Somerset County will be home to a new $350 million, 170-megawatt wind energy farm, the largest project in Pennsylvania to date developed by New York City-based EverPower.
The Twin Ridges Wind Farm is the third renewable project in the state for EverPower, which opened a Pittsburgh office in Lawrenceville last year that has grown to 20 employees. Plans call for continued hiring this year in permitting, wind resource and engineering, says Jim Spencer, founder, CEO and a native of Pittsburgh.
EverPower's first wind farm in Cambria County was the Highland Wind Project
, which is already in the business of generating 62.5 megawatts of wind energy. A second project, nearby, is the $120 million Highland North wind farm, which recently secured funding and should be operating by the end of this year, generating 75 megawatts of electricity, says Spencer.
Both projects are located near the town of Krayn on top of a reclaimed strip-mine in close proximity to a municipal utility. EverPower has a purchase agreement for Highland's electricity with grid-operator PJM Interconnection and Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions.
"Everpower is like a real estate developer of renewable energy projects," Spencer explains. "This area of Pennsylvania. (along the Allegheny ridge line) is an excellent wind corridor. Pennsylvania has the potential for 5,100 megawatts of wind energy; we're only at 750 megawatts now. We have a long way to go."
Spencer believes with the state's continued support of renewables, the industry will create thousands of new jobs both in the state and across the country.
"My concern (with the excitement generated over Marcellus Shale) is the state might overlook a real source of economic growth in renewables," he says. "There is a very attractive market here. But unless the renewable standards increase, we're unlikely to see more development and construction here."
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Jim Spencer, Everpower