Thursday, July 23, 2009

Regional Power Politics: "Okla. Kan. grid eyes Western US for wind exports"

If you read through the jump in our July 14 post "Transmission: "A Costly and Unnecessary New Electricity Grid" And: "Debate on Clean Energy Leads to Regional Divide ", you saw:
...A two-year effort by transmission authorities in the eastern half of the country to draw up plans for a strong grid collapsed after grid officials in New York and New England pulled out, saying that the plans were too centered on moving Midwestern energy eastward....
Here's more on the big money in transmission, this time looking west, from Reuters India, HT to Dr. Hazlett at Kansas' own, The Climate+Energy Project:
The U.S. electric grid agency that oversees a leading area for wind-power is looking for a home for the abundant renewable resource it sees developing in the next decade.

The Southwest Power Pool -- which stretches from eastern New Mexico across the Texas Panhandle to Nebraska and south into Louisiana -- is looking both east and west for power-hungry markets for its emission-free electricity.

SPP expects the amount of wind generation to swell from the current 3,000 megawatts to more than 50,000 MW in coming years. That's more power than the eight-state power region currently uses on the hottest day of the year.

"We won't be able to absorb that," said Les Dillahunty, SPP's senior vice president of engineering and regulatory policy. "It's going to have to be exported."

Strong, persistent wind in northwestern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas rank as some of the best in the country for generating power, with average annual wind speed of 12.5 mph (20 kph) or higher, according to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, part of the U.S. Energy Department.

"I tell people the Texas Panhandle is as close to the West Coast as it is to the East," said Dillahunty. "The West is not interested in coal-fired generation, but they are very interested in renewable power which we are blessed with."

SPP is moving ahead to assign companies that will build sections of a so-called "transmission superhighway" of 765-kilovolt and 500-kv lines to help move large amounts of power by 2020 to population centers like Atlanta, Chicago and the Northeast....MORE

Here's the CEP blog.