There is a lot of potential energy to be gathered from the high plains of the upper midwest United States. A look at the United States Department of Energy's 50-Meter Wind Resource Map shows much of the Dakotas and Nebraska to have desirable wind power resource potential. Big ranches and open land areas offer lots of wind power potential, but there is far less demand for it there than there is in "load centers" like Minneapolis and Chicago, further to the east.
Just as with offshore power, the question of power generation is only one of the problems that needs to be addressed. Getting the power from where it is generated to where it is needed is also part of making the new system useful. To this end, a new network of extra high-voltage (765 kV) transmission lines, called the Green Power Express is under development. It will cross portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois with 3000 miles of transmission lines to be able to provide 12,000 megawatts of power from new wind farms in the high wind areas of the upper midwest.
The infrastructure to get the power from where it can be harnessed to where it is needed is part of the current administration's energy policy.
The Green Power Express is consistent with the vision outlined by President Obama in his national energy agenda. President Obama specifically mentioned his desire "to get wind power from North Dakota to population centers, like Chicago." The Green Power Express will allow this goal to be met.
Development of wind power in this region needs both the wind farms which will harvest the wind to produce electricity and the grid infrastructure to be able to bring the power to the load centers where it is needed.
This is still a project very much in progress, and development and construction are going to take years before this system comes on line. The Green Power Express won't be completed until 2020 (at the earliest), depending on regulatory processes and approvals and construction timetables. But, once it is connected and in place, this grid segment and the associated wind farms will be able to provide enough power from clean sources to replace seven to nine 600 MW coal plants or nine to eleven million automobiles, with a corresponding reduction of 34 million matric tons of carbon emissions.
written by Katie L, June 11, 2009
written by campbell, June 11, 2009
written by Terrence Muray, June 15, 2009
written by Fred, July 08, 2009
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