power for about 350,000 homes, according to the department.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Positive economic, earnings reports return Dow, S&P 500 to record territory
- Highmark and UPMC feud over canceled physician contracts
- Small businesses’ dilemma: Keep costly health care coverage or lose talented workers
- Ex-coal exec pleads not guilty in W.Va. mine blast
- Oil, gas industry tries to keep talent in pipeline
- Health care, gas drilling industries await Gov.-elect Wolf’s footprint
- Young watchmaker pursues lifelong fixation
- Variable-rate electricity contracts in Pennsylvania can cost customers plenty
- Tribune-Review tops competition’s readership, according to figures
- 6 executives at Highmark, Allegheny Health Network hospital system exceed $1M pay
- Oil boom fuels demand for sand