Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Resource Magazine
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: October 28, 1999
Publication Date: December 15, 1999
Citation: Clark, R.N. 1999. Green power. American Society of Agricultural Engineers Resource Magazine. 6(12):33. Technical Abstract: The electric utility industry is in the midst of major changes as retail competition is introduced into the electric industry across the United States. Often labeled as electric utility restructuring, the changes are being driven by consumers wanting to have the freedom to choose a supplier for their electric power. As of July 1999, 20 states have established firm mplans to introduce retail competition. Most restructuring legislation includes a policy that supports electric generation from emerging renewable technologies such as wind, geothermal, biomass, and solar. This policy is called the renewable portfolio standard and requires that from 1 to 10% of the electricity be generated from renewables. Electricity generated by these renewable sources is often referred to as green power. Many energy leaders feel that most of the renewables portfolio standard requirements will be satisfied with wind, biomass, or biomass-based waste products. Present wind power costs from 3.5 to 5.3 cents/kWh as compared to 4.8 to 5.5 cents/kWh for coal-fired plants. Since most of these renewable energy plants will be using agricultural materials (biomass) or located in agricultural areas (wind), then the agricultural engineering profession has a tremendous challenge to provide technical guidance to integrate these technologies into the electrical industry.