How Can the Southeast Benefit from Wind Energy in Texas?

It’s true what they say, everything is bigger in Texas…and that includes the wind energy industry! Texas is number one in the nation for wind energy production with over 20 gigawatts of installed capacity. With such a fantastic and cheap wind resource, is there any way for the Southeast to reap the benefits? Pattern Energy Group LP (Pattern Development) has created a solution: Build a new transmission line that can deliver 2,000 megawatts of clean, abundant, and cheap wind energy to our region.

Clearing the Air: Lamar Alexander, You’re Wrong About Wind Power

Sen. Alexander says that wind power is expensive. However, his information is outdated. With its considerable wind energy resources, Oklahoma had the lowest electricity prices in the country last year. Tennessee ranked #28. Analysis by Leidos Electrical shows that Plains and Eastern Clean Line project could more than likely reduce electric rates in the Tennessee Valley, and beyond. In November 2016, Lazard Associates published their annual Levelized Cost of Energy analysis showing that the lowest cost wind power resources reach $14/MWh (1.4 cents per kilowatt hour, kWh). A new report from Moody’s Investor Services reports wind power prices for $15/MWh (1.5 cents per kWh). In 2015, Georgia Power received wind power proposals with pricing of $15.77/MWh (1.577 cents per kWh). As an already-operating wind project, the Balko Wind project in western Oklahoma sold wind power to the Public Service Company of Oklahoma for $15.80/MWh (1.58 cents per kWh). HVDC transmission charges may add an additional 2 cents per kWh. Additionally, TVA can earn revenue by using their existing transmission system to “wheel” low-cost wind power to power-hungry neighbors.

Proposed Wind Power Transmission Project Would Generate $3.9 Billion for Louisiana, Mississippi

The new study highlights the beneficial job and economic development impacts associated with the proposed power line. According to the study, the Southern Cross Transmission project will provide significant economic benefits within Louisiana, and Mississippi, including $3.9 billion in total direct, indirect, induced and fiscal economic impact. The benefits primarily stem from construction, potential local tax revenue, and operations. Notably, the benefits from low-cost wind power associated with the transmission project were not included in the analysis, suggesting a conservative analysis.

For Renewable Energy, The Future is Now

Solar photovoltaics, wind energy and solar thermal technology costs have all declined pretty substantially since Lazard’s analysis last year. Natural gas and energy efficiency costs have stayed the same, although to be fair, energy efficiency’s starting low cost of $0 per megawatt of energy saved is hard to beat. Meanwhile, coal, nuclear and integrated gasification combined cycle power costs continue to increase.