After the President’s State of the Union message last night, I went back to the internet, partly to look at the Facebook reply from the opposition, but later went to a site from down under, to see if anything had made it there concerning the speech.
I found nothing at the time I looked, but there was an interesting article about the study that states up to 20% of the power for the Eastern seaboard could be provided by wind, which would be something that the No-Nukes crowd could really get behind. I am frequently amazed by what turns up on websites that are not in the United States, which are speaking to things occurring to us, but I would think would be less than exciting to those not of these shores.
According to a study prepared for a federal government agency, wind power could generate 20% of the energy used by the Eastern Interconnection by 2024. But achieving that goal would require extensive infrastructure improvements.
The conclusion was the result of a two-and-a-half-year study sponsored by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a research organization affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy.
The Eastern Wind Integration and Transmission Study (Executive Summary PDF download) was carried out to answer questions about the impact of achieving “20-30% energy penetration of wind” in the eastern United States.
Specifically, the study focused on the Eastern Interconnnection, one of the three grids covering the lower 48 states. The Eastern Interconnection handles power from the Eastern Seaboard through the Great Plains states (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, the Dakotas). It also covers parts of Canada.
The study focused on four scenarios, the simplest being based on “high-quality wind resources” in the Plains states, on up through scenarios involving the aggressive development of East Coast offshore resources.
The conclusion was that achieving the 20-30% figure is technically feasible but would require significant expansion of the existing transmission infrastructure.
Estimates of the annualized cost of generating that much wind power, exclusive of direct production-related costs like fuel, range from about US$90 billion to $125 billion.
But a previous study by the Department of Energy found that reaching the 20% target by 2030 would produce “substantial benefits [that] overcome the costs.”
After seeing the typical responses on the faces of those within the Capitol last night that lean Republican, I wonder how many of them have seen this study, or gave it any notice at all. A simple focus on the last paragraph might yield much different results when the next vote on energy policy comes up.