Friday, June 25, 2010

Wind energy transmission line proposed

Tulsa Business Staff

Yesterday, Plains & Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma LLC, an affiliate of Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, filed an application with the Oklahoma Public Utility Commission to become a public utility in Oklahoma. This filing is an essential part of the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project. The company filed a similar application in Arkansas in May.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will consist of approximately 800 miles of overhead, high voltage, direct current transmission lines, which will be capable of transmitting up to 7,000 megawatts of electricity. Running from the Oklahoma panhandle to the southeastern U.S., the project, when built, will make possible the construction of billions of dollars of new wind energy generation. Currently, these investments cannot be made because there is not enough transmission.

“Oklahoma provides a remarkable supply of renewable energy, but the infrastructure to build more projects and move the electricity from the resource areas to consumers in the mid-south and southeast regions is insufficient,” Clean Line President Michael Skelly said. “This transmission line will create new opportunities for wind energy from Oklahoma and will pave the way for additional development in the wind energy industry.”

Skelly continued by indicating that, in addition to providing utilities with affordable access to renewable energy, the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line will provide economic development benefits while addressing the nation’s ongoing efforts to increase energy security. This transmission project will not only increase the region’s attractiveness to wind farm developers, but will also contribute local tax revenue for schools and other local needs.

The project is in the early stages of development and is expected to take five to seven years to complete and cost approximately $3.5 billion. Clean Line will fund all development costs and will not seek cost recovery through the electric rates paid by consumers in Oklahoma. Once built, the project will enable an additional $12 billion in investments in new wind projects which today cannot be built because of the lack of transmission. These projects could ultimately power over 2.1 million American homes.

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