Wind power groups file protest with FERC

Washington, D.C., August 14, 2009 – The American Wind Energy Association and Wind on the Wires filed a joint protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) opposing a proposal by the utility transmission system operator in the Midwest that, if approved, will discourage the development of wind resources in that region.

Slowing down wind energy development in the Midwest, the two groups said, harms states’ ability to achieve their renewable energy requirements and create green jobs, and renders it virtually impossible to meet the president’s goal of doubling renewable energy in three years.

The proposed change would nearly double the cost for a wind plant to connect to the power system in the upper Midwest, potentially forcing many wind plant developers to pull the plug on tens of billions of dollars of investment they have planned for the region.

Instead of broadly distributing the costs of transmission in a way that matches the broadly distributed benefits of building a stronger grid – such as improved reliability and reduced power prices – the proposal would assign virtually all those costs to the next generator attempting to connect to the grid, according to the organizations.

“The proposed policy change is like requiring the next car entering a congested highway to pay the full cost of adding a new lane,” said WOW Director Beth Soholt. “Obviously such a policy is unworkable, which in our case means that wind projects will not be able to connect to the grid.”

“At a time when the wind industry is one of the few bright spots of the U.S. economy, having created 35,000 new jobs last year, this policy is saying the Midwest is becoming less friendly for the wind business, and that will clearly have an impact on not only wind development but manufacturing and supply chain jobs throughout the region,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode.

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