More Wyoming wind power will be coming to the west coast soon, thanks to the recently green-lighted $3 billion TransWest Express Transmission Project.
- Wyoming is one the largest potential wind energy producers in the US
- A new infrastructure plan will allow Wyoming to sell and transmit clean energy to Southwest States
- With EV adoption increasing, this will allow EVs to reach their full environmental potential
Approved by the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council earlier this month, the high-voltage transmission infrastructure will run from two wind power farms in south central Wyoming, through Colorado, into Utah, and down into Nevada, where the electricity will join up with existing lines that come off of the Hoover Dam. There, the wind-derived electricity will be fed into power lines throughout the southwest and west coast regions, including Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
This new renewable energy source is particularly important for California, which aims to receive all of its energy from carbon-free sources by 2045. Plus, the addition of Wyoming wind energy adds much-needed flexibility to the state’s energy infrastructure.
In 2018, plug-in or electric vehicles composed just over 10% of California’s new-car sales. That number is expected to rise. While this eases environmental pressure on the region, as electricity offsets fossil fuels as a transportation propulsion energy source, it adds extra strain on the state’s electrical grid.
Although Wyoming has the most to gain from selling its underutilized wind energy to California markets, it was the last to approve the plan. Funnily enough, even the states across which this transmission project will run were quicker to approve it than Wyoming. Goes to show you what opposition wind and solar still face in this country.
Such opposition might seem like political pettiness. However, there are some that argue, including economists from the University of Chicago, that wind and solar are more costly than they’re worth in the long run. Essentially, they argue the cost of switching over to wind and solar is higher than the societal cost paid by continuing to burn fossil fuels.