KEYSER – Edison Mission Group (EMG), a subsidiary of Edison International, has announced commissioning of the Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage located on Green Mountain, near the Maryland-West Virginia border.
The 23-turbine wind farm has a maximum generating capacity of 55 megawatts (MW), enough electricity to meet the average needs of about 14,000 homes.
In announcing that the wind farm has been formally commissioned, Edison officials noted that the next meeting of the Community Advisory Panel will be 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30 at the Boyce-Houser American Legion in Keyser.
With the turbines in place and operational since the fall, some nearby residents have registered strong complaints about the noise from the wind farm, saying the loud humming can be heard at all hours, indoors and outside their homes, and even interferes with their sleep.
In response, Edison officials have tasked the turbine manufacturer, Mitsubishi, with designing and producing a muffler system for the units. A single prototype will be built and tested on site before any such devices would be installed on all of the turbines.
Charlie Parnell, an Edison spokesman, said Tuesday that Mitsubishi is working on the muffler “as we speak,” with delivery expected by early March.
According to Parnell, the noise is being created not by the turbines themselves, but by cooling units inside the nacelle, or bus-sized unit that sits atop the turbine poles. The nacelles feature extensive electrical equipment, and the cooling units are required to keep them from overheating.
Parnell said tests have shown that the noise levels fall within the requirements set forth by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. However, he said the company wants to be a good neighbor to the residents, and is committed to working toward a solution.
“We’ve heard from our neighbors, so we’re going through the process to see if we can mute that,” he said.
According to Parnell, no other Edison wind farm has encountered similar noise complaints, including those with residents nearby. He said “there are a lot of things at play,” with the noise, including proximity and the lay of the land, but most of the complaints seem to come from the western side of Green Mountain.
Now fully operational, the Pinnacle project sells two-thirds of its output to the Maryland Department of General Services and one-third to the University of Maryland system. It is the second project to begin commercial operation under the Generating Clean Horizons program of the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).
“Investments in clean, renewable energy move us closer to reaching our goal of 20 percent of renewable energy by 2022,” said MEA Director Malcolm Woolf. “Diversifying Maryland’s energy portfolio to include renewable energy resources like wind will project us to lead in renewable energy generation and policy.”
Through the Generating Clean Horizons program, the state and university system of Maryland have committed to purchase 78 MW of energy produced from two wind farms and one solar installation over 20 years. According to the MEA, Generating Clean Horizons powers 16 percent of the state’s electricity demand through renewable sources.
“We are excited to help lead the development of clean energy and are especially pleased that our Pinnacle project is able to advance the state of Maryland’s clean energy goals,” said Pedro Pizarro, president of EMG, whose operating companies are among the leading developers and operators of wind energy projects in the U.S. About Edison Mission Group.
Edison Mission Group (EMG) is one of the largest developers of wind energy projects in the U.S. with a current portfolio of 31 projects in operation or under construction in 11 states with a total generating capacity of nearly 2,000 megawatts. With offices in Santa Ana, Calif., EMG manages the competitive power generation business of Edison International, an electric power generator and distributor, and an investor in infrastructure and renewable energy projects.
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