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Comments about ‘Wind project could generate benefits’

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Published: Thursday, Oct. 15 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Win-win project

It's good to read about progress in Utah.

Wind Good?

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!

Electricity is regulated

@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!

RL

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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