Pennsylvania seeing rise in wind power
Pennsylvania does not boast the great open plains that the center of the country offers for wind turbines, but it does feature countless tall ridges throughout the Appalachians and other smaller mountain ranges and it only takes a ridge of around 2,000 feet tall to take advantage of high winds, according to a renewable energy expert from St. Francis University.
As costs have come down for wind, the state's utility companies have developed the industry from eight turbines producing 10.4 megawatts in 2000 to more than 400 wind turbines producing around 735 megawatts of renewable electricity, or enough to power 220,000 homes.
Much of the motivation behind this growth has come from a variety of incentives, from tax credits from the federal government to renewable portfolio standards at the state level that require a certain amount of renewable electricity from every utility.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency notes that Pennsylvania requires 3 percent of all electricity to come from so-called tier one renewable sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal. Of these options wind has generally been found to be most cost-effective.