Monday, April 28, 2008

Going Bananas Over Trasmission Lines

The Economist takes a look at the challenges of building transmission infrastructure to support alternative energy like wind and solar. Not only is it expensive, but local opposition to running new lines is usually fierce (the Economist notes that developers face a hyper-NIMBY backlash called a "BANANA"-- "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.").

According to a Cambridge Energy Research Associates study, $12-$15 billion per year is spent on transmission infrastructure. The costs vary wildly. The Economist notes that it costs approximately $500,000 a mile in rural Kansas, and $20 million a mile in suburban Boston.