Creating a "road to market" for renewables

Wind on the Wires has a long history of success in expanding market opportunities through our technical expertise in transmission and regulatory processes, policy work, and public education and outreach to build support. 

Wind on the Wires (WOW) was established in 2001 as a project of the Midwest office of the Izaak Walton League of America, a national conservation organization. Though part of the League, WOW operated with an independent steering committee until becoming a standalone 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2011.

Our purpose was, and continues to be, creating a “road to market” for wind energy.  Creating that road involves more than just steel and wires, however.  It takes expertise in the technical engineering, legal, policy and public education fields, which is where WOW excels. 

We concentrate on the technical aspects of connecting wind farms to the transmission grid and delivering wind energy to cities and towns.  We do this by focusing on transmission planning, creating equitable rules that govern the use of the electric grid, and educating the people who operate the electric system about the characteristics of wind energy. 

From the beginning, Wind on the Wires worked with utility engineers, transmission planners at MAPP (predecessor to MISO) and MISO, and key decision makers at state public utilities commissions and legislatures on technical transmission planning.  We also worked to lay the public policy foundation upon which to build a robust renewable energy future in the Midwest. 

Our early successes included:

  • A Midwest Wind Development Plan  in 2003 for 10,000 megawatts of wind energy that was included in the MISO Transmission Expansion Planning (MTEP) process,
  • Regulatory approval and construction of a new 92-mile, 345 kilovolt transmission line from the best wind resources in Southwest Minnesota to customers in Minneapolis/St. Paul, as well as
  • Renewable Energy Standards and goals in various states in the Midwest that created a coherent regional energy policy in lieu of a comprehensive federal energy policy.

Our work continues today, although it has greatly expanded in terms of programmatic work, geography and technology.  Through the effective partnerships we develop and maintain with our members who are comprised of a variety of regional and national NGOs and for-profit companies, we work together in powerful collaboration to move clean energy goals forward in the Midwest.  Wind on the Wires also plays an important role in educating individuals and groups about the important role transmission plays in facilitating access to affordable, clean energy, as well as the economic benefits renewable energy development can bring.

Looking ahead, Wind on the Wires will keep focused on our core competencies of technical transmission work, regulatory involvement at the state and federal (FERC) levels, policy and public education at the state and regional levels.  We will also continue to serve as a technical resource and grow strategic partnerships with NGOs to advance our collective clean energy goals, drive change in the Midwest energy resource mix, and help meet customer demands.