Windmills in Somerset, PA

[ Signal-to-noise ratio for set: 9.0% ]

These awesome windmills are in Somerset, PA, about 60-90 minutes east of Pittsburgh on the turnpike.  Kim and I had passed them many times while driving across the state, and we finally decided to stop this time and check them out.

These things are massive, and there are 6 of them here.  On a later expedition, we discovered that farther away from the turnpike (actually very close to the borders of MD and WV) there are a few mountaintops with tons of windmills all in a row -- like 20 of them.  Photos from that trip will be posted later too.

Most of these photos are taken from near the base of one of the windmills, so there are shots of one windmill up close, and then shots of the other windmills in the distance.

One of the photos shows a plaque that explains the whole windmill project, and I've transcribed it below.


Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farm at Somerset


Welcome to the Exelon-Community Energy Wind Farm at Somerset.  The six wind turbines before you are generating electricity from an unlimited, free and clean power supply: the wind!  When these modern windmills - along with the 10 identical ones that make up a companion wind farm at Mill Run - went on line in the fall of 2001, they comprised the largest source of wind-generated power in the Eastern United States.


Each of these wind turbines is capable of generating 1500 kilowatts of power.  The two wind projects combine to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 8,000 homes.  Each turbine stands atop a tower that is approximately 210 feet high.  Each of its 3 blades is more than 115 feet long.  When the wind on this ridge reaches 8 miles an hour, it begins turning the blades in a circular motion, driving an electric generator inside the turbine.  When the wind speed reaches about 30 miles an hour, the turbine is producing its maximum amount of electricity.  It continues to generate power at this rate until the wind speeds exceed 55 miles per hour, at which time the turbine will turn itself off for safety purposes.  If you were holding onto the tip of a blade when it was moving at full speed, you would be spinning in a circle at more than 165 miles per hour!


Wind energy is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional power production, which has been linked to unhealthy air quality, haze, smog, acid rain and global warming.  If coal, oil and natural gas were used to produce the same amount of power as these projects, 40,336 tons of Carbon Dioxide, 19 tons of Sulfur Dioxide and 6 tons of Nitrous Oxide would be emitted into the air.  The impact of these projects on Pennsylvania's air pollution is the equivalent of removing 6,720 cars from the road.


In addition to delivering clean and affordable energy, wind power is compatible with most other uses of the land.  Each of the turbines before you, including the road that leads to it, occupies only about one acre.  As you can see, the land around it can be used as it was before the turbine was installed.  The turbines create income for the property owners, contribute to the local tax base and attract visitors, such as you.


Both this project and the Mill Run project were developed by Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation and Zilkha Renewable Energy.  With the commitment by Exelon Power Team and Community Energy to market the electricity generated by the projects, and the support of The Reinvestment Fund, which administers funds collected as part of Pennsylvania's electricity deregulation to promote renewable energy, construction of the projects was completed in 2001.


Please remember that these wind turbines are on private property, which is not open to public access.  In addition, please be mindful of the fact that the project's neighbors depend on the public road to travel to and from their homes.  Thank you.


If you are interested in learning more about wind power, please visit our website:


In memory of...

Nicholas Humber of Enron Wind.

A kind humanitarian who cared deeply about our earth and all people, and made critical contributions to the planning and completion of the wind power projects at Somerset and Mill Run before tragically losing his life on September 11, 2001, on American Airlines Flight 11.

The setting sun, seen from the road leading to the windmills.

More setting sun.

Each blade is over 115 feet long.

The base is 210 feet tall.

That's the base of the windmill in the previous photos. The toothpick on the left is Kim.

Random moon photo.

The door on the base of the tower.


So this is tower 6. That's the grate on the top of the door in the previous photo.

4 of the other windmills and some surrounding Pennsylvania countryside.

This plaque explains the windmill project. You can read a transcript of it on this set's main page.

Kim being really cute.

One of the lower windmills, farther down the road on the way out of the area.

Kim and a windmill in silhouette.

A windmill and some city lights (er, town lights).

Golfy and the windmill. True.

Golfy and the windmill, still chillin'.

I know this is very similar to #342 just a few back, but I included it because the skies are very different (that one was more blue whereas this one is really orange).