April 10, 2008
Wind power to the people

From last week, a proposal to connect the wind farms in West Texas to the rest of the state.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees most of the state's power grid, was asked by the Public Utility Commission to study how best to get the power to the markets that need it the most. After considering hundreds of options, ERCOT narrowed it down to five possibilities.

The least expensive would cost $2.95 billion to accommodate up to 12,000 MW of wind power, but it's not as flexible to handle future growth as another 12,000 MW plan that would cost $3.78 billion.

The most expensive plan would accommodate 24,800 MW of wind power and cost $6.38 billion.

New transmission lines from West Texas wind projects would not reach Houston but most likely connect to Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. The cost of such projects would be distributed to all Texas rate payers, regardless of their locations.

The report was submitted to the Public Utility Commission, which is expected to review it in the coming weeks.

The report is here (PDF). This seems like a no-brainer to me. Our state is rapidly growing, and with that growth comes a lot of extra demand for energy. I for one would rather that energy be supplied by wind farms and other renewable sources than by more coal plants. I'll be rooting for a recommendation of the maximum investment.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 10, 2008 to The great state of Texas