Wind energy could supply a fourth of New England’s power

By Ramona du Houx - December 17th, 2010 · 

A new study says wind power has the potential to supply nearly a quarter of New England’s power within the decade. In order for that to happen massive grid upgrades would be needed to handle that much more wind energy.

The study by GE Energy Applications & Systems Engineering was conducted for the regional grid manager, ISO New England. It says wind could supply up to 24 percent of the region’s total annual electricity needs by 2020.

It’s reassuring news for Maine’s Wind Consortium of companies, non-profits, government agencies, and educational institutions, which have plans to build offshore floating wind farms.

But the ISO’s president, Gordon van Welie, said $19 billion to $25 billion for new transmission lines would be needed.

The ISO’s director of operations, John Norden, says such an increase is a “lofty goal,” but the ISO must prepare to meet it in case policymakers push quickly in that direction.