Oil prices are near all time highs, new nuclear plants are years away from completion, and natural gas remains expensive relative to prior eras. So many policymakers — including the President in his State of the Union address — are urging the development of alternative energy sources,such as wind energy. Wind has long been used as a renewable energy source, and makes an excellent addition to an economy's portfolio of energy options.
Unfortunately, putting up a wind turbine is one thing, hooking it up to the electrical grid is another. As one blogster noted this week, the bureaucratic regulatory system that oversees our regional electrical grids creates serious obstacles to launching new wind projects. Take the Midwest Independent Transmission System (MISO): It has a two-year process to get new power plants hooked up to the grid. With currently about 300 applications for mid- to large-scale wind projects at MISO, that's a 600-year-wait for the last one on the list.
Here's hoping that over the next few years we eliminate all the bureaucracy and design more timely processes for bringing new alternative energy facilities into the power grid.