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Wind energy feasible

The chief executive officer of Penn Wind LLC reported enough wind energy exists at a Northumberland County test site to supply power to 5,200 homes.

Justin R. Dunkelberger told Northumberland County commissioners Tuesday afternoon that the proposed wind farm project would produce 6 million kilowats per hour of wind power annually.

The company entered into a lease agreement with the county last year to conduct wind testing on Mahanoy Mountain in Coal and East Cameron townships.

Rising energy costs and the need for more environmentally-friendly power generation are key factors that motivated Dunkelberger and his business partner, Sean Purdy, to explore the option of wind turbines to create electricity.

He said the wind testing done at the site during the past year indicated that enough clean, renewable energy could be generated to provide power to 5,200 homes.

Dunkelberger noted similar projects already exist in Mahanoy Township in Schuylkill County, Wilkes-Barre and Somerset.

He thanked the commissioners for considering the wind farm proposal.

In a previous interview, Dunkelberger, an engineer, said his company partnered with Juwi GmbH, a German company that specializes in solar and wind energy, to form Penn Wind & PA Solar LLC, based in Sunbury. The company works with local communities across the county to evaluate sites, lease land and design, build and operate wind farms and solar installations.

Dunkelberger said Juwi was started in 1996.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind-electric turbine generators (wind turbine) works like a hydroelectric generation. Energy that is contained in falling or flowing water is used to spin the rotor of a turbine, and the turbine rotor drives the shaft of a generator to produce electricity. With wind energy, the air flows past the rotor of a wind turbine (a rotor that looks like an airplane propeller), the rotor spins and drives the shaft of an electric generator.

Dunkelberger had said one turbine can potentially produce enough energy for about 800 homes.

By Mark Gilger
Staff Writer

The News Item

17 October 2007