Published: Thursday, Oct. 15 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT
It's good to read about progress in Utah.
If wind power is so great and going to save the planet, why won't the government
get out of the way and let them build it already? Why all these studies and
impact statements? Get the electricity flowing, people!
@Wind Good? The challenge is that the government can't get out of the way
because electricity is regulated. Consumers have no choice but to buy whatever
power is generated by your regulated monopoly provider (e.g., Rocky Mountain
Power, UAMPS, etc.). The Public Service Commission is supposed to act on rate
payers' interests by making rulings about how utilities should procure
electricity resources (e.g., wind, hydro, coal) and set "fair" rates.There are many barriers facing wind -- transmission connecting windy locations
to electricity users, NIMBY issues, utilities unfamiliar with wind so they favor
coal, nuclear, or natural gas. Government subsidies and policies for decades
have favored fossil fuels and nuclear power, and due to the novelty of wind,
many policies aren't in place for utilities to acquire wind. Before Spanish
Fork, for example, the state of Utah didn't have a policy for how to price wind
power, so that was a key barrier for development. It's risky to start a wind
farm when you don't know how much you'll get for it! The key to wind
power is government policy encouraging its use via incentives or target amounts!
Why are we in Utah always 10-20 years behind?I fly weekly between
SLC and Seattle for work, and see hundreds and hundreds of wind turbine churning
away in Idaho, Orgeon and Washington states.Cattle and farms running
business as usual.And here we are in Utah still debating and
planning -- still another 5 years from up and running.Why?
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