Making a connection: Wind transmission grid weakens west of Wisconsin
From an article by Melissa Rigney Baxter in The Daily Reporter:
The multimillion-dollar construction projects to get the blades spinning won’t mean much if there’s no way to transmit wind farm electricity.
So far in Wisconsin, transmission has been less of a problem than local approvals and harnessing the wind, but that could change as the state reaches farther west for renewable energy.
“Connecting wind in Wisconsin is not very challenging at all,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of RENEW Wisconsin. “Where you see all the wind projects in eastern Wisconsin, they are close to existing transmission lines.”
We Energies considered 118 potential sites for the recently approved Glacier Hills Wind Park in Columbia County, said Brian Manthey, utility spokesman. We Energies considered many factors, including the most efficient transmission.
Combined with access to wind and area demographics, transmission is a top priority when evaluating an area for wind turbines, Vickerman said.
“Without transmission,” he said, “there is no product to sell.”
While Wisconsin wind is easy to capture and transmit, that is not the case in the wind-rich areas in the Dakotas, western Minnesota and Iowa.