The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is requesting public comment on the first complete application submitted in response to its June 2010 Request for Proposals (RFP) for new or upgraded transmission line projects under Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
In response to the 2010 RFP, Clean Line Energy Partners LLC applied for its Plains & Eastern Clean Line project, DOE said in a notice to be published in the April 28 Federal Register. The project would include an overhead ± 600-kV high voltage, direct current electric transmission system and associated facilities with the capacity to deliver approximately 3,500 MW primarily from renewable energy generation facilities in the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle regions to load-serving entities in the Mid-South and Southeast United States via an interconnection with the Tennessee Valley Authority electrical grid.
DOE has concluded that Clean Line’s application was responsive to the 2010 RFP and is making it available for public review. The public comment period will run for 45 days from April 28.
Under section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), the Secretary of Energy, acting through the Southwestern Power Administration or the Western Area Power Administration, has the authority to design, develop, construct, operate, maintain, or own, or participate with other entities in designing, developing, constructing, operating, maintaining, or owning two types of projects: electric power transmission facilities and related facilities needed to upgrade existing transmission facilities owned by Southwestern or Western; or new electric power transmission facilities and related facilities located within any state in which Southwestern or Western operates. In carrying out either type of section 1222 project, the DOE Secretary may accept and use funds contributed by another entity for the purpose of executing the project.
In response to the 2010 RFP, Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, Texas, the parent company of Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC and Plains and Eastern Clean Line Oklahoma LLC, submitted a proposal to DOE in July 2010 for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project. In August 2011, Clean Line modified the proposal. In December 2014, DOE requested additional information from the applicant to supplement and update its original application. This “Part II” application and other documentation are now available for this 45-day public comment period.
Clean Line requests that Southwestern participate in development of the facilities in Oklahoma and Arkansas. As part of their environmental review of the project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), DOE has identified and analyzed potential environmental impacts for several additional alternatives. These alternatives include an Arkansas converter station (capable of supplying an additional 500 MW of energy into the Arkansas electrical grid) and alternative routes for the HVDC transmission line.
In December 2014, DOE issued a Notice of Availability and announced public hearings for the draft environmental impact statement for this project. DOE made the draft EIS available on DOE’s Plains & Eastern EIS website (www.PlainsandEasternEIS.com) and the DOE NEPA website (www.energy.gov/nepa). DOE hosted fifteen public hearings across the proposed project area. The public comment period for the NEPA review is scheduled to end on April 20. DOE will address the public comments in the final EIS, which will inform the Department’s determination.