Arkansas Utilities Benefit From Wind Energy Subsidies

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 12:00 am  

“But with a large enough total system with wind integrated into it, it can be beneficial,” Sugg said, “because you have other generation that’s available to move or compensate for fluctuations.”

So for AECC, the value of wind, he said, is ultimately that it can displace other fuel sources like coal or natural gas.

Southwest Power Pool

Significant wind energy is also used by Southwest Power Pool, a regional transmission operator in Little Rock that serves eight states in the mid-South.

Lanny Nickell, vice president of engineering for SPP, said the company has about 8,000 megawatts of wind resources connected to its regional grid.

Like AECC, all of SPP’s wind generation comes from outside of Arkansas.

“The majority of our wind, in fact almost 75 percent of the wind in our region, is from Oklahoma and Kansas,” Nickell said.

“We’ve got some wind in Texas, at least the part of Texas that we cover, and some in Nebraska, and that comprises the majority of the wind in our region.”

He said SPP’s current wind resources represent about 10 percent of its total mixture of energy sources.

Like AECC, SPP is planning to build that up.

“We expect by the end of the year to have another 2,000 megawatts,” he said.

He said SPP’s region could eventually generate up to 90,000 megawatts of wind energy. Wind is “a very economical” source of energy, Nickell said, especially after federal tax credits help to ease the steep capital investment required to build the turbines. (See more about Arkansas and wind subsidies here.)



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