Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2007

Summit wavers over wind energy

Leaders weigh increased demand against low capacity

December 15, 2007


When state and federal energy leaders talked on Friday about building transmission lines to move more power, conversations turned to the shifting winds of energy resources.


On Friday, representatives of electric companies, regulators, federal agencies and the state Legislature gathered at the Dole Institute of Politics for the Kansas Electric Transmission Summit. The fifth of its kind, the summit was hosted by State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence.

A recurring theme was how to grapple with the call for more wind energy, the onslaught of new proposals for wind farms and the inability of existing transmission lines to carry the power wind farms would generate.

President George Bush has set a goal to have 20 percent of the country's power coming from wind energy by the year 2030. That's about 325 gigawatts.

Western Kansas and the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas have the potential to generate up to 30 to 50 gigawatts of wind power. But large amounts of energy are needed in the East, not in Kansas and Oklahoma. And currently, most power lines in windy states are far from high-capacity transmission lines. So more lines to handle the power are imperative.

Meanwhile, plans for new wind farms continue to sprout.

For just the Southwest Power Pool - a transmission organization covering Kansas and Oklahoma and parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico - proposals in the past six months for wind-generated electricity would boost wind production in the region by 65 percent.

That potential growth already has changed where Southwest Power Pool plans new transmission lines. Much of Friday's conversations focused on how transmission lines in the Southwest Power Pool could better connect to their neighbors.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Philip Moeller, one of the speakers on Friday, emphasized the need for more energy transmission in the country.

"It is playing catch-up," Moeller said.

Some at the conference floated the idea of building a high-voltage transmission system - a kind of interstate highway for transporting electricity throughout the country. One major obstacle is determining how to fairly allocate the cost of such a system.

As fewer coal plants are built and with heightened interest in nuclear and wind power, it can be hard to plan new transmission lines, said Mark Whitenton, who is with the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

"The danger we have in Washington, it really is the fuel du jour. It was nuclear, then natural gas : now it is wind. What will it be tomorrow? It makes our job so much harder to do," he said.



Renae Grame-Hansen 10 years, 4 months ago

Coupled with energy generation, this is one of the key issues for our nation. If we can get this right, we will further or at least maintain our economic growth as a country, and contribute to national security in the process. For any nation to be successful where they get, create, distribute and consume their energy/power has to be done expiditiously. The Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulation Commission, and US Congress must continually monitor and move forward in a manner that is looking out 10, 20, and even 50 years in the future.

KsTwister 10 years, 4 months ago

HYPE, why don't you ask California and Texas how they accomplished what lacking Kansas cannot. No matter what energy this State uses it will have to add lines to the power grid. Sooner or later but everyone knows later always costs much, much more.

lounger 10 years, 4 months ago

Keep the energy generated in our state for the people of our state! Kansas wind energy needs to stay here and lead the way in clean energy needs. The east coast did not plan over the years for this current energy problem they have and now they are paying for it. Some people in Kansas live here for the clean air and open space-Lets keep it that way and lets benefit from our great surplus of a free and clean wind.

hornhunter 10 years, 4 months ago

Yep your right their buying into it and if you are a Westar customer you'll be paying their price. I bet this NEW TECHNOLOGY was not doing so well during the last ice storm. Good choice.

hornhunter 10 years, 4 months ago

KsT, I'll ask your question, you just answer ok. HYPE, why don't you ask California and Texas how they accomplished what lacking Kansas cannot? What have they done that is so special? Warmer, I don't think they have restored the power to their home or straw hut yet. (That is just to bad)

KsTwister 10 years, 4 months ago

Hornhunter: try google+California or Texas+Wind

3 farms in California produce enough to power the entire city of San Francisco. Ask Kansas what it has accomplished. .....nothing, nothing at all.

hornhunter 10 years, 4 months ago

Well good for them and S. F city gov. also pays for sex changes. So does this mean every other state has to follow their led? NO

KsTwister 10 years, 4 months ago

Your right, you can still choke on your high priced coal plants and pretend things will continue as now with less desirable energy sources because it just too difficult to break away because a little ingenuity and thinking is involved. If wind isn't such a good idea then you had better quickly inform the energy companies who are buying into the technology.

snowWI 10 years, 4 months ago

The feds should help subsidize the building of new transmission lines where they are NEEDED. We need to implement more energy efficiency as usual to reduce demand as well as conservation. I support an expansion of wind energy along with other power sources EXCEPT coal. There is no such thing as clean coal. its_getting_warmer- I never lived in Wisconsin but visited the northwoods occasionally.

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