Centralia, Pennsylvania began as a coal mining town. Today, with the international focus on renewable energy sources, the mountainous region is becoming known for its wind farms and windmills.
Completed in 2009 and built by Iberdrola Renewables, the Locus Ridge Wind Farm is located near Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, PA. The farm has 64 wind turbines and was constructed in two phases. It was partially funded with $59 million in federal stimulus money.
The wind farm is easily visible from Centralia when looking east. It stretches across the Locust Mountain ridge line. Also, when traveling on Interstate 81, it can also been seen by looking west near Frackville, Pennsylvania.
In total, the windmills produce 128 megawatts of electricity. This is enough to power 64,000 homes in nearby areas of northeastern Pennsylvania.
There’s quite a bit of irony when looking at the huge wind farm while surrounded by Centralia’s desolation. Over one hundred years ago, anthracite coal mining was at its peak. It had built the town and made it prosper.
Today, coal mining is nearly dead, as is Centralia, Pennsylvania. The latter was destroyed by the mine fire that burns the last remaining coal under the town.
The former continues to be chipped away by new technologies and better energy sources, such as environmentally friendly renewables like wind power.
In that sense, Centralia PA is a wonderfully relevant history lesson. It traces the technological progress of human energy production over the last two centuries.
If you visit Centralia, take a moment and look around. Remember what was built and what was destroyed by coal. Then, turn your head towards the east and one future for this area – the windmills on Locust Mountain.