On top of Green Mountain, just southwest of Keyser, in Mineraly County, the Pinnacle Wind Farm at NewPage is now delivering electricity to Maryland's power grid. The 23 wind turbine installation has a 55 MW generation capacity which is enough energy to power 14,000 homes.
EMG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Edison International, purchased the wind project from US Wind Force in April 2011, and soon after broke ground on construction.
Including the Pinnacle project, EMG has a wind portfolio made up of 30 projects currently in operation or under construction. The company, which boasts a development pipeline with the potential to generate an estimated 3,700 MW, is seemingly primed to grow its footprint in the U.S. wind market.
Two-thirds of the electricity generated at Pinnacle is being sold to the Maryland Department of General Services and one-third to the University of Maryland through long term power purchase agreements (PPA).
In 2009, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley officially announced the Pinnacle project as one of four utility-scale renewable energy projects to be awarded a 20-year PPA as part of the Generating Clean Horizons Initiative.
Launched the year before, the Initiative sought to "spur large-scale, commercial renewable energy projects that would provide electricity to Maryland" by offering long term PPA to a host of clean energy developers that could place new renewable energy on the grid by 2014. The Initiative is part of the strategy to hit the state's target of sourcing 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
The Pinnacle project can be registered as a success for the Governor's plan to "spur"renewable energy development in Maryland. However, not all of the projects originally selected for Generating Clean Horizons experienced the same fate.
Among the other company's selected was offshore wind developer BlueWater Wind which was to sell the state up to 55 MW of power from its Mid-Atlantic Wind Park off the coast of Delaware.
As of this month however, BlueWater Wind is no longer operating. In December, parent company NRG Energy Inc. said that it was putting its entire offshore wind development on hold and has since been shopping BlueWater Wind to potential buyers.
Nevertheless, according to the Maryland Energy Administration, the two projects now online under Generating Clean Horizons provide 16% of the state’s electricity demand.
Image Credit: 1000zen via Flickr
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