Five large retail purchases of wind energy have been announced at the dedication of Pennsylvania’s newest windfarms in Somerset and Mill Run.SOMERSET, Pennsylvania, US, 2001-11-07 [SolarAccess.com] The purchases by the universities of Pennsylvania, Penn State and Carnegie Mellon, as well as the Philadelphia Suburban Water Corp and Giant Eagle Inc., along with several other organizations, account for 5 percent of the new wind capacity and will assure further development of wind turbines and secure Pennsylvania’s lead in wind energy in the eastern United States. “When wind energy customers see those big blades turning, they can take pride in knowing they brought us a new source of home-grown energy with no fuel, no smoke, and no price spikes,” says Brent Alderfer of Community Energy. “These universities and businesses are the first to step up – they are he leaders. They are showing us that energy independence is part of strong healthy communities, like we saw all around us today at the wind farm opening.” The new facilities will nearly triple the amount of wind energy used in the eastern U.S., supplying 63,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. Alderfer notes that each of the five top purchases is the largest retail wind energy purchase in the U.S. to date, and marks the beginning of a new renewable energy industry in the region. Community Energy, a green electricity marketing company headquartered in Pennsylvania, will market the wind power to commercial and residential customers. The two windfarms officially opened in Somerset and Mill Run, Pennsylvania, with a proclamation by Governor Schweiker naming ‘Wind Energy Week’ in the state to honour wind technology. More than 500 elementary students took part in a community celebration, and the winning student wind energy design was printed on a T-shirt distributed at the event. The new facilities are located in the Allegheny Mountains, along one mile of ridge-top pastureland, ranging in elevation from 700 to 2,900 feet. Six of the turbines have three-bladed technology, and will generate enough electricity to power 8,000 average homes. When compared to the same generation from conventional fuels, wind will displace the annual emission of 75 million pounds of CO2, equivalent to taking 5,400 cars off the road, or planting 10,000 acres of trees each year. The price of energy from new windfarms is lower than wind energy previously developed in the region, due to favourable wholesaling arrangements with Exelon Power Team, the long-term wholesale purchaser of the energy. Exelon’ s project lead, Mike Freeman, says the company is “committed to these wind energy projects because we think that building a broad range of supply resources including renewable energy will help us meet our energy needs now and in the future.” The projects were built by Mill Run Windpower and Somerset Windpower, joint ventures between Atlantic Renewable Energy Corp and Zilkha Renewable Energy, a Texas developer and operator of wind plants worldwide. “We are delighted to be participating in a competitive energy market like Pennsylvania, and are articularly pleased that the rules of the game in Pennsylvania allow renewable energy to compete on a level playing field,” says CEO Michael Zilkha. “Pennsylvania regulators are to be commended on how they have structured the electricity market.” Financing was provided in part by Pennsylvania’s Sustainable Energy Funds, which support renewable energy projects in the state. “These wind farms represent more than sustainable energy, they represent sustainable community,” says Jeremy Nowak, President and CEO of the Reinvestment Fund, which manages the Sustainable Development Fund in Philadelphia.