NERC's Sergel: Transmission needed for reliable integration of renewables

It’s snowing—and windy—in Washington today, and I am at an all-day hearing on “renewable integration” at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is dry stuff—only it’s not. “Integrating” wind and other renewables into the grid is the key to building a new energy future in the United States, and making it happen is one of our primary challenges at AWEA.

So it is especially encouraging to see the statement today by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a not-for-profit company that oversees the transmission systems of the U.S. and Canada. “The need to reliably integrate renewable resources is no longer a question, it is a priority,” NERC CEO Rick Sergel said. According to data in NERC’s 2008 Long Term Reliability Assessment, 145,000 MW of wind generation is proposed to be added to the grid over the next 10 years. “That’s the equivalent of nearly 200 mid-sized coal plants or 130 average nuclear plants,” Sergel said.

He continued, “We absolutely need transmission – we estimate tens of thousands of miles of new transmission is needed to unlock location-constrained, remote energy resources and maintain reliability. Building it will require us to address the barriers that contributed to limited transmission development over the past 20 years.”

That’s exactly what we said in our transmission White Paper last month, and having NERC say it is going to make our job at AWEA a little easier.

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