Florida city to buy wind power from Clean Line transmission project

The city of Tallahassee, Florida intends to buy up to 50 MW of wind power from a wind transmission project originating in the Oklahoma Panhandle, project developers announced Monday.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line project will deliver energy from Oklahoma wind farms through that state and Arkansas on the way to a Tennessee substation.

Houston-based project developer Clean Line Energy called it the nation’s largest clean-energy infrastructure project, a direct-current high-voltage line stretching nearly 700 miles and transmitting close to 4,000 MW altogether.

“We commend Tallahassee for taking a leadership position and agreeing to provide their customers with access to some of the lowest-cost wind energy in the country,” said Michael Skelly, President of Clean Line. “This is another important step for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line and we look forward to helping Tallahassee to deliver on their commitment to increase their clean energy usage while keeping costs low.”

The city of Tallahassee is engaged in serving about 118,000 residential and commercial customers.

The Plains & Eastern Clean Line represents a $2 billion investment in infrastructure that will provide renewable energy to the Mid-South and Southeast regions of the United States. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will help unlock nearly $7 billion in investments in new wind farms that could not otherwise be built due to the limitations of the existing electric grid.

“This type of agreement allows cities the ability to access world-class wind resources and deliver big savings to consumers,” said Andrew Gohn, Eastern State Policy Director for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in a statement. “Building new transmission is essential to bring the lowest-cost wind in the country to places where the majority of American families live and businesses operate. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will deliver clean, reliable, low-cost electricity for all those who plug things in for years to come.”

Construction of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line is estimated to begin in 2017 and will require approximately two to three years to complete. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is expected to begin delivering electricity as early as 2019 and will provide clean power to more than one million American homes, providing public benefits for years to come.

In November 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy released its final environmental impact statement for the proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project. DOE’s’s release of the Final EIS marks a key milestone for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line.

Based on the analysis presented in the Final EIS, DOE identified a preferred route for the direct current transmission line. DOE also identified its preferred locations for a delivery converter station in Arkansas as well as a converter station and associated project facilities in Oklahoma. DOE’s participation in the project would be limited to states in which Southwestern operates.

Southwestern does not operate in the state of Tennessee, therefore, in the Final EIS DOE does not indicate a preference for the location of the DC transmission line or the converter station in Tennessee.

The Final EIS “did not identify widespread significant impacts as a result of construction or operations and maintenance of the Project.” DOE also concluded that implementation of the environmental protection measures that Clean Line included as an integral part of the project would avoid or minimize the potential for significant environmental effects.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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