Wind farm operational
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Wyoming County Press
It’s been on the drawing boards for nearly six years, but on the next-to-last day of 2012, an 88-turbine wind farm in Wyoming County went fully operational.
The Mehoopany Wind Farm by BP Wind Energy and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power is the largest wind project in the state of Pennsylvania and represents a combined investment of approximately $250 million.
Located on a 9,000-acre site that includes parts of Eaton, Forkston, Mehoopany and Noxen townships, the wind farm utilizes GE xle wind turbine generators each with a rated capacity of 1.6 megawatts to produce 141 megawatts of electricity.
The energy is then sent to a power grid on the Procter & Gamble plant site in Washington Township, before being exported.
Amanda Abbot, director of government and public affairs for BP Wind Energy, said the company’s 14th wind park around the country, actually was completed on Dec. 30 when the last turbine, A-11, went up in Noxen Township.
She noted that some 10-15 permanent jobs have been created to monitor and maintain the facility now that it is in commercial operation.
More than 400 jobs were created during the peak of construction of the wind farm.
On Tuesday, John Graham, president and chief executive officer of BP Wind Energy called the farm “an important milestone that marks yet another success for the BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power teams that have worked so hard to deliver this project into full commercial operation.”
Both entities were under the gun to take advantage of tax credits that were set to expire if the federal government went over the fiscal cliff last weekend.
However, the wind tax credit was restored under new legislation passed by Congress this week.
Jeffrey W. Martin, president of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power noted that. “Pennsylvania has been a recognized leader in providing critical fuels to help grow our nation’s economy for over a century.”
He added that “This project continues in that proud tradition by harnessing clean, sustainable wind energy that will benefit mid-Atlantic customers for decades to come.”
Although when originally developed, Procter & Gamble was to harness half of the energy output from the wind turbines, that changed when P&G discovered in 2009 it was sitting on a Marcellus rich natural gas field.
P&G backed out of the wind plan as a buyer, but remained loyal to the concept of allowing BP to use its power grid already in place.
Under terms announced two years ago, the entire power output has been sold under long-term power purchase agreements with Old Dominion Electric Cooperative in Virginia and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Inc.
The agreements were made possible through the efforts of the National Renewables Cooperative Organization, which enables cooperatives nationwide to pool the ownership and benefits of renewable resources.
Abbott said that as the public watches a new energy source emerging from its landscape, not all wind turbines will necessarily b moving in any sort of synchronized fashion.
If one isn’t moving, Abbott said, there could be from a variety of reason which include lack of wind or maintenance issues.