Transmission: We Would Go On as Though Nothing Was Wrong

By August 28, 2008Energy

A good look in the New York Times at the missing Jenga block of expanded energy production, renewable or otherwise — getting the power to the customers. From “The Energy Challenge“:

When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.

That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.

Except the Times ignores the no-at-any-cost factor, the intransigence and opposition from NIMBY environmentalists. Thankfully, Dr. Fred Hansen, blogging at the Adam Smith Institute, adds the missing piece in “The green bait and switch“:

In the US many environmentalists are getting infected with the NIMBY-virus* as they realize the unpleasant consequences of renewable energy. New projects, such as the 240-mile transmission line through Indiana to accommodate wind farms (at a cost of $1bn), are unlikely to be completed any time soon. The reason for this is burdensome government regulation and lots of anticipated NIMBY litigation. So much for the green lobby’s urgency argument with regard to global warming

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