Disconnect stalls panhandle wind power - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Disconnect stalls panhandle wind power

"The biggest hurdle we have at present is transmission and that's the high voltage lines that deliver this power to the customer," says Wes Reeves. "The biggest hurdle we have at present is transmission and that's the high voltage lines that deliver this power to the customer," says Wes Reeves.

Propel more wind energy in the panhandle and the nation.... that's the idea behind a new energy bill one local leader has just launched. But as NewsChannel 10 has learned.. it may not be enough to overcome what's keeping the industry from really taking off.

Congressman Mac Thornberry wants to extend a wind production tax credit for ten years. One local energy spokesman calls the plan helpful, but doubts it will do much to fix what's keeping more turbines from turning. Panhandle wind producers may welcome more years of tax credits, but that won't blow away a lingering problem. "The biggest hurdle we have at present is transmission and that's the high voltage lines that deliver this power to the customer," says Wes Reeves.

He cautions building lines to transfer turbine power is expensive. It involves buying land and securing rights of way.  "A lot of folks want to come in to build the wind farms but there's not the transmission to carry it, but you can't really build the transmission to carry it until you have the wind farms." Reeves notes the public utilities commission is considering options for linking grids to carry wind power.  He suggests the industry could explode in the next ten yearsk but until there are more ways to deliver the power, it will likely remain at a standstill.

Reeves adds his company, Xcel Energy is near capacity in accepting wind power. It too would need to construct more transmission lines to take advantage of more power.

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