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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Sep 3, 2013 9:32 AM Flag

    The Grid: Wind power generation growing, but transmission lags

    The Grid: Wind power generation growing, but transmission lags

    Billions of dollars in transmission lines will have to be built before the nation's wind resources, which are concentrated in the center of the country, can be fully exploited by large population centers to the east and west.

    By Paul Monies Published: September 1, 2013

    Transmission lines are chasing the rapid growth of wind generation across the nation, but it may be a while before they catch up.

    Billions of dollars in transmission lines will have to be built before the nation's wind resources, which are concentrated in the center of the country, can be fully exploited by large population centers to the east and west.

    In the meantime, regulators, generators and utilities have to deal with transmission congestion and wind curtailments, the temporary shutting down of generation to maintain system balance and reliability. Those hurdles increase the costs of renewable energy and decrease its environmental benefits.

    Steve Gaw, a transmission policy specialist with The Wind Coalition, a trade group in Austin, Texas, said investment in transmission across the nation has been lagging for several decades. That changed only in the last five years as wind generation began coming online in a major way.

    A combination of favorable tax treatment for wind generation and state mandates for renewable energy pushed the nation's wind capacity to more than 60,000 megawatts in 2012, according to the federal Energy Department. That's enough to power 15 million homes.

    Oklahoma ranked sixth among states for wind capacity last year, up from eighth place in 2011. New power purchase agreements for wind generation in the state are increasingly being signed with out-of-state utilities. Meanwhile, the Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission organization covering 15 million people in Oklahoma and parts of eight other states, has more almost 27,000 megawatts of wind generation in service or ready to come online in the

 
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