Monday, February 09, 2009

Smart Grid and Wind Turbines Could Cost $820 Billion

A new report states that a new national smart grid would cost up to $100 billion and building the wind turbines needed to generate the desired amount of power would cost about $720 billion. The money would be spent over a 15-year period. The report says that if the U.S. wants to get 20% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2024, a new electricity transmission system would be needed, including 15,000 circuit miles of extremely high voltage lines. The system would be laid alongside the existing electric grid infrastructure, start in the Great Plains and Midwest -- where the bulk of the nation's wind resources are located -- and terminate in big cities along the East Coast. Wind currently provides less than 1% of the electricity produced today.

The report was prepared by the Midwest Independent System Operator, SERC Reliability Region, PJM Interconnection LLC, the Southwest Power Pool, the Mid-Continent Area Power Pool and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These organizations are responsible for electric-system reliability in roughly half the states. (The WSJ, 2/9/09)

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