The Map

I just realized this morning that I had never put The Map up on The Power Line by itself.

Here it is –

The Map comes from an article produced by AEP and published in the September 2007 issue of Electricity Today.  The Cheney Administration Dept. of Energy wanted to know what transmission line infrastructure would be needed for all the wind power potential in the US.  Instead, what we got was AEP’s vision of its future business plan.

First, let’s look at what the map shows and what is missing –

  1. The Map shows that the best wind power potential lies off both coasts and the Great Lakes.
  2. The Map does not show any transmission line development designed to transmit this off shore wind power to population centers.
  3. Note that the red lines show all of the existing 765 kV lines in the US, all of them in the AEP service area, and all of them currently operated by AEP.  AEP is the largest power company in the US and is the only company that has expertise and experience in building and operating extra high voltage 765 kV lines.  So why does AEP’s map show only 765 kV lines as the solution to transmission problems?  Because AEP is the company that can build them.
  4. Note that there is only one place on the map where 5 proposed 765 kV lines come together.  That place is not a center of wind power.  It is the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, home of the Black Thunder mine, the largest producer in the US of steam coal for electricity generation.
  5. The Map is not a plan for anything.  It is AEP’s wish list.  The most efficient and effective transmission development for US wind power potential would be underwater backbone systems off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and in the Great Lakes with three or four substations to bring the power ashore and feed it to LA, NY and other population centers over relatively short transmission links.

So the next time someone tells you about all the land-based wind power we have in the US, just show them The Map with its dark reds and blues off the coasts.

And when someone, including Al Gore in his new book, tells you we need a “super grid” to promote wind power, show them The Map with its focus on the Black Thunder mine.

And when the WV Coal Association tells you that we need PATH, ask their spokesmen why they are promoting Wyoming coal.

The Piedmont Environmental Council has a great comparison of AEP’s “wind” map with a similar map showing US coal resources.  Here is a link to PEC President Chris Miller’s Congressional testimony.  The two maps are at the very end of the document.  The testimony is a great read, too.

A picture (in this case two pictures) is worth a thousand words.