In 2005, the Spanish energy company Gamesa Technology Corporation was looking to locate sites for wind turbine manufacturing facilities in the United States.
The search ultimately narrowed to four states, and Pennsylvania came out on top. This decision was bolstered with the support of a $2 million low-interest loan from the MetEd/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund that assisted the company in placing its blade manufacturing facility in Ebensburg in Cambria County.
“The MetEd/Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund was an early supporter in attracting Gamesa to Pennsylvania. They saw the connection between renewable energy and jobs, and Gamesa’s decision to locate in Cambria County was greatly aided by the fund’s advocacy and financial support,” said David J. Rosenberg, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America.
The Ebensburg blades plant currently employs approximately 250 individuals. Additional economic benefits can be found among local suppliers and vendors that work with Gamesa.
“The company considers its Ebensburg facility one of the finest in the world,” a Gamesa spokesman told the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat in 2009 when announcing that the plant would expand to make larger blades.
Gamesa also has a nacelle manufacturing site in Bucks County, bringing the company’s total employment in Pennsylvania today to approximately 800. By the end of 2011, the company will have developed seven wind farms generating a total of 386 MW of clean energy in Pennsylvania.
In 2005, Community Energy Inc. (Bear Creek) received a $500,000 loan for commercial wind energy. Community Energy was founded in 1999 with the mission to ignite the market and develop the supply of fuel-free energy with wind and solar power. By initiating and expanding the voluntary market for Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), Community Energy leveraged consumer choice to build demand for new wind projects.
In 2006 Community Energy, Inc. constructed in partnership with Central Hudson Energy Group, Inc. and investment banking firm Babcock & Brown, the Bear Creek Wind Farm in the Pocono Mountain region of Pennsylvania. Bear Creek Wind Farm has 12 turbines, is 24 megwatt in capacity, and produces 75 million kilowatt-hours each year. The output is sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement to PPL EnergyPlus, LLC, an entity owned by Pennsylvania Power & Light Corporation (PPL).
In 2007, St. Francis University in Cambria County, Pennsylvania received a $4,376 grant to fund its Anemometer Lending Program. St. Francis University is committed to wind energy and completed feasibility studies for the creation of its own wind energy facility. Saint Francis University established the Renewable Energy Center in 2005 as a reflection of its commitment to improving the environment and serving our communities.The Renewable Energy Center identifies the barriers to renewable energy use and sets up programs to overcome them.
Anemometer loan programs are an effective means of reducing the cost of quantifying wind resource data. An anemometer loan program is a wind resource assessment program that includes the installation of a tower that is equipped with instruments to assess the wind resource at a specific location. St. Francis lends out 50 meter towers to Pennsylvania landowners, and conducts a focused marketing and educational effort, including educational presentations, conferences, workshops, news releases, advertisements, and public relations events.
The Saint Francis University Anemometer Loan Program provides University students and faculty with innovative learning opportunities to help Pennsylvania landowners assess their wind resource. St. Francis reaches more than 2,000 people a year with its marketing and education program. Fourteen different sites have been measured, and four of those sites now have projects in progress.