National Grid: Clean Line investment offers opportunity to look at potential new development

With National Grid USA’s $40m equity investment in Clean Line Energy Partners, the company now has access to Clean Line’s team, which could help it expand its transmission development opportunities in its own service territory, according to National Grid USA President Tom King.

“We certainly, from the quality of [Clean Line’s] development team, have the opportunity to look at” potential new projects in National Grid’s service territory, King told TransmissionHub on Nov. 27.

The companies said on Nov. 27 that Clean Line will use the proceeds from the National Grid plc subsidiary to advance the development of its high voltage direct current transmission projects that will connect wind energy resources in the United States to communities and cities with demand for low-cost, clean power.

Those projects include the $2bn Rock Island transmission project, which would move 3,500 MW of power from renewable energy projects located in northwestern Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota to load centers in PJM Interconnection.

On why National Grid chose to invest in Clean Line, King said during a press conference on Nov. 27 that his company was impressed with the Clean Line team as well as with its projects and the model it uses to develop those projects.

“[B]ringing National Grid’s financial backing as well as transmission expertise will create that new paradigm,” he said, adding that together, the companies will “ensure that [the projects] move forward and are built.”

King noted that National Grid is working with Emera on a proposal to develop the Northeast Energy Link, which, according to the companies’ statement, is a 230-mile, 1,100-MW direct current transmission line delivering renewable energy from northern and eastern Maine and eastern Canada into southern New England.

Furthermore, under a power purchase agreement, National Grid is set to purchase 50% of the power output from Cape Wind Associates’ Cape Wind offshore wind energy project off of Massachusetts’ coast. Energy Management owns Cape Wind.

King also noted that National Grid has a contractual commitment for the power generated from Deepwater Wind’s offshore wind energy project off the coast of Rhode Island. National Grid will build the transmission line offshore for that project, he told TransmissionHub.

King also said National Grid, as part of the New York Transco participants, submitted a response in May to the New York State Energy Highway request for information.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a plan in January to build a private sector-funded $2bn “Energy Highway” system that will tap into the generation capacity and renewable energy potential in upstate and western New York to bring low-cost power to downstate New York.

According to the New York Transco participants’ filing, the New York transmission owners proposed 18 transmission projects that will result in an estimated total investment of $2.9bn in the state’s transmission system. The projects will affect 2.9 square miles and most, if not all, of this land will be adjacent to existing utility corridors.

During the press conference, King said the company stands “behind [the filing] and we’re ready to go as soon as the state is ready to make those investments.”

He also said that National Grid is in the midst of one of the largest transmission projects in New England’s history, the New England East-West Solution (NEEWS), which he said will reinforce the reliability of the region’s bulk power system.

According to TransmissionHub data, NEEWS includes the Greater Springfield Reliability Project, which is a 39-mile, 345-kV transmission line that begins at New Bloomfield, Conn., and ends at Ludlow, Mass. The project, which is sponsored by Northeast Utilities (NYSE:NU), will cost $718m.

“We’ve been stepping up and forward for years, working hard to create tomorrow’s infrastructure,” he said. “National Grid’s and Clean Line’s vision on the infrastructure investment and facilitating the development and delivery of renewable resources are very much aligned.”

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.