Delivering low-cost renewable energy to the Southeast

John D. Wilson | October 28, 2016 | Energy Policy, Wind
Brazil's Linhão do Madeira is a 1,500 mile long HVDC transmission line. HVDC transmission lines require less than half the land needed for conventional AC transmission lines to carry the same amount of power.

One of the lead quotes in today’s Utility Dive article cites problems with “how to pay for” new transmission to help share renewable energy across the eastern U.S. – but the article then goes on to detail how two companies are moving forward with high-capacity transmission lines.

Two pieces of big news have come recently from independent, or merchant, transmission developers now working on new HVDC lines to market to power producers and load serving entities (LSEs).

These two companies have proven that there is strong investor commitment to building new transmission lines. These lines will be the “pipelines” needed to deliver wind power from the best wind producing region in the country, to the market with the least wind resource penetration.

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.

Talk is cheap. Clean Line and Pattern Energy are building infrastructure that will make a difference to the future of our economy and our global environment. And, as the Utility Dive article explains, these are just the first steps towards that future.


John D. Wilson
For more than a decade, John has directed SACE’s research activities and led SACE’s utility reform campaigns. He often represents SACE in formal or informal stakeholder engagement with utilities, and…
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