A U.S. grid operator in the region briefly generated more than 65% of its power from wind turbines last April.
Wind whipping across the Great Plains can generate a lot of electricity. But transporting that electricity from remote areas to cities and towns can be a big task.
“It’s not something that can be solved on an individual state basis or an individual company basis,” says Nick Brown, CEO of Southwest Power Pool.
Southwest Power Pool oversees the electricity grid in parts of 14 states, including Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
In April, the organization briefly generated more than 65% of its power from wind – a national record for a regional grid operator.
Brown says it took a lot of work to get to that point.
Utilities invested $10 billion on transmission projects across the region.
And it’s required complex coordination between different utilities to send the wind power to where it’s needed at any given moment.
But Brown says Southwest Power Pool’s success shows utilities can transition to less polluting sources of power.
“It is imperative that this industry and, quite frankly, the whole U.S. economy move to a net-zero carbon situation,” he says. “We just have to move in that direction.”