Bloomberg Business reports that last Friday the U.S. Department of Energy used a decade old law to OK Clean Line Energy Partners LLC's plans to build a 705 mile power line carrying 4,000 megawatts of power from Oklahoma's panhandle through Arkansas to Tennessee.
The DOE's approval could be a potential workaround for transmission developer contractors who have had to deal with regulatory delays and state level opposition and politics while trying to site new power lines. The old statute gave the Energy Department authority to clear interstate projects co-sponsored by either of two of its four public power agencies.
“The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is the largest clean energy infrastructure project in the nation and will modernize the U.S. electric grid while bringing forth new investment, job creation, and more low-cost power for American consumers,” Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy, said in a statement on Friday.
Arkansas refused to consider Clean Line's proposal four years ago, saying the developer did not qualify as a utility under state law. The DOE approval of the project lends hope to another Clean Line proposed power line project that would build a 790-mile link connecting wind power in Kansas to Illinois.
Bloomberg says the DOE expects lawsuits challenging its decision.
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Source: Bloomberg Business