Transmission troubles: We're all about wind power - but do we have a way to harness green energy? By Deirdre Fulton.
When thinking about improving electricity transmission, keep these concepts in mind:

• Transmission on the national scale. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, a Washington, DC-based think tank, “The conflict over federal versus state jurisdiction over new transmission projects and authority over siting decisions ... is proving to be politically contentious and time-consuming. ... There is still much to be done to facilitate work between federal and state authorities to determine new transmission corridors.”

• Speaking of streamlining, the same report notes the bureaucratic nightmare that is green-energy development. “A wind farm proposal, for example, could fall to any one of eight federal agencies, but there is no streamlined process for coordinated action.” If renewable energy is going to be a cornerstone of our new economy, the system has to be structured better.

• We need better coordination among regional players, and better public education about who benefits from power-grid updates. In response to a question about who should pay to transmit Maine-produced power to, say, customers in Connecticut, Maine & Maritimes Corporation CEO Brent Boyles points out that the end users and producers share the cost of other products traded similarly. “Some people have a hard time viewing electricity as a commodity,” he says. We benefit economically from potatoes we grow here and sell elsewhere, he says — “why is electricity any different than that?”

• Keep an eye out for studies — local, regional, and national — about how to better integrate wind power into the grid. (The Portland Phoenix will likely report more on this soon.) There are questions about wind-power reliability — and if “dirty energy” needs to be kept at-the-ready as backup, what’s the point of developing this source of clean energy in the first place?

  Topics: News Features , Politics, Science and Technology, Technology,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DEIRDRE FULTON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   CHECKING IN: THE NEW GUARD AND THE WRITER'S HOTEL  |  July 11, 2014
    Former Mainer Shanna McNair started The New Guard, an independent, multi-genre literary review, in order to exalt the writer, no matter if that writer was well-established or just starting out.
  •   NO TAR SANDS  |  July 10, 2014
    “People’s feelings are clear...they don’t want to be known as the tar sands capitol of the United States."
  •   YOUR GUIDE TO ALL THINGS PRIDE!  |  June 19, 2014
    From the outset, O’Connor says, they were “foward-focused” — they had to be, given that they were basically starting from scratch — and committed to being as inclusive, positive, accessible, and transparent as possible.
  •   A RUBY CELEBRATION  |  June 18, 2014
    Hundreds of people — “a who’s who of gay liberation” at the time — came to the first-ever Maine Gay Symposium in April 1974.
  •   PULITZER-WINNER COMING TO PORTLAND  |  June 11, 2014
    Formerly a reporter for the New York Times covering global terrorism (which is where he won the Pulitzer, in 2002), Hedges is best known for his anti-corporate stance, his criticism of US foreign policy, and his call to action.

 See all articles by: DEIRDRE FULTON