Power Administrations Seek Increased Role

North American Wind Power

December 2008

By David Yaffe and Malcolm McLellan

Restrictions on the Bonneville Power Administration and the Western Area Power Administration have complicated transmission and integration procedures. For the U.S. to meet the goal of obtaining 20% of its electrical energy from wind generation by the year 2030, significant wind energy development must occur in areas identified as having the greatest renewable generation potential, such as the Pacific Northwest and the Upper Great Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

For the U.S. to meet the goal of obtaining 20% of its electrical energy from wind generation by the year 2030, significant wind energy development must occur in areas identified as having the greatest renewable generation potential, such as the Pacific Northwest and the Upper Great Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.

However, myriad technical and financial issues (such as cost recovery), the need to construct transmission facilities linking remote areas and the lack of availability of ancillary services (such as regulation service and operating reserves from dispatchable generating resources) have hindered project development in these regions.

Further complicating this situation, these specific wind-rich regions largely fall within the reliability balancing areas operated by the Bonneville Power  Administration (BPA) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).

Due to federal statutes that limit their mandates – and the budgetary restrictions of federal law and the Congressional appropriations process – BPA and WAPA, as well as other federal power marketing administrations, face certain challenges to the development of new transmission and integration of wind resources. These challenges do not apply to other providers of transmission services and balancing authority ancillary services.

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Reprinted with permission from North American Windpower Magazine.