After several years of slow growth for Pennsylvania’s renewable-energy sector, a New Jersey company is planning to erect wind turbines in Somerset County.
The Ringer Hill Wind Farm will feature 14 wind turbines and generate nearly 40 megawatts of electricity, according to the project’s developer, NJR Clean Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources.
The wind farm, near the Maryland border about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, will cost about $84 million to build and is expected to start producing electricity in 2017.
“Wind is an increasingly important segment of our nation’s energy mix and we are pleased to do our part to bring renewable energy to the marketplace,” said Laurence M. Downes, chairman and CEO of New Jersey Resources, a utility based in Wall, N.J.
In Pennsylvania, the development of wind energy has been relatively slow over the last few years, according to Robert Altenburg, director of the energy center at PennFuture, a Harrisburg-based environmental group.
Neighboring states, including New Jersey and New York, have set more ambitious targets for including renewables like wind and solar in their energy mix, he said.
“We got off to an early lead and then other state programs have been surpassing us,” Altenburg said.
Still, he said, more development is possible. Congress recently approved the long-term extension of a tax credit for generating wind power, and its cost is continuing to fall.
Efforts to curb emissions linked to climate change, represented by the federal Clean Power Plan, also could boost the sector.
“Pennsylvania has huge potential for developing wind and solar, including even offshore wind around Lake Erie,” Altenburg said.
Ringer Hill would be the eighth wind farm in Somerset County, according to data compiled by PennFuture.
It is the fourth wind farm developed by NJR Clean Energy. The company’s other projects include Alexander Wind Farm in Kansas, which began operating in December 2015; the Carroll Area Wind Farm in Iowa, which came online in February 2015; and the Two Dot Wind Farm in Montana, operating since June 2014.
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