Far from being a problem, wind power can actually improve the stability of America's electric grid, according to the Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG). In a report on the state of the art of wind integration, UWIG demonstrates that with new equipment designs and proper plant engineering, system stability in response to a major plant or line outage can be improved by the addition of wind generation. "This summary was produced with the cooperation of the three utility industry associations representing nearly 100% of the utilities in the United States," says Charlie Smith of UWIG. "The message is very positive; we don't see any fundamental technical barriers at the present time to wind penetrations of up to 20% of system peak demand, which is far beyond where we are today." The report also found that the cost of integrating wind energy into most utility systems is minimal: "On the cost side, at wind penetrations of up to 20% of system peak demand, system operating cost increases arising from wind's variability and uncertainty amounted to about 10%, or less than the wholesale value of the wind energy." Smith notes that the report focuses on wind's impacts on the operating costs of the non-wind portion of the power system and on wind's impacts on the system's electrical integrity. "The consensus view is that wind power impacts can be managed," he says. "There is still a lot of work to be done to get the message across and get everyone up the learning curve, but we are well on the way."