Library filed under Transmission
The rows of white turbines spinning over wheat fields and ridgelines in eastern Oregon are ample evidence that renewable energy from wind is real and growing. ...But wind developers are just getting started. And thousands of miles of new power lines carried by skyscraper-sized steel towers will need to be laid across deserts, farms and forests as more wind farms rise in farther-flung corners of Oregon and the West. It won't be cheap, or without controversy.
While it appeared briefly Monday that the lights were out on a proposed high-voltage electric transmission line that would serve the state's growing wind industry, officials recharged the plan Tuesday. The Southwest Power Pool Inc.'s board of directors on Tuesday included the $518 million "Spearville line" in a package of transmission expansion projects it was forwarding for further study and probable approval. The 765-kilovolt line would go from Spearville, the site of a wind farm in southwest Kansas, to Wichita and down to the Oklahoma border, where it could hook into lines to other states.
A power transmission line that could be the first in the United States to transport renewable energy might pass through Las Cruces and White Sands Missile Range, according to preliminary plans of the SunZia Transmission Project. A public scoping meeting was conducted Monday at Court Youth Center to provide interested residents with information about the project. Plans call for wind energy generated in east-central New Mexico, near Clovis, to be transported 460 to 560 miles to a substation in south-central Arizona.
Western states seem to have a wide portfolio of energy resources and the consumer markets to better meet the ambitions of both energy-producing states and energy-importing states. What's missing is a strategy for beefing up and modernizing the Western electrical grid to make those connections, according to industry officials. "We can't even connect the dots on a piece of paper. It's like the weather -- everybody talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it," said Richard Walje, president of Rocky Mountain Power.
Roseanna Cherrington became nervous when she received a letter from the Bonneville Power Administration asking permission to dig holes in her land. The federal BPA, the Pacific Northwest's largest power marketer, is exploring a plan to build a 500-kilovolt transmission line running about 70 miles from Castle Rock to Troutdale, Ore., to meet growing power demand in the area. The BPA is looking to string the line between a series of steel towers, each about 80 to 150 feet tall.
The company set to build wind energy transmission lines from Childress County to Gray County will meet with the public this week. Cross Texas Transmission plans high-voltage lines along a 90- to 120-mile route that would be in a right-of-way 200 feet wide, according to information from the company. The lines will run from east of Childress, near Kirkland, to southwest of Lefors.
"This is such an important issue to the state, and the region, that we really need to get it on the list," said Phil Crissup, director of regional transmission affairs for Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.
At the center of the back-and-forth between the Maine Public Utilities Commission and warring energy developers is a question of whether industrial-sized wind farms are feasible in Maine. ...The transmission line issue is not new to the PUC or to state and industry leaders who promote wind-power development in Maine. But it may come as a surprise to much of the public who see wind power as a clean form of energy that comes with little or no environmental cost.
When the wind blows, a massive amount of power flows to the grid and "any time you get that amount of power into the auction system of the power pool, it's going to crush price," said Rob Falconer, director of distributed generation for the utility. The push to buy carbon offsets in a carbon-constrained world plays a strong role in developers' estimating profit margins, but existing uncertainty over prices makes the debate over sinking billions of dollars into extensive transmission projects even more relevant, he said.
The County Commissioners of San Saba County, Texas approved Resolution #2009-07 concerning the appropriate transmission line route from Brown to Newton County. This action was taken at the behest of residents in the county who expressed concerned about the impacts of 345 KV line needed to deliver West Texas wind energy to points east. The Texas Public Utilities Commission has ordered the construction of transmission capacity to deliver generated power from the five designated Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ's) to electric customers residing in urban areas. San Saba County is one of many counties that will see massive towers and transmission lines crossing over portions of private land. The full resolution can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
Oncor, a Dallas-based energy company, has submitted plans to the Public Utilities Commission of Texas for the construction of wind energy transmission lines. The company's preferred and alternative routes have been submitted to PUC, and the state agency has 180 days to review the Oncor plan. The PUC has already approved as a priority the construction of the new transmission lines, which are designated primarily for renewable energy sources such as wind turbines.
Wind energy is renewable. The Texas Hill Country is not. The Lower Colorado River Authority's Transmission Services Corp., charged with building high-voltage transmission lines through the environmentally sensitive region, has heard that message loud and clear.
A Canadian company is seeking wind power developers to move electricity along a pair of $3 billion transmission lines in Montana and Wyoming -- potentially spurring a major increase in renewable power exported from the Rockies to the Southwest. The two lines would move 3,000 megawatts of power from each state. That's more than three times as much wind power as Wyoming currently produces and eight times what Montana has.
A project to put up a wind turbine at Hope Street Academy generated a civics lesson for students there, five of whom asked the city's governing body Tuesday evening to allow small wind energy systems to operate in Topeka for nonresidential purposes. The governing body, which includes the city council and Mayor Bill Bunten, subsequently voted 10-0 to approve an ordinance making that move and a companion measure requiring users of wind energy systems to acquire a conditional-use permit from the governing body.
Minnesota's power grid would bump up against its limits fairly quickly if wind power developers started building bunches of small wind projects scattered across the state, according to a new study released Tuesday by the state Office of Energy Security. The study looked at whether the transmission system could absorb 600 megawatts of renewable energy from projects that generate between 10 megawatts and 40 megawatts of power.
Idaho Power Co. and Rocky Mountain Power, who want to snake a $7 billion network of 190-foot transmission towers across the West, face a tangled matrix of state and local barriers as challenging as the hardships faced by the pioneers who traveled much the same route on the Oregon Trail a century and a half ago. ..."These are projects everybody needs and nobody wants," said Lisa Grow, Idaho Power's vice president for transmission.
Unlocking the potential of Kansas wind power will require federal legislation and more transmission lines, officials said Wednesday. Speaking to the Kansas Wind Working Group, Gov. Mark Parkinson said the state has succeeded in reaching approximately 1,000 megawatts of wind energy. But, he said, 2009 "has obviously been a much slower year."
Rupert Soames, the chief executive of Aggreko, the FTSE 250 emergency power generator, says the UK must prepare seriously for the danger of being hit by similar blackouts within the next decade. "It has happened before in developed countries and we should not kid ourselves that it cannot happen here," he said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph. "The UK has an unacceptably high risk of interrupted power supply." ...sceptics worry that a so-called "intelligent grid" could also be used to ration consumers in the event of insufficient capacity.
In May, 62 wind turbines started sending electricity from southern Washington state to the Turlock Irrigation District. Next year, a nearby wind project in northern Oregon will start supplying the Modesto Irrigation District. ...Outsourcing renewable power irks some activists. "It totally takes the focus off building our green-tech economy," said Laura Wisland, a clean energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Berkeley.
Wyoming wind power, if reasonably developed, would more than double the amount of electricity produced by all other sources in the state, a representative of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority said Wednesday. Wyoming wind ultimately could produce about 15,000 megawatts a year, Steve Ellenbecker told the Wind Energy Task Force at the McMurry Training Center. "Fifteen-thousand megawatts is a threshold we could accomplish," Ellenbecker said.