Largest Wind Farm in Eastern U.S. to be Built in Pennsylvania

New 15-megawatt wind farm in Fayette County,Pennsylvania to produce enough power for 5,700 homes.

Published: 14-Mar-2001

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Representatives of a consortium of private companies, non-profit organizations and public agencies, including Community Energy, Inc., the Exelon Power Team, Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation, Zilkha Renewable Energy, the TRF Sustainable Development Fund and the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition (MAREC) today announced that they will build a new 15-megawatt wind farm in Fayette County. Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Protection (DEP) James Seif and Public Utility Commission (PUC) Member Nora Mead Brownell joined the groups at the announcement in the State Capitol.

The wind farm will be built along more than a mile of ridge-top pastureland, ranging in elevation between 2700 and 2900 feet, and located in Springfield and Stewart Townships, near Mill Run, about 40 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The Mill Run Wind Project will create enough clean energy to power about 5,700 homes. The state-of-the-art project is being built by Mill Run Windpower LLC, a joint venture between Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation, a local wind energy developer and Zilkha Renewable Energy, a Texas-based developer, builder, owner and operator of windpower plants worldwide.

The Exelon Power Team, the wholesale power marketing division of Exelon Generation, has agreed to buy the output of the wind farm for 20 years and will manage the wholesale delivery of the wind energy to the power grid for resale. With that agreement in place, Community Energy, a green electricity marketing company headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania, will market the green power to commercial and residential customers at lower prices than could be charged without the long term commitment. The project is supported by wind energy production incentive financing from the TRF Sustainable Development Fund, a fund devoted to renewable and clean energy projects administered by The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) in Philadelphia. The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, through its Pennsylvania Wind Campaign, is providing education to the public about Pennsylvania's renewable energy choices.

"This is just the beginning of a new era in energy for the region," said Brent Alderfer, President of Community Energy. "The historic public-private partnership that launched this project means we can bring clean, affordable energy to the residential and commercial customers who are clamoring for it. And we expect to build on this success, bringing more of the best renewable energy technology for customers throughout the region in the coming years." Alderfer also noted that this project represents the first entry by an established electric utility company into the wind power market in Pennsylvania.

DEP Secretary James Seif agreed. "This project is exciting for Pennsylvania. It confirms that what's good for the environment is also good for the economy. The wind farm will bring vitally needed jobs and tax revenue to a rural area, and at the same time deliver clean affordable homegrown energy to Pennsylvanians who choose it. It is a win-win for all."

Exelon's Mill Run project lead, Mike Freeman added, "We are committed to this wind energy project because we think a broad range of resources including renewable energy are vital to meeting our energy needs now and in the future. We look forward to working with Community Energy to market this new wind energy as part of a secure energy future."

"This exciting wind energy project is yet one more example of how Pennsylvania 'got it right' in making the move to ElectriChoice," added Pennsylvania PUC Commissioner Nora Mead Brownell. "We are determined to create a stable and secure electricity market place with more choices and lower prices for consumers. This project goes a long way to making that market a reality."

Michael Zilkha, CEO of Zilkha Renewable Energy stated, "We are delighted to be participating in a competitive energy market like Pennsylvania, and are particularly pleased that the rules of the game in Pennsylvania allow renewable energy to compete on a level playing field. Pennsylvania regulators are to be commended on how they have structured the electricity market. Zilkha Renewable Energy is committed to developing clean, non polluting energy sources. We are excited about our initial Pennsylvania venture, and hope it will be the first of many."

Sam Enfield, Vice President of Development for Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation and the Project Manager of the Mill Run project, added, "We are pleased to be able to bring this new industry to Fayette County, and to offer land owners an additional source of income from their land. We are also pleased to be able to provide clean and economical energy to Exelon Power Team during these times of national energy supply concerns."

The Reinvestment Fund was entrusted by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and a group of environmental organizations to manage the $32 million Sustainable Development Fund to promote a sustainable energy future in southeastern Pennsylvania. Jeremy Nowak, President and CEO of The Reinvestment Fund describes how the Sustainable Development Fund is a clear mission fit for TRF. "TRF's decision to manage and support the Sustainable Development Fund is rooted in its core values," said Nowak. "We believe that high quality regional and community development must be rooted in environmental stewardship and that environmental stewardship must be supported by market and technical innovation. Mill Run represents more than sustainable energy; it represents sustainable community."

Groundbreaking for the Mill Run wind farm, in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, will take place later this spring. Once built, the power plant will consist of 10 new 1.5-megawatt turbines, to be supplied by California-based Enron Wind Corporation. The turbines will sit on towers 213 feet tall and have a rotor diameter of 231 feet. The Mill Run project will be the largest wind farm in the Eastern U.S. to date. The next largest wind farm in Pennsylvania, in Garrett (Somerset County), went online in May, 2000 and is a 10.4 MW power plant, making enough electricity to power 2500 households.

The Mill Run consortium also recognizes the following families and companies for their contributions to the project: the Ray and Wayne Steyer families, owners of the project site; Allegheny Power, which is providing the grid-interconnection; Somerset Rural Electric Cooperative, which is facilitating access to the grid-interconnection; Pittsburgh-based Conservation Consultants, Inc and Springhouse Energy Systems, which assisted in site selection and wind resource assessment; and local authorities in Fayette County, Stewart and Springfield townships, which performed administrative review of the project.

Wind energy is the world's fastest growing form of electricity generation, meeting the growing demand for clean renewable energy. Wind turbines generate electricity with no emissions and no fuel at prices slightly above current generation costs. In addition to the environmental benefits, wind generation can offer stable twenty-year prices because it is not subject to fuel price risks. Longer-term contracts offer the best price. Many analysts have pinpointed short-term contracts and skyrocketing fuel prices as key components to the dramatic collapse of electricity deregulation in California.

More information about the Mill Run wind farm is available on the web at http://www.newwindenergy.com

SOURCE Community Energy, Inc.

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