January 25, 2010

An update on wind energy potential

Just a week ago, I addressed the myth that enough wind power off the East Coast existed to replace current coal-burning power plants. The biggest barriers to building these wind farms is the humongous cost of not only the offshore wind farms, but the transmission lines to get this power to where it's needed most--our largest cities.
 
Back in 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the U.S. could get 20 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2030. That was a mighty big COULD.

This week, the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory released the news that the eastern half of the U.S. could obtain as much as 30 percent of its electricity from wind by 2024, much of it from offshore wind farms. But this big COULD actually considered the six power grids that run from the Great Plains to the east coast and from the Canadian border to the tip of Florida. It's called the "Eastern Interconnection" power grid.

This grid, PLUS $93 billion for more than 30,000 miles of new power lines and infrastructure could work? Hmmm. That's almost what we taxpayers spent to bail out AIG. Sure wish Congress had a clear choice back then. Green jobs to build this infrastructure or green bucks for AIG top executives?