Article

Demand for wind power is growing fast

The cancellation of a proposed coal-powered generating plant in Holcomb might delay the construction of some new transmission lines, but demand for wind power is growing so fast that, sooner or later, the lines will be built, a state board was told Monday. ...The cancellation of a proposed coal-powered generating plant in Holcomb might delay the construction of some new transmission lines, but demand for wind power is growing so fast that, sooner or later, the lines will be built, a state board was told Monday.

The cancellation of a proposed coal-powered generating plant in Holcomb might delay the construction of some new transmission lines, but demand for wind power is growing so fast that, sooner or later, the lines will be built, a state board was told Monday.

And that skyrocketing demand for wind power is drawing calls for changes in the way the cost of new transmission is allocated.

The two most significant transmission projects are the so-called X-Plan, which would connect Wichita and Spearville to points in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, and a new line from Spearville to Nebraska.

But several industry experts, including the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees planning and management of the electric grid in Kansas and several surrounding states, told the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority that both projects are still on the drawing board.

"SPP has several entities competing to build out the X Plan," said Jay Capsary, director of engineering at SPP. "It is the right solution, in my opinion, regardless of Holcomb. I have not seen or heard of any options that could provide superior performance to the X-Plan."

ITC Great Plains has signed commitment letters detailing its interest in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The cancellation of a proposed coal-powered generating plant in Holcomb might delay the construction of some new transmission lines, but demand for wind power is growing so fast that, sooner or later, the lines will be built, a state board was told Monday.

And that skyrocketing demand for wind power is drawing calls for changes in the way the cost of new transmission is allocated.

The two most significant transmission projects are the so-called X-Plan, which would connect Wichita and Spearville to points in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle, and a new line from Spearville to Nebraska.

But several industry experts, including the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees planning and management of the electric grid in Kansas and several surrounding states, told the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority that both projects are still on the drawing board.

"SPP has several entities competing to build out the X Plan," said Jay Capsary, director of engineering at SPP. "It is the right solution, in my opinion, regardless of Holcomb. I have not seen or heard of any options that could provide superior performance to the X-Plan."

ITC Great Plains has signed commitment letters detailing its interest in building the north portion of the X-Plan (a segment that is now being called the V-plan). It consists of 180 miles of high voltage line the runs southeast from Spearville to Commanche County, and then northeast to Wichita.

ITC also has committed to building a high-voltage line from Spearville to Axtell and then on into Nebraska.

Jeff Hofsaker, director of Phillips County Economic Development, said the Spearville-to-Nebraska line is crucial for wind development.

"The transmission system currently in use is at present either overburdened and/or inadequate," Hofsaker said in a letter to KETA.

Caspary, who spoke to the KETA board via speakerphone, said that SPP's projections for new wind development in its territory (all of Kansas and parts of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico) have underestimated the level of interest.

"SPP has an additional 3,000 megawatts of wind farms with signed interconnection agreements and in excess of 13,000 megawatts of additional wind farms under study," he said.

And estimates by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the American Wind Energy Association estimate the SPP area could see upwards of 50,000 megawatts of new wind, he said.

"Challenges in planning and operations are expected with large levels of wind development penetration in the Central and South Plains of SPP," Caspary said. "... Congestion is a problem today limiting wind deliveries for approximately 1,800 megawatts of wind farms in-service due to the lack of transmission in SPP."

Recovering costs

KETA was told Monday that the process of approving new transmission and then recovering the cost of building it is complex. When congestion on transmission lines becomes sufficiently intense, SPP classifies upgrades as being for "reliability" purposes, and spreads the some of the cost over all SPP users.

Until that reliability threshold is reached, however, upgrades are classified as "economic" and the cost must be borne by the users directly benefiting. Thus, economic upgrades must have a higher benefit-to-cost ratio.

ITC signed up to build both the V-Plan line and the Spearville-Nebraska line with the understanding that they would initially be economic but, because of the Holcomb plant expansion, would soon be reclassified as reliability.

Caspary said that not having the Holcomb expansion pushes back the date for reclassifying those lines as reliability projects. Instead of the designation being in 2012, it will likely be in 2015 to 2020.

Carl Huslig, president of ITC, said that although his company is still committed to the projects, a new analysis is being conducted to determine if they remain cost-effective.

Sen. Janis Lee, D-Kensington, pointed out that the current cost recovery formula works against rural areas that want to add small quantities of wind power to the grid.

"I would encourage the wind industry to take a look at that," she said. "We have to figure out a way to have the state share that cost."

 


Source: http://www.salina.com/rdnew...

DEC 4 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/12231-demand-for-wind-power-is-growing-fast
back to top