If Charles Dickens were an energy analyst, he would probably say the past 10 years have been the best of times and the worst of times for wind power in America.
Most observers would guess we are referring to the on-and-off nature of the federal Production Tax Credit, which has created a chaotic investment environment for wind project developers and financiers. Yet comparing the two regions with similar total installed wind capacity adds another twist to the story: the importance of good transmission planning.
The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (which includes Western states and some Canadian provinces) and Texas have both seen healthy growth in wind power over the past decade. But since 2013, wind build-out in western U.S. states has slowed while Texas wind projects continue to flourish.
The lesson for transmission planning is clear: if you build it, wind will come.
EXPANDING ROLE OF WIND
Since 2008, national average wind