Transmission access, not production tax credits or public support, is now the single biggest hurdle to wind energy development in the United States, energy communicator Adam Barber writes in a post on Renewable Energy World.
“While the U.S. continues to benefit from favourable wind resources and vast tracts of open land on which to develop project portfolios, the painful truth is that the obvious development sites aren’t anywhere close to major conurbations and power-hungry consumers,” Barber explains.
For developers, “that presents a growing problem. While it’s perfectly possible to sell some of the power locally, the ability to transmit power over multiple state borders and over hundreds of miles has proved to be an expensive distraction, both in terms of time and money.”
Barber explains the business model behind Clean Energy Line Partners, a firm that now has five major transmission projects in development. “Developers bid for access to transmission on the service and in return can guarantee a long-term market to sell their power,” he says. “Owner-operators like Clean Energy Line Partners benefit from long-term, stable revenues from developers reliant on the service.”