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Transmission remains an issue in developing wind power

“One of the messages I presented to the coal industry was, ‘If you want to have major transmission built, start encouraging wind development.’ That’s because the cultural value and acceptance of wind energy provides an opportunity to build transmission lines that are not as desirable with traditional forms of generation.”

BISMARCK – Wind energy is expanding quickly in North Dakota.

But there could be a limit to that expansion. And that limit is transmission.

“We’ve been fortunate so far that the wind industry has so far been able to fit the wind farms in pockets on the grid where it requires minimal upgrades from a transmission standpoint,” said Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark. “But that’s not going to be the case for long.”

Clark says transmission is coming along – especially in Minnesota, where a number of fairly large projects are on the drawing board.

Commissioner Kevin Cramer says transmission is important not only for wind, but for coal.

“I think back to when I was the state’s economic development director,” said Cramer. “One of the messages I presented to the coal industry was, ‘If you want to have major transmission built, start encouraging wind development.’ That’s because the cultural value and acceptance of wind energy provides an opportunity to build transmission lines that are not as desirable with traditional forms of generation.”

One developer wants to build turbines in southwestern North Dakota – but is concerned about space on the transmission grid.

Dave Thompson

North Dakota Public Radio

20 May 2008

[this post has been edited to correct spelling errors – NWW news editor]