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Patience Key To Success
With Renewable Energy In The West

by Joseph Friedrichs
New West, July 21, 2008

Too much too soon?

Wind-turbines sprouting up in the New West. Although the push for increased amounts of renewable energy continues throughout the West, a recent assessment from a federal power administration finds that demand could be exceeding supply when it comes to wind farms.

It's likely that developers in this region will triple the amount of wind power by erecting dozens of new wind farms in the coming years. However, the assessment from the Bonneville Power Administration also reveals that unless more power lines are added with the new farms, transmission networks won't be able to handle so much wind so quickly.

As it stands now, BPA says it has only enough space on the grid for just one-third of the anticipated 4,716 megawatts, Gail Kinsey Hill reports on

One potential problem is that developers can sign up for transmission access at any time, first-come, first-served, with no security deposit required, Hill reports. This means a load of requests to build wind farms could flood into federal office buildings. In turn, there would be now way for the feds to know when, or even if a wind farm would be built.

What could happen if wind-farm developers aren't careful could be a repeat of the recent housing boom in the West - a sudden surge of structures built only to stand uselessly empty, or in this case motionless.

Most of the wind farms currently in operation dwell in the Columbia River Gorge. Farms in this area distribute power to people in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, among other states. It would be a disgrace to erect dozens of wind farms in this beautiful area, only to have them loom like dead, giant robots for all to see.

Let's take our time in the West planning and building wind farms, which are inevitably going to come. Developers must wait to make certain there will be able power lines ready to distribute the energy. As we've already discovered in the West, patience is a virtue.

Joseph Friedrichs
Patience Key To Success With Renewable Energy In The West
New West, July 21, 2008

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