GARRETT – When Green Mountain Wind Farm opened in 2000 in Somerset County, it represented the latest in wind energy technology.
Sixteen years later, it has been replaced with the latest in battery technology.
The wind farm near Garrett was decommissioned in December because its technology was not as efficient as newer turbines.
In fact, since Green Mountain Energy Storage System went online on the same property in June, it was able to deliver the same 10 megawatts of power as the eight turbines did before, a company spokesman said.
“We built on the site of the wind farm a new battery storage electricity facility,” said Bryan Garner of project owner NextEra Energy Resources. “The facility stores electricity and sends it to the power grid when it is needed.
“This is new technology that has come on in the last few years.”
Workers have begun dismantling the wind turbines at Green Mountain, and the farmland should be restored to its original appearance in a few weeks, Garner said.
In the past, wind turbines sent electricity directly into the power grid when the wind was blowing. If the energy was not needed at that time, it would not be purchased.
With the energy storage technology, that electricity is stored for times when demand is higher, Garner explained.
NextEra bought the Garrett wind farm in 2003. It also owns wind turbines in the Meyersdale and Somerset areas as part of its network of 110 wind farms in the United States and Canada.
Rural Electric Cooperative of Somerset was under contract to purchase the electricity until 2012, when the agreement expired.
Battery storage systems help stabilize the contribution by renewable sources such as wind and solar energy to the power grid, Garner said.
“This is exciting technology that is changing the way power is delivered to customers,” he said.
“Wind energy continues to be a valuable resource in Pennsylvania, and the storage technology complements it well.”