Largest Wind Power Plant in Eastern U.S. Dedicated

Largest Wind Power Plant in Eastern U.S. Dedicated

PG&E Corporation's National Energy Group of Bethesda, Md., will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to mark the beginning of commercial operation of the largest wind power plant in the eastern United States, an 11.5-megawatt facility in Madison County, N.Y., near the town of Hamilton.

The project is located on farmland and consists of seven Vestas 1.65-MW wind turbines, the largest operating in the nation. Eight units of the same model were installed last year at Big Spring, Tex.

According to the American Wind Energy Associaton, the Madison plant is New York's first commercial wind farm, and highlights the growing attractiveness of wind energy as a source of electricity in the northeastern U.S.

A 6.6-MW wind project is also nearing completion in Wethersfield, Wyoming County, New York. Vermont is home to the region's first wind plant, a 6.05-MW project installed in 1996, and a 10.4-MW wind facility began operating earlier this year in Somerset County, Pa.

In addition, construction is scheduled to begin soon on a second and slightly larger (12-MW) wind project in Madison County, in the town of Fenner.

Wind Picks Up Steam

The AWEA, touting the New York project as further evidence of wind’s ascendance on the national energy scene, cites the following wind highlights:
  • Total worldwide wind capacity today is approximately 15,000 MW, enough to generate about 30 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. This is about the same amount of electricity as 4 million average New York households (containing 11 million people) use.

  • Wind energy was the world's fastest-growing energy source during most of the 1990s, expanding at annual rates ranging from 25% to 30%. Last year, about 4,000 MW of new wind capacity ($4 billion investment) was installed around the world, and 732 MW ($700 million investment), or 18%, of that total was installed in the United States.

  • Leading states in terms of installed wind capacity are California (1,646 MW), Minnesota (272 MW), Iowa (242 MW), and Texas (188 MW). Once the Madison project is completed, New York will move into ninth place nationwide, behind those four states and Wyoming (72 MW), Oregon (25 MW), Wisconsin (23 MW), and Colorado (22 MW).
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