Clean Line Energy: DOE decision on project partnership expected soon

Clean Line Energy continues to make progress on its four transmission projects, Plains & Eastern, Grain Belt, Rock Island and Centennial West, Jimmy Glotfelty, executive vice president of external affairs and co-founder of the company told TransmissionHub March 19.

All of the company’s projects are designed to transport wind energy across HVDC lines from the “wind belt” of the United States to the east.

Glotfelty said he was “hopeful” Clean Line would receive word on a partnership with the DOE “in the next month or two.”

Plains & Eastern was proposed in response to a DOE request for proposals under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which allows the DOE to accept private funding for transmission projects. 

If the DOE decides to move forward with the projects, a federal process, including coordination with the Southwestern Power Administration, would be initiated. Collaboration with the Southwestern Power Administration and the DOE would pave a “clear path” through the NEPA process, Mario Hurtado, executive vice president of development for the Plains & Eastern project, told TransmissionHub in October 2011.

Clean Line has held round-table discussions across Arkansas and Oklahoma for the project. The process involves local leaders, elected officials and others giving their input before the company takes the project to the public.

“The sole goal of those [round-table discussions] is to incorporate feedback,” Glotfelty said. 

Plains & Eastern is a 800-mile, 600-kV transmission line that originates at the Diamond substation in Oklahoma and terminates at the Memphis substation in Tennessee, according to TransmissionHub data.

The company’s application for DOE collaboration is also for the Grain Belt project, Glotfelty said.

“Grain Belt is still moving,” he added, noting that the company is currently trying to find the right substation to interconnect within PJM. “The [public] outreach is going well; finding the best place to interconnect is tough and we’ll take a bit of time doing that,” he said.

The company is currently holding round tables for Grain Belt, the spokesperson added.

Grain Belt is a 550-mile, 600-kV transmission line that originates at Spearville, Kan., and terminates at St. Francois, Miss.

For the Rock Island project, Clean Line has narrowed the route from a 10- to 20-mile corridor to a two- to five-mile corridor, a process that has taken six to nine months, Glotfelty said. For the Rock Island project alone, the company has performed outreach with 40,000 landowners, according to a spokesperson for the company.

“That’s the process where you really need to work with landowners to find the appropriate route along property,” Glotfelty said.

Rock Island is a 500-mile, 600-kV transmission line that originates in Central Illinois and terminates in Northwest Iowa, and is expected to be operational in 2014 or 2015, according to TransmissionHub data.

For the Centennial West project, the company has an agreement with the Western Area Power Administration and the Bureau of Land Management to be its co-leads for the NEPA process. “We’re finalizing the advanced funding agreement with Western,” Glotfelty said.

Centennial West Clean Line is a 900-mile, 600-kV HVDC transmission line that originates at Guadalupe, N.M., and terminates at Mira Loma, Calif.

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.