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Stakeholders Convene to Discuss Wyoming-West, TOT-3 Transmission Projects

Mar 21, 2007 Wind Energy Weekly

At a meeting that included the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA), Trans-Elect, LLC, and National Grid, PLC, to address the Wyoming-West and TOT-3 transmission projects, participants clearly spoke of the initiatives as “wind first” transmission lines with respect to their use.

The 345-kV TOT-3 line upgrade would allow 750 MW through the bottleneck between plentiful Wyoming wind resources and load centers in Colorado. The Wyoming-West line is to start in Southwest Wyoming and terminate at an independent power producer (IPP) facility in Mona, Utah, but the line also has California ramifications: the IPP has an existing direct-current line linking it with the Los Angeles, Calif., area that is scheduled for upgrades.

The desire to earmark the lines as “wind first” was based on the feedback transmission developers have heard from multiple generation-source interests; part of wind’s appeal, according to those at the meeting, is that wind facilities would be able to go online faster than other energy sources.

The gathering, which took place in Denver, Colo., was hosted by AWEA regional partner Interwest Energy Alliance. Interwest Executive Director Craig Cox and AWEA Deputy Policy Director Mike Jacobs, who organized the meeting, said they were “very pleased” with the outcome. As many as 50 wind industry representatives attended.

WIA is a body created by the state legislature to promote transmission. Similar authorities, which often facilitate transmission development needed to tap renewable resources, have been cropping up around the country, the most recent one being in New Mexico, where Governor Bill Richardson (D) just signed a bill creating it (see Wind Energy Weekly #1231). Legislation in Colorado—including a bill doubling the renewable portfolio standard to 20% that just passed in the legislature and that the governor is expected to sign —is closely being monitored by transmission and renewables stakeholders, said meeting participants.