Project Development, Wind Power

Pennsylvania Option to Support New Wind Farms

A utility and a community energy group in Pennsylvania want to sell electricity generated from new wind farms to customers in the state’s southeastern region.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, US, 2001-04-27 <SolarAccess.com> PECO Energy Co. will submit a new rate to the state Public Utility Commission for the voluntary premium offering. The energy would be supplied from the Mill Run wind project in Fayette County that was announced last month, the Somerset Wind Farm to be built along the Pennsylvania Turnpike west of Harrisburg, and other wind energy projects across the state. Exelon Power Team, an affiliate of PECO, has formed a joint marketing agreement with Community Energy Inc. to purchase the output from the wind farms for 20 years and to manage the wholesale energy delivery to the regional grid. CEI and PECO will market the ‘New Wind Energy’ option for power supply to commercial and residential customers. “It is exciting for us that we can support the development of these clean energy projects and offer our customers a premier green energy product in a way that is both affordable and flexible,” says PECO Energy president Ken Lawrence. “Pennsylvania’s utility environment has fostered investment in new generation, and this New Wind Energy offering will give our customers another option for the type of energy they buy.” Customers will be offered wind energy in ‘WindBlocks’ which will be based on kilowatt-hours, so customers can determine the premium they want to spend to support wind energy. The groups will accept pre-subscriptions from interested customers in advance of generation from the wind farms anticipated for later this year. A marketing campaign for the option will involve a coalition of environmental groups, government agencies and businesses. “This is the kind of forward-thinking energy strategy that environmentalists look for,” says Joseph Minott of the Clean Air Council. “Wind energy is part of the new renewable electricity supply Pennsylvania needs to protect the public health and ensure a secure energy future. This PECO-Community Energy partnership takes the lead in offering new, emission-free wind energy to all electric customers in the region.” Somerset Windpower is a joint venture between Atlantic Renewable Energy and Zilkha Renewable Energy. It will install six turbines on a former coal mine, and the 9 MW project will generate 25,000 MWh a year for 3,000 customers. The facility will increase the state’s wind generation capacity to 35 MW, and its location next to the turnpike will give motorists a chance to see the turbines. The 15 MW Mill Run project was announced earlier this year, and construction on both sites will start this summer. The wind farms will be interconnected to the regional power grid. “This is a terrific Earth Day present for the people of Pennsylvania,” says John Hanger of Penn Future. “PECO customers will be the first in the Commonwealth to be able to directly help the planet through their local electricity choices.” “This is the top green energy product in the market because this new wind energy is generated locally, uses no fuel and produces no emissions, and therefore meets all of our critical energy needs. Plus, the customer is not charged any premium until the wind supply actually comes on line,” adds Brent Alderfer, president of CEI in Wayne. “The more customers sign up, the more new wind energy we bring on line. This is what customers are asking for.” Financing for the Somerset wind farm will be partly provided by the Sustainable Development Fund, which took the lead in structuring a $3.6 million loan. SDF also provided financing for the Mill Run Wind Farm project. PECO and its sister utility, ComEd, are subsidiaries of Exelon. The two companies serve five million customers, the largest customer base for any utility in the U.S.