Delivering low-cost renewable energy to the Southeast

This blog was written by John D. Wilson, former Deputy Director for Regulatory Policy at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | October 28, 2016 | Energy Policy, Wind

One of the lead quotes in today’s Utility Dive article cites problems with “how to pay for” new transmission to help share renewable energy across the eastern U.S. – but the article then goes on to detail how two companies are moving forward with high-capacity transmission lines.

Two pieces of big news have come recently from independent, or merchant, transmission developers now working on new HVDC lines to market to power producers and load serving entities (LSEs).

These two companies have proven that there is strong investor commitment to building new transmission lines. These lines will be the “pipelines” needed to deliver wind power from the best wind producing region in the country, to the market with the least wind resource penetration.

Wind resources from western Oklahoma and Texas – where the Clean Line and Pattern Energy transmission line projects will source wind – are being marketed at prices around $20-30 per MWh. That’s comparable to the price of operating a modern natural gas power plant, making wind not only cost-effective but a guaranteed low-cost electricity source for decades in the future.

Talk is cheap. Clean Line and Pattern Energy are building infrastructure that will make a difference to the future of our economy and our global environment. And, as the Utility Dive article explains, these are just the first steps towards that future.

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