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Rick Sergel, president and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), urged the electric industry to focus on solutions to the technical challenges posed by large-scale integration of renewable resources in his keynote address at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's technical conference.

According to data in NERC's 2008 Long Term Reliability Assessment, 145,000 MW of wind generation is proposed to be added to the grid over the next 10 years - though all of it will not be built.

"We absolutely need transmission - we estimate tens of thousands of miles of new transmission is needed to unlock location-constrained, remote-energy resources and maintain reliability," said Sergel. "Building it will require us to address the barriers that have contributed to limited transmission development over the past 20 years."

Sergel added that state-by-state planning and approval of siting and cost allocation for multi-state, high-voltage transmission in the U.S. is not sufficient. He praised the collaboration of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council with the Western Governor's Association and the Joint Coordinated System Plan in the east, which he said shows that the industry is both willing and capable of developing interconnection-wide plans.

Sergel also said that NERC's report, "Accommodating High Levels of Variable Generation," is due to be released later this month. The report features the work of NERC's Integration of Variable Generation Task Force, commissioned by its planning and operating committees in 2008.

SOURCE: North American Electric Reliability Corp.

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