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New Agreement Hikes Windpower in Wyoming Transmission Project

image credit: TWE
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The TransWest Express (TWE) project which aims to link Wyoming transmission lines through to southern Nevada, and thence to California, has agreed to extra capacity from a 3,000-MW wind farm, run by Power Company of Wyoming (PCW). The project objective is to bring low-cost renewable energy to the west of the country. This transmission line will bring additional capacity and diversity of supply to the area, with the ability to also direct energy to the California Independent System Operator organization.

TWE is important new infrastructure that will deliver electricity generated by renewable resources to customers and will increase the reliability of the power grid that serves the Western United States. It has has been under development since 2005, includes a 3,000-MW, 500-kV direct current line from Wyoming to Delta, Utah, and 1,500-MW, 500-kV, alternating current line from the Utah terminal to south of Las Vegas. The estimated cost is expected to be $3 billion.

image credit: TWE

"Transmission is the biggest barrier to the development of Wyoming's considerable wind energy resources. But not only do we need to build the lines to carry this renewable energy to market, these lines must be 'right-sized' from the start. The key is to get the maximum number of electrons transferred with the least amount of environmental disturbance." Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal

The TWE project will make Wyoming's wind-generated electricity available to utilities to serve citizens in more densely populated regions. The electric power supplied is roughly equivalent to three-fourths of the electric power used in Los Angeles alone. In addition, many experts recognize that providing more connectivity between geographically diverse and complementary renewable resources can help smooth grid operations as the grid becomes “greener.” Using Wyoming wind to help fill in the times when California’s wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, for example, helps utilities reduce their reliance on traditional peak-priced fuels and therefore helps contribute to California’s GHG emissions reduction goals as well as their renewable energy goals. The bidirectional TWE Project also could provide export capacity for Desert Southwest solar resources, particularly during times when supply exceeds demand.

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