2014-07-23. Texas Is Wired for Wind Power, and More Farms Plug In.

posted Jul 24, 2014, 9:27 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Energy Use chapter 5. Excerpt: PANHANDLE, Tex. ...turning wind into electricity is one thing; moving the energy to a profitable market is another. For years, the wind industry has been hampered by such a severe lack of transmission lines that when the wind is strong, a local power surplus forces some machines to be shut down. Now, Texas is out to change that by conducting a vast experiment that might hold lessons for the rest of the United States. This year, a sprawling network of new high-voltage power lines was completed, tying the panhandle area and West Texas to the millions of customers around Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. ...The project, its supporters say, is essential if states are ever to wean their reliance on fossil fuels and meet new federally mandated rules to reduce carbon emissions. ...By any standard, the scale is enormous. Anywhere else, a big transmission project is a few hundred miles long and costs a few hundred million dollars; this is a network of 3,600 miles built at a cost of $7 billion, which is more money than the whole country has spent on transmission in some recent years. ...in Texas, ...lawmakers have ordered an “if-you-build-it, they-will-come” approach. And it is working. “We’ve built it and they’re marching this way,” said Warren Lasher, the director of system planning at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator, citing plans for new wind farms. Encouraged by the new power lines and by federal tax credits that were available only to projects that broke ground by the end of last year, developers had started work on 7,000 megawatts of capacity by the end of 2013. ...The new lines are meant to handle up to 18,000 megawatts — millions of households.  ...The Panhandle 1 and Panhandle 2 wind farms cover two-thirds of the width of Carson County.... http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/business/energy-environment/texas-is-wired-for-wind-power-and-more-farms-plug-in.html. By Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times.