And a huge amount of potential wind energy hangs in the balance:
The group, the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy, founded in January, is trying to block the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from approving a series of major transmission paths from wind-rich areas in the middle of the continent to load centers all over and then spreading the cost of the new lines around the whole country.
“It is fundamentally about fairness,’’ said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, who hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday with Senator Robert Corker, Republican of Tennessee, to denounce such a plan.
As is often the case with stories like this, you can learn more about the motivations and consequences by reading the comment section. Here's Michael Goggin of AWEA:
One would be less surprised at this opposition when they take a closer look at the membership of the CFTP. Without exception, the utilities involved have a strong financial stake in keeping America’s power grid obsolete and congested. Nearly every member of the group owns power plants in locations where congestion on the grid keeps out competition from lower cost sources of energy, like wind power. These companies stand to lose billions of dollars per year if transmission is built and they are no longer able to charge monopolistic prices for their electricity because of competition from wind energy. Some of the members of the group also profit handsomely from their ownership of transmission rights on congested transmission lines.
Moreover, these savings do not even include the benefits of improved power grid reliability, billions of dollars in economic development and job creation, and significant reductions in emissions. Around the country there are almost 300,000 MW of proposed wind projects, almost 10 times the amount that have been installed to date, that are waiting to connect to the grid but are unable to because of a lack of transmission. The state of Oregon alone has well over 10,000 MW of proposed wind projects waiting to connect to the grid, which if they were allowed to come online would bring billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs to the state. A 2008 Department of Energy report concluded that more than 500,000 jobs would be created by moving to obtaining 20% of America’s electricity from wind energy, with these jobs fairly evenly distributed to every state in the country.