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Seeing Green

Renewables attract utility investment dollars.

Fortnightly Magazine - May 2009

national RPS is designed in the right way, there should be a seamless transition between the expiration of the PTC and the ramp up of energy purchase obligations under a national RPS. That would keep the industry pretty consistent. Depending on how the program is designed, the industry is looking less at tax incentives and more at the RPS as a long-term growth driver.

The number one issue for every wind company right now is transmission—planning and permitting transmission projects. If we’re going to get 20 percent of our electricity from wind, we’ll need large-scale improvements in the nation’s transmission infrastructure. We need carefully orchestrated, streamlined transmission siting and planning.

Langston, OG&E: The current transmission logjam is caused by an inadequate cost-allocation methodology. The existing process just isn’t adequate to distribute the cost, and every RTO is different. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) is different from the Midwest ISO, California and PJM. National policy needs to recognize that. Working through RTOs to set policies is the best way to go, as opposed to federal preemption. I’d hope our federal policy makers would tailor cost-allocations across regions and create a mechanism for regions to work together to solve seams issues.

In the SPP, we believe a postage-stamp rate makes a lot of sense. The SPP would do its job, looking regionally at what transmission needs to be constructed and how to spread the costs and benefits across all customers. If you’re a member of SPP you pay those costs. That way no single state or owner bears all the costs.

Kuga, PG&E: We need to start seeing the actual implementation of policies before we can make an assessment. A lot of new policies have been adopted, and we need to give them time to play out.