Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Sweet article on transmission and renewables

Posted by Rich Sweeney on January 9, 2009

In the MIT Technology Review. Lots of good information indicating that the main barriers to renewable energy investment are bureaucratic, not technological or economic. Which means that any sort of green stimulus aimed at promoting renewable electricity would be pretty useless unless its simultaneously accompanied by regulatory overhaul. And I definitely don’t see that happening before President’s Day.

Here’s just one interesting passage from the article. Def check out the whole thing:

The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, which manages the grid in a region covering portions of 15 states from Pennsylvania to Montana, has received hundreds of applications for grid connections from would-be energy developers whose proposed wind projects would collectively generate 67,000 megawatts of power. That’s more than 14 times as much wind power as the region produces now, and much more than it could consume on its own; it would represent about 6 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption. But the existing transmission system doesn’t have the capacity to get that much electricity to the parts of the country that need it. In many of the states in the region, there’s no particular urgency to move things along, since each has all the power it needs. So most of the applications for grid connections are simply waiting in line, some stymied by the lack of infrastructure and others by bureaucratic and regulatory delays.

One Response to “Sweet article on transmission and renewables”

  1. Carlos Ferreira said

    So, it’s like filling up the engine and watching the petrol go between the cogwheels? Nice. I’m glad to see President Obama’s policy focuses a lot on transmission. If it’s not too watered down, it could help a lot.

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