Article

Power lines: Lack of capacity hinders wind energy projects

The heated debate in Jefferson County over the location of a proposed transmission line carrying power from a wind farm on Galloo Island is emblematic of the problem confronting wind power development nationwide. Building the wind farms, as controversial as they may be, is one thing; getting the power to the electric grid is another. And that is proving to be the weak link in the push for wind as an alternate energy source.

The heated debate in Jefferson County over the location of a proposed transmission line carrying power from a wind farm on Galloo Island is emblematic of the problem confronting wind power development nationwide.

Building the wind farms, as controversial as they may be, is one thing; getting the power to the electric grid is another. And that is proving to be the weak link in the push for wind as an alternate energy source.

Wind farms generating thousands of megawatts of electricity are envisioned across the country, especially in the Midwest. Much of the power is intended to serve major population centers along U.S. coasts, and it will require significant expansion and updating of the nation's power grid to accomplish that.

The lines will cost thousands, even billions of dollars, and take years to build.

"It's a showstopper for renewable development," Ralph Cavanaugh, co-director of the National Resources Defense Council, told McClatchy Newspapers in a report on difficulties confronting Midwest developers.

Multibillion dollar expansions or upgrades are planned in several states, but the lack of infrastructure is stalling some developments. "We're at the point in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The heated debate in Jefferson County over the location of a proposed transmission line carrying power from a wind farm on Galloo Island is emblematic of the problem confronting wind power development nationwide.

Building the wind farms, as controversial as they may be, is one thing; getting the power to the electric grid is another. And that is proving to be the weak link in the push for wind as an alternate energy source.

Wind farms generating thousands of megawatts of electricity are envisioned across the country, especially in the Midwest. Much of the power is intended to serve major population centers along U.S. coasts, and it will require significant expansion and updating of the nation's power grid to accomplish that.

The lines will cost thousands, even billions of dollars, and take years to build.

"It's a showstopper for renewable development," Ralph Cavanaugh, co-director of the National Resources Defense Council, told McClatchy Newspapers in a report on difficulties confronting Midwest developers.

Multibillion dollar expansions or upgrades are planned in several states, but the lack of infrastructure is stalling some developments. "We're at the point in time where we can't squeeze much more wind out of the system," said one developer.

The transmission capacity problem has prompted calls for more federal involvement to facilitate or streamline the process for building new lines. That could give developers an upper hand, override local concerns and come at the expense of landowners who will pay the price for the lines.


Source: http://www.watertowndailyti...

NOV 29 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23346-power-lines-lack-of-capacity-hinders-wind-energy-projects
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