Plenty of Midwest Power With Nowhere To Go
INDIANAPOLIS - The way electric transmission lines are built needs to change, to take advantage of abundant wind power in the Midwest and Great Plains, according to a new from the Center for Rural Affairs.
Report author Johnathon Hladik said the electric power transmission network was not designed to take advantage of wind power. High-capacity lines capable of taking the power from the source just aren’t there.”
Only 6 percent are located in the upper Midwest and the Great Plains, home to our best wind resources,” he pointed out. “Those are the lines over 400 kilovolts. If you look at the lines over 600 kilovolts, less than 1 percent are sited in those areas.”
As a result, Hladik said, the states with the greatest wind resources are forced to leave a lot of power on the table that could be boosting economic development and energy independence. He suggested that utilities address this issue of bringing more wind energy online and creating jobs in rural America.
The old model, according to Hladik, just doesn’t make sense in the 21st century. The transmission system was designed a century ago to connect huge individual power plants with major population centers.”
We’re slowly moving away from coal-fired power plants, and we’re moving very quickly towards more of an investment in renewable resources, such as wind,” Hladik asserted. “So, instead of having those big lines serve those big population areas, we need more of those larger lines where our wind resources are the best.”
He noted that of the 3700 miles of high-capacity transmission lines in the country, only nine miles are located in states that lead the nation in their wind-energy capacity.
Hladik said re-thinking the way the lines are sited would be a huge step toward building a clean energy future, and would also create thousands of rural jobs.
One proposed transmission line would extend through Illinois into western Indiana, near Sugar Creek. Learn more at .
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