Background

A Cambria County wind farm.

Scott Detrow/ StateImpact Pennsylvania

A Cambria County wind farm.

In Pennsylvania, and across much of the country, wind energy boomed starting in the mid-2000s thanks to federal and state policy incentives. But the momentum has tapered off in recent years.

Around 2006, wind turbines began popping up on mountain ridges in the Laurel Highlands and surrounding region, as well as in the northeastern part of the state. Those are some of the windiest spots in Pennsylvania, with wind speeds accelerating up the mountain slopes.

Around 2012, the industry hit a plateau as natural gas boomed. Wind industry advocates say the state needs a more robust Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard to help spur more wind farms.

Developers are eyeing the waters of Lake Erie as a potential site for a wind turbines, and even flatter parts of the state could see wind farms down the road as technology improves.

Statewide, more than 1,300 MW of wind energy has been installed, enough to power 321,000 homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Pennsylvania ranks 17th in the nation for installed wind power.

 

Wind makes up less than 2 percent of the electricity generated in the state, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Nuclear, natural gas and coal account for the bulk of the power produced here.

 

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