Wind Goes Hollywood

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

Wind has become today’s hit—a potential blockbuster, even—but still needing that one big break. To make it big, utilities will have to lead the charge as owners. That will force utilities to consider and evaluate the significant credit implications that can arise when signing a power purchase agreement with developers that lack deep pockets, or implement fly- by-night schemes.

In the Mainstream: Wind Turbines Take Off

New technologies are helping windpower mature as a viable power supply choice for utilities.

Few people understand how to ride shifting winds better than Jim Dehlsen does. Dehlsen founded Zond Energy Systems 25 years ago, and steered the company through a series of major changes and challenges—the oil-price collapse of the 1980s; ambivalent energy policies, with on-again, off-again production tax credits; and the sale of controlling interests in Zond to Enron in the late 1990s. Should it come as any surprise, then, that Dehlsen still is bullish on windpower’s prospects?

Wind and the Environment: The EPA's Tech Divide

Does the Clean Air Act require the agency to consider the most low-emission coal plant technologies in permitting new plants?

Why doesn’t its interpretation of the Clean Air Act consider the most low-emission coal plant technologies?

Windpower: Beyond Boom and Bust

Windpower is caught in a vicious cycle of Washington politics. Escaping the cycle will require visionary leadership in Congress and the utility industry.

With the Production Tax Credit subject to the whims of a fickle Congress, U.S. windpower remains in an ongoing state of uncertainty. Will the United States embrace the technology?

Closing the Green Gap

Will wind power close the gap between state renewable portfolio standards and the current shortfall in viable technologies?

Renewable portfolio standards or mandatory renewable quotas have been established in 20 states and formally considered in 6 more. There is currently an energy shortfall of 118,400 GWh between operating non-hydro renewable electric output today and that required in 2020. Many state and local regulatory agencies have begun to work together to overcome many of the historic barriers to renewables development, such as transmission constraints, permitting, tax policy, and trading. It's clear that they will have to if renewable energy technologies are ever to meet state renewable portfolio standards.

Backed By Wind

The need for additional generation to compensate for wind variations is disappearing.

Utility-based studies have laid to rest the concern that a wind plant needs to be backed up with an equal amount of dispatchable generation. Even at moderate penetrations, ancillary services to back up new wind power need not be more than is required of a system as a whole.