Having ample renewable energy isn’t enough, the power also needs to get to cities in a timely manner, especially when generated in remote areas. The US Midwest has increasing amounts of wind power but sometimes turbines must be idled because transmission lines can handle the power.
Shipley said the electric market and the wind farms were losing money because of the curtailments, as the pool is unable to sell power that the grid is incapable of transmitting.
“There’s enough resource there to power the United States a dozen times over by conservative estimates,” Goggin said. “A lot of that resource is concentrated in the middle of the country, far from where people live. There’s extremely cost-effective wind left out there. We just can’t tap it, because we haven’t built out the transmission system.”