FERC OKs pro-wind transmission rule

20 April 2007 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a California Independent System Operator transmission policy assisting wind power development.

The policy, which the U.S. wind energy industry has worked to develop and support, aims to address the “chicken or egg” problem in which no wind farms are built unless transmission exists, and no transmission is built unless wind farms are already in place.

The FERC ruling in effect states that, in windy areas where there is no transmission, transmission should be financed and built first as long as it is clear that there is a large energy resource to be tapped and that there is some financial commitment on the part of generating companies to eventually develop projects in the area.

The FERC decision comes at a time when similar policies are being implemented at the state level, including in Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, and California. With the FERC decision, this policy can now be pursued by every transmission provider in the country with a FERC jurisdictional transmission tariff.