Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Study indicates that Wyoming needs transmission and new flexible gas-fired generation to realize its wind potential

On November 9th, Black & Veatch presented a study to the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA) finding that in order to take advantage of its tremendous wind potential, Wyoming needs transmission and new flexible gas-fired baseload generation. The study also indicates that new flexible gas-fired generation could be economically located in Wyoming due to the state's Shale Gas reserves.

Wyoming is already an energy exporting state because in-state coal generation exceeds its load requirements and its export capability could be increased with wind development. The Western Renewable Energy Zone (WREZ) study indicated that 25,000 MW of wind generation could be economically built in Wyoming. Developers are proposing extra high voltage transmission projects to support this anticipated wind development. These proposed projects include the High Plains Express, the Wyoming-Colorado Intertie, TransWest Express, Gateway South, Gateway West, Zephyr and Overland and anticipate a total potential capacity of approximately 18,000 MW. The future of these projects, however, depends on the ability to deliver energy generated in-state to out-of-state markets.

While the Black & Veatch study emphasizes the need for transmission, the study did not address another key element necessary for transmission development: regional cost recovery and cost allocation mechanisms for transmission projects in the Western Interconnection. The study is posted on the WIA website.

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