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Boosting wind energy; Kansas to set wind farm guidelines; other stories

(Friday, Dec. 3, 2004 -- CropChoice news) -- Below are 3 items dealing with wind energy

1. FERC Considers Ways to Boost Wind Energy
2. Kansas to Establish Guidelines for Wind Farms
3. Prod for wind energy, panel is told

1. FERC Considers Ways to Boost Wind Energy

FERC on Wednesday held a technical conference in Denver on how to promote wind energy in wholesale markets. FERC Chairman Pat Wood said there is a need for new transmission to support wind power development, particularly in the West, and suggested the lack of an RTO in the region was hampering grid investment, reported the Rocky Mountain News. "It is frustrating that nobody trusts anybody to be a leader and develop an RTO in the West," said Wood.

Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., said FERC should work with states and the industry to promote faster development of wind, Platts Commodity News reported. Richardson stated wind should be "the premier energy source [after fossil fuels] in our country" and "the key centerpiece of our energy policy."

Richardson called for a 25-percent national renewable energy standard by 2020 and for extension of the federal production tax credit for wind. He also suggested revising transmission tariffs to favor wind power and the use of the electric grid as "an energy storage tool" to address the intermittency of wind.

Source: Rocky Mountain News ; Platts Commodity News, Dec. 2.

2. Kansas to Establish Guidelines for Wind Farms

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, D-Kan., asked for patience as the state works out a new set of guidelines to govern development of wind farms in its Flint Hills region, Electricity Daily reported. A program called the Heart of the Flint Hills Area is being set up to protect the 3-million acre tall-grass prairie, one of the largest such tracts still remaining. Sebelius said: "These common-sense recommendations provide us with a workable strategy for continuing to protect the tall-grass prairie in the Flint Hills and assisting affected landowners while also encouraging the rapid development of wind energy in appropriate areas of the state." While land owners are seeking to develop wind farms as an additional source of revenue, environmentalists oppose their development in the area.

Source: Electricity Daily, Dec. 3.

3. Prod for wind energy, panel is told

Associated Press, 11/19/04

LINCOLN (AP) - It's time Nebraska caught wind of the power-generating capacity of wind, a legislative committee was told Thursday.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Nebraska is ranked sixth nationally for energy potential from wind power.

But to date, just 12 wind turbines are operating in the state, while nearby states, including Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota, have hundreds of turbines in operation.

Omaha State Sen. Don Preister, who has advocated wind energy for years, told the Natural Resources Committee that he believes the Legislature should direct the state's public power companies to produce a certain portion of electricity from renewable energy, including wind power.

After the hearing, Preister said he planned to introduce a bill in January that would require 10 percent of the power generated in the state be from renewable sources. Currently about 1 percent of the total power generated in Nebraska comes from wind energy, he said.

People support renewable energy, Preister said. He cited a survey by the Nebraska Public Power District that found 96 percent of its customers believed that having at least 200 megawatts of wind energy in the state was a good idea.

Nebraska's turbines in Lincoln, Springview, Valley and Kimball currently generate about 14 megawatts of power.

A 60-megawatt wind turbine farm is being constructed near Ainsworth. The wind farm is expected to have 36, 1.65 megawatt wind turbines. One megawatt is considered enough electricity to power 200 average metropolitan homes.

"I don't know of anybody who thinks we should do less in the area of energy efficiency," Preister said.

Dan Juhl, owner of wind energy development company DanMar and Associates of Pipestone, Minn., told the committee that construction of turbines helps the local economy and is a cash crop for farmers who put them on their land.

Wind can't be the sole source of power, Juhl said, but it definitely can be part of the mix.

While there is growth and potential for wind energy in Nebraska, the committee was told by a representative of the Lincoln Electric System that a lack of lines to deliver the extra electricity is an obstacle. Uncertainty over a federal tax credit also frequently is cited as a problem.

Preister said there needs to be more incentives for energy efficiency.

Finding ways to increase the nation's electrical transmission capacity has received greater attention since a major power blackout last year affected 50 million people in several eastern states.