Jan 26, 2010

Wind transmission grid weakens west of Wisconsin

"Without transmission," he said, "there is no product to sell." Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin.

While Wisconsin wind is easy to capture and transmit, that is not the case in the wind-rich areas in the Dakotas, western Minnesota and Iowa.

"There are huge resources of wind west of Wisconsin," said Charlie Higley, executive director of the Citizens Utility Board of Wisconsin.

Transmitting those resources to Wisconsin and throughout the region is a challenge, he said, as the electric grid is not as expanded in those areas.

..."But we don't have the kind of (wind) resource we see in the west," Callisto said. "Transmission build out will be an issue as Wisconsin and the rest of the country look at the Midwestern resource."

As the demand for renewable energy increases, reaching beyond the state's borders will be a necessity.

Yet transmitting wind energy is not the main factor in deciding to improve or expand transmission lines, said Anne Spaltholz, spokeswoman for American Transmission Co. LLC, Waukesha.

"Unless they improve reliability or have economic benefits, there probably aren't very many transmission projects being justified simply based on moving renewable energy," she said.

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