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Lack of transmission capacity slowing wind-energy development

there's a missing ingredient that has slowed development of wind power and other renewable energy sources in Colorado and the West: adequate transmission lines. Where the wind tends to blow, there is little population that would be served by wind energy. To move the wind power to populous metro areas requires steep investments by wind-farm developers. High-power lines can cost from $300,000 to $1 million per mile to build.

With good breezes and a citizenry that supports renewable energy, Colorado would seem to be a wind energy mecca.

But there's a missing ingredient that has slowed development of wind power and other renewable energy sources in Colorado and the West: adequate transmission lines.

Where the wind tends to blow, there is little population that would be served by wind energy. To move the wind power to populous metro areas requires steep investments by wind-farm developers. High-power lines can cost from $300,000 to $1 million per mile to build.

"The problem is that we're mismatched in geography. Generally speaking, people don't like to live in windy areas, so we haven't built much transmission in those areas," said Tom Feiler, a Denver executive of Carpinteria, Calif.-based Clipper Windpower Inc.

Expanding transmission in the West was the topic of a two-day conference that started Tuesday by the Western Governors' Association and the National Wind Coordinating Committee.

The topic has long been on the agenda of the governors' association, which in June ended two years of discussions by adopting a proposal for their 18 states to install at least... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

With good breezes and a citizenry that supports renewable energy, Colorado would seem to be a wind energy mecca.

But there's a missing ingredient that has slowed development of wind power and other renewable energy sources in Colorado and the West: adequate transmission lines.

Where the wind tends to blow, there is little population that would be served by wind energy. To move the wind power to populous metro areas requires steep investments by wind-farm developers. High-power lines can cost from $300,000 to $1 million per mile to build.

"The problem is that we're mismatched in geography. Generally speaking, people don't like to live in windy areas, so we haven't built much transmission in those areas," said Tom Feiler, a Denver executive of Carpinteria, Calif.-based Clipper Windpower Inc.

Expanding transmission in the West was the topic of a two-day conference that started Tuesday by the Western Governors' Association and the National Wind Coordinating Committee.

The topic has long been on the agenda of the governors' association, which in June ended two years of discussions by adopting a proposal for their 18 states to install at least 30,000 megawatts of clean energy generation by 2015 and increase efficiency 20 percent by 2020. They also committed to ensuring there will be adequate electricity transmission for the next 25 years.

"Like most reports, it seems that many people expected this report to gather dust on a shelf. However, we don't intend to let this happen," said Craig Cox of the Denver-based Interwest Energy Alliance, a wind energy trade association.

Wind power advocates cite at least one case in Colorado where transmission constraints significantly reduced the output of a major wind farm.

Chicago-based Invenergy originally proposed in 2004 a 130-megawatt project in northeast Colorado's Logan County, but it was cut to 60 megawatts because transmission lines toward the Front Range couldn't handle the larger generation.

One megawatt of electricity serves about 1,000 households.

"Western energy will not develop without new transmission," said Doug Carter, a Western region vice president of Invenergy.

 


Source: http://www.mywesttexas.com/...

JUL 22 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3609-lack-of-transmission-capacity-slowing-wind-energy-development
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