Feds OK sending Oklahoma wind energy to Memphis

Plains & Eastern Clean Line Energy says construction could begin in 2017 on a $2.5 billion electric transmission line bringing Oklahoma wind power across Arkansas to Memphis now that the U.S. Department of Energy has approved the project, according to the Commercial Appeal.

Early plans call for installing $4 billion worth of wind turbines near Guymon, Oklahoma. Their electric power would run through a 700-mile-long copper line that would end in Shelby County.

In Memphis, the city-county EDGE board earlier approved a property tax break for Clean Line’s proposed $259.8 million apparatus that would funnel the electricity into TVA for use across its seven-state region.

Friday’s decision could lead to a legal fight in Arkansas led by land owners opposed to the transmission line route.

Arkansas’s congressional delegation opposed the federal decision in a statement Friday that contends state control over transmission lines is being trampled, the Arkansas Times reported. The state’s lawmakers have been trying to pass legislation to keep authority in the states.

Note: Related press release below.

News release from Southern Alliance For Clean Energy
Knoxville, Tenn. – The Department of Energy (DOE) has concluded its review process for the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project, which is a long-distant transmission project that would inject massive quantities of low-cost, high-quality wind energy resources into the electrical grid.

“Wind power is now one of the cheapest forms of energy available. With the Department of Energy’s approval of the Clean Line Plains and Eastern project, the Southeast will have direct access to some of the lowest-cost and highest-quality wind energy resources in the country,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “By taking advantage of wind energy, Southeastern utilities can lock-in low pricing for ratepayers and help meet environmental targets for years to come.”

The Plains and Eastern Clean Line transmission project will enable transmission of approximately 4,000 megawatts of wind power from western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle deep into Arkansas, Tennessee and the rest of the Southeast. That amount of wind energy could power well over 1 million homes.

Listed below are a few state-specific benefits the project may provide:

•West Memphis, Arkansas – Sediver (a business unit of Seves Group) will source glass insulators for the Plains and Eastern Project.

•Malvern, Arkansas – General Cable will manufacture high-voltage conductor cable.

•Arkansas – $140 million in voluntary payments to counties over the first 40 years.

•Claremore, Oklahoma – Pelco Structural will supply tubular steel transmission structures.

•Oklahoma – $13 million in ad valorem taxes paid by Clean Line annually.

•Tennessee – The Plains and Eastern Clean Line project is estimated to create hundreds of construction jobs in western Tennessee.

•Florida – Tallahassee has signed a deal for delivery of 50 megawatts of wind power from the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project.