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Wind Goes Hollywood

The spotlight is on. But true stardom will require more direction from utilities.

Fortnightly Magazine - July 2007

“power grab” on California’s part. “We don’t want any process leading to Arizona becoming an energy farm for other states,” said Commissioner Kris Mayes, in press reports.

In fact, Walter M. Higgins, chairman and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources, expressed his concern over California’s renewable-transmission tariff policies a few months ago at a conference on mergers. “In Nevada,” he warned, “we are particularly scared.

“Like the scene in Men in Black where the wicked witch is sending tentacles out into neighboring areas to hurt things, we are a little worried that California may see this transmission tariff as the way to reach in and grab renewables [from neighboring states].”

In a follow-up e-mail interview, Higgins added: “It seems quite clear that California intends to reach into Nevada to access renewables to meet their lofty targets. The effect of that will undoubtedly be to make renewables more expensive for Nevadans. Already, the costs of new renewable projects are higher than we would have expected. This is true worldwide for wind, but now we are seeing it for upcoming geothermal projects.”

Let us hope the Western states and other parts of the country will be able to settle their renewable differences in an equitable manner. Their efforts will make the difference between wind being a bit player on the energy stage, or the star of the show.