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Grid reliability is one giant step in mainstreaming the technology.
Fortnightly Magazine - June 2004

to encourage good behavior, will, for the same set of facts, impute significantly lower costs. As with transmission access, it is the accounting, not the physics, that determines wind integration costs.

Wind energy's growing success in the marketplace is a good indicator of its attractiveness. As more and more managers and decision-makers become familiar with wind power's characteristics and what it takes (or does not necessarily take) to integrate wind, they will enjoy the icing on the cake that comes with the power supplied by wind: a stable price over time (not subject to volatility in the cost of fuel); savings in resource use (of fuels, water for cooling systems or steam, land for waste disposal); no emissions and, as a result, insurance against environmental risk; and, perhaps most importantly, in spite of the occasional and inevitable not-in-my-backyard outcries of some local residents, support from the vast majority of the public and electric consumers.


  1. Presentation at Global WINDPOWER 2004, Chicago, March 29, 2004.
  2. The report is available online at:
  3. Stiffness of the grid means sufficient transmission capacity to spread the wind and load variability over a relatively large region. Flexibility of other generation means the ability to cost-effectively and quickly change output in response to control signals from the grid operator or changes in spot prices.

Texas 'Just Did It'

1999: Texas passes electricity restructuring legislation including a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requiring 2,000 MW of new renewable generating capacity by 2009. Windy West Texas is its own little control area, with little load, and is isolated within ERCOT.

2001: Following extremely competitive bids from wind power (at 3 cents/kWh or less, taking into account the federal wind production tax credit, or PTC), more than 900 MW of wind are installed in West Texas in one year-propelling Texas two years ahead of the minimum 400 MW of new renewables required by 2003 under its RPS. At the same time, Texas becomes one single control area and enacts transmission reforms to maximize efficient use of the grid and accommodate new technologies, including allowing variable sources like wind to deliver power in real time without incurring standard schedule deviation penalties.

2003: Having maximized efficient use of existing lines through tariff reform, Texas upgrades some of the lines and builds new ones to eliminate curtailment and fully serve existing wind generation. The state is also exploring ways to further expand transmission capability.


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-size of region
-type of tariff
-stiffness of grid 3
-flexibility of other generation;