News Flash: Clean Line files for utility status in Illinois, requests CPCN for Rock Island project

Clean Line Energy on Oct. 10 applied for public utility status in Illinois and for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) for its $2bn Rock Island transmission project.

Rock Island is proposed as a nominal 600-kV, 500-mile HVDC transmission line that would be capable of delivering 3,500 MW of power from renewable energy projects located in northwestern Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota to load centers east of the Mississippi River.

As proposed, the project would originate at a converter station in O’Brien County, Iowa, traverse Iowa, cross the Mississippi River near Princeton, Iowa, enter Illinois south of Cordova, Ill., traverse Illinois for approximately 121 miles, and interconnect with PJM Interconnection’s extra high voltage (EHV) transmission system at the Collins substation in Grundy County, Ill. The line would terminate at a converter station to be located in Channahon, Ill.

“Although the preferred routes for the project, by a small margin (less than 1% of total construction cost in Illinois), are not the lowest-cost routes for the routing options evaluated by Rock Island, the preferred routes comprise the best routes when all relevant routing criteria are taken into account,” the company said in the application filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).

The company further noted that the costs of developing, constructing and operating Rock Island will be recovered from the transmission customers contracting for capacity on the line to transmit electricity from the “resource area,” where generation is located, to Illinois.

Clean Line has estimated construction costs at about $2bn, including the eastern terminus DC-to-AC converter station in Illinois, which is anticipated to be an approximately $300m capital investment.

“The Rock Island Clean Line transmission project is good for Illinois because it creates jobs, benefits consumers by introducing new renewable energy supplies, and significantly reduces pollution,” Clean Line President Michael Skelly said in a statement Oct. 10. “We have worked hard to take all necessary steps to ensure that the route for this project was determined the right way and that the project benefits local communities in Iowa and Illinois.”

Clean Line in May received FERC approval to presubscribe up to 75% of the transmission capacity on the project, with capacity not secured by anchor tenants to be sold to customers through an open season.

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.