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JONAL ENTRY 1238 | JULY 4 2012

Wind energy has entered center stage in Cambria and Somerset Counties in recent years, with the Allegheny ridge on their eastern border chosen to host hundreds of electric-power-generating windmills and an industrial park in Cambria Township near Ebensburg chosen for the plant where the windmills are manufactured.

The blades a couple of hundred yards away in this photo taken near Blue Knob seem petite, but as the accompanying video shows, they are each big enough to require an 18-wheel tractor trailer to get them to their installation sites.

On July 3, the Johnstown newspaper reported that Gamesa, the Spanish company operating the Ebensburg-area plant, plans layoffs later this summer because their current contract has not been renewed. The plant is set up to create windmills for sites across the United States and even overseas.

Click the > on the video to launch. After the video launches, double-click the screen to play it at full-screen. If your browser cannot open the video in this format, you can try it on YouTube, here.

Jim Toth, the host of my current sojourn in the area drove me over hill and dale to see the windmills as additions to the mountain landscape, unassembled on the grounds of the Gamesa plant, and upclose atop the ridge near Blue Knob.

Like most innovations, the windmills have generated some controversy along with kilowatts. Some say they detract from the natural beauty of the landscape. Others say they fear that the whooshing sound of the blades may keep wildlife up at night or scare them away from their habitats.

What do you think?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

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