Plans for Clean Energy Get Dirty in Transmission

Firms use green hype to build power lines that could carry electricity from coal
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2009 3:54 PM CDT
In this 2008 file photo, wind turbines at the Harvest Wind Farm dominate the horizon from the playground of Elkton Pigeon Bay Port Laker Elementary School in Oliver Township, Mich.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Plans to green the US power supply are in full swing, with the Obama administration working toward the goal of doubling the current supply of alternative energy over the next 3 years. But, some complain, power companies are using the popularity of green power to push through a needless—but highly profitable—expansion of the transmission grid, Katharine Mieszkowski writes for Salon.

Rural residents say new lines will spoil thousands of acres of pristine land, and environmentalists charge that there’s no way to prove they’ll carry renewable energy. For example, the coal-based energy firms pitching the Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline between West Virginia and Maryland use advertisements featuring spinning wind turbines, but one end of the line would start near the state’s biggest coal-fired power plant.