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 However, his information is outdated.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.
Just over 6,600 megawatts of installed wind power capacity exists in the Sooner State – enough to meet about 25% of the state’s annual electricity needs – more than what coal provides. Oklahoma installed nearly 2,000 megawatts in 2016 alone. By the end of the year, Oklahoma became third in the nation for the most wind power installed.
A new market report by the American Wind Energy Association shows that 2016 was a record breaker for the wind industry. And signs are pointing to an equally aggressive 2017. With a total of 8,203 MW of wind energy capacity commissioned during the year, the majority of projects were completed in the last three months. The United States now contains more than 82,000 megawatts of wind power. That’s enough power for the equivalent of roughly 25 million homes.
Wind resources from western Oklahoma and Texas – where the Clean Line and Pattern Energy transmission line projects will source wind – are being marketed at prices around $20-30 per MWh. That’s comparable to the price of operating a modern natural gas power plant, making wind not only cost-effective but a guaranteed low-cost electricity source for decades in the future.
Late in the evening on February 18th, wind energy provided more energy to the Southwest Power Pool electric grid than coal, natural gas or nuclear power. At roughly 11PM, wind power generated nearly 40% of all the electricity in the SPP region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and portions of New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Meanwhile, the region received the remainder of its electricity from coal (37%), natural gas (11%), nuclear (10%) and hydro power (2%). That’s right: renewable energy provided more energy than either fossil fuels or nuclear reactors.
The favorable environmental assessment helps pave the way for up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power to be delivered into the south. That amount of wind power could generate as much electricity consumed by nearly 1.5 million southern homes and would more than double the amount of wind power purchased in the region. Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, the Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) are already purchasing over 3,000 megawatts of wind power, with utilities planning to purchase gigawatts more.
New wind speeds maps released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrate the greatly increased potential for wind turbine development in Georgia with advanced turbines. As wind turbines increase in height, Georgia contains a much greater area of land viable for development. The shading on the map below represents new available land for wind development with modern turbine towers of 360 feet (110 meters) achieving a 35% capacity factor or greater. With these turbines, over 8,000 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind potential currently exists in Georgia.
The Plains and Eastern Clean Line, a high voltage direct current transmission project, would connect more than 3,500 megawatts of high quality, low cost wind power from western Oklahoma and Texas deep into Arkansas and Tennessee. The 720 mile long power line is presently undergoing a federal environmental impact statement review by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Weighing in at 3,700 pages, the hulking review document exhaustively covers just about any impact the project may have.
The Plains and Eastern Clean Line project would connect up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power capacity to the southeast. As part of the federal Department of Energy’s Environmental Impact Statement review, the DOE estimates the socioeconomic impacts of the proposed 720-mile high voltage direct current transmission project. Job creation estimates are included in the socioeconomic impacts portions of the EIS. Based on the EIS jobs estimates, lifetime job estimates may conservatively approach tens of thousands of jobs for the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project.
A newly proposed transmission project would connect high quality wind power to the southeast. The proposed Plains and Eastern Clean Line project would provide up to 4,000 megawatts of wind power from western Oklahoma and Texas to the southeast. The project is currently undergoing a federal Department of Energy Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) review process to evaluate potential impacts from the 720-mile high voltage direct current transmission project. Instead of focusing solely on negative impacts, the EIS also weighs a few of the benefits of the proposed project.