Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wind Power Superhighway for West Texas

Written by Jaymi Heimbuch
Texas likes to do everything big, including wind farms and investing in clean energy. The states has been given the thumbs up for a $4.9 billion plan to set up transmission lines to carry the wind power generated in West Texas to surrounding urban areas.

The plan will account for enough lines to carry 18,000 MW – a serious amount of electricity. The state currently generates 5,000 MW, so these lines will leave plenty of room for growth, which T Boone Pickens will help to fill with this own wind plan.

The plan’s funding is coming (in part) from the people who will benefit from the electricity – citizens will pay and extra $3 to $4 each month on their electricity bills for he next few years, which is a pretty small price to pay for getting clean energy delivered to your home. The rest of the funding will come from other investors. Oncor, for example, filed with the Public Utility Commission to show it has its wallet on the table to help with a big chunk of the project. The lines would be up and running somewhere in the next 3 to 5 years, and after that, users would likely see some savings in their energy bills.

Since electricity costs are high, partly because of clogged transmission lines, the project really is practical, and will help out with energy costs as well as reducing pollution. Yet, the one person on the Texas Public Utilities Commission voting against the project, Julie Caruthers Parsley, said she worries this will delay other projects like the building of nuclear power plants. There’s always at least one…

Let’s just hope this project does exactly that. Should this plan come to fruition, Texas will without a doubt be the biggest contributor to wind energy, creating and distributing more than the next 14 states combined. The plan would also be the biggest investment in clean energy in US history. Everything’s bigger in Texas. With luck, more near-future investments in clean energy may soon overshadow even this project. With an investment like this comes more jobs, more trial-and-error knowledge, and much more public awareness for the need and potential of clean energy investments.

Original here

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