United States

United States

Another one in Pennsylvania -- Utility reacting to popular demand

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Giant electric and gas utility Exelon, owner of 20% of US nuclear generation, has signed up to buy all the output of a new wind farm in Pennsylvania through its power marketing arm, Exelon Power Team. The 50 MW Moosic Mountain plant will be the largest wind facility east of the Mississippi. It is being built by Waymart Wind Farm LLC to the south east of Scranton.

Exelon Power Team's Ben Armstrong says the purchase of the wind power is to help meet customer demand. "We've seen since deregulation that customers are looking for green options and so far we've offered that through landfill gas, biomass and some hydro, but now we have several wind farms coming on-line." Armstrong says the company owns ten nuclear plants and 17 reactors, making it the largest single owner of nuclear generation in the US.

Exelon was formed in October when PECO and Chicago's Commonwealth Edison merged. Part of the merger benefits called for Exelon to put money into the Pennsylvania Regional Sustainable Development Fund to further wind development. The fund is providing some of the money for Moosic Mountain.

Exelon will also buy the output from two smaller Pennsylvania wind farms to go on-line in the fall: the 15 MW Mill Run wind farm near Fayette and the 9 MW Somerset wind farm near Pittsburgh. Both projects will use Enron 1.5 MW turbines. Mill Run is being developed by Zilkha Renewable Energy LLC. Somerset Wind Energy, a company created by both the Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation and Zilkha, is developing the Somerset wind farm.

The Moosic Mountain facility should be completed by the end of this year or it could slip to spring 2002. That depends on when the developer can get the one final permit it needs from Wayne County, says Armstrong. Exelon Power Team has signed 20 year power purchase agreements with all projects. Both the Power Team and Community Energy Inc will market the 74 MW of wind. Community Energy will market the power in blocks across Pennsylvania to all of the state's residential and commercial electric customers, not just to Exelon's Pennsylvania Electric Company.

Moosic Mountain developer Waymart Wind Farm, an affiliate of the United Kingdom's National Wind Power, and its US partner, Orion Energy LLC, of Oakland, California, has not yet settled on a wind turbine supplier. Orion developed the 10 MW Green Mountain wind farm of Nordex 1.3 MW turbines in Pennsylvania last year, says Reid Buckley of Orion. That brings the state's total to four projects by the end of this year or early spring.

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