Technology, Curtailment, and Transmission: Innovations and Challenges Facing Today's U.S. Wind Energy

16 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2017

Date Written: April 6, 2016


Today, evolving technologies have enabled scientific breakthroughs in innovative wind turbine designs, including taller wind turbine towers and longer blades. These breakthroughs will enable utility-scale wind turbines to reach higher into the atmosphere, access stronger winds, and produce greater amounts of renewable energy than their smaller cousins. This is why the Southeastern United States and other areas with historically low wind speeds may become the new frontier for new wind farm development.

For the proliferation of taller turbines in non-wind-rich areas, though, the value proposition for installing these turbines must make economic sense. Currently, there are several key obstacles that may hinder and threaten the ability of wind farm projects with taller turbines to be profitable: increased capital expenditures and exposure to new potential liabilities and hazards, curtailment, and lack of sufficient electric transmission structure.

This paper explores each of the above issues, examining the challenges the United States wind industry faces that arise from technological innovations, curtailment, and energy conveyance. It also discusses why legal ingenuity and developing increased public support for new wind projects and new clean energy transmission lines will play a crucial role in accelerating the growth of renewable energy generation, deployment, and usage in the Southeastern United States and elsewhere.

Keywords: Wind, Energy, Turbines, Tall, Wind Turbines, Blades, Technology, Wind Farm, Project, Construction, Curtailment, Southeast, Electric, Transmission, Clean, Developer, Development, Threat, Future, Wind Industry, Utility-Scale, Optimize, Efficiency, Capital, Risk, Performance, Tort, Contract, Regulatory

JEL Classification: K11, K12, K13, K32, L74, L78, L99, M2, N62, N72, O14, O33, O44, Q29, Q42, Q48, Q55, Q56, Q58, R41

Suggested Citation

Diamond, Kimberly, Technology, Curtailment, and Transmission: Innovations and Challenges Facing Today's U.S. Wind Energy (April 6, 2016). Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, Vol. 41, 2016, Available at SSRN:

Kimberly Diamond (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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